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Plant Power: Make Your Own Botanical Cleaners

March 3, 2024

Plant Power: Make Your Own Botanical Cleaners


Cleaning and housekeeping with natural ingredients can be inexpensive, effective, and satisfying. Making botanical cleaners at home allows you to avoid exposure to harsh chemicals, know exactly what’s in the products you use, and reduce plastic waste from store-bought cleaners. With just a few simple ingredients from your pantry, backyard, or garden, I can make my own green cleaners that get the job done using the power of plants.

Why Make Your Own Botanical Cleaners?

Here are some of the main benefits of making DIY botanical cleaners:

  • Avoid toxic chemicals – Many conventional cleaners contain harmful ingredients like ammonia, chlorine, and synthetic fragrances. Natural cleaners are much gentler on you, your family, and the environment.

  • Cost savings – Homemade cleaners made with common household ingredients are very inexpensive compared to buying commercial products.

  • Customize for your needs – You can tweak recipes to suit the cleaning tasks at hand and the surfaces in your home.

  • Reduce plastic waste – Reusing glass spray bottles avoids purchasing plastic bottles over and over.

  • Use what you have on hand – Most botanical cleaners utilize versatile ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, essential oils, and soap that you likely already have.

Equipment Needed

You don’t need any fancy equipment to make simple botanical cleaners! Here is the basic equipment I use:

  • Spray bottles – Save and reuse plastic spray bottles or invest in glass. Make sure to label each bottle.

  • Funnels – Helpful for pouring cleaning mixtures into spray bottles.

  • Measuring cups & spoons – Essential for following recipes.

  • Mixing bowls or jars – For mixing up batches of cleaner.

  • Cheesecloth – To strain herbal infusions or DIY soap mixtures.

  • Essential oil bottles – To house any essential oils. Dark glass helps preserve the oils.

Key Ingredients & Where to Source Them

Here are some of the most versatile ingredients to stock up on for making a variety of botanical cleaners:

Pantry Staples

  • Baking soda – Deodorizing and gentle abrasive.

  • White vinegar – Cuts grease, disinfects, and deodorizes.

  • Lemon juice – Natural acid cuts through grime.

  • Hydrogen peroxide – Disinfecting properties.

  • Cornstarch – Absorbs odors and thickens mixtures.

  • Salt – Scrubs and lifts stains.

  • Olive oil – Polishes wood.

Herbs, Spices & Essential Oils

  • Dried herbs – Lavender, rosemary, mint.

  • Spices – Cinnamon, clove, citrus peels.

  • Essential oils – Tea tree, lavender, lemon, eucalyptus.

  • Castile soap – Multipurpose natural liquid soap.

Other Natural Cleaning Boosters

  • Borax – Disinfectant and deodorizer.

  • Washing soda – Cuts grease and removes stains.

  • Club soda – Adds bubbles to cleaning mixtures.

  • Rubbing alcohol – Disinfectant properties.

Recipes for Common Cleaning Solutions

Here are some all-purpose cleaning solutions I make using simple botanical ingredients:

All-Purpose Cleaner

Makes 1 quart:

  • 3 cups water
  • 1⁄4 cup vinegar
  • 1⁄2 tsp liquid soap or Castile soap
  • 10 drops essential oil (lemon or tea tree)

Combine ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake gently before each use. Spray on surfaces and wipe clean with a damp cloth.

Safe for counters, appliances, sinks, floors, bathrooms.

Glass & Window Cleaner

Makes 1 quart:

  • 1⁄4 cup vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 cups water
  • 10 drops essential oil (peppermint, lavender, citrus)

Mix ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake before each use. Spray on glass surfaces and wipe clean with newspaper or a lint-free cloth.

Great for windows, mirrors, shower doors.

Wood Cleaner & Polisher

Makes 1 cup:

  • 1⁄2 cup olive oil
  • 1⁄4 cup lemon juice
  • Optional: 5 drops lemon essential oil

Whisk together ingredients in a glass jar. Dampen a soft cloth and wipe onto wood surfaces. Buff with a dry cloth.

Use weekly on wood furniture and butcher blocks.

The Takeaway

The benefits of making my own non-toxic botanical cleaners are clear – it saves money, reduces waste, and keeps my home clean and green. With a few simple ingredients and recipes, I can quickly whip up customized, eco-friendly cleaners that tackle all my household cleaning needs safely and naturally using the power of plants. Getting started is easy – just raid your pantry for a base of vinegar, baking soda, and soap, augment with some key herbs, oils, and extras, and you’ll be ready to get cleaning.

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