Cleaning products you can make at home

Living Well | Sarah Marinos | Posted on 12 June 2019

Turn back the clock and clean your home using some of nan’s tried and tested tricks.

Forget buying expensive cleaning products for your home because you probably have everything you need in your kitchen cupboards. Not only will these everyday household items save you money, they’re kinder to the planet, too.

“Up to 20 per cent of the average weekly shopping bill is spent on cleaning products. That’s a lot of money!” says Jody Allen, founder of who’s created her own cleaning products for the past 10 years.

“People think bleach is the only way to keep things clean, but there are many other things to use in your home that are more natural and gentler.”

So, what products should you have in your cleaning arsenal?

A wooden bucket sits on the sink next to a dishwashing bursh, while someone cleans next to the sink in the background


Not just a baking essential. It can be used to unblock a sink, remove sweat stains, deodorise carpets and clean the toilet.

“When my kitchen or bathroom sink gets blocked, I pour half a cup of bicarbonate of soda into the drain followed by a cup of vinegar to clean any mucky build-up of fat in the pipes,” says Jody.

  • Clean the toilet by flushing and sprinkling the bowl with bicarbonate of soda. Leave for 10 minutes and then add white vinegar and scrub. 
  • Make a paste of bicarbonate of soda and water and spread it over stubborn sweat stains. Then wash clothes and stains will be rinsed away.
  • Make a bicarbonate of soda paste and spread it over the inside of your oven. Leave it for 15 to 30 minutes and then wipe clean. The paste help lifts off baked-on grease. Soak oven racks overnight in warm water and bicarbonate of soda to remove baked-on food. Remove benchtop stains with the same paste. 
  • Freshen carpets by sprinkling with bicarbonate of soda. Leave for an hour and then vacuum. 


Lemons add great flavour to cooking and they’re a handy cleaning product that smells good too, says Jody. “I use half a fresh lemon to clean my timber chopping board,” she says. “I stock up on lemons to help keep things clean and sweeter-smelling.”

  • Clean your microwave with a bowl of water and half a lemon. Cook in the microwave for 10 minutes and leave standing for another 10 minutes. The steam will soften food remnants so you can wipe them off and get rid of stale food odours.
  • “Brush mildew spots on clothing with fresh lemon to remove them. I also put a little lemon skin in the wash to give clothes that lovely lemon smell," says Jody.
  • Brighten grubby grout by rubbing a toothbrush on a fresh lemon and dipping it in bicarbonate of soda. Scrub the grouting, leave for 10 minutes or longer if needed and wash off.   
Two bottles of cleaning spray and a wooden dishwashing brush on a kitchen bench
Three lemons and one cut in half assembled on a wooden bench
a close up image of crumpled white sheets


This is a cheap pantry staple – and there should be a bottle of it in your cleaning kit. “I use a mix of two teaspoons of dishwashing liquid, quarter of a cup of water and three tablespoons of white vinegar to get rid of carpet stains,” says Jody. “Work the liquid into the stain and then blot dry with a clean towel. Use a soft toothbrush to work the liquid deeper into the carpet if needed.”

  • Make your toilet sparkle again by spraying it with white vinegar and then giving it a scrub and a flush.
  • Add a splash of vinegar to the fabric softener section of your washing machine to stop sweat from setting into clothing. Spray it on sweat stains before you pop clothing into the machine, too.
  • Buy a small bottle of white vinegar, make small holes in the bottle and sit in the water tank of your toilet. It helps kill urine odours every time you flush.
  • Whiten everyday whites – not delicates – by heating a litre of white vinegar in a large saucepan. Once it boils, add in clothes to be whitened and boil for five minutes. Then wash clothes as normal and dry.