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Homemade Cleaning Products Can Save You Money  
Made-at-home "green cleaners" also reduce your family's exposure to chemicals


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Homemade Cleaning Products Can Save You Money
Made-at-home "green cleaners" also reduce your family's exposure to chemicals

How to Get a Good Night's Sleep
Tips for helping your baby (and you) sleep through the night

Parenting Groups & Baby Playgroups
No-cost and low-cost social and information resources for new moms and dads

Gerber Life Family Times Archive

FinanceYou want to feel good about what surrounds your baby. Although you are willing to try "green" cleaning products, the price tag on some may make you hesitate.

Good news: Home cleaners that you can make yourself not only reduce your family's exposure to chemicals but can save you money as well.

"Depending on the product you are making, and the concentrations of the various ingredients, you might find the cost to be a tenth of what the comparable product would sell for in a retail store," says Ben Seaman, one of the partners of Wisconsin-based Eartheasy (

According to Eartheasy, a family-owned company that provides information on sustainable living, you can use the following items—many of which you may already have in your home—for natural cleaning:

  • Baking soda—cleans, deodorizes, softens water, and scours.
  • Soap—unscented soap in liquid form, flakes, powders or bars is biodegradable and will clean just about anything. Avoid using soaps that contain petroleum distillates.
  • Lemon—one of the strongest food-acids, effective against most household bacteria.
  • Borax (sodium borate)—cleans, deodorizes, disinfects, softens water, and cleans wallpaper, painted walls and floors.
  • White vinegar—cuts grease and removes mildew, odors, some stains, and wax build-up.
  • Washing soda or SAL Soda (sodium carbonate decahydrate)—a mineral that cuts grease, removes stains, softens water, and cleans walls, tiles, sinks and tubs. Use with care, since washing soda can irritate mucous membranes. Do not use on aluminum.
  • Isopropyl alcohol—an excellent disinfectant. According to Eartheasy, it has been suggested to replace this with ethanol or 100 proof alcohol in solution with water, and there is some indication that isopropyl alcohol buildup contributes to illness in the body. See
  • Cornstarch—can be used to clean windows, polish furniture, and shampoo carpets and rugs.
  • Citrus solvent—cleans paint brushes, oil and grease, and some stains. According to Eartheasy, citrus solvent may cause skin, lung or eye irritations for people with multiple chemical sensitivities.
  • Trisodium phosphate (TSP)—a mixture of soda ash and phosphoric acid. TSP is toxic if swallowed. It can be used on many jobs, such as cleaning drains or removing old paint, which would normally require much more caustic and poisonous chemicals, and it does not create any fumes.
  • This all-purpose homemade cleaner can be used for a variety of purposes: Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons Borax) into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) of water. Store and keep.

To learn how to make other low-cost home cleaners, visit the following Eartheasy website:

Remember: Keep all cleaning products out of reach of children.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children ages 1 to 3 years—who are naturally curious and like to put things into their mouths—accounted for 72 percent of the 267,269 household cleaning-product injuries to children from 1990 to 2006.

The AAP suggests storing poisonous substances in locked cabinets out of sight and reach of children, as well as buying products that have child-resistant packaging, keeping products in their original containers, and properly disposing of leftover or unused products.



American Academy of Pediatrics, Household Cleaning Product-Related Injuries Treated in US Emergency Departments in 1990-2006, August 2, 2010.

Articles are provided for the general interest of our readers. Gerber Life Insurance is not responsible for any content and recommends that you consult the appropriate professional with any questions or concerns you may have concerning any financial or health related issues.

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