3 Tips I Wish I Knew Before I Started Making My Own Cleaning Products

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3 Tips I Wish I Knew Before I Started Making My Own Cleaning Products

3 tips I wish I knew before i started making my own cleaning products image

No. 1: Every recipe won’t work for everyone.

You may have hard water, or maybe a different brand of one of the ingredients doesn’t work so well. The bad news is that it may take some trial and error. The good news is, there are lots of helpful recipes online, the ingredients are usually the same ones you will have on hand anyway if you are making your own products, and they are relatively inexpensive. It will just take some time figuring out what works best for you.

I had to especially do this with floor cleaner and dishwashing detergent. The first floor cleaner I tried cleaned the wood floor and made it shiny. Too shiny. We could see our footprints in it. When the dog tried to jump on the couch, he slid into it. It was so slick, I had to figure out that the recipe I made was more of a spot clean than a total floor cleaner, so I needed to start over. Dishwashing detergent can be a challenge for anyone. I am still working on the right combination. I may end up using a store bought solution if I really want sparkling clean dishes. They get clean, but sometimes a film develops. Some say to put vinegar in a cup on the top rack, and that does help, but I am still experimenting. 🙂

On a related note, sometimes things will work for a while, and then they stop. While I have found it more true in personal products, like deodorant and shampoo, I have had to reformulate some cleaning products.

When I made glass cleaner, which is pretty much the easiest recipe (vinegar, water, and essential oils) it worked great the first time. But when I made the refill, I guess I put too many drops of essential oils in it, because it became hard to wipe without streaking. I fixed the problem by simply omitting the oils. Vinegar and water work great (and the oils were there mainly for scent). I also switched to microfiber cloths, and that helped too.

No. 2: It isn’t cheaper at first.

I didn’t realize that making your own cleaning products would be an investment at first. I was recommended to start using natural products by my naturopathic doctor for health reasons, not to save money. But, saving money was a big motivator, especially when I saw the prices of natural products and discovered that many of them are only (effective) marketing, not really that much safer for you. So I thought, well I like DIY projects, I will make my own and save some money.

Now, I am saving money, but in the beginning, it really wasn’t that cheap. I like my bottles to look nice and consistent, so I purchased these from Amazon. They are reusable, but it still is a chunk of money that wouldn’t be spent if I was just buying regular cleaners. Many of my recipes include essential oils, so I need to use glass. If you omit the essential oils, you could save money by reusing an old plastic spray container. Or, you could use any glass container (like a vinegar bottle) and change out the lid to be a sprayer to save money. I was ready to get started, so I just ordered the bottles.

In addition, you will might need a tiny amount of something, but have a huge box of it. That is okay (see number 3), but it means you aren’t saving a lot of money right away.

Finally, as noted in number 1, there will be some trial and error involved. And this means there will be some waste. But the good news is, it really does save money in the long run (especially if you use natural products). Once you find what works for you and you have the ingredients stocked up, it is so easy and convenient to make your own stuff.

No. 3: You will use the same ingredients over and over, so buy in bulk when possible.

Many of the recipes I have tried use vinegar, baking soda, washing soda, borax (some people don’t use this, but I do), and essential oils. With just these 5 ingredients, I can make most of the cleaning products I use. You may also need bar soap and liquid castille soap. Whenever you can, buy these in bulk. You may want to start small, especially during the trial and error phase of making your own cleaning products, but once you get your recipes down, buy in bulk. You will save so much money over the long term, always have your ingredients on hand, and feel more organized and less overwhelmed. It is so nice not to have to run to the store in the middle of cleaning because I ran out of something. Now, I can just mix some more up and I am ready to go. 

Shop around. I provide links to the items I use from Amazon, but sometimes they aren’t the cheapest (and sometimes they are). I buy from Thrive Market when I can (especially bars of soap and liquid castille soap), Amazon for the most of it, and sometimes locally. Find a system that works for you!

Get Healthy in 90 Days

If you are looking for recipes, or a way to figure out how to make these changes in your life without getting overwhelmed, check out my 90 day program. It takes you step by step, through easy daily changes so that by the end of the 90 days, you have made a great transformation. It also includes cleaning and skincare recipes, and that alone will save you the cost of the program. Remember, small steps made consistently over time lead to massive results.

What lessons have you learned while making your own cleaning products?



Resources mentioned in this post:

Essential Oil Image
This is for educational purposes only, and not intended as medical advice. As always, please consult a doctor before making any lifestyle or health changes. Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, at no additional cost to you, I receive an affiliate commission. I only recommend products or services I believe will be helpful to you. In addition, 50% of the profit from this site, including affiliate commissions, goes to helping those in need. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


  1. Julie Sanders says:

    I tried to make my own cleaning products, but I felt they were not doing as good of a job compared to the commercial versions. Maybe I was using bad recipes or low quality products at first? I will try again now that you have posted a couple of things to watch out for.

    • Jen says:

      I have definitely had that experience. Keep trying though! It is so important and once you get the recipes that work well for you, it is so easy to always have them on hand. Trial and error can be frustrating, but eventually it gets much easier.

  2. Susie says:

    It seems like I use alot more when I want the grease gone.. I don’t see where it is a savings for the grease… but light things to wash off I am happy. I just have 2 on hand, one commerical and one I prepared !

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