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Natural Cleaning for Healthy Homes: DIY Recipes Anew

May 25, 2024

Natural Cleaning for Healthy Homes: DIY Recipes Anew

Cleaning Products: The First Step to a Toxic-Free Home

Cleaning products are one of the first places I, as a self-proclaimed Keeper of the Home, look to eliminate toxins and chemicals from our household. Making homemade all-natural cleaning projects was a logical first step for me, because I love to follow recipes – which is all that’s really involved in making your own cleansers!

I spent hours scouring the internet back in the day for ideas, suggestions, recipes, and useful hints on the topic of homemade cleaners. After lots of trial and error, I’ve found a few that are my go-to faves, and I’m sharing them today so that you don’t have to do all the leg work!

Before I get into the specific recipes, though, let me just say this: white vinegar and baking soda clean Just. About. Everything. You’ll see it’s the main combination in a bunch of the recipes below, but there are oodles of other things it can clean, too! (You’ll get a chuckle out of all the ways my daughters have learned to use it, too!)

The Cleaning Power of Vinegar and Baking Soda

Maybe you’ve seen my post with Must-Have Homemade Kitchen Cleaners. Out of those, my most-used cleaner is an all-purpose cleaner, great for all kinds of hard surfaces: Mix the vinegar, essential oils and a little water before adding baking soda in a clean spray bottle (glass is best). Then fill to top with water. I use about a 12 oz bottle. Gently shake to mix ingredients, and then spray, wipe with a cloth, and allow it to dry.

Another favorite is my DIY Reusable Cleaning Wipes. I mix baking soda and laundry soap in a mixing bowl, stirring vigorously to combine into a paste. Add essential oil and mix well. Store in an airtight food container. If the mixture begins to dry out, add a small amount of water and mix well. Fold and place the cloth squares into the empty wipe container and set aside. Combine in a mixing bowl the water, vinegar, and 3 essential oils, stirring until well mixed. Pour this mixture over the cloths in the container where they will soak in and be ready for you to pull out and use! Launder and repeat as often as the cloths hold up!

And for cleaning windows and mirrors, I make a simple spray by combining distilled water with salt, stirring until the salt is dissolved. In a separate bowl, I combine the vinegar, Sal Suds, and lemon juice. I stir this mixture into the salt water mixture, and stir until thickened. I may wish to add 10 – 15 drops of lemon essential oil both for scent and for disinfectant properties. Then I pour the mixture into a recycled dish soap container for storage.

Tackling Tougher Cleaning Tasks

Of course, cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms requires a bit more elbow grease. For the oven, I make a baking soda paste by mixing ½ cup of baking soda and 2 – 3 tablespoons of water, adjusting as needed to get a spreadable paste. I spread this all over the walls of the oven, rubbing it in for a scrubbing effect. I let that mixture rest overnight. In the morning, I put some vinegar in a spray bottle and spritz everywhere I see baking soda, which will create a foaming action. I wipe it clean with a damp cloth, rinsing until clean.

For clogged or smelly drains, I sprinkle baking soda down the drain, and follow that with the vinegar. I let the bubbling mixture sit for an hour or so, then pour boiling hot water down the drain to rinse. Depending on how smelly or clogged the drain is, I may need to repeat the process again. But once I do it regularly, I find that one time usually takes care of it!

Natural Bathroom Cleaning

A lot of the same principles that apply to cleaning the kitchen carry over into the bathroom. For example, vinegar and baking soda still play a large role, and the disinfectant power of certain essential oils is key. Here are some of my favorite ways to tackle one of the most-used rooms in the house:

The Toilet Bowl Cleaning Hack

Did you notice I didn’t write “Homemade” in the title of this one? That’s because technically the ingredient I’m about to tell you about isn’t homemade – and it’s going to blow your mind! Are you ready?? Kool-Aid. Yep, the nectar of our childhoods is an amazing toilet bowl cleaner. Specifically, the lemonade Kool-Aid.

Lemonade has citric acid, which helps clean the toilet bowl. (So does the old Astronaut Orange Beverage TANG, but does anyone actually have that anymore?) All you have to do is flush your toilet, sprinkle a package of Kool-Aid lemonade around the sides and scrub with a toilet bowl brush. Let this sit for several hours (overnight is best), and then flush in the morning. It’s just that easy!

Glass and Mirror Cleaner

For glass surfaces, I make a simple spray by combining everything in a spray bottle. Shake to mix well. Spray onto glass surface and wipe clean. Be sure you shake well to fully integrate the cornstarch, which is the ingredient that reduces streaking. You’ll want to shake before each use.

