Pre-kids, our cupboards held a commercial cleaner for every surface and room in our home. But after realizing that cleaning days always left us sprawled out on the couch, light-headed and coughing, my husband and I hazarded it was time to make a change before any children came into the picture. So we turned to my brilliant father-in-law, a USDA scientist with two PhDs in Ecology and Biometry, for FDA-approved cleaning solutions that we could make at home.
There is a recipe for literally every cleanup conundrum you can think of in the world of DIY cleaners you should be making. To get started, below is a roundup of six cleaning solutions you’ll need to get your living room rug and sofa as good as new. You can be confident these won’t leave behind any toxic residues. Plus, they're environmentally and economically friendly! You already have most of these ingredients in your pantry or medicine cabinet, so what are you waiting for?
Use for baby and pet stains, blood and other biological materials, dirt, and mud.
- 1½ cup water
- 4 tablespoons white vinegar
- 4 tablespoons gin or vodka
- Essential oils of fresh scents you love
- Spray bottle
Mix all the ingredients into a spray bottle.
How to: Spray the area that needs to be disinfected and let the solution sit for 10 minutes. Wipe the area clean with a microfiber cloth.
Use for any odors or to simply freshen up a room.
- 1 lb box baking soda
- 50 drops essential oil of your choice
Pour baking soda into a storage container with a lid. Add drops of essential oil and stir with a whisk or fork until distributed.
How to: Sprinkle the powder lightly on the rug and allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes to absorb smells. Vacuum.
After disinfecting, use for baby and pet stains, blood and other biological materials, dirt, and mud.
For use on wine, coffee or other beverage stains, see note below.
- White vinegar
- Baking soda
How to: Pour white vinegar to cover the stain. Immediately sprinkle baking soda over the vinegar until it foams up. If it’s a stubborn spot, allow the solution to sit for 20 to 30 minutes before wiping it with a damp cloth. (Note: For use on wine or coffee stains, follow by blotting the area with rubbing alcohol.) Allow the spot to dry fully before vacuuming over it.
Soap is an emulsifier that is able to “trap” liquids through its molecular shape, making it very effective cleaner for stains that can’t be removed by liquids like water, vinegar, or alcohol.
Use for fats and oils, food, baby and pet stains, blood and other biological materials, dirt, wine, and coffee.
- ½ cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons Castile soap
How to: Mix warm water and soap in a cup. Dip a white cotton cloth or towel into the solution and run lightly on the stain until gone. Then use a clean cloth to blot the area dry.
Use for baby and pet stains, blood and other biological materials, dirt, wine, and coffee.
For fat or oil stains from food or cosmetics, first use the fabric upholstery solution above using hot instead of warm water. Then follow with using the solution below.
- ½ to 1 cup rubbing alcohol, gin or vodka
- Spray bottle
How to: Spray the alcohol onto the stain and pat very gently with a light-colored sponge. Dab with a clean damp cloth to pull the stain up rather than rubbing it in. When the area is dry (the alcohol will evaporate), fluff up the microfibers with a soft bristle brush.
Use for baby and pet stains, blood, other biological materials, dirt and mud, wine, coffee or other beverage stains, fats and oils from food or cosmetics.
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon Castile soap
How to: Mix water and Castile soap in a cup. Dip a soft microfiber cloth with a small amount of solution and wipe it over the stain in gentle circular motions taking care not to soak the leather. Pat the area dry right away with a soft clean cloth.