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Homekeeping · Cleaning · Cleaning Products: DIY or Buy?
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Cleaning Products: DIY or Buy?

DIY or Buy? That is the question!

I would say that the most frequently asked question from anyone that reads this blog is, “Is it really worth it to make homemade products?” Whether it be cleaning, laundry, beauty, etc. – people want to know if the time they put in to making those products will be worth it in the end. To answer this question you have to consider why you are making the product in the first place. I think there are three factors that come into play – the effectiveness of the product, the cost, and the health benefits.

I decided to go through many of the DIY cleaning posts we’ve done and analyze them based on these three factors to determine if it’s worth it to make them yourself. I’m including a price breakdown for each one. I based the prices on products and ingredients found at Walmart since that is a store just about everyone has access to. I didn’t use sale prices or coupons so keep that in mind.

If you find this post helpful let us know! We may do this same kind of breakdown for other kinds of DIY products in the future.

Goo Gone

Store Bought: $.82 per ounce
Homemade: $.12 per ounce

Homemade Recipe: DIY Goo Gone Gunk Remover

Conclusion: Definitely make your own! The savings here is huge and the effectiveness is still there. Goo Gone is a pretty harsh cleaner with some possible negative health effects. The DIY version is made with just coconut oil and baking soda so it’s easy on your skin and lungs.

Dusting Spray

Store Bought: $.40 per ounce
Homemade: $.23 per ounce

Homemade Recipe: All Natural Dusting Spray

Conclusion: Make your own. The homemade version is close to half the cost of the store bought and it’s easy to make!

Oven Cleaner

Store Bought: $.27 per ounce
Homemade: $.01 per ounce

Homemade Recipe: How to Easily Clean Your Oven

Conclusion: Make your own! Jillee’s oven cleaning method just calls for water and ammonia. It’s extremely inexpensive and in my opinion, works better than store bought oven cleaners.

Swiffer Sweeper Replacement Pad

Store Bought: $.23 per pad
Homemade: $.71 per pad – but they are reusable!

Homemade Recipe: Make Your Own Reusable Swiffer Pads and Cleaning Solution

Conclusion: The homemade Swiffer pad is actually a store bought fuzzy sock – so I guess it’s not really a DIY. But it is cheaper in the long run than the regular Swiffer pads. And a bonus – it’s a little more green since you can reuse it over and over again.

Swiffer Wet Jet Solution

Store Bought: $.11 per ounce
Homemade: $.08 per ounce

Homemade Recipe: Make Your Own Reusable Swiffer Pads and Cleaning Solution

Conclusion: This one is a bit of a toss up for me. It’s not a huge cost difference and it’s a bit of  pain to get the top off the Swiffer bottle to refill it with the homemade solution. I would say you only really need to DIY this one if you’re on a really tight budget.

Dishwasher Tabs

Store Bought: $.26 per ounce
Homemade: $.07 per ounce

Homemade Recipe: Make Your Own Dishwasher Detergent Tabs

Conclusion: Unless you just have to have dishwasher tabs instead of loose detergent, I would recommend buying store bought detergent. The tabs are time consuming to make and store bought detergent is only about $.03 per ounce. Just make sure to put a small dish of vinegar on the top rack of your dishwasher to keep dishes from coming out cloudy.

Dishwasher Detergent

Store Bought: $.03 per ounce
Homemade: $.01 per ounce

Homemade Recipe: Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Revised

Conclusion: Go for store bought. For me, the price difference isn’t big enough to go to the trouble of making my own dishwasher detergent.

Dishwasher Soap

Store Bought: $.09 per ounce
Homemade: $.02

Homemade Recipe: Homemade Dishwasher Soap – Not Detergent

Conclusion: I’ll say the same about this one as I did with the dishwasher tabs. Unless you have a major affinity for liquid dishwasher soap, just buy the store bought detergent for $.03 an ounce.

Soft Scrub

Store Bought: $.10 per ounce
Homemade: $.19 per ounce

Homemade Recipe: Make Your Own Antibacterial Soft Scrub Cleanser

Conclusion: From a purely monetary standpoint it’s obvious that you should stick with store bought soft scrub. However, if natural ingredients are your priority go for homemade.

