The good news is, there are tons of much safer natural options on the market today. While many of them used to be quite pricey, prices have come down in recent years, and you can find many all-natural cleaning products for about the same price as their chemical-filled counterparts.
However, some of these products may still contain ingredients you may not want in your home - or they may still cost a bit more than you want to spend.
If this is the case for you, don't despair! You can still have a clean, fresh, and safe home, without spending lots of money on cleaning products. Just make your own using simple, natural, and safe ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry!
In fact, all you need to get started are 6 very basic ingredients, plus some spray bottles for mixing and storage. Here's what you'll need, as well as a list of all-natural D.I.Y. home cleaning product recipes, courtesy of Thrive Market:
What can’t you use vinegar for?! We’re already borderline-obsessed with apple cider vinegar, but white vinegar is also a staple cleaning ingredient. Because it’s so acidic, it easily cuts through grease and grime. It’s also gentle enough to use on skin, so you don’t need to worry about irritation if you get some on your hands.
Stock up: Thrive Market Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
2.) Baking Soda
Scientifically known as sodium bicarbonate, baking soda is a pantry staple that has proven virus-killing abilities. It also has the ability to absorb odors, which is why it’s often used as an air-freshener. If you recall fourth-grade science class, you’ll remember that adding an acid (like vinegar) to a base (like baking soda) is what you need to make a paper-mache volcano “erupt.” That same principle is what makes baking soda–and–vinegar such an effective combo for cleaning, especially in extra scummy areas.
Baking soda also has a whitening effect, which is why it’s often used in DIY detergent and toothpaste recipes.
Stock up: Bob’s Red Mill Baking Soda
3.) Essential Oils
Naturally derived from plants, essential oils like tea tree, lavender, clove, lemon, and peppermint are used in aromatherapy, but many are naturally antibacterial or antiviral (or both!). Adding a few drops into DIY cleaning products boosts their effectiveness, but also make any concoction smell good. Only use oils in recipes that call for them—otherwise they can negate the benefits of your cleaning supplies.
Stock up: NOW Foods Essential Oils
No, it’s not for drinking (at least not until you're finished cleaning)... :-) Vodka is about 40 percent alcohol—and alcohol is a disinfectant. Plus, it’s odorless, colorless, and dries quickly without leaving behind residue. Vodka is commonly added to multipurpose DIY spray cleaners, but it can also be used as a quick fabric refresher.
5.) Lemon Juice
It doesn’t get more natural than this! Lemon juice is naturally antibacterial and antifungal—and it smells pretty great, too. Because it’s fairly acidic, it’s not ideal for softer surfaces like marble, but it works really well on tile and metal.
6. Castile Soap
A style of soap that’s made completely from plant oils, castile soap doesn’t have any detergents or hormone-disrupting chemicals. That means is just as safe to use on skin as it is for cleaning your kitchen floor. Dr. Bronner’s unscented version is our go-to for DIY cleaning products.
Stock up: Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap
Other Tools Needed for Making Your Natural Cleaning Products
Now that you have all the ingredients, you’ll need to some storage containers and cleaning tools. Here’s what to buy before you start making your natural cleaning products:
- A spray bottle
- Small mason jars
- Large mason jars
- Natural sponge
- Natural bristle brush for dishes
- 100 percent recycled paper towels or
- Old cotton or flannel rags (that have been washed)
8 DIY Recipes for All-Natural Home Cleaning Products
It’s surprisingly how many cleaning products you can make with just a few key ingredients. Many of these recipes will work on multiple surfaces (if it cleans the toilet bowl, it’ll work on the kitchen sink, too), so don’t feel pigeonholed into using them in only one room or area!
One note to remember: These are natural products, meaning they don’t contain chemicals or preservatives, so they do lose their potency after a period of time. While most can last up to four weeks when properly stored, it’s best to make just enough for the task at hand. Most of these recipes will make more than enough to do a full cleaning.
All-Purpose Surface Cleaner
For quick clean-ups, this is safe to use on everything from counters to stovetops—but avoid spraying on glass (it’ll leave streaks).
- ¾ cup of water
- ¼ cup rubbing alcohol or vodka
- 5-10 drops tea tree, peppermint, orange, or lemon essential oil
- 1 teaspoon liquid castile soap
For a slightly obsessively clean person, there’s nothing worse than lifting up the grate on stovetop burners and finding caked-on gunk, right? This scrub is just what you need to get things squeaky, shiny clean.
- ¼ cup castile soap
- ¼ cup baking soda
- 5 drops clove oil (or essential oil of your choice)
- A few drops of water
Honestly, it’s probably one of the dirtiest places in your kitchen—mostly because it’s just so hard to access! This three-ingredient DIY is so easy; all you need to do is mix together ACV and lemon peels, sprinkle some baking soda, give it a little scrub, and your oven will be squeaky clean. (Check out a quick how-to video here.)
Whether it’s a minor splatter or a major explosion, a microwave mess is inevitable at some point. And food can get particularly caked on if it goes through a few cooking cycles. Instead of standing on your tiptoes to scrub at old spaghetti stains, use the power of steam to melt away greasy messes. Bonus: It smells lemony-fresh!
- 4 cups water
- 1 lemon
Tea Tree and Lemon Disinfecting Cleanser
Whipping out the disinfectant isn’t always mandatory, but after particularly germy tasks (like dealing with raw meat) it’s always a good idea. This all-natural version does the trick.
- ½ cup white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 20 drops tea tree essential oil
- 10 drops lemon essential oil
- 2 cups boiled and slightly cooled water
It might not be at the top of your priority list (and it’s not exactly enjoyable) but cleaning the bathroom is a necessary evil. When you ditch the bleach and toxic cleaning products, though, it’s actually not so bad. Essential oils double as disinfectants and aromatherapy—cleanliness and calm? Sounds a lot better than choking on toxic fumes while scrubbing the toilet!
Essential Oil Disinfecting Bathroom Spray
Perfect for the porcelain throne. Use whichever essential oils you’d like, but we’re fans of lavender and eucalyptus for a soothing, botanical scent.
- ½ cup white vinegar
- ½ cup vodka
- 10 drops lavender essential oil
- 10 drops eucalyptus essential oil
- 1 ½ boiled and slightly cooled water
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
This concoction will make everyone’s favorite part of cleaning a little easier.
If you’ve got an older shower, or just have a lot of hair, your tub can be slow to drain. It’s seriously annoying—use this recipe to unclog those pipes.
- ¼ cup baking soda
- ¼ cup distilled apple cider vinegar
- 3 drops lemon or peppermint essential oil
- 32 ounces boiling water
These recipes were originally published on ThriveMarket.com. Visit Thrive for more DIY home cleaning recipes.
Happy (and safe) cleaning! :-)