State University Extension
Home Maintenance And Repair - 01500579
Homemade Cleaners 1992
Painted Walls and Woodwork
Use one of the following to wash painted surfaces: 1/4 cup ammonia and
1 gal warm water, OR 1 tbsp trisodium phosphate and 1 gal warm water,
OR 1/4 cup liquid dish detergent and 1 gal water. To prevent streaking,
begin washing at the bottom of the wall and work toward the top; wash
ceiling last. Rinse thoroughly and change rinse water frequently.
Windows and Glass
Use one of the following mixtures to clean glass and windows: to remove
soil and grease, use 1/4 cup ammonia diluted in 2 qts warm water; to
remove hard water deposits and soil, use 1/4 cup vinegar diluted in 2
qts warm water; to remove extra heavy soil and grease build- up,
combine 1/2 cup ammonia, 2 cups rubbing alcohol and 1 gal water.
Tips- When washing windows,
wash sills and cross-pieces first wipe windows with lintless cloth,
paper towels or crumpled newspapers to prevent streaking, wash windows
out of direct sunlight for touch-ups, keep any one of the above
preparations in a spray bottle, spray on dirty area and wipe.
(Note: Commercial upholstery
shampoos do a good job and are easy to use. However, if you wish you
can use the following homemade preparation.)
Combine 1/4 cup liquid dish detergent or laundry detergent and 1 cup
warm water. With a hand mixer, whip until dry suds form (the suds will
look like whipped cream). Test upholstery in an unnoticeable area by
applying dry suds with a cloth or soft brush and lightly scrubbing.
Allow to dry. If the area looks the same but cleaner, the entire piece
of upholstery may be cleaned in this manner. Shampoo only a small area
at a time and use a spatula or rubber scraper to lift off dirty suds.
Repeat if necessary, then wipe area with a clean cloth dipped in clear
water and wrung nearly dry. Dry completely.
Tips-Keep upholstery as dry as
possible while shampooing to prevent damage. For quick drying, open
windows or turn on an electric fan, a dehumidifier, or an air
conditioner in the same room
To freshen room air, dampen cotton balls with oil of wintergreen and
place out of sight but where air will touch them.
Sponge with a piece of cotton dipped in rubbing alcohol.
Combine 3/4 cup baking soda, 2 tbsp corn starch, and 1/4 cup perfumed
talcum powder. Sprinkle on dry carpet, let stand 5 to 15 minutes, then
For hard to reach spots, slip a sock over the end of a yardstick and
secure with a rubber band, then sweep the area. This method works well
for cleaning under radiators and refrigerators also.
Dab area with toweling, wash with suds of liquid dish detergent, and
rinse with 1/2 cup vinegar diluted in 1 qt warm water. Lay towels or
paper towels over the spot and weight down to absorb excess moisture.
Let stand 4 to 6 hours, then remove toweling, brush up nap and allow to
dry completely. To speed drying, use an electric fan.
Fill a small glass bowl with 1/2 cup full-strength ammonia, place in
oven and close. Let stand overnight, then wipe loosened dirt with paper
towels or newspapers. If necessary, rub surfaces with a suitable
abrasive, such as fine steel wool, then wash with warm soapy water and
rinse. Repeat process if necessary.
Pots and Pans
Burned, and Crusted,on Foods
Soak or boil a solution of 2 tbsp baking soda per qt of water in each
pan. Let stand until particles are loosened, then wash as usual. Use a
mild or moderate abrasive if necessary.
Heat a solution of 1 tbsp vinegar per qt of water or 2 tsp cream of
tartar per qt of water in each pan until discoloration disappears.
Rub greasy spots with a mild or moderate abrasive, such as fine steel
wool, and a dish detergent until they disappear.
Stained No-Stick Cookware
To remove stains from no-stick surfaces, pour a solution of 1 cup
water, 2 tbsp baking soda and 1/2 cup chlorine bleach into the pan and
simmer 5 to 10 minutes. Do not allow mixture to boil or to boil over
the side of the pan. Wash in hot soapy water, rinse and dry. Apply a
light coating of cooking oil. (Note:
This formula may fade dark-colored surfaces.)
To remove tarnish from copper pots, rub with lemon halves dipped in
To clean exterior and interior walls, dissolve 2 tbsp baking soda in 1
qt warm water and wipe all surfaces. For stubborn spots, rub with
baking soda paste. Be sure to rinse with a clean, wet cloth. (This
works well on other enamel-finished appliances as well.)
To clean interior fixtures, such as vegetable bins and shelves, wash in
hot soapy water, rinse well and dry.
Enamel, Ceramic or Glass Baking Dishes
Soak in hot soapy water, then scour with salt or baking soda and rinse
Coffee and Tea Stains
To remove coffee or tea stains from cups or counters, rub with baking
soda paste. For stubborn stains, rub a drop of chlorine bleach into the
affected area until the stain disappears, then wash immediately with
hot soapy water to prevent fading, and rinse well.
Cover label with a cloth or sponge saturated with warm vinegar and let
stand. When the label is saturated, it should peel off without scraping
or causing damage. Rinse. (Note:
Use this method only on washable surfaces and washable paint.)
To remove labels from plastic, dab with dry-cleaning fluid, then rub.
Wipe away any excess fluid and wash plastic immediately in hot soapy
water (dry-cleaning fluid may dull the finish of plastic). If labels on
plastic have been wet or the article has been stored in a hot, damp
area, the label will be more difficult to remove.
To keep drains clear, flush daily with scalding water. For grease
buildup, dissolve 1 lb washing soda in 3 gal boiling water and pour
down drain. To avoid burns from boiling water, hold water container
close to drain and pour slowly and directly into drain. For heavy
grease buildup, use a commercial drain opener. Exercise extreme caution
when using and follow label instructions exactly. (Commercial drain
openers can be used to clear hair buildup from bathroom drains, also.)
Dilute 3/4 cup chlorine bleach in 1 gal of water. Apply to tile and
grout and scrub; wipe shower stall and curtain; rinse thoroughly.
To clean stainless steel, chrome, fiberglass, ceramic, porcelain or
enamel fixtures, dissolve 2 tbsp baking soda in 1 qt of water.
Rust Stain and Hard Water Deposit Remover
Apply full-strength vinegar or lemon juice and let stand until spot
disappears, then rinse. Repeat if necessary.
Apply baking soda dry or as a thick paste, rub vigorously with a wet
sponge, then rinse.
Pour 1/4 cup full strength chlorine bleach OR 1/2 cup full strength
ammonia into bowl. DO NOT USE BOTH. Swish with a bowl brush and flush.
Combs and Brushes
Fill a basin with hot water, and add either 2 tbsp ammonia OR 1 tsp
liquid dish detergent. Drop in combs and brushes and soak 10 minutes,
then use combs to clean brushes. Rinse thoroughly and air dry.
For more information on making your own cleaners see Extension bulletin
E-1859, Money Saving Tips on Household Cleaners.
This article was written by Anne Field, Extension Specialist, Emeritus,
with references from MSU Extension bulletin Money Saving Tips on
to main page
This information is for
educational purposes only. References to commercial products or trade
names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those
not mentioned. This information becomes public property upon
publication and may be printed verbatim with credit to MSU Extension.
Reprinting cannot be used to endorse or advertise a commercial product
MSU is an
employer. Michigan State University Extension programs and materials
are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender,
gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political
beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran
status. Issued in furtherance of MSU Extension work, acts of May 8 and
June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Thomas G. Coon, Director, MSU Extension, East Lansing,MI 48824. This
information is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial
products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or
bias against those not mentioned.
information.was reviewed as
of June 2008. For more information about the contents please
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