The next time you have a sink to scrub or a window to wipe, just raid your cupboards. Everyday products like club soda (the bubbles help break down stains by loosening grime), vinegar (the acidity inhibits the growth of bacteria and prevents mold and mildew from forming), and even vodka (a proven germ eliminator) make for fast, cheap, and effective house cleaners.
What's the shelf life? Most DIY natural cleaning solutions can last up to a month. But some ingredients (like hydrogen peroxide) lose their potency more quickly. Your best bet is to mix up enough for only a onetime use.
illustrations: Holly Wales