One of the things I switched over to after my girls were born was non-toxic cleaners. As I got more and more into the homesteading lifestyle I began to realize that companies were charging me higher prices to get non-toxic or all-natural cleaners. When I originally started that was okay but as time went on I realized that I could make products that were equal to, or possibly better than, the products I was using.
Why would I not wish to save money and have better quality products than that on the shelf at the same time?
Today I am going to share with you, my secret recipes for great non-toxic cleaners.
DIY Household Cleaners
What amazed me the most when I started making my own household cleaners was how it typically used ingredients I already had in the house.
Even items I had never heard of before I was currently using for one thing but could have been using for a multitude of other things. A great example of this would be borax. Found in the laundry aisle at the store, this is what it is typically used for. It is already in our laundry soap that we use (Tide, Sun, whatever). It could also be used to kill ants and many other things we'd never think of! Why, then, was I paying for laundry soap when I could make my own and use the other ingredients to improve my household?
Here is a list of ingredients you probably have at home that can be used to clean your house:
- Baking Soda- Many of you already know that baking soda kills smells in the refrigerator. It can also kill smells in shoes and other places. I recommend taking an old sock or one that doesn't have a match, filling it with baking soda, and putting the sock in the shoe or area with the smell. I also use baking soda as a scrub to get the grime off but we will talk about that in the next section.
- Lemons- Lemon has the potential to kill a lot of food bacterias. Using lemons along with salt on a cutting board that was used to cut meat is a great idea, then do a simple soap and water cleanse.
- Castile soap- Some people say that any kind of soap is good for cleaning and that may be true, but I prefer castile soap because I can also use it in my garden and I know it does not have any scents or problems with irritating my skin. I always buy the solid form because it is easy to make your own liquid soap. If you would like for it to be liquid then it is as simple as using a zester and add soap to water and shake.
- White Vinegar- White vinegar is good for getting rid of bad scents as well (did you know that?). It also cuts grease.
- Hydrogen Peroxide- I actually use hydrogen peroxide to dry out my poison ivy when I get it but have found it works great for other things around the house as well.
Ingredients Worth Purchasing
- Borax- There is a reason why this is in the beginning paragraph.
- Essential Oils- I am beginning to really get into essential oils and for good reason. They can calm someone down, have helped my daughter be able to breathe through her nose again, and we will soon be purchasing the oils needed to get rid of warts (I promise to write a post and let you know how that goes) since I have an autoimmune disorder that will not allow me to use conventional methods to remove them. They are also good household cleaners, partially for smell and also as an antibacterial (Rosemary), for grease removal (Wild Orange), and for fighting germs (Tea Tree Oil).
- A couple of spray bottles and some sharpies. This is for pouring your new recipes in and marking them so you know which one to use where. I'd hate for you to use window cleaner on your toilet seat!
Spray Bottle Recipes
For the next set of recipes, you are going to need a spray bottle to pour your recipes into when you're finished. Maybe it is because I was used to spray bottles as a kid, but there is something so nostalgic about using a spray bottle to clean. Here are the recipes:
For all-purpose cleaner:
- Mix half a cup of vinegar with a fourth of a cup of baking soda and two liters of water (I prefer distilled water but tap is fine if you so choose).
- Once the ingredients are mixed well I recommend adding either half a lemon-juice only, no seeds- or four drops of lemon essential oil.
For mold removal:
- Hopefully you don't have this problem but I understand that people might move into a place that has some pre-existing mold.
- The simple way to get rid of mold is to combine one-third of a cup of hydrogen peroxide with two-thirds of a cup of water in the spray bottle.
- Spray onto the mold and let sit for at least two hours before rinsing away.
For carpet stains:
- This depends on how long ago the stain was created and how bad it is. If done recently and not too bad, you can use a mixture of vinegar and water.
- Spray and use a brush to clean.
- If it is older or much more difficult to get out, we will address that later in the section (because no spray bottle will be used).
- 2 Tablespoons borax,
- 4 tablespoons vinegar,
- 2 tablespoons grated castile soap,
- 3 cups of water and
- 2 drops each of lemon essential oil and tea tree essential oil.
- Add to spray bottle and shake well.
For furniture polish:
- This is for varnished wood only, do not use otherwise. Other furniture will be covered in the non-spray section.
- Add half a cup of water and
- 3 drops of lemon essential oils into a spray bottle.
- Spray onto a cloth and then clean the wood.
For wall paper removal:
- Mix equal parts white vinegar and warm water.
