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How to Clean Without Harsh Chemicals: DIY Recipes

March 3, 2024
How to Clean Without Harsh Chemicals: DIY Recipes

Why Choose Natural Cleaning Products

I want to clean my home without exposing myself or my family to harsh chemicals found in many conventional cleaning products. Some ingredients like ammonia, chlorine, and phosphates can irritate eyes, skin, and lungs. Plus, many conventional cleaners contain synthetic fragrances and preservatives that can trigger allergies or asthma.

Making my own natural cleaning products allows me to avoid these chemicals. DIY cleaners often use simple, plant-based ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, and essential oils. These products get the job done without harsh fumes or additives. Homemade cleaners are also economical, customizable, and eco-friendly.

Types of Natural Cleaning Ingredients

Here are some of the basic ingredients I use to make effective DIY cleaners:


White distilled vinegar is a mild acid that can dissolve grease, soap scum, and mineral deposits. It sanitizes as it cleans. I use it for washing windows, counters, floors, and other hard surfaces.

Baking Soda

Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is a natural deodorizer and gentle abrasive. It helps scrub away stains. Mixing it with vinegar causes a fizzing reaction that lifts dirt. I use it for cleaning sinks, tubs, ovens, and more.

Lemon Juice

The citric acid in lemon juice cuts through grease and stains. I use it for cleaning cutting boards, microwave, stainless steel, and bathrooms. The fresh scent naturally deodorizes.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a versatile cleaner and stain-remover. As it breaks down, oxygen is released, which helps lift dirt and whiten surfaces. I use it for laundry, tile, grout, sinks, and more.

Essential Oils

Oils like tea tree, lavender, orange, lemon, and peppermint add natural fragrance to cleaners. Some also have antimicrobial properties. I add a few drops to boost cleaning power.

Castile Soap

Castile soap is plant-based and biodegradable. Diluted in water, it makes an effective all-purpose cleaner and stain remover. It also boosts suds and grease-cutting in homemade soaps and detergents.

Equipment for Making DIY Cleaners

I always have these supplies on hand for whipping up homemade cleaners:

  • Spray bottles for storing and applying liquid cleaners
  • Glass jars or plastic bottles for dry ingredients like baking soda
  • Funnels for neatly pouring liquids into bottles
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Cheesecloth for straining citrus peels or herbs
  • Labeling tape and pen for dating and labeling each batch

DIY Cleaning Recipes for the Home

Here are some of my go-to homemade cleaner recipes using natural ingredients:

All-Purpose Cleaner

  • 1⁄2 cup white vinegar
  • 1⁄4 cup baking soda
  • 1⁄2 gallon warm water

Mix ingredients until baking soda dissolves. Store in spray bottle and use on counters, appliances, floors, and other surfaces. Shake before each use.

Bathroom Cleaner

  • 1⁄2 cup hydrogen peroxide
  • 1⁄4 cup baking soda
  • 10 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 1⁄2 gallon warm water

Whisk together ingredients and transfer to a spray bottle. Spray on sinks, counters, shower, tub, and toilet. Let sit 5 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing.

Glass + Window Cleaner

  • 2 cups water
  • 1⁄4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 15 drops lemon essential oil

Whisk cornstarch into water first to prevent clumping. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Transfer to spray bottle. Shake before each use. Spray on windows or mirrors and wipe with lint-free cloth.

Wood Floor Cleaner

  • 1 gallon warm water
  • 1⁄4 cup castile soap
  • 1⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 20 drops lemon essential oil

Mix ingredients in bucket. Mop floors as usual with mixture (no need to rinse). The vinegar polish helps wood shine.

Heavy-Duty Scrub

  • 1⁄2 cup baking soda
  • liquid castile soap
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil

Mix enough soap with baking soda to form a thick paste. Scrub ovens, stovetops, sinks, tubs, and other grimy areas. Rinse thoroughly after scrubbing.

Tips for Green Cleaning Success

Here are a few of my tips for getting great results with natural cleaners:

  • Spot test DIY cleaners first on a small, inconspicuous area to check for any damage or discoloration.

  • Use microfiber cloths and scrub pads which are machine washable and reusable.

  • Look for paper towels, sponges, and other disposable products made from recycled materials.

  • Air dry dishes and surfaces when possible instead of paper towels.

  • Clean green by opening windows for fresh air instead of using chemical room deodorizers or fragrances.

With some simple plant-based ingredients and easy recipes, I can avoid exposure to harsh chemicals while keeping my home fresh, clean, and safe for my family. These natural cleaning solutions get great results at a fraction of the cost of commercial products.

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