Welcome to the best science based DIY cleaning guide! A large portion of Chemistry Cachet is sharing DIY cleaning solutions and tips, but over the years, many readers have inquired about a guide that can help them know exactly what to use on what!
All over pinterest and google, you will find a plethora of DIY cleaning guides including easy homemade solutions. You’ve probably also tried many items that were a complete fail too!
The problem with so many homemade cleaning solutions is they aren’t used properly. Most don’t understand there is a very specific science going on even with basic household items like vinegar and baking soda.
Another scary thing is how many of these websites show you to use it on certain surfaces which I know to be dangerous.
Like vinegar on tile. So many websites share vinegar based solutions to use for everything, and it will get you into trouble.
So, today we have a SCIENCE based DIY cleaning guide to help you in your home. Perfect way to welcome the new year!
For our favorite, researched, and effective cleaning solutions, please check out our popular eBook.
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This is a good one to start with because it seems to be the internets favorite “natural cleaning product.”
Due to the high acidity of vinegar (acetic acid), this is best to use on things that aren’t natural. It is also important to avoid seals, silicons, grouts, and caulking because the acidity eats away at these types of surfaces.
What to Avoid with Vinegar:
What to Use Vinegar On:
My personal favorite because it is so versatile.
What to Avoid with Rubbing Alcohol:
- Thin paints (like craft paint, nail polish)
- Heat sources (like warm burners, hair dryers)
What to Use Rubbing Alcohol On:
- Anything else!
Truly a remarkable invention by science, safe for almost anything besides the things listed.
Another important aspect of a science based DIY cleaning guide is baking soda! Baking soda is a favorite all over the internet too, also known as sodium bicarbonate. This is a salt with unique properties for around the home. We have so many baking soda tips in the eBook too!
The biggest issues my readers have come to me with, is trying out baking soda based scrubs or using it straight after seeing it on a website. The result was a cloudy mess they couldn’t get rid of! The only glass surface I use baking soda on is when I make our homemade soft scrub, which has enough ratio of other ingredients to not leave a residue 🙂 There are also a few in the book, but they are very specific.
What to Avoid with Baking Soda:
- Most glass surfaces (leaves heavy residue, but okay if using to scrub off food particles)
- Adding to a bottle with acids (it dilutes)
- Chrome surfaces (heavy residue)
- Drains! (it will not unclog a drain, it can make it worse)
What to Use Baking Soda On:
- Bathroom surfaces (when mixed with other items)
- Odor Eliminator (like in homemade air fresheners)
- Pots and Pans
Chemist tip about vinegar and baking soda: If you read something online that tells you to mix baking soda and vinegar, avoid it. If you mix the two in a bottle together, it will erupt, then dilute. If you try to pour them down the sink together, same thing. An acid and a base will have a chemical reaction, then move towards dilution. In our homemade carpet cleaner, we use baking soda and vinegar….BUT the key is we use them separate. First, you apply baking soda which absorbs dirt, pet stains, etc. THEN, you spray vinegar. It has a chemical reaction which releases carbon dioxide. This breaks up any type of matter on carpet fibers. Because it dilutes so fast, it refreshes carpet quickly. We also use hydrogen peroxide for stain fighting power.
Another favorite chemist invention of mine. More fun thing invented by chemists that changed the world can be found here!
What to Avoid with Hydrogen Peroxide:
- Mixing with Vinegar (SUPER dangerous, read more here)
- Dark fabrics (This oxidizer may fade darker fabrics)
What to Use Hydrogen Peroxide On:
- It is safe for all surfaces aside from ones above:
Salt is amazing! One of my favorite household cleaners! I have gotten so many readers hooked on using it!
What to Avoid with Salt:
- Don’t leave on for a long period of time, it can leave residue
- Natural Stone
What to Use Salt On:
- Anything sticky to exfoliate
- Sinks, tubs, dishes, pans, appliances
How to use salt as a cleaner: This post has ALL the details to use salt to make your life easier! Also check out the eBook for incredible rust remover.
So many of our homemade recipes, especially those found in the eBook, contain blue Dawn dishwashing liquid. I have had some very odd comments from non-readers about using Dawn. There are a few reasons I use it.
- It cleans better than any other dish soap I have tested (and I have tested out all the big name brands).
- It contains the necessary ingredients to tackle multiple types of needs like bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry uses.
- It is gentle and safe. I am sure you have seen all the research about dawn being used on animals, even my vet recommended it for me.
Some of these readers have wondered it it’s toxic because it does contain the standard dish soap ingredients. The answer is no. These ingredients are found in all dish soaps and are completely necessary for them to work as a surfactant, removing germs and debris.
Note: I always tell readers that they can sub any dish soap they have on hand to make our homemade recipes, but it might not get the same cleaning power, so keep that in mind 🙂 Castile soap can also be used for cleaning, but please know the solutions will not be as strong.
What to use Dawn dish soap on:
Cleaners using Dawn: So many amazing ones from the eBook (like this incredible all-purpose cleaner that works for glass, natural stone and everything else!), homemade soft scrub, removing labels from jars, DIY dog paw wipes
If you follow me on social media of any kind, you know I really love lemon! I love it for health, but I also love it for cleaning. You can use lemon to enhance the cleaning power of many DIY solutions.
Lemon peel has just enough acidity to make solutions work better, but it doesn’t have a high dose like vinegar, so it is safe for all surfaces.
How to Use Lemon for Cleaning:
- Add the peel to rubbing alcohol or vinegar , then steep for few weeks. Use these solutions like you normally would in homemade cleaners.
- Make lemon powder to add to solutions like DIY soft scrub (lemon powder is also fantastic for health, so read this post).
Chemist Tip on Using Lemon:
Keep in mind that Lemon JUICE has natural sugars in it, so it will leave a stickiness if you try to use the juice. I recommend using the peel or make sure the recipe calls specifically for the juice. You can also use lemon essential oil if you have it on hand, but it is not necessary. The oils from the peel will infuse into your solution for much cheaper!
Favorite cleaners with lemon: the eBook has multiple ones including a lemon room spray, the best bathroom cleaner, soft scrub, soft scrub
Other Awesome Cleaning Tips