3 Steps to Simplify Your DIY Cleaning Products

by Ivory Soap


1.  Learn About T.A.C.T

T.A.C.T. stands for Temperature, Agitation, Chemistry, and Time.  It means, the hotter the water the better it cleans.  The more elbow grease you use the better it cleans.  The stronger the chemicals are, the better it cleans.  The longer you let it soak or sit, the better it cleans.

Now think about the average American cleaning product.  They’re designed to be used at ROOM TEMPERATURE.  (Goodbye, Temperature.)  They’re meant to be sprayed and WIPED…within MINUTES (There goes Agitation and Time).  Now, what’s left?  CHEMISTRY.

Let’s repeat that:

The reason our store-bought cleaners these days are so CHEMICALLY POWERFUL is because we don’t want to WAIT (Time), or SCRUB(Agitation), and we want to use it at ROOM TEMP (Temperature).  Therefore, all the cleaning power has to be in the CHEMISTRY.

So, why does this help us simplify?  Because you can use this formula in reverse.  There’s no need for multiple versions of the same cleaner in varying strengths.  If it’s a light job, spray and wipe at room temp.  If the job is bigger, either let the product sit, or use hot water, or use some elbow grease.  If the job is really big, use HOT water, let it soak a LONG time, and SCRUB the mess out of it.    No need for multiple strengths.

2.  Gather your kit.

I keep all of these under my kitchen sink, minus the bar soap. We use it for handwashing, so there’s one at every sink.

  • spray bottle of vinegar
  • spray bottle of alcohol
  • spray bottle of hydrogen peroxide
  • access to oil (I like olive)
  • box of cornstarch
  • box of baking soda
  • bars of soap, like Ivory (or liquefied bars of soap, if you prefer)

For scrubby supplies, I’d suggest:

  • what you like to wipe with: sponges, rags, or paper towels
  • palm-sized scrub brush
  • old toothbrush if you have grout
  • generic magic eraser (optional, but I can’t live without them.)

THAT’S IT!!!!  You can now clean your whole house!  And most of this stuff will also be used for stains too!

3.  Use the DOUBLE SPRITZ technique.

Every one of the cleaners you can make for your household are a combination of the above ingredients.  But there’s no real reason to go ahead and mix up ten different bottles of cleaners if you know how to DOUBLE SPRITZ.  Check out my technique below and print out my pdf,  DOUBLE SPRITZ DIY.

General All-Purpose Wipe Down (counters, appliances, floors, etc):

  • Spritz with just vinegar, or DOUBLE SPRITZ any combination of the spray above.
  • Leave a while, if crusty.
  • Wipe away. (Scoot on bath towel for floors.)

*for one step up in clean, use a generic magic eraser before you wipe it all up.

Double Spritz Disinfectant (can even be used on food, see link): 

  • DOUBLE SPRITZ vinegar and peroxide in any order.
  • Wipe or allow to dry.
  • The reaction is the important part so don’t go ahead and mix them in the bottle.

Dishwashing, Scrubbing Most Anything Including Floor Grout (not Soap Scum):

  • Bang wet brush on the soap bar.
  • Scrub the mess out of it.
  • Wipe off suds, rinse out rag.  Repeat.
  • If concerned about residual soap, spritz with vinegar and wipe.

Alternative method for “sink-filling” chores like mopping, floor scrubbing, or lots of dishes:

  • Throw bar of soap in sink
  • Run hot water over it while filling sink.

Serious, Hard Core, Vicious Scrub (not soap scum)

  • Sprinkle with baking soda
  • Dip brush in HOT water and bang on bar soap (not spritzing, but there’s your DOUBLE)
  • Scrub the mess out of it

Alternative method (fine for soap scum):

  • Sprinkle with baking soda
  • Spray generously with peroxide (First a shake, then a spritz, still DOUBLE, no?)
  • Scrub the mess out of it.

Soap Scum and Hard Water Deposit Scrub

  • Spray generously with vinegar.
  • Walk away for an hour or more.  (Do not allow to dry.)
  • Wipe with magic eraser. (OR scrub with brush, sigh)
  • Rinse.
  • If not gone, sprinkle generously with baking soda.
  • Walk away for a while.
  • Scrub with brush.
  • Rinse with vinegar for a fizzy, bubble-the-scum-away finish.

Glass, Mirrors, Windows and the like:

  • Spritz mirror with both vinegar and alcohol.
  • Wipe with something that’s not linty.

Wood polish:

  • Spritz with vinegar and then oil (or put some oil on your cloth, if it’s not a spray.)
  • Rub in.
  • Wipe off excess.

Pulling out oil, moisture, odors, from carpet, upholstery, your dog, your hair (kid you not)

  • sprinkle on some cornstarch
  • sprinkle on some baking soda
  • lightly brush it in
  • wait (the longer the more thorough)
  • vacuum (not your dog or your hair, HA! Brush out.)


shared on: countrymommacooks.com

Disclaimer: This post may contain a link to an affiliate.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah May 18, 2012 at 10:43 am

Love it! I’m totally tossing the last few cleaners I keep. I already use vinegar and baking soda anyway, but I mix up a spray bottle of all purpose cleaner and have to supplement for tougher stuff. Now I know! 🙂

Deana May 19, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Great tips thanks for linkin’ up @CountryMommaCooks!

Torrie May 27, 2012 at 6:58 pm

This is great! It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with all of the different DIY cleaners online…even though they all use the same ingredients. I am definitely printing this PDF and getting my simple spray bottles together. Thank you!

Anna May 29, 2012 at 3:29 am

quick question. What concentration do you make your spray bottles up to?

Ivory Soap May 29, 2012 at 3:53 pm

I just dump in the version from the store. Those are already diluted with water.

Anna May 30, 2012 at 1:13 am

thank you

Jasmine April 25, 2013 at 2:29 pm

what kind of alcohol? rubbing? or something like vodka? thanks =)

Ivory Soap April 26, 2013 at 5:07 am

Isopropyl alcohol from the pharmacy is just fine.

Jasmine April 26, 2013 at 6:38 am

Alright thanks =)

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