10 DIY Frugal House Cleaners

10 DIY Frugal Cleaners | Pretty Handy Girl

On a quest to save money while cleaning your home? Do you want to use less chemicals when you clean? This is a compilation of 10 DIY Frugal Cleaners that I use in my home.  You can easily make them with common household ingredients. Soon your home will be clean and your wallet fat!

Super Frugal Laundry Detergent

DIY Laundry Detergent | Pretty Handy Girl


  • 1/4 bar of Fels Naptha soap
  • 2 Tablespoons Borax powder
  • 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons) Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (not baking soda)
  • 2 empty laundry detergent bottles or 1 – 2.5 gallon water jug


  • Grate the 1/4 Fels Naptha Bar using a cheese grater.
  • Put the Fels Naptha shreds and 1 cup of water into a pot and melt over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Continue stirring until all the soap has dissolved. Pour 2 1/2 quarts (10 cups) of water into a large container or bucket and add the cooked soap mixture.
  • Add 2 tbsp. of Borax and 1/4 c. of the washing soda and stir.
  • Add 2 1/2 quarts more water and stir.
  • Cover the mixture and let it set overnight.
  • The next morning, your soap will have thickened and gelled considerably. Stir it up. Add the mixture to your empty container(s) filling only half way full. Fill the rest of the container with water.
  • Shake the bottles to mix before use. Use 1/4 cup per load.


Inexpensive Fabric Softener Sheets


  • 1  bottle of Liquid Fabric Softener
  • 1 bucket
  • 4   sponges (cut in half to make 8)

Pour liquid fabric softener into bucket. Fill empty softener container with water and add it to the bucket. Repeat to give you a 2:1 mixture of water to fabric softener. Drop sponges into the mixture. Grab a sponge and wring out the excess liquid. Add it to the dryer with your wet clothes.

(Straight cheap fabric softener also makes a great wallpaper remover!)


Miracle Stain Remover

  • 1 scoop of Oxi-Clean
  • 1 scoop of Liquid Clorox 2
  • 1 scoop of Cascade powder dishwashing detergent (or another powered brand.)

Fill your basin with warm water then add the oxi-clean, clorox 2 and dish detergent. Give it a swirl and mix until the powders dissolve and bubbles form. Place the stained garment into the mixture, being sure the stain is submerged. Let soak for about 2 hours.

For tougher stains, let it soak overnight. Remove the clothing to behold the miracle! Normally I will throw the garment into the wash, but you could simply rinse and dry it. This formula is also safe for colors as well!


Drain Cleaner


  • Hot Water
  • Salt
  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda

For light drain cleaning, mix 1/2 cup salt in 1 gallon water, heat (but not to a boil) and pour down the drain.

For stronger cleaning, pour about 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain, then 1/2 cup vinegar. The resulting chemical reaction can break fatty acids down into soap and glycerine, allowing the clog to wash down the drain. After 15 minutes, pour in very hot water to clear residue.

Caution: only use this method with metal plumbing. Plastic pipes can melt if excess boiling water is used. Also, do not use this method after trying a commercial drain opener as the vinegar can react with the drain opener to create dangerous fumes.


Sink Cleanser and Hard Water Stain Remover

Scrub Away Hard Water Stains | Pretty Handy Girl

  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar

Make a paste with baking soda and water. Dip an old tooth brush into the paste and scrub your sink with the paste. Pour straight vinegar into a separate container. Dip toothbrush into the vinegar and go back over the backing soda paste. The fizzing chemical reaction of the backing soda and vinegar will aid in removing hard water stains. Repeat if necessary. For tougher stains, grab this power tool!


Stainless Steel Sink Shine


  • Baby oil
  • Paper towels

Squirt a small amount of baby oil in a clean stainless steel sink. Spread it around and wipe with a paper towel until shiny.


Mold remover

10 DIY Frugal Cleaners | Pretty Handy Girl

  • 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide (3%)
  • 1 cup water

Mix in a spray bottle. Spray on mold and wait at 1 hour. Rinse clean.


