I have had a few questions stemming from my spring cleaning post way back in March 2011 about the homemade cleaner I use. I wish I could say that I made the switch due to some noble thoughts about my concern for the environment and the health of my children. Not that I didn't take precautions to limit my use of cleaning chemicals and make sure there was proper ventilation when in use so my children wouldn't be breathing these harmful fumes, I just in all honesty had doubts about the effectiveness of homemade cleaners and only tried them out of pure necessity. The impending arrival of guests for a small gathering we were hosting, and an empty bottle of windex had me searching google for a quick recipe for window cleaning. I wish I could remember the original source for this recipe. It is just a simple combination of regular kitchen supplies.
Equal parts vinegar and dish soap mixed with about double the water.
For one windex bottle I use about 2 Tbsp vinegar and 2 Tbsp dish soap and the rest water. For really tough grime such as soap scum in the shower, heat the vinegar in the microwave until hot first before mixing with the dish soap and use less water (or none). Then spritz on and leave it to work its magic (even overnight).
I use this cleaner for everything. Windows, mirrors, counters, tubs, tile, showers etc. When washing my hardwood floors I only omit the dishsoap and just use a combination of vinegar and water. I am amazed at the power of this simple formula and I have not turned back to chemical cleaners since I made the switch well over a year ago. I love that I can also involve my children in cleaning worry free now. As for what I use for a cleaning cloth.... all those flannel receiving blankets that have been spit on and washed countless times are now cut into rags since I no longer have babies in my house.
One last cleaning tip. From the numerous times we have sold houses in the past, one things realtors have always stressed is making a good first impression. So regardless of how dirty the rest of the house is, the front entrance is the first thing to become sparkling clean. Those sidelights on the front door are handprint and streak free as well as the full length mirror to the right of the door. I also wipe the walls down in this area frequently and keep the baseboards chrisp and dust free. It works, trust me. My friends all seem to have this impression that my house is always so clean when really it is just the front entrance that has given them this impression.