The beginner’s guide to making your own homemade non-toxic household cleaners. Rid your home of harmful chemicals, one cleaning product at a time.
When I was growing up, we moved around a lot.
Not just house to house, but even state to state. By the time I was in high school, I’d gone to 8 different schools and lived along each of the 4 borders of the US. People always asked if we were a military family, but the answer is no. Just a widowed mom doing her best to give her kids the best she could.
And through all of that moving… All of the packing and unpacking, setting up and taking down, all the headaches and struggles that come along with picking up and moving your entire life across a country as large as the US… There’s one recurring memory that always sticks out in my mind, even until this day.
It’s the very first thing you do before you move into a new place, and the very last thing you do before you hand in your keys at the end of your lease term.
In fact, I’m pretty sure our cleaning supplies were already neatly organized under the new kitchen sink before that moving truck ever pulled into the driveway.
And the same still holds true for every new house my family moves into. Except somewhere along the way – right around the time I had kids of our own – I started looking a little more closely at those cleaning products.
Have you ever read the back of your bottle of glass cleaner?
There are no ingredients listed on that label, so you have no idea what actually makes up that bright blue concoction that magically cleans your windows and gives you that “streak-free shine.”
Take a look under your kitchen sink.
…and see how many bottles, boxes, and containers of cleaning “stuff” you have down there.
Three? Five? Ten?
When I did this exercise several years ago, I counted 9 different products under my sink! Everything from glass cleaner and cleaning wipes, to scouring scrub and disinfectant spray.
And that’s not even counting what was under the bathroom sink!
When you start looking at safer alternatives for cleaning and disinfecting your home, the toxic cleaners under your sink will start disappearing, one by one.
What if I told you that you could replace everything under your sink with a small arsenal of products that you can use to create any number of non-toxic household cleaners?
This beginner’s guide will show you how.
How to Make Non-Toxic Household Cleaners
Before you start making your cleaners, let me first introduce you to some of your new cleaning buddies:
Also, while you could of course use paper towels or rags with your cleaners, my personal recommendation is to invest in some good quality microfiber cloths to give your cleaning routine a total boost.
And now for the cleaning recipes! Remember my secret to creating a non-toxic home – start with that first product. Which one will you choose to tackle first?
I’ve included a little table of contents below to help you click around and navigate this page a little better.
- All-Purpose Cleaner
- Granite and Stone Cleaner
- “Anti-Bacterial” Spray
- Scouring Scrub
- Scouring Powder
- Toilet Bowl Cleaner
- Glass Cleaner
- Cleaning Wipes
- Fruit/Veg Wash
- Drain Cleaner
- Carpet Cleaner
- Dishwasher Detergent & Rinse Aid
Simple version: A spray bottle with 50/50 solution of water and vinegar + a few drops of essential oil (tea tree or lavender).
Better version: The Ultimate All-Purpose Cleaner is the only cleaner I use for nearly every surface in the home. It started as a floor cleaner, but it works so well everywhere!
Use it on: counter-tops, stove-tops, floors, sinks, stainless steel, anywhere that could use a good wipe-down.
NOTE: Don’t use this on marble/granite as the vinegar will eat away at it and may permanently etch the surface. See granite countertop cleaner below!
Granite & Stone Cleaner
Though it’s tempting to use the all-purpose cleaner on your granite countertops, it should NOT be used since it contains vinegar, which is acidic and can cause etching on the surface over time.
Instead, use this Homemade Granite Cleaner to clean granite, marble, and other stone surfaces.
This is as simple as a spray bottle with some water and some essential oils. For the complete tutorial, including what’s wrong with conventional anti-bacterial products, follow this link: All-Natural Anti-Bacterial Spray.
I just spray this on surfaces after I’ve cleaned them for extra disinfecting action. Mostly on bathroom surfaces – just spray and let air-dry.
Use it on: kitchen and bathroom surfaces in need of extra disinfecting action
Mix together 1 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup castile soap, and 1 tablespoon peroxide. Stir to make a creamy paste, then apply with scrub brush, and rinse clean.
Use it on: bathtubs, sinks, or any surface that you would normally use something like Soft Scrub®.
Just mix baking soda and salt, and store in an old cheese shaker. Check the full tutorial here to see what else you can add to boost the cleaning power of this simple powder.
Use it on: Any surface that you would normally use Comet® or Ajax®. I use this when scrubbing down my stainless steel sink, and it works like magic!
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Just spray the All-Purpose Cleaner inside the toilet bowl, and on the toilet seat and lid. Let it sit for a few minutes. Then sprinkle some baking soda in the bowl, scrub with a toilet brush, then flush. Wipe down the toilet seat and lid with a rag. Done!
Simple version: A spray bottle filled with 50/50 solution of water and vinegar
Better version: A spray bottle filled with 3 parts water and 1 part alcohol, or
Best version: Use the All-Purpose Cleaner for the best results and a streak-free shine! *Just make sure to wipe with a microfiber cloth.
For one or two items: I spray them with a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water, let them sit for a few minutes, rub them very well, then rinse with water.
For a bigger batch: fill a large bowl with water and add 1/4 cup vinegar or peroxide + 2 tablespoons salt. Soak for 5-10 minutes then rinse very well
Are you washing grapes? Check out my post on how to wash grapes the right way!
NOTE: Try to wash only what you’ll use immediately; otherwise, any remaining bacteria could start growing again.
Pour 1/2 cup baking soda, followed by 1 cup vinegar down the drain. Plug the drain to keep the bubbles inside. When the bubbling stops, flush it with very hot water. After about 5 minutes, flush again with cold water.
Rub light carpet stains with a mixture of 2 tablespoons salt dissolved in 1/2 cup vinegar. Let the solution dry, then vacuum.
For larger or darker stains, add 2 tablespoons borax to the mixture and use in the same way.
Dishwasher Detergent & Rinse Aid
Mix 1 cup each of borax and washing soda, and 1/4 cup each of citric acid and kosher salt. Use 1-2 tablespoons in the detergent compartment.
To give your dishes a spotless shine, add some vinegar to the rinse aid compartment.
Where can you buy washing soda?
Washing is not the same as baking soda. Here are some places you can find it:
- in the laundry aisle
- in the pool cleaner aisle at Walmart, brand name is AquaChem. Just make sure the only ingredient listed is sodium carbonate!
- call this phone number 1-800-524-1328 and have the UPC code 33200-03020. The service will ask for your zip code and then tell you places in your area that sell the item.
- you can make your own by cooking baking soda in the oven until it becomes washing soda!
Where to Buy Essential Oils
I use either Plant Therapy or NOW oils for their quality and affordability. You can purchase them online or find them at your local health food store. Just make sure that whatever you buy is labeled as essential oils, and NOT fragrance oils. *NOTE: Essential oils are very potent and should be used with caution. If you are pregnant, nursing, or have any health issues, please consult your health care provider prior to using essential oils. If possible, seek the professional help of a licensed aromatherapist.
Which non-toxic household cleaner will you make today?
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