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Survive This Economy: Using Homemade Cleaning Products

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Homemade cleaning products made from ingredients like white vinegar, Borax, lemon juice and Castile soap can be just as effective as name-brand products from the store, at a fraction of the cost. (Credit: CBS)

Homemade cleaning products made from ingredients like white vinegar, Borax, lemon juice and Castile soap can be just as effective as name-brand products from the store, at a fraction of the cost. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Four ingredients – that’s all you need to cut the cost of cleaning your home. CBS 2′s Dorothy Tucker says they are four things you probably already have, and one of them is free.

On a day devoted to cleaning, Sinora Wright uses a plethora of products worth more than $50.

“It’s been one of the biggest grocery costs that we have,” she said.

It’s a cost Sinora wants to reduce. The best way is to do it herself.

Vivian Panou, with the Earth Friendly company, which produces green products, helped Sinora learn to make her own cleaning products.

Panou explained you really only need four main ingredients: hot running water, baking soda, lemon juice, and the most important ingredient: white vinegar.

“It cuts through the dirt the all-natural way. It’s a wonderful disinfectant,” Panou said.

Some recipes also call for rubbing alcohol, a natural soap like Ivory, scented Castile soap for a sweet smell, and Borax.

“Borax is what cuts through the dirt in your clothing and your tub,” Panou said.

The basic ingredients are cheap, so Sinora was able to make a 32-ounce bottle of glass cleaner for 32 cents; compared to a 26-ounce popular brand for $4.29.

A 16-ounce homemade scrubbing powder cost just 64 cents, as opposed to $1.19 for a store bought 14-ounce can.

Making 164 ounces of homemade laundry detergent costs $2.21, instead of $14.00 for a 150-ounce name brand.

An all-purpose cleaning product was $4.52 for 20 ounces, but it replaces three popular products — an all-purpose cleaner, a disinfectant, and a toilet bowl cleaner, which cost a combined $12.00.

How to make:

*Glass Cleaner*
-3 ½ cups of warm water, the warmer the better
-1/2 cup of white vinegar
-1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol

*Laundry Detergent*
-2 ½ gallons of hot water
-1 Bar of grated “natural” soap (Ivory will do)
-1 cup of Borax (You’ll find this at a hardware store)
-Couple drops of scented castile soap (You’ll find this at a health food store)

*All Purpose Cleaner*
-1/2 cup of hot water
-1/2 cup of white vinegar
-1/2 cup of Borax
-1/2 cup lemon juice
-1/2 castile soap
*Mix together and shake before every use

*Powder*(comparable to Ajax)
-Cup of baking soda
-Cup of Borax

You should buy as many of the ingredients as you can from a dollar store, and save money.

But here’s the real question: do the homemade cleaning products clean as well as the products you buy in the store?

“This stuff cleans so well, that you’ll find that many establishments will only use white vinegar to clean greasy floors,” Panou said.

After wiping the windows, walls and floor, Sinora agreed

“It’s truly amazing,” she said.

It cost Sinora $7.69 to make her own cleaning products. To buy those same products would have cost her $39.17. That’s a savings of about $31.00.

Add that to the pot, and so far the Wrights have saved $2,601 through the “Survive This Economy” series.

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