Room Freshener

To freshen up a room, I combine equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle, along with 10-15 drops of essential oils. Combine everything in a spray bottle. Shake to mix well. Spray to freshen the room! (Shake before each use). You can experiment with higher ratios of vinegar to water and upping the essential oil if this is not strong enough for your preference.

All-Natural Laundry Solutions

In the laundry room, I’ve got a few go-to homemade solutions as well. For the laundry detergent, I combine the first three ingredients in the container (you may need a funnel to get it in there) and then pour in the water to dissolve the ingredients. I fill the container to the top with cold water. Shake before each use. For a standard-sized load of laundry, ¼ cup should work. Use a little more for a more heavily-soiled load. (Note: This has worked in HE washers with great results!)

There are a few ways I like to tackle stains in the laundry room, too. First, let me just say that a 3% Hydrogen Peroxide solution is a super stain remover! I’ve used it on lots of stains where I spray it on, let it soak, and then launder as normal. (Note to moms of girls just getting their first periods: there is nothing better to deal with the “Aunt Flow” stains in the underwear or on the sheets!)

There’s also the mixture of washing soda and white vinegar. You simply sprinkle the washing soda onto the stain, spray with white vinegar that has been diluted in a 1:1 ratio with water. Scrub the paste into the stain and let it stand for about 20 minutes. Launder as normal.

For really tough stains, like grass stains, the magic of Dawn dish soap comes in handy. This one calls for a bit of a recipe: Mix together all ingredients, and then pour into a spray bottle. Spray onto the stain, let it rest a bit, then launder as normal. (Because of the ammonia, you should NOT want this in chlorine bleach!)

Homemade Fabric Softener and Reusable Dryer Cloths

I also have a fantastic homemade fabric softener recipe. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pour into empty storage container (such as empty fabric soft container). Use approximately ¼ cup per normal washload prior to the rinse cycle.

And for reusable dryer cloths, this is super easy to do! I find a bunch of hubby’s old t-shirts (not his beloved old t-shirts, but the others!) and cut them into washcloth sized squares. Next, I take some of the homemade fabric softener from the recipe above, and fill about ½ of an airtight, lidded storage container with this. I place the t-shirts in the container, and press them down to soak up the fabric softener. I squeeze out excess before tossing a square into the dryer with our clothes. These are obviously recyclable, and don’t have to be laundered between uses!

Dusting and Polish for Wood Furniture

For dusting, I have a simple spray by combining ingredients in a spray bottle and shaking gently to combine. I use this as I would any typical dusting spray, either spraying onto a clean cloth and wiping, or spraying on the surface and wiping.

And for wood furniture polish, I combine ingredients in a spray bottle and shake vigorously. I spray directly on wood furniture and buff with a clean, dry cloth. I shake before each use.

In addition to freshening the smell in a room, this combination of ingredients can disinfect, kill fleas and their eggs, and act as a rodent deterrent. I combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well. I store it in an air-tight container. When I’m ready to use, I just sprinkle around the carpet and let it sit for about half an hour. Then I vacuum it up, and I’m good to go!

Effective Carpet Stain Removal

For those pesky carpet stains, I have a few tricks up my sleeve. First, I sprinkle the stain with baking soda and let it sit for about 10 minutes, then vacuum it up. Next, I mix 1 Tbsp Dawn dish soap, 1 Tbsp white vinegar, and 2 cups of warm water. I sponge this onto the stain and blot with a dry cloth, repeating until the stain disappears.

So, those are the go-to recipes that I find most helpful around the house. Let me know if you’ve got a recipe or potion that works wonders in your household! What are your favorite homemade all-natural cleaning recipes? That Kool-Aid tip for toilets may be a game changer for us. Our toilets get SO NASTY (we have incredibly hard water where we live) and I resort to muriatic acid to clean off the grime that builds up. Here’s to hoping Kool Aid does the trick!

Putting the Kool-Aid Cleaning Hack to the Test

Hi Jamie!! Did you ever get to try the Kool-Aid on your toilets?? I just wanted to followup and see how and if it worked out for you?? I’ve been looking for such recipes for some time and I’m really happy I found them at last! It’s great that most of the ingredients are already in my home, and I can’t wait to try them.

Adam Cleaning provides exceptional cleaning services in the Nottingham area. Check out their website to learn more about their offerings and how they can help keep your home sparkling clean!