Magic Soap Scum Dissolver


  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 cup blue dawn dish detergent

Microwave vinegar until hot! Mix with blue dawn dish detergent in a spray bottle. Spray it on your toughest soap scum. Then wipe it off with ease!


Window Washing (Exterior and Interior)


  • 2 gallons of warm water
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 2 tsp liquid dish detergent

Tools: Sponge/Squeegee, Sponge, Dry lint free rag

Mix ingredients in a bucket. Dip the sponge/squeegee into the mixture and scrub the windows. Use the squeegee to remove all liquid from the windows. Wipe clean with a dry rag.


Carpet Stain Remover

10 DIY Frugal Cleaners | Pretty Handy Girl

  • vinegar
  • water
  • corn starch
  • salt
  • borax

Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray directly on stain, let sit for several minutes, and clean with a brush or sponge using warm soapy water.

For fresh grease spots, sprinkle corn starch onto spot and wait 15 – 30 minutes before vacuuming.

For a heavy duty carpet cleaner, mix 1/4 cup each of salt, borax and vinegar. Rub paste into carpet and leave for a few hours. Vacuum up the mixture.

I hope you found some of these home cleaners helpful. Please share if you have any great recipes for cleaners in the comments below.


Metal Number Sign

Metal Number Sign | Pretty Handy Girl

Want a quick and easy way to display a favorite number? Create a metal number art sign for your wall; for wedding tables; to commemorate your favorite athlete, etc.


Metal Number Sign | Pretty Handy Girl

  • Metal sign (found at Michael’s)
  • Spray Paint
  • Numbers
  • Antiquing Wax
  • Wax brush
  • E-6000 glue
  • Ruler

(Note: You can make your own metal sign by cutting sheet metal and drilling holes into the top. Add some rope to hang it from. I just took the quick route and bought mine.)


Spray paint your numbers any color you like. While the numbers are drying, add some age to the metal sign by pouncing some antiquing wax to the edges.

Metal Number Sign | Pretty Handy Girl

Add glue to the back of the numbers.

Metal Number Sign | Pretty Handy Girl

Center them and line them up using a ruler to help keep them even.

Metal Number Sign | Pretty Handy Girl

Allow the glue to harden and hang your metal number sign anywhere you please.

Metal Number Sign | Pretty Handy Girl

Can anyone guess the significance of #41 on our wall? I’ll save you some time, it’s not my age.


Apply for the Dremel Maker in Residence Program


Dremel Initiates a National Search for

Are you a maker? Do you love your Dremel tools as much as I do? It’s time to put down your rotary tool and enter yourself into the running to be sworn into the Dremel Maker in Residence Program.


Dremel®, the brand trusted by Makers, tinkers, artists and hobbyists for more than 80 years, is bringing users inside with the launch of its first-ever Maker in Residence program.

The Dremel Maker in Residence program contest is going on now through Aug. 25, 2015. Makers who embody the passion, enthusiasm and expertise in do-it-yourself projects are being invited to apply for a chance to win coveted Dremel tools, as well as a unique opportunity to collaborate directly with the Dremel brand. The prize pack of tools is valued at $5,000 and includes the Dremel 3D Idea Builder™ (3D printer) and Sprout by HP, an intuitive new computing experience. (Umm, hello, who wouldn’t want that prize!)


The first cycle of Dremel Maker in Residence program winners will each be honored as a Chief Maker and will be officially announced at the World Maker Faire in New York on Sept. 26.

Stop what you’re doing and spin over to enter the Dremel Maker in Residence Contest. I hope to see you as the new Dremel Maker in Residence program.


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Dremel. I was compensated for my time. 


