Everyone wants a clean home, but harsh products can be hard on your surfaces, your body, and your wallet. They can dry out your hands, cause skin irritation, and harsh fumes can even cause migraines.
Plus, little kids put their mouths on everything, and it’s hard to know which is worse — the germs, or the chemical residue from the store-bought cleaning products.
So these days, more and more people are turning towards natural DIY solutions that they can feel good about. Using some simple, affordable ingredients, you can clean your home from top-to-bottom!
Here’s a list of most of the ingredients we’ll use in these cleaning methods. You may find that you already have several of them in your pantry!
Distilled white vinegar’s acidity lets it cut through grease and grime. You can get a big bottle at your grocery store for less than $3.00.
Liquid Castile Soap
Castile soaps like Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap are a great, gentle ingredient in some DIY cleaners. Dr. Bronner’s is made primarily from coconut, hemp, and palm kernel oils. Make sure not to mix vinegar and castile soap in the same cleaning blend. The vinegar will “unsaponify” the soap, meaning it will separate the oils back out into a gloopy mess.
A bottle of this soap may seem expensive, but you’ll be diluting it heavily in your cleaners, so it will go a long way.
Salt may not have any magical cleaning powers, but it’s great for scrubbing. Think of it as a natural version of Comet.
Baking soda mixed with water can dissolve dirt and grease. And since it’s a food product, you know it’s non-toxic.
This pantry staple can help to loosen stuck-on bits of grime and finish surfaces to a high shine.
A few drops of essential oils like orange, lemongrass, or tea tree will leave a clean fresh scent behind after your cleaning is done.
Don’t let the technical-sounding name of “hydrogen peroxide” scare you away from using it. Hydrogen peroxide is a naturally occurring compound, made of 2 oxygen atoms and 2 hydrogen atoms. As it’s relatively unstable, it breaks down easily into water and a single extra oxygen molecule. This single oxygen atom is a great disinfectant.
Now that we’ve broken down our main ingredients, let’s talk about how to turn them into cleaning powerhouses!
1. All-purpose cleaner
A simple castile soap-based cleaner can be used to clean most of the surfaces in your home, from stove-tops to countertops to bathtubs. Mix 2 cups of distilled water, 2 tablespoons castile soap, and 10 to 15 drops of your favorite essential oils in a spray bottle.
Give it a good shake, and it’s ready to use! If you need scrubbing power, sprinkle a little baking soda on the surface, and then spray with your cleaner. Let it soak for a couple of minutes, and then give it a good scrub. Wipe down with a wet cloth when you’re done.
2. For brass or copper
First, pull out the ketchup. No, we’re not making burgers.
The mild acidity in ketchup makes it a great way to lift tarnish and age off of your copper and brass. Squeeze some of the condiment onto your piece, and give it a good scrub with a clean cloth.
If you need extra abrasion to get the job done, sprinkle a little salt in with the ketchup. Once you’ve scrubbed enough, rinse the piece off with warm water, and dry thoroughly. Voila!
3. For windows and mirrors
You don’t need store-bought window cleaner to get a streak-free shine on glass or mirrors. Try this mix instead:
- 2 cups water
- ½ cup white vinegar
- ¼ cup rubbing alcohol
- A few drops of essential oils
Put the mix in a spray bottle, and spritz on windows, mirrors, and shower doors. Instead of paper towels, which can leave lint behind, use a microfiber cloth or coffee filters to wipe clean.
4. For stainless steel
Avoid abrasive cleaners on your stainless steel appliances, as they can scratch the finish. Instead, spray a little white vinegar on the appliance, and wipe clean with a microfiber cloth. After it’s dry, rub a little olive oil into the steel for a pretty shine.
5. For floors
For most floors, you can use the all-purpose cleaner (#1, above). It’s not acidic, so it’s safe for marble or stone, and it won’t make wood or laminate slick and dangerous.
But if you want a little extra shine on your wood floors, try this recipe:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
- 10 – 15 drops essential oils of your choice
- Warm water
Mix the ingredients together in a spray bottle, and spray sparingly on the wood floor, working in small sections. Rub the mixture into the floor with a microfiber mop or cloth, and you’re done!
6. For grout
No matter how clean your floors are, they won’t look clean if your grout is dingy.
To freshen it up, sprinkle baking soda onto the grout and spritz with hydrogen peroxide until it’s wet. Give it 10 minutes to do its magic, and then give it a scrub. An old toothbrush works great for this!
After scrubbing, wipe the grout clean with a damp cloth.
7. For countertops
For most countertops, the all-purpose cleaner (#1, above) will do the trick! It’s safe for laminate, marble, granite, tile, and wood countertops, as long as the wood is not oiled or waxed. (The castile soap will break down the wax.)
If you’d like another countertop solution, try this one:
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1 cup water
- A few drops of essential oils like orange, lemon, or tea tree
Shake it all up in a spray bottle, and you’re ready to go. DO NOT use this solution on marble or granite. Vinegar’s acidity can etch and damage natural stone!
It’s easy and affordable to limit your use of store-bought cleaners. These simple recipes will make sure your house is sanitary and sparkling, without breaking the bank or bringing harmful chemicals into your home!