Years ago, I became obsessed with the idea of saving money on things I used on a day-to-day basis. Influenced by shows like Extreme Couponers, I quickly joined up couponing websites and forums to try and catch the best deal possible on everything imaginable. At one time, I spent a couple of months purchasing cleaning products at great prices (basic couponing tip: use coupons when the item is on sale at the store! A window cleaner’s regular price might be $4.99, on sale right now for $2.50, and I have a $1.50 off coupon, making that $5 item only a $1.00!) – only to discover after that I had hoarded almost one hundred bottles of various home cleaners.
None of which were eco-friendly. Not only had I gone against basic minimalist principles, against basic zero waste principles, I now had enough toxic chemicals to kill a baby bear (I wish I were joking…). And I had a new baby in the house and was suddenly stressing out about all the toxic chemicals that I was putting on surfaces and into the air. So I sold these store-bought cleaning products to a local cleaning lady (making a tiny profit!) and went back to square one. I started making my own DIY natural home cleaning products.
Where to Start?
I did a lot of research and spent hours poring over details. If you google or pinterest ‘diy home cleaners’ you will find thousands of recipes, all claiming to be eco-friendly, easy on the environment, simple to make, and they all work! Well, after testing and testing different recipes, I found out that they don’t ALL work, that some are harder to make than others, and that some of it comes down to personal preference (scents, items available in your area, etc).
What do I need?
- Stainless Steel Spray Bottles (find them on amazon here, here, and here)
- Mason Jars or any Glass Jars
- Essential Oils Kit (here and here)
- Castile Soap (here and here)
- Distilled White Vinegar
- Baking Soda
A note about essential oils: if you don’t want to invest in a kit I would recommend purchasing citronella, citrus (lemon, lime, sweet orange), and tea tree oil. Essential oils are sometimes used for a pleasant scent, while some oils also offering anti-bacterial properties.
A note about stainless steel spray bottles: this is my personal preference as I am concerned with reusing plastic bottles too many times and chemicals leaching out from the bottles into the cleaners. You could also use glass if this is a concern. At first I simply re-used old plastic cleaning bottles (old glass-cleaner spraying bottles and dish soap bottles). (ps. Turn a mason jar into a spray bottle!)
Homemade Dishwashing Liquid
- 1/2 cup castile soap
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 5-25 drops of essential oils (mix them up for a custom scent!)
Combine in a plastic bottle (I use an old liquid dishwashing bottle), give a quick shake before use. You should use about 1-2 tablespoons per load of dishes.
Kitchen Sink Cleaner
One of my biggest pet peeves is a dirty sink. This works equally well on stainless steel sinks and porcelain sinks.
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 3-5 drops of preferred essential oil (I like lavender!)
Combine all ingredients. Rinse sink with hot water. Pour the cleanser in the sink and scrub well, rinse with hot water. Ta-da! A beautiful, sparkling sink!
DIY Floor Cleaner
I put this solution in a spray bottle and wipe dry with a dry microfibre mop, or I use my Veleda spray mop.
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup vinegar
- 1 cup 70% isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol
- 5-10 drops of castile soap
Combine all ingredients in spray bottle. Spray lightly onto are, allow to sit for no more than 5 minutes, than wipe dry with dry mop.
DIY Toilet Bowl Cleaner
This simple toilet bowl cleaner is a great recipe to have on hand and it works!
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 10 drops tea tree oil
Combine all ingredients. Add to bowl, swipe with a toilet brush and you’re done!
DIY Window Wash
There are so many different window cleaning recipes, here I share my favourite. I use this one most often because it’s so easy – vinegar and water, and whatever essential oil I have on hand.
- 1 cup vinegar
- 4 cups water
- 10 drops of preferred essential oil (I like lemon!)
Combine ingredients. Shake bottle before use, spray liberally on windows, and wipe away using cloth, newspaper or reusable Bambooee paper towels.
DIY All-Purpose Cleaner
I found this recipe on Zero Waste Home years ago and I keep going back to it. It’s simple and smells great.
- 1 1/2 teaspoon castile soap (I use lavender)
- 3 teaspoons vinegar
- 4 cups of water
Add ingredients to spray bottle and spray on surfaces. Wipe dry.
Why I Use Natural Homemade Cleaners
Store-bought household cleaning products contain toxins that may be carcinogenic, can be the cause of respiratory and heart problems, and can lead to asthma or allergies. Check out the Environmental Working Group to read more about it. If I can make our home safe and clean without using toxic chemicals or hazardous ingredients, then I will. I feel good about the cleaning product recipes I use, my house is clean, my children are safe, and my home smells good too!
If you are interested in learning more about cleaning your home naturally, check out some of these books: