Tips for making your own cleaning products. Pic: Pinterest
To reduce waste and avoid unnecessary plastic bottles and chemicals — and to save money — many people are opting to make cleaning products from scratch at home. You can find an abundance of recipes for household cleaning products online, along with reusable glass spray bottles designed to hold them.

But not all homemade cleaning products are created equal, and some simple concoctions can be downright dangerous.

Baking soda and vinegar also should not be combined. Mixed together they are ineffective at cleaning and, if contained in a jar, likely to explode, she warns.

So when making your own cleaning mixtures at home:

—Double check the safety of the combination you choose;

—Keep all products out of reach of children or pets;

—And list all ingredients clearly on the jar or spray bottle.

Many homemade cleaning combinations do work, with far fewer chemicals than in many store-bought brands.

DO’s:

Know the basics about the cleaning properties of various household products:

—Baking soda is a great deodorizer and is useful as a mild abrasive;

—Vinegar cuts grease, removes mineral deposits and has disinfectant qualities;

—Lemon juice with some salt can remove rust stains.

DON’Ts:

- Never combine bleach with anything but water. And remember that baking soda and vinegar, while trusted standbys individually, are ineffective for cleaning if combined — and will bubble up explosively.

- Don’t use lemon on wood, since it can destroy protective finishes.

- Don’t overdo it with vinegar, which can dull surfaces.

RECIPES:

With the above basics in mind, here are a few recipes.

Window cleaner: 
For clean, streak-free windows, combine 2 cups hot water, 1 tablespoon corn starch, 1/4 cup white vinegar and 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol. 

All-purpose cleaner:
2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon of castille soap
For a stronger cleaner, mix 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup vodka, 10 to 20 drops of essential oil and 1 1/2 cups water.

Carpet cleaner: 
Blott the stain then saturating it with club soda. The bubbles will work the stain to the surface. Then coat it with a hefty dose of table salt, which will absorb the stain, then just vacuum it up once it’s dry, maybe 12 hours later.
It’s a good overnight cleaning solution, and great for wine and other stains. The key is to blot all excess stain before starting with club soda and salt.