Cartoon of hands cleaning a wood surface with a cleaner.

If you’re trying to become more eco-friendly, you might be taking stock of all the products you interact with on a daily basis. From toothpaste to makeup to deodorant, there’s a lot we can swap out of our daily routine for something more natural.

Have you ever wondered if swapping out your household cleaner with a DIY cleaning solution you make from natural household ingredients is worth the time and effort? Does it clean as effectively? Might it save money?

Let’s look at some facts.

Is making a DIY cleaning solution difficult?

It’s super simple to mix a few common household ingredients together in a spray bottle to use as an all-purpose vinegar-based cleaner and mild disinfectant around the house.

Here’s a recipe for one that’s great for kitchen countertops, bathroom surfaces, stove tops, windows and freshening plastic children’s toys:

  1. Upcycle an old spray bottle or pick one up at the store.
  2. Fill the bottle three-fourths full with tap water.
  3. Top off the bottle with distilled white vinegar.
  4. Cut a lemon into four wedges or several slender circular slices. Add half of the lemon to the spray bottle.
  5. Put the cap on the bottle, shake to mix the water, vinegar and lemon.
  6. Spray away!

You can customize the fragrance to your liking, too. If you enjoy essential oils (like an invigorating citrus blend, calming lavender or peppy peppermint), add a few drops to the bottle instead of fresh lemon. It’s nice to know that even if you change up the recipe, you’re still in control of what goes into the bottle. So you know exactly what’s being sprayed around your home and family — including children and pets.

Are homemade cleaning solutions expensive to make?

Ounce for ounce, it’s actually cheaper to make your own cleaning solution — you saw the ingredients!

Let’s say you buy a gallon jug of distilled vinegar on sale for $2. Then, you snag a few lemons from the grocery store for a dollar. That vinegar, lemon and tap water can be mixed up to create four bottles of cleaning spray. In total, you just invested about $3 in four bottles of cleaning spray.

What would four bottles of your usual cleaning spray cost? Maybe $3 per bottle, for a total of $12 invested. We’d say going with a DIY cleaning solution is an excellent cost-saving option for your household.

Do homemade cleaners work like commercial cleaners?

It depends on how you’re using the cleaner. If you’re looking for an all-purpose cleaner to remove everyday dust and dirt, then going homemade is a good choice. Another favorite DIY cleaning solution in the DIY community — vinegar, baking soda and soap — can handle ordinary household grime. Unless you’re cleaning up after the flu, you don’t need an army of powerful disinfectants to clean your surfaces every time you clean.

However, if you need a cleaner for a specific purpose, like stripping paint from a metal surface or removing years of hard-water residue from an old basement shower, it might be best to bring in a chemically prepared cleaner that’s designed specifically for your task.

You also shouldn’t use vinegar-based sprays on unsealed natural stone (granite, marble, soapstone), aluminum, cast iron or waxed wood surfaces. Ideally, you should only use them on nonporous surfaces like plastic, porcelain, linoleum, sealed countertops and glass. So, do your research and spray wisely!

You can save no matter what you choose

If you want to save money and tidy up common household surfaces, going the green route and making your own cleaning supplies is a win-win for the environment and your checking account.

But if you want to stick with commercial household products, the good news is you can still save money — on those items and all your cleaning needs — by downloading our app and selecting cash back offers on whatever household items you plan to buy next. You can save no matter what you choose.