The results are in! Homemade cleaners equal and even outperform
commercial household cleaning products!
My daughter Amanda and I spent the good part of 2 weeks,
including her Christmas vacation, working on a science project
for school to find out which household cleaners work best.
We did three tests: one with window cleaners, one with carpet
cleaners, and one with laundry stain removers.
Each test was performed six times with my husband and I each
judging the results without knowing which product cleaned what.
The results were very interesting.
We decided to try cleaning a mirror coated with a mixture of
toothpaste and water with 409, Windex, and a mixture of ammonia
and vinegar. The ammonia and vinegar solution far outperformed
the other two with 409 second and Windex last.
Next we tested three carpet cleaners (Woolite, shaving cream, and
Resolve) by staining some carpet samples with cola.
Overall, the cleaners all did a pretty good job of getting out
the stain (it seemed at first), but the Resolve and Woolite were
not successful in preventing the carpet from stiffening when the
carpet dried. The stains also re-appeared slightly after drying.
You could definitely feel where the stains had been. Believe it
or not the shaving cream removed almost all traces of the stain
every time. You couldn't even feel where the stain had been.
I'm converted! Just rub a little shaving cream into the stain
and wipe with a sponge. (Shaving cream also does a great job
cleaning upholstery stains.)
Last we tested laundry stain removers. The only homemade version
we could come up with was rubbing salt into the stain before
washing. This is supposed to work pretty well on fresh stains,
but didn't work so great on dry stains. Shout worked the best
and Spray ‘n Wash worked second.
All in all we were very pleased with the test results. We went
into the project with no expectations about how things were going
to turn out, curious to find out which cleaners really work best,
and it's exciting to share the results with you knowing the tests
were done in a completely scientific manner.
Amanda would like to caution, however, that you be careful with
the ammonia and vinegar solution. The ammonia is very toxic and
you should wear rubber gloves and be very careful not to inhale
Window Cleaner Recipe
1 spray bottle (any size)
Take your spray bottle and fill it up with the ammonia and
vinegar, using 1 tbsp. vinegar per 3 tbsp. ammonia. Spray very
slowly, and very lightly for safety.
Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom who is the author of
What's for Dinner?, an e-cookbook containing more than 250 quick
easy dinner ideas. For recipes, tips to organize your home, home
decorating, crafts, holiday hints, and more, visit Creative
Homemaking at http://www.creativehomemaking.com.
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