Troubleshooting Homemade Cleaners

I made the all-purpose cleaner and it foamed out off the bottle. I put the vinegar in the bottle and when I added the baking soda it foamed and foamed out of the spray bottle.

Combining vinegar and baking soda can be quite an experiment of fizzling proportions!! To prevent a mess, try adding the essential oils and water to the vinegar first. I use vinegar and baking soda together in a different recipe that puts alcohol and essential oils in the bottle first, then vinegar and finally the baking soda and water, and I have never had an issue of the mixture overflowing. We’ll make a note of that in the post as well, thanks for sharing!

All that does is produce a solution of sodium acetate. Your baking soda and vinegar have reacted and are long gone. None of their respective properties remains. You may as well use plain old table salt.

As someone who has an interest in science and natural cleaning, what would you suggest? Use them separately? Or just use the vinegar since acetic acid has mild disinfectant properties? Regular cleaners flare up my migraines, so I love the recipes, I’m just wondering if there’s a substitute for the Dr. Bronners Sal Suds in the dish soap recipe as I’m allergic to coco betaine.

We’ve found the following products that might help: Seventh Generation Free & Clear Dish Liquid and Melaleuca Lemon Brite. Thank you so so much! I like your recipes and I’m definitely going to try them all. Also, do you know any way to clean sofas, homemade or not?

For (fabric) sofas, we typically use these ingredients: Rubbing alcohol, White vinegar, Essential oils (optional), Spray bottle, Sponge/towel. Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle (using the fine mist option). Note: use equal parts rubbing alcohol and white vinegar. Hope this helps!

I’m so looking forward to trying these recipes & thanks for having them all included together… Great job! Just wondering if you have any suggestions with the essential oils… Like what not to use if you have pets in the house? Or if the amount used of essential oil per recipe is diluted enough that it won’t affect them? Thanks in advance, peace and blessings!! I’m new to your site & loving it!

I have hard water, so when using your recipes should I use distilled water? That’s what I’ve been doing but wonder with other ingredients if it’s necessary? Thank you for all your wonderful tips. I’m new to this entire world of natural cleaning products and with this article am about to make the leap. I’m so inspired! Thank you!!!!

I’m really grateful to you for taking the time to list all these recipes. I am in the process of ordering all the ingredients but am struggling to find Borax anywhere. I live in Scotland and I have tried to order it from but it won’t deliver to my address and the only has a Borax substitute. Do you know if the Borax substitute will work just as well? Do you have a DIY for wood floor cleaning? The wood furniture spray would be very time consuming. Thanks, terry

We use Dr. Bronner’s on the floors and they come out beautiful. They have unscented and lavender. For an all-purpose cleaner, combining vinegar and baking soda just creates salt water, as we noted on another page. Do you have another recommendation for vinegar as the all-purpose cleaner?

ALWAYS ALWAYS looking for a dog URINE odor remover. Any suggestions? Staining of carpets never an issue. Odor? That’s another story.

I’d love to try the dishwashing detergent recipe, but Lemi-Shine isn’t available in Australia. I haven’t been able to find a suitable replacement online, is there anything you could recommend?

Unfortunately, the reaction you see when you mix baking soda and vinegar together does not mean it is “cleaning” – it is the chemical reaction of a base(alkaline) and acid(acid) neutralizing itself. While baking soda and vinegar together may be a good soft scrub for getting rid of some soap scum and other buildup, it is certainly NOT an all-purpose cleaner. The neutralizing effect of the reaction of the two chemicals render it useless against bacteria, viruses, and mold. Pure vinegar or even a 50/50 dilution of vinegar in purified water is much more effective at cleaning.

Several of your recipes for cleaning products call for adding Dawn. According to the Environmental Working Group Guide to Healthy Cleaning, Dawn dishwashing liquid has a “C” rating which is “Moderate Concern: Some potential for hazards to health or the environment. At least some ingredient disclosure.” Can vinegar solutions that drain into a septic tank kill the “good bacteria”?

With the first recipe, all the baking soda sits on the bottom and clogged the sprayer because of this. Any suggestions? I wish you would update your recipes to reflect what other users have already pointed out – vinegar is a useful cleaner because it is acidic, baking soda because it is basic – mixing them together just neutralizes them and creates salt. The cleaning power of your basic all-purpose cleaner is similar to plain water. This website is the first to come up in a google search for homemade cleaners and it gives advice that doesn’t make sense.

Where do you find Arm & Hammer Washing Soda? Is it just baking Soda? I mixed the all-purpose cleaner as per your instructions and it erupted, foaming out of the bottle. No gentle shake necessary! I lost the whole lot.

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