Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday Tip: Make your own countertop cleaner

Springtime has long been associated with a time to clean our houses. I think it's because, years ago, houses had to be kept closed very tightly during the winter in order to conserve warmth. Heavy draperies were kept at the windows to reduce drafts. With spring came the opportunity to open windows and let in both fresh air and light--but that light revealed months' worth of dirt, all needing to be swept away.

Whatever the reason, spring brings to me a wish to clean, and one of my favorite cleaning tools is something I make myself. Now I know that many people already have a favorite cleaner--perhaps a special "green" product, or maybe one of the new designer cleaning products. But if you're looking for a heavy-duty cleaner that works well, smells good, AND disinfects, you might want to give this a try.

We've had enough hospitalizations around here that I'm really into the disinfecting part of cleaning. Bleach is the ultimate disinfectant, but it can be tough to use for cleaning. It smells so strong that it can be sickening, and woe betide you if you happen to splash any onto your clothes. So I don't use bleach that often. Still, I want something that I know will kill germs. My secret ingredient? Rubbing alcohol.

To make a great all-purpose cleaner, I combine

4 oz. Pine-Sol (I'm currently loving the Orange Energy scent)
12 oz. 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol
16 oz. water

I pour these three ingredients into a 32 oz. spray bottle. I use an old spray bottle onto which I've taped a homemade label. To clean, I just spray and wipe!

This works great on just about anything that can be cleaned with all-purpose cleaner: countertops, appliances, sinks, etc. And it smells so good!

I also make heavy-duty window cleaner. Here's that recipe:

4 oz. ammonia
12 oz. rubbing alcohol
16 oz. water

This is the best window and mirror cleaner I've ever used, but beware--the Pine-Sol-based cleaner smells nice and fresh, but the ammonia-based cleaner stinks. The smell dissipates, of course, but it's really strong at first. Still, if you have heavy-duty window cleaning to do, this stuff really works. For light-duty window cleaning, I just rub glass with a lightly dampened micro-fiber cloth, then wipe with a dry micro-fiber cloth.

So how about you? Are you a spring cleaner? Do you have a favorite cleaning solution?


Melanie said...

I love the scent of orange! I am bookmarking this and making me some. I feel like you about spring.....open the windows and air the house out, clean out closets, and clean the house:) That makes me so happy.

Beverly @ The Buzz said...

I used to work for a woman who kept rubbing alcohol at the office. When anyone came to work sick, she didn't break out the Lysol. She followed them around with alcohol and wiped down anything they touched!

Blondie's Journal said...

I didn't know alcohol killed germs. I would love to try this formula. I bet you will save money in the long run! Thanks, Richella!


Heather said...

I really like this idea. Do you know if your all-purpose cleaner works on stainless steel or mirrors?

Southern Lady said...

Thanks for the idea. I can't wait to throw open the windows and let a spring breeze come in. Carla

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

OOooo-I like that a lot better than forking over $$ for expensive cleaners. Thanks for sharing the "recipes." ;)

Holly said...

Thanks for the recipes! I like making my own cleaners.
So glad you joined my party, Richella!

Janet said...

LOVE this tip!! I think I'll try this, thanks!!!


Staci said...

I love the scent of ammonia. My mom and grandma used it to clean EVERYTHING. It is super strong at first - and you can literally burn your lungs and mucous membranes by breathing the fumes directly - but it always means clean to me.

Pacific NW Blogfan said...

Great tips. Thanks.

Carmen @ Life with Sprinkles on Top said...

Thanks for the window cleaning solution. I was just wondering how I could make my own. I am SURE my windows are DIRTY. Yuck! :)

HeathahLee said...

Love those tips! I used to keep paper towels soaked with alcohol in a little tub for when I took Kiddo shopping so he wouldn't get all gunkified from the shopping cart! Your solution would have smelled a lot better! : )

Scooper said...

Okay girl, I'm filing this away. Love homemade cleaners that WORK! I've tried some that haven't worked so great in the past. You are so very clever. : )

Mom to Many said...

Great tip!

FrouFrouBritches said...

REALLY? Rubbing alcohol? I had no idea! Fabulous tip! Thanks for sharing! I bet that smells way better than the vinegar I've been using!

New Every Morning said...

I am making some of this up this week! Thanks for the tip!

Paula said...

I'm jotting these formulas down to try. I also will try your microfiber cloth suggestion for window washing.

True confession...the windows in the main part of my house haven't been washed in almost two years. I think I need to mix up a lot of your solution and get busy. In my defense, the windows have to be taken out to properly clean them and that just isn't my hubby's idea of how to spend a Saturday.

Gisell said...

Hi! I know this is an older post but I'm wondering if concentration of alcohol matters? Thanks!

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