Upcycled Cabinet Door Chalkboard Art

Upcycled Cabinet Door Quote Art | Pretty Handy Girl

What do you do with an old cabinet door? Besides keep it with your wood scraps for ten years like I did (not recommended.) You can create pre-framed art! Today I have an easy Upcycled Cabinet Door Chalkboard Art project for you. If you have an old cabinet door, some paint, and a stencil, you can have […]

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DIY Pouf Ottoman ~ Tutorial and Lessons Learned


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5 Tips for Better Looking Videos on Periscope

5 Tips for Better Looking Periscope Videos | Pretty Handy Girl

Are you using Periscope yet? I know my initial thoughts were, “No way! I am not going to sign up for yet another social media platform. This Handy Girl ain’t got time for that nonsense.” This weekend I was bit by the ‘scope bug. Granted, this happened after an initial dive into the Periscope world […]

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Faux Aged Metal Pulley

Faux Aged Metal Pulley | Pretty Handy Girl

Do you love rustic metal pulleys, but don’t like the hefty price tag? Wouldn’t you rather have a rustic metal pulley for less than $5? Ah, I have a secret. That beautiful rustic metal pulley above is actually: Plastic! Ready to see how I secretly transformed that black plastic pulley into a gorgeous faux aged […]

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Plenty O’ Storage from One Board

Plenty 'o Storage from One Board | Pretty Handy Girl

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Home is Where the Heart Is – Door Decor

house shape door decor 1

How about an unusual front door decor idea today?  Jaime from That’s My Letter here to share this house shape door decor project with free plans to make your own. A little play on “home is where the heart is,” this door decor is definitely different and not your typical wreath.  I used 1×3 pine […]

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Lemon Zest Popcorn

Lemon Zest Popcorn {Gift Idea} | Pretty Handy Girl

Lemon Zest Popcorn Recipe Want a summer recipe for popcorn? One that has that tangy zest and sweet buttery flavor. You’ll definitely love this recipe for Lemon Zest Popcorn. And as a bonus, you can make a big batch and give some in handled mason jars as a gift. This is an idea I had […]

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Easy Plexiglass Art Frame

Easy Plexiglass Art Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

Have you ever wanted to frame a piece of art but didn’t want to pay the high cost to buy a custom frame? Or worse, you’re like me and too lazy to DIY your own frame? That’s where I found myself last week when I was creating the perfect gallery wall. I was at the […]

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Endurance BioBarrier Review & Giveaway

Mold & Mildew Free Shower for 4 months | Pretty Handy Girl

I’m going to warn you now, this is not a pretty post. But, this product review of Endurance Cleaner Prep and Endurance BioBarrier will most likely be one of your favorite posts if you deal with continual mold & mildew growth (especially in a small coffin-like shower from the 1970’s.) You may remember how much […]

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DIY Feather Art

DIY Feather Art | Pretty Handy Girl

When I needed an extra piece of art for our living room gallery wall I created DIY Feather Art. You can create your own, but please purchase craft feathers, use fake feathers or paper feathers. (Per the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, it is illegal to collect feathers, nests and other anatomical parts of certain migratory birds.) Materials: Rustic […]

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Sunburn Relief Spray

Enter to Win the Natural Solutions Kit

I’ve mentioned a few times that I love using doTERRA essential oils. I have to admit I was a big fat skeptic when I went to a local Introduction to Essential Oils class two years ago. But, when the instructor passed around a sample of doTERRA Deep Blue and I rubbed it onto my sore hip […]

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How to Make an Ottoman Table

How to Make an Ottoman Table

Design inspiration can often come in the least-expected places. It can happen when you are in an airport or at the farmers market or just plain window shopping in your home town. Last year when I was at the Haven blog conference, I fell in love with this table I saw in the hotel restaurant. But […]

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12 Tips to Create a Perfect Gallery Wall

12 Tips to Create the Perfect Gallery Wall | Pretty Handy Girl

When you Don’t Love It, a room in your home can become a place to avoid. Last week I hung our TV on the wall in our living room, but was cringing because that big fat TV was screaming “Look at me! Look at me!” It was killing the cozy vibe I wanted to create in our […]

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Summer Spectacular Spray Dyed Shirts over at Beneath My Heart

Hello from the hot, humid and sweltering temperatures of North Carolina! Are you tearing your hair out yet because the kids are home for the summer and driving you nuts? Today I’m chillin’ over at Beneath My Heart with a fun and colorful activity you can do with the kids. Head over and learn how to […]

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Natural Accents & New Ceramic Surface Design – Book Reviews


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Death to Ugly Toys – DIY Tutorials for Quality Toys and Games

Die Ugly Toys Die

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DIY Produce Rack


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