Tile Cleaner

Store Bought: $.11 per ounce
Homemade: Less than $.01 per ounce

Homemade Recipe: Make Your Own Grease Cutting Floor Cleaner

Conclusion: Make your own! It’s effective, inexpensive, and made with natural ingredients.

Carpet Powder

Store Bought: $.39 per ounce
Homemade: $.15 per ounce

Homemade Recipe: Make Your Own Deodorizing Carpet Powder

Conclusion: Definitely make! The homemade version is inexpensive and just as effective as store bough powder.

Carpet Stain Remover

Store Bought: $.17 per ounce
Homemade: $.01 per ounce

Homemade Recipe: Homemade Carpet Stain Remover

Conclusion: Make your own – unless you have an aversion to ammonia. Jillee’s carpet cleaning method is extremely effective and won’t cost you hardly anything.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Store Bought: $.08 per ounce
Homemade: $.02 per ounce

Homemade Recipe: Homemade Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Conclusion: Make your own. The cost difference here isn’t huge but I think the homemade toilet bowl cleaner is much more effective than any store bought cleaners I’ve tried.

Bathroom Cleaner

Store Bought: $.10 per ounce
Homemade: $.07 per ounce

Homemade Recipe: Homemade Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Conclusion: Make your own. Not a huge cost difference, but I feel like bathroom cleaners always smell so harsh and toxic so I like the idea of making one with more natural ingredients.

Cleaning Wipes

Store Bought: $.21 per ounce
Homemade: $.02 per ounce

Homemade Recipe: DIY Clorox Wipes

Conclusion: I have to make a confession – I am a Clorox Wipes devotee. They are so convenient and effective! But they can be pricey. After seeing the price difference between the store bought ones and homemade I just might have to force myself to DIY them.

A couple more wipe options:

Granite Cleaner

Store Bought: $.09 per ounce
Homemade: $.04 per ounce

Homemade Recipe: Homemade Granite Cleaner

Conclusion: I don’t actually have any granite in my house so it’s difficult to have an opinion on this one. However, I have heard that it’s hard to find products that won’t damage granite. So it may be worth it to use this DIY simply to know that it’s completely safe for your counters.

Range Hood Filter

Store Bought: About $10 for a replacement filter
Homemade: $.14 to clean the filter

Homemade Recipe: How to Clean Your Greasy Range Hood Filter

Conclusion: I had a hard time finding a price range for replacement filters. I found a bunch that were around $10 but I also saw some that were much more expensive. So the price probably depends on what type of range you have. But no matter how much it costs to replace the filter I think it’s cheaper to clean it. This method is incredibly effective and easy. A win-win!

Citrus Kitchen Cleaner

Store Bought: $.10 per ounce
Homemade: $.04 per ounce

Homemade Recipe: Homemade Citrus Degreaser

Conclusion: Make your own. I love the smell of this homemade cleaner and it’s very effective!

Dish Soap

Store Bought: $.05 per ounce
Homemade: $.05 per ounce

Homemade Recipe: How to Make Your Own Dish Soap

Conclusion: I’ll be honest, I love Dawn dish soap so much that I don’t have any desire to make my own. And the price is exactly the same as homemade.  But I know that many of you don’t feel comfortable with the ingredients in Dawn so this homemade version is a great option!

Glass Cleaner

Store Bought: $.11 per ounce
Homemade: Less than $.01 per ounce

Homemade Recipe: 2 Simple Glass Cleaners for Sparkling Windows and Mirrors

Conclusion: Make your own. It’s so inexpensive and completely effective. You can’t go wrong with this homemade recipe.

Enzyme Cleaner

Store Bought: $.35 per ounce
Homemade: $.06 per ounce

Homemade Recipe: Make Your Own Citrus Enzyme Cleaner

Conclusion: Make your own! The savings is significant and enzyme cleaner can be used in so many ways. It’s a fantastic product to have on hand.

A few more homemade cleaners that I love…

As you can see, my overall conclusion is that it’s totally worth it to make your own products! Many of these products are made from the same ingredients, so once you have those things on hand you can make a whole myriad of things. That means you don’t have to keep a million different cleaners on hand that may only do one job. Multitasking products save you money and cabinet space!

What are your favorite homemade cleaners?


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    Hi, I’m Jillee!

    I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I’ve been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!

    Every day I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

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