Vinegar and Water
Vinegar and water combine to make a cleaner that can remove built-up dust and grime from your baseboards without damaging them. Mix 1 part vinegar with 5 parts warm water in a bucket, and dampen a sponge or a rag to wipe down the baseboards. Make sure the sponge isn't too wet, as a soggy sponge can leave cleaner marks on painted walls, and the solution can run behind or under the baseboards, making them swell.
Grapefruit Juice and Baking Soda
If your baseboards are very dirty and need a little scrubbing, make a lightly-abrasive baseboard cleaner using 1 part vinegar, 1 part grapefruit juice, 1 part baking soda and 4 parts hot water. Place old towels on the floor along the baseboards and scrub the grime away using an old toothbrush. Have a bucket filled with plain warm water and a sponge handy to rinse the cleaner off the baseboards. Unused cleaner will spoil, so only make as much as you need.
Ammonia-and-Water Moist Wipes
Many home owners appreciate the convenience of pre-moistened cleaning wipes. Unfortunately, they often cost much more than concentrated cleaners that you mix at home. Make your own disposable baseboard cleaning wipes with paper towels, ammonia, water and a plastic container. Choose a tall plastic food storage container that has a sealing lid with a pop-open dispenser cap such as an airtight cereal or pasta container. Lay a new roll of thick paper towels on its side and press down on the roll to crush the cardboard tube in the center. Pull the tube out. Mix 1 cup plain or sudsing ammonia in a bucket with 1 gallon of water and dunk the roll of paper towels in the bucket to soak them. Place the wet paper towel roll upright into the container, pour in about 1 inch of the ammonia mixture and seal the lid. To dispense wipes, open the dispenser cap and pull one paper towel from the center of the roll. Wipe the baseboards and toss the paper towel when you are finished.
Old Fashioned Soap Flakes
Soap flakes were once used throughout the home for everything from laundry to washing dishes, and they are still an effective and safe cleaner for most washable surfaces, including baseboards. There is no magic mixture for cleaning with soap flakes. Pour about 1 cup of flakes into a bucket and add enough warm water to dissolve the flakes. If you can't find soap flakes in a retail store, grate a bar of glycerin soap with a food grater. Wash the baseboards with the soapy mixture using a rag, sponge or an old toothbrush. Rinse the baseboards with plain water and a soft rag or sponge.