Your home is your castle. It’s where you live, play, relax and sometimes even work or attend school. A clean castle pleases the royal family, but harsh chemicals are unwelcome guests in the kingdom. With the amount of time you spend in your surroundings, considering your air and water quality seems like a good investment. These DIY cleaners are safe for your home, your family and the planet.
There seems to be a debate surrounding what products are safe, with every major manufacturer slapping sustainability verbiage on products to promote all-natural, chemical-free and organic assumptions. For the most part, it’s marketing, plain and simple. In truth, most commercial cleaners contain damaging chemicals, even when the label disguises them as healthy options. The only way to really know what you’re cleaning with is to make your own cleaning products, and fortunately there are many truly natural cleaners that will leave the sparkle without the chemical aftermath.
Vinegar is nature’s cleaner. It can be used outright on nearly every surface. It is great as a versatile cleaner for everything from countertops to windows. Although not touting antibacterial qualities, it is biodegradable.
Lemon juice has natural antibacterial qualities. Although many store-bought products have a lemon scent to sell this message, including fresh lemon in your own cleaners gives you assurance that it’s the real thing.
Another ingredient found in many cleaning recipes, baking soda offers superior odor neutralization and has impressive stain-fighting capabilities.
Liquid castile soap
Castile soap is a plant-based product that has been used for generations in different forms. Dr. Brommer’s is a commonly used brand that you might recognize. It is naturally sourced from vegetable fat, so it is non-toxic and biodegradable, meaning that it’s good for the environment, too.
Inexpensive and readily available, hydrogen peroxide makes a great non-toxic disinfectant for your household surfaces. Simply spray and leave to bubble for a minute or two before wiping clean. Make sure to store hydrogen peroxide in an opaque or darker bottle, because light will break down its effectiveness. Note that hydrogen peroxide is not a safe choice for granite surfaces.
Borax is a naturally occurring substance that has earned a name in the cleaning industry. However, there is some dispute as to its safety in cleaning products. Although typically only required in small amounts for most recipes, borax can cause skin and breathing problems, so it doesn’t rank high as a healthy cleaner for some. Moreover, it’s toxic to children and pets, so it’s not a good choice for cleaners that touch every surface in your home.
DIY natural cleaner recipes
Now that we’ve covered the ingredients, let’s get to the recipes, so you can get to cleaning.
This DIY cleaner is good for all floors and most other surfaces. The basic recipe calls for just a few simple ingredients: 1 cup white vinegar, 1 gallon water and essential oils if you wish to disguise the vinegar scent. When cleaning any wood surface, use minimal water and other ingredients. Do not saturate the wood. Apply a light layer with a mop and dry immediately.
This is the stuff you can use in the toilet, on the counter or on the floors. Here are a couple of options that will work well:
Castile soap all-purpose cleaner
2 cups distilled or boiled water
2-4 tablespoons castile soap
15 drops of your favorite essential oil (we recommend peppermint)
Vinegar all-purpose cleaner
1 cup distilled or boiled water
1 cup white distilled vinegar
1/2 lemon, juiced (optional, but store cleaner in the fridge if you do add lemon)
15 drops of your favorite essential oil (we recommend orange)
Alcohol all-purpose cleaner
1/4 cup alcohol (rubbing alcohol or cheap vodka)
A few drops of essential oil
A few drops of eco-friendly liquid soap
13 ounces of water
Set the teapot on to boil and grab the baking soda. Spoon about one cup of baking soda down the drain. Let it slip down as far into the drainpipe as it will go. Then add one cup of lemon juice or one cup of white vinegar. Either will cause a chemical reaction, so pour slowly. The reaction helps eat away at whatever is clogging your drain. After 10-15 minutes, chase it down the drain with several cups of boiling water (use caution). Repeat if necessary.
When it comes to tackling those deodorant armpit stains on your T-shirts or the unidentified marks on the carpet, look no further than the mixture below.
1/2 cup baking soda
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon hydrogen peroxide
Create a paste and apply to the stain. Allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes. Remove with water and clean rags, or wash the item in the washing machine. Make sure to dab carpets, and don’t oversaturate.
Glass and window cleaner
Vinegar and water in a one-to-one ratio will tackle the windows pretty well. If you have a lot of dirt, clean the windows with an eco-friendly dish soap and water solution first. Use coffee filters or recycled newspapers to wipe down the glass.
1/2 cup vinegar
1 cup rubbing alcohol
2 cups water
Combine and use as a spray cleaner for mirrors and windows.
Liquid fabric softener
Avoid the fabric sheets headed to the landfill. Instead, make your own easy and eco-friendly fabric softener. Although not technically a cleaner, we couldn’t skip putting this one on the list.
1/8 cup food-grade glycerine
2 cups water
2 cups white vinegar
Combine and pour 1/3 to 1/2 cup of this mixture into the liquid fabric softener dispenser in the washing machine for fresh, soft sheets and clothes.