14 Home Essentials You Never Need to Buy Again

Household staples like detergents and cleaners are always on the grocery list. But they don’t have to be. You can make those essentials at home—and effectively, never run out.

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  1. Laundry Detergent


    Laundry detergent isn’t a staple you can forgo—but you don’t need to keep buying it. Make it instead, with 3 simple ingredients. Grate a bar of Fels-Naptha and mix it with 1 cup of borax, and 1 cup of washing soda. Mix it for several minutes in a blender or food processor to make a fine powdered consistency that will easily dissolve in water. Keep the mixture in a sealed container and use 1 tablespoon for every load of laundry (or 2–3 tablespoons for extra dirty loads).

    Related: 8 "Zero Dollar" Laundry Room Hacks


  2. Window Cleaner


    Cross store-bought window cleaner off your shopping list and make your own with items already in your home. Mix 1/4 cup of vinegar and 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol with 2 cups of water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle, shake it well, and use it just like any other glass cleaner. For an fresh scent, add about 10 drops of essential oils.

    Related: 9 Potent Cleaners You Didn't Know You Had


  3. Dish Soap


    Make your own dishwashing liquid, and never sweat a sink full of dishes again. Head to the kitchen, and add 1 tablespoon of borax and 1 tablespoon of grated bar soap (like Ivory) to 1¾-cups of boiling water. Whisk together thoroughly until the soap and borax have melted, and then allow the mixture to cool for several hours. Optional: Add 10–20 drops of your favorite essential oil for fragrance. The mixture will gel as it cools, and then you can add it to an empty detergent bottle and hide it under the sink until you need it!

    Related: 10 Things You Didn’t Know Dish Soap Can Do


  4. Drain Cleaner


    Don’t buy caustic drain cleaners at the store. You’ve already got what you need to clean a stopped up drain. Pour a cup of baking soda into your drain. Then pour about 1/2 cup of vinegar down the drain and cover it with a plate. The baking soda and vinegar will combine to create a foaming effect, and the plate will prevent any bubbles (and gunk) from rising into the sink. Let the mixture sit for half an hour, and then flush it with hot water for several minutes until the drain runs clear. When performed regularly, this method works as a preventative measure against clogs and build-up.

    Related: No Plunger Needed—7 Easier Ways to Clear a Clog


  5. All-Purpose Cleaner


    For an all-purpose cleaner you can use every day, pour 1/2 cup of vinegar into a spray bottle and add a couple tablespoons of baking soda to it. Add 10 drops of tea tree oil and fill the bottle the rest of the way with water. Shake it thoroughly to mix, and it’s ready to use on your counters, floors, and whatever else needs spiffing up.

    Related: 9 Brilliant Cleaning Hacks Everyone Should Know


  6. Insecticidal Soap


    Protect vulnerable houseplants from soft-bodied insects with a homemade insecticidal soap. Simply add a tablespoon of liquid dish soap with a quart of water and put it in a clean spray bottle. Shake it thoroughly before each use and banish bugs for good.

    Related: 10 Crazy New Ways to Bring the Garden Indoors


  7. Bug Repellant


    If trails of ants find their way into your house each spring, mix up this quick and easy bug repellant to keep them at bay. Fill a small spray bottle with half a cup of witch hazel. Add 20–40 drops of peppermint oil and shake it to mix. Spray the solution on window sills, baseboards, or wherever you see ants entering your abode.

    Related: A Dozen 10-Minute DIYs for a Pest-Free Home


  8. Candles


    If you make yourself a few mason jar oil lamps, you’ll never need to buy candles again. It’s a simple project that only requires you drill a hole in the top of a jar lid, and thread a small piece of copper tubing through it. Then, thread a wick through the tube and fill the jar with the oil of your choice—olive oil works great, especially if it's already in your pantry. Refill whenever necessary, and add scented oils if you like.

    Related: 12 Ways Your Home Can Save You Money This Year


  9. Air Freshener


    There's no need to spend grocery money on air fresheners. They are simple and affordable to make at home instead. Just mix 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol with 1-1/2 cups of water in a spray bottle and add 30 drops of your favorite essential oil. Citrus, lavender, and mint oils work well for air fresheners, but experiment and find your own custom combination.

    Related: 7 Super Simple Ways to Make Your House Smell Fresh


  10. Carpet Powder


    Where there are pets, there are stains and smells. So when pets and carpets come together, chances are that carpet powder isn't far behind. If that's the case in your home, you could save a bundle by making your own powder cleanser. Mix a few drops of orange, clove, or lavender essential oil into a bowl of baking soda. Pour it in a shaker container and grab it whenever you pull out the vacuum.

    Related: 15 Ways to Fake a Clean House


  11. Toothpaste


    You really can DIY any household cleaner, including personal care items. Take toothpaste, for instance. Make your own by mixing baking soda and water to a paste-like consistency. Then add 1–2 teaspoons of peppermint or cinnamon extract. Your teeth will get clean and your breath will be fresh, for a fraction of the cost of commercial toothpaste.

    Related: Boring Bathroom? 7 Fixes for an Old Medicine Cabinet


  12. Wood Polish


    Wood polish might not be something you need every week, but when you need it, you need it. Make your own by mixing equal parts olive oil and vinegar, and adding essential oils to give it your favorite scent. Keep it in a small jar and dab a rag into it as needed. The vinegar will cut through anything sticky, and the olive oil will moisturize the wood.

    Related: 7 Ways You May Be Ruining Your Wood Floors


  13. Cleaning Wipes


    Cleansing wipes are so convenient for cleaning small messes or keeping kitchen counters fresh. You can make a DIY version with a coffee can and a roll of paper towels. Cut the roll of towels with a knife so that it fits into the can. Then, create a cleaning solution with 1/2 cup vinegar, and 1/4 each of rubbing alcohol and water. Add a drop or two of dish soap and your favorite essential oil and pour that solution over the towels. Remove the cardboard roll from the center and pull the center towel through a hole you create in the coffee can’s top. Then, simply reach for a wipe whenever you need one.

    Related: 21 Ways to Spring Clean Your Whole House—Naturally


  14. Dryer Sheets


    If you love that fresh-out-of-the-laundry scent that commercial dryer sheets leave behind, but don't want to pay for the little luxury, make your own with cloth wipes, vinegar, and essential oils. Mix a cup of vinegar with 25–30 drops of your favorite essential oils. Put some cloth wipes into a jar, and pour the solution over so that the rags become moist, but not soaking wet. Then throw a cloth in the dryer with every load of laundry. The vinegar will evaporate, but the essential oils will linger and make your clothes smell clean and fresh.

    Related: 9 Things You Didn't Know Dryer Sheets Can Do


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