Instead of buying costly cleaning products, why not try a few solutions with supplies you probably have on hand in your kitchen?

Making homespun cleaning products not only saves money, it can be more eco-friendly and safer for your family’s health. Many people are sensitive to the chemicals such as ammonia and chlorine that are common in many store-bought cleaners. Itchy, watery eyes, headaches and coughing are just a few of the reactions.

Jeld-Wen, one of the largest manufacturers of windows and doors in the country, suggests this low-cost, do-it-yourself cleaning solution that is environmentally friendly and gentle on windows and doors.

1. Mix 1 teaspoon of baby shampoo to one gallon of water or 1½ cups of vinegar to 1 gallon of water.

2. Wash with the solution using a clean, soft cloth or sponge.

3. Rinse with clean water.

4. Promptly dry glass surfaces thoroughly with a cloth.

5. Dry window frames and door surfaces with a separate cloth.

The company says to avoid pressurized sprayers that can break the seals on windows and doors and rely instead on old-fashioned elbow grease. A dry, overcast day is best for window washing because heat and sunlight can cause streaks as the cleaning solution may dry too quickly.

I’ve always cleaned my windows with a sponge soaked in diluted vinegar without any added soap. A squeegee finishes the job nicely and seems to eliminate the need to rinse. I used a sponge soaked with full-strength vinegar on those tough water spots from over-spraying sprinklers.

Vinegar also works on shower doors. While it’s not a great smell, it doesn’t make me cough and gag like some of the other treatments on the market for lime deposits.

For a general-purpose cleaner, try dissolving four tablespoons of baking soda in one quart of warm water. Then use it on a damp sponge to clean and deodorize kitchens and bathrooms. Baking soda can also be used to freshen drains, garbage disposals and even carpets.

Why reach for expensive cleansers when you can make your own?

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