I’ll be honest — I didn’t start out making my own cleaning products to save the planet. The truth is, I’m cheap and lazy. And when I found myself facing the task of cleaning a very dirty oven, I didn’t want to have to drive to the store and spend money on an oven cleaner. So I did a little poking around online and found several websites that recommended using baking soda instead.
An hour later, I had a sparkling clean oven, and I never looked at that box of Arm & Hammer the same way again. So I decided to find out what else I could clean using what I already had in my cupboard. It became like a game. And anything that can make scrubbing the toilet seem more fun is good news in my book. Here’s the head-to-head results of my decidedly unscientific study of natural vs. store-bought cleaning products:
Our living room lives up to its name and gets a lot of use from us, as well as our two dogs and our daughter — which means it’s not always the most sweetly scented room. I tested out a few ways to keep it smelling fresh:
Test No. 1: Air freshener/fabric spray
The setup: I made an air freshener/fabric spray from a 1:5 solution of vinegar in water, with a squirt of lemon juice for scent. This went up against commercial fabric spray on three different surfaces — some musty drapes I found in the closet; carpet in two different rooms; and the stinkiest thing I could find — the dog’s beds.
The results: On the smelly dog beds, the homemade spray didn’t make much of a dent, whereas the one sprayed with the store-bought stuff was actually pretty impressive. But my homemade solution did freshen up the drapes very nicely, taking away the musty scent. And it left the carpet smelling lovely, unlike the store-bought spray, which gave me a headache after a while.