Cleaning your home naturally only takes a few simple ingredients.
It is ironic that in an effort to clean our homes, and keep it safe for our families, we often bring in poisons that could seriously injure our pets and children.
The other irony is that these toxic cleaners can be expensive and are usually packaged in plastic which creates unnecessary waste. Nontoxic, earth friendly options are available for purchase. But again, these can be expensive and are packaged in plastic.
The good news is that it is very easy, and inexpensive, to make your own cleaning supplies.
With a few simple ingredients that are available world-wide, you can create multiple options to keep your house clean and healthy. You’ll save money, keep your pets and children safe, and help the earth by not adding toxins to the water systems.
Here’s a Supply List to Get You Started
Essential oils are compounds extracted from plants. The oils capture the plant’s scent and flavor, or essence. Unique aromatic compounds give each essential oil its characteristic essence. Essential oils are obtained through distillation via steam and/or water or mechanical methods, such as cold pressing. Good choices for cleaning include tea tree, citrus like lemon and orange and eucalyptus.
Essential oils degrade plastic and should always be used in glass bottles. Sunlight also degrades the oils and therefore colored glass, as opposed to clear glass, is also recommended to protect the oils. See example above.
The way the oils are made is important, as essential oils obtained through chemical processes are not considered true essential oils. Two reputable US companies that produce high quality oils are doTERRA and Young Living. Comment below to recommend a high quality essential oil company in your part of the world. Let’s shop local when we can!
This all-purpose cleaner can be used in the kitchen and bathroom on all surfaces except for granite, stone or untreated hardwood floors.
1 cup white vinegar
2 cups distilled or boiled water-Distilled is recommended if your tap water is high in salt or minerals
5 drops essential oil of your choice – Citrus and Tea Tree oils are great options for cleaning
Mix all of the ingredients in a spray bottle, shake and get cleaning!
Add one tsp dish soap when you have especially greasy or grimy clean up jobs. Do not use Castile soap as it doesn’t mix with vinegar properly.
Another option is to use hydrogen peroxide. Spray or wipe it on flat surfaces, door knobs, faucets, etc. to clean and disinfect. Let it dry on the surface for higher level of disinfection.
NOTE: DO NOT mix hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar. Combining them creates peracetic acid, which is potentially toxic and can irritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory system. Use one or the other, but not both at the same time.
All Purpose Scouring Powder
Baking soda makes a great scouring powder. Sprinkle it on the surface to be cleaned and then scrub with a wet sponge or cloth. You can also add a bit of water to the baking soda to make a paste and then use the paste to clean surfaces. This works great for ceramic stove tops, bathroom counters, kitchen sinks, pots and pans, etc.
Variation: Mix 1 part of Castile soap with 4 parts of baking soda to make a soft paste. Add 10-20 drops of citrus essential oil.
Granite Counter Cleaner
Granite counters are very finicky and there is a list of products which will etch the stone. Never use anything acidic such as lemon juice, bleach or vinegar.
Wipe down granite counters with dish soap and water.
To disinfect, spray with a mixture of equal parts isopropyl alcohol and water. Let it sit for 3-5 minutes, then spray with water and wipe down.
Basic Floor Cleaner
You can use this simple floor cleaner on sealed wood, tile, laminate and linoleum. Combine hot water and white vinegar in a bucket and mop!
1 part hot water
1 part white vinegar
2 cups hot water
1 cup white vinegar
10 drops of your favorite essential oil.
You definitely don’t want to use anything toxic around food. To clean out your refrigerator, remove all food items. Wash drawers in the sink with hot, soapy water. For the rest of the fridge, combine the hot water, vinegar and oils in a bucket or spray bottle. Use the mixture and a cloth to scrub the inside of your fridge. Dry and return food items.
1 cup of water (distilled or filtered is best so it doesn’t leave residue)
1-2 tablespoons vinegar
- Add 1 tsp dish soap if windows are really grimy or dirty
- Add 1 cup rubbing alcohol to help eliminate all streaking
- Swap lemon juice for the white vinegar
10 drops essential oil of choice – optional – whatever scent you like. Citrus creates a lovely, clean smell.
Use newspaper, micro cloth or old t shirts cut up to clean the windows.
Use your all purpose cleaner to spray the tank and seat areas. Or, for a stronger cleaner, combine one cup of white vinegar and half a teaspoon of essential oil in a spray bottle. Tea tree has antiseptic properties and smells great. Citrus is also a good options. Don’t add any water. The essential oil helps to cut the vinegar smell. Sprinkle half a cup of baking soda on the inner sides of the toilet, spray with the vinegar and scrub with a toilet brush. Wipe down tank and seat with cleaning cloths.
Variation: Pour/spray half a cup of hydrogen peroxide into the toilet bowl and let it sit for 30 minutes, then scrub.
Tub and Shower Cleaner
Combine one cup* of very hot (but not boiling) white vinegar with half cup of liquid dish soap in a spray bottle or squirt bottle. Immediately (while vinegar is still hot) spray the mixture on shower or tub surfaces. Let sit for two hours and then wipe down with a scrubber and rinse with water.
*Adjust amounts depending on the size and number of your showers and bath tubs.
Keep your washing machine clean by putting white vinegar in the bleach or softener container of your machine. If you have a top load washer, you can also add about half a cup directly to the water. I run white vinegar through every load I wash to offset our hard water–it doesn’t spot or stain clothes. Not only does white vinegar soften the water, but it also keeps your washer clean and eliminates the build up of mineral deposits, increasing the life of your washer.
Wood Cutting Boards
If you use your cutting board on a daily basis, give it a good cleaning every two weeks.
Sprinkle salt all over the board. Cut a lemon in half. With the flesh side down, rub/scrub the lemon on top of the salt all around the board. Give it a good scrubbing. Rinse and dry with a clean cloth.
Variation: Spray your wood cutting board with hydrogen peroxide to kill any lurking bacteria. Let it sit for a few minutes and then wipe it dry.
Put all citrus peels down your garbage disposal to keep the blades clean and smelling fresh.
When drains run slow, pour 1-2 cups of baking soda down the drain. Then pour two cups of white vinegar down the drain. Cover with a damp cloth and let it sit for 15 minutes. Flush with boiling water.