- Spray onto the wall and let soak a few minutes before peeling.
For window cleaner:
This one is my absolute favorite:
- Mix one tablespoon white vinegar,
- two drops wild orange essential oil,
- and a liter of warm water.
- Clean with a cotton cloth.
Ways to Clean Without the Bottle
Sometimes using my favorite spray bottle just is not possible with cleaning. Such as when you need to make a paste for the really grimy stuff. Here's my go-to list for non-spray products:
For rings on wood:
I found it very interesting that rubbing a little mayonnaise will get rid of the ring brought on by putting a cup on wood for too long.
For bathtub tiles:
- Rub the bath with vinegar on a cloth, then add baking soda to the walls.
- Once this has sat for about ten minutes (in the meantime, clean another part of the bathroom),
- use your showerhead and spray off with water.
For toilet bowls:
See, I told you there were other things you can do while you are waiting on the bathtub! This one is super simple.
- Clean using the toilet bowl scrubber, flush.
- Then mix baking soda,
- lemon essential oil,
- and vinegar together and
- pour into the bowl,
- scrub around some more if you want to disinfect,
- let sit for a few minutes and flush again.
For the stove top:
This one is my personal favorite non-spray bottle recipe because it was the very first recipe I ever used. My husband and I ran out of the store bought stove top cleaner so I went out on a whim and found this recipe online. Fell in love and have never gone back.
The recipe is:
- sprinkle baking soda on the stove top,
- add peroxide to the baking soda and
- let it soak for a little bit.
- Then use a wash cloth to wipe off.
- If you have a rough stove top, use a green scour pad.
- You can also opt to make a paste with the baking soda and peroxide.
- This works great for the rings around the eye that always manage to get burnt chunks on it.
For oil and grease spots:
This one is used a lot in my house as well since my husband works on vehicles for a living.
- Add baking soda and scrub.
- If there are larger spills, you can also use cat litter to soak up the excess oil.
- The great thing with the cat litter is you just take a broom and wipe it up.
For stainless steel:
Rub with non-diluted vinegar or you can cut a lemon in half and use that!
For copper cookware:
- I use baking soda and vinegar paste.
- Let it sit while I do all the other dishes and then
- use a green scouring pad to get the gunk off the bottom.
- If I am cleaning the inside that I don't want to get scratched, I just use a towel.
I recommend checking out this post. It's awesome and will give you all the information you need to make your own laundry detergent.
I told you we'd come back to this one.
- If you have unvarnished wood,
- you mix two tablespoons olive oil and
- lemon juice to a towel and
- wipe it on the wood in long, even strokes.
For tile floors:
Other than in the girls' bedrooms we have tiles throughout the house. We find it is easier to keep clean than carpet is. My tile shine is fairly simple:
- I fill a bucket up with hot water and
- add half a cup white vinegar and
- four drops of wild orange essential oil to the water.
For your coffee pot and tea pitchers:
For my coffee pot, I use six cups of water and two cups of vinegar and have it go through the coffee cycle.
- Once that is done, I pour it out and make another pot of just water.
- Then I don't touch my coffee pot for at least eight hours.
- (Which means before I clean it, I make sure I have enough coffee to hold me over).
For the tea pitcher, I use the same ratio of water and vinegar,
- boiling it in a pot before adding it to the pitcher.
- Then I let it sit for an hour,
- pour the water mixture out,
- and scrub the pitcher down
- before I use soap and water to clean it.
For tougher carpet stains:
Make a mixture of salt, borax, and vinegar in even amounts.
- Put onto the stain,
- scrub in well and
- let sit until dry.
- Once dry, vacuum that sucker up!
Ewwww… That Smell
I feel the anti-stink section kind of deserves a section of its own. The great thing about this is that other than the main ingredients to get rid of the smell, you can add your own essential oil to the solution to get the smell you desire.
A friend of mine had a lavender neutralizer that smelled simply awesome the other day so I am going to try that soon.
To make the bad smell go away, simply:
- Mix together four or five drops of your favorite essential oil and
- one-fourth of a cup of baking soda.
Just the beginning
This is just the beginning of your cleaning journey, there are so many different ways to get the bad stuff out and the good stuff in. Having a clean car and a clean house brings peace like no other. I know first hand how stressful a dirty home can make a person.
Every day is not perfect, my house doesn't always look like a magazine but I take comfort in knowing that if my ten-month-old niece came over she would be safe if she tried to lick the glass on my front door.