Cleaning Recipes

As you get to know me, you will learn that I love being frugal and getting a great deal.  So when my friend suggested that we try making laundry soap together I was excited to give it a try, but to be honest I was skeptical at the same time.   My son has eczema and has reacted to a number of different laundry soaps that I have tried.  We found that Tide free and clear has worked the best for him, and I did not want to be the cause of another reaction.

With 3 kids we have LOTS of laundry, and commercial laundry soap is not cheap!  We have been making laundry soap for about a year and our family has had no problems with sensitive skin.  It cleans our clothes really well and I love that it is inexpensive.  The recipe we use is from the Duggar Family Website.


Liquid Laundry Soap

4  Cups – hot tap water

1 Fels-Naptha soap bar

1 Cup – Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*

½ Cup Borax

Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.  It takes a bit to get all the soap to melt.

Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken, it will be a thick gel.  Once it has set overnight I use a long hand drink mixer to stir the gel to a liquid consistency, but a long paint stick will work as well.

Stir and fill a clean used, laundry soap container half full with soap concentrate and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use since the soap has a tendency to gel as it sits.

Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.  Since you are mixing the concentrate 50/50 with water. I use about ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads).  Add a bit more if the clothes are really soiled.

*Arm & Hammer “Super Washing Soda” is found in the laundry isle.  Baking Soda and Arm & Hammer Detergent will NOT work – It must be sodium carbonate!!


Vinegar Downy Ball

Instead of commercial fabric softeners, I use a Downy Ball filled to the marked line with white vinegar in my washer.  The vinegar works similar to commercial fabric softeners and it is a fraction of the cost.  Our clothes don’t come out smelling like vinegar either.  I love not using fabric sheets in my dryer!  I buy vinegar at Costco in a large container.


All Purpose Cleaner with Lemon

2 Cup Water

2 Tbsp Lemon Juice

1/2 tsp Liquid Dish Soap

1 T Baking Soda

1 tsp Borax

Mix all ingredients into a spray bottle and shake.  I use this cleaner mostly in the kitchen, but it works great in the bathroom as well.  I reuse the spray bottles from commercial cleaners, just make sure to rinse out well.


Fruit and Veggie Cleaner

1 Cup Water

1 Cup White Distilled Vinegar

1 Tbsp baking soda

20 drops grapefruit seed extract

Mix all ingredients into a spray bottle and shake.  Spray onto your fruit, leave on for 5 minutes and rinse off.  I use a new spray bottle since you are spraying on food.

 I would love to hear what your favorite cleaners are and any recipes that you have found to work really well.

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27 thoughts on “Cleaning Recipes

  1. so glad you posted this. I know you gave it to me on a sheet of paper once, but now I can always reference it here. PERFECT! Thanks Tammy.

  2. I fill a spray bottle with about a third vinegar, the rest water, several drops if essential oils (tea tree, peppermint and eucalyptus, usually) and a squirt of dish soap or castle soap. That’s my all purpose spray. Also, I do the vinegar instead of softener, like you do, and I also use it in place of jet dry in the dishwasher, works great! I am interested in making the laundry soap, it sounds great! Oh, and baking soda and a little water works better than anything else I’ve tried for cleaning a glass top stove.

  3. Hmmm, I think auto correct changed castille soap to castle soap. Oops. It is just a type of pure soap, Dr. bronners is a pretty common brand. I use the liquid kind. It would be in a natural products aisle.

  4. Am I missing a step? You mentioned filling a 5 gallon bucket half full, pouring in the soap mixture and then filling up the bucket with more hot tap water and all this yields 10 gallons? Do I need two 5 gallon buckets? Or did you mean to say this yields 5 gallons of liquid laundry soap?

    • You will fill the 5 gallon bucket 1/2 full make the soap mixture then fill the bucket to the top with hot tap water. This will make the soap concentrate. When you are ready to use the concentrate simply mix it and water 50/50 into an empty laundry soap bottle. Store the remaining soap concentrate in the 5 gallon bucket until you are ready to mix up another batch. Hope this helps.

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  6. Here is a recipe for a great all purpose cleaner that works better than baking soda based ones in hard water areas (I do find the baking soda ones do not rinse well here), is a great degreaser, mould killer/inhibitor (if tea tree oil is added) and is the best glass/stainless steel/computer/tv screen cleaner I have ever tried too. This recipe makes around 800ml of cleaner, perfect to fill two small sized spray bottles with, it can be used neat or rinsed or wiped away depending on what you’re using it for.


    1 tsp eco dishwashing soap
    1 tsp washing soda
    3 fl.oz vinegar (strangely I have found cider vinegar works better than white vinegar)
    800ml hand-hot water
    essential oils of your choice-I use geranium and grapefruit for the kitchen and general purposes-it really smells like rose when mixed together but is much cheaper, tea tree, mint and eucalyptus for the bathroom or as a mould killer spray


    Add the dishwashing liquid and washing soda and make a paste in a large measuring jug with a spout, add the vinegar (it will fizz quite a bit), then add the water and mix well. Decant into your spray bottles using a funnel, then add whichever essential oils you wish; around 20 drops in total for 400ml is about right. Use neat but sparingly as a glass/stainless steel/screen etc spray and use as you would any usual multipurpose cleaning spray for anything else. To treat mould around windows etc, spray onto the mouldy part, leave for an hour or so then wipe off, you may need a repeat application-then spray on neat on the same area and just leave-I found mould was greatly inhibited in some areas and stopped completely in others. I no longer buy any multipurpose cleaners now as this is so much better

  7. Is there supposed to be baking soda in the all-purpose cleaner with lemon? There is a box of soda pictured with the other ingredients, but it isn’t mentioned in the list.

  8. Pingback: Make Your Own Liquid Soap: Natural Recipes for Liquid Hand Soap, Dish Soap, and Laundry Soap

  9. Pingback: Make Your Own Liquid Soap: Natural Recipes for Liquid Hand Soap, Dish Soap … | Soap Making

  10. I used Borax today to clean my tubs & toilets! I have never seen my tubs so clean! Plus, it removed all the “yuck” build up along the sides with a little scrubbing.

  11. I absolutely love this site – so much useful information for my kids and my home – I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the time you took to post and share all this wonderful information :) My kids are going to love these fun things to make and do. Thanks again!!

  12. Thanks Tammy for putting up all these cleaning recipes and making them so easy to follow! I’ve linked to you in my latest article about frugal living at

    Thanks again!

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