Homemade Green Cleaners Made Easy

Chemicals are everywhere! In our furniture, flooring, cleaning products, toys, clothes… This list goes on. The more I read, the fact I keep coming back to is that even if a specific chemical hasn’t been linked with some detrimental effect, yet, it’s safety hasn’t been proven either.

Most of the “new” chemicals used today are not tested before they are put on the market. This is something that Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families and Healthy child Healthy World are trying to change. Until they succeed, I wanted to rid my family of as many of these chemicals as I could. Again, I started with the easy, inexpensive things – our cleaning products. So many can be made from safe ingredients you have around the house – edible ingredients that people have been using for years! And so cheap! Each of these cleaners costs less than $1, after the initial expense of the spray bottle ($1). And that’s including the essential oils. Skip those and you are talking $ 0.30. If you choose to reuse an old spray bottle, just make sure you clean it very well.

I started at the library with a few books on homemade cleaners. The one I really liked is Easy Green Living by Renee Loux. It was a great introduction. She organized the book according to the rooms in your house. First she explains the possible toxins in cleaners or other things. She then gives you alternatives – homemade and store bought.

All of the ingredients were very easy to get. I did order some essential oils, but you don’t need these. And if you decide you want them, try GNC at the Pheasant Lane Mall. They carry most of the popular ones – who knew! I then bought some spray bottles from the Dollar Store and made up my own labels using Microsoft Word and some clip art. So here is my list of non-toxic cleaners I use in the 2 messiest rooms.

What you will need:

Spray bottles (Dollar Store)
White Distilled Vinegar (Grocery Store)
Castile soap (Bed, Bath and Beyond (great price!) Grocery Store, Target, GNC)
Baking Soda (Grocery Store, BJ’s, Costco)
3 % Hydrogen Peroxide (Drug Store)
Essential oils (optional, but are available locally at GNC)

 

Kitchen:

kitchen cleaning products
From left to right:

Hydrogen Peroxide (3% solution found in most drugstores) – I put an extra spray top (from an old bottle of window cleaner) onto the hydrogen peroxide bottle. Keep it in the original brown bottle to keep it from breaking down.

Distilled White Vinegar – Kept in a spray bottle. For more uses for vinegar, check out a great post by Live Green Mom.

Baking Soda – an old parmesan cheese shaker bottle filled with baking soda.

All Purpose Cleaner
2 cups water, ½ cup distilled white vinegar, 1 tsp castile soap, 10 drops lavender, 10 drops lemongrass, 10 drops lemon
If you have granite counter tops, do not use this. The vinegar can damage it.

Update: I’ve since eliminated the castile soap in this recipe.  I found that it often clumped and recently discovered that vinegar and castile soap don’t really work well together and can clump!

Uses:

To clean counters and table: All Purpose Cleaner

To disinfect: I spray some of the pure vinegar then spray the hydrogen peroxide. The mixture of the 2 creates a super disinfectant. Some sources claim this combination will kill Salmonella and E. Coli. Never combine the 2 into one bottle and store. This can create a bad combination to leave around your house. I use this on my counters on occasion, cutting boards, kids’ reusable bottles, anything I feel needs a little extra.

Unclog a drain:

Pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain
Pour 1 cup vinegar
Let it fizz for a while
Follow with boiling water

I also like to so this in the summer when I am having fruit fly problems. I read somewhere that they like to breed in your drain. I swear it helps!

Scrubbing Anything: I sprinkle a little baking soda on anything that needs extra scrubbing – pots, pans, dishes, the counter. Add a little water and it makes a great paste. Think of it as a substitute for Soft Scrub.

Oven Cleaner: Sprinkle your oven with baking soda, spray with water to form a paste. Let it sit for 12 hours. Wipe off. If the baking soda residue remains, spray with your straight vinegar. Vinegar dissolves baking soda.

Clean the Greasy Tops of Cabinets: I have to tell you how great baking soda is. If you have ever looked at the tops of your cabinets, especially the ones near the stove, you will notice a disgusting mix of grease and dust. The first time I tried to clean this mess, I was up there with a mixture of ammonia and water. Ugh the smell gave me a headache and it still wasn’t easy to clean. The next time I tried I knew better than to use ammonia. So I got up on my counter with my trusty shaker bottle of baking soda and a spray bottle filled with water. I sprinkled the baking soda all over the top of the cabinet then sprayed with the water, just enough to make a paste. I then wiped the paste away with a rag – the baking soda and all the grease-dust ick came right off! I was amazed! And no fumes!

 

Bathroom

bathroom cleaning products
Yes, that says USED baking soda. When I change the baking soda from my fridg and freezer, I keep it to use to clean the toilet or the drain, above. I just need the baking soda to fizz, it doesn’t need to be completely fresh to clean the commode.

Vinegar – mine is mixed with lavender, but you don’t need this.

Castile Soap

Uses:

To Clean Toilet:

Into the bowl – 1 TBSP of castile soap, 1/3 cup baking soda, 1/3 cup vinegar
Let it fizz for a few minutes
Scrub toilet
Flush

Anti-bacterial Hand Soap:

4 oz castile soap
10 drops of tea tree oil

All purpose cleaner: same as above.

I am still experimenting with homemade laundry detergents and dishwasher detergents. So far, I am not impressed with the results, but I’ll let you know if I come across anything worth passing along. Will you try these? Are you already using something similar?

Update 2/7/2011: Since this post I have tried Charlie’s Soap Powder and Soap Nuts
for laundry and Bi-O-Kleen Automatic Dish Powder with Grapefruilt Seed &; Orange Peel Extract. I LOVE them all! More on this to come.  Check here for a great deal on Bio-Kleen 8/2012.

If you purchase these products through this link, I will receive a little pocket money.


This post has been shared on Frugally Sustainable’s Wednesday Blog Hop, Teach Me Tuesdays, Printabelle, Your Green Resource, and Tiny Tip Tuesday

This post was featured at Tiny Tip Tuesday.
      

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23 Responses to Homemade Green Cleaners Made Easy

  1. lori-aka-groovy-green-livin January 7, 2011 at 6:20 pm #

    Thank you so much for these great “recipes”! I love to use vinegar, water and tea tree oil for cleaning almost everything. Baking soda is great for that extra scrubbing. My one caution would be not to use vinegar on granite. Happy cleaning!!

  2. CM January 7, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

    I can’t wait to try the baking soda and water paste on the greasy dust covering the top of my microwave door and the cabinet over the stove! Thanks for such easy ideas.

  3. The Greening Of Westford January 8, 2011 at 1:20 am #

    Glad you liked them! @Lori, thanks for the reminder about vinegar and granite.

  4. Small Footprints April 1, 2011 at 1:40 am #

    Wowee … this is a great list of homemade cleansers. It’s a small thing but … I think it’s brilliant that you used an old Parmesan container for the baking soda. I love that … and I’ll bet that it makes it easier to get it where you want it. I use vinegar, baking soda and essential oils for just about all of my cleaning. It works so well and no headache-causing fumes. 🙂 For furniture, I use olive oil & lemon juice. And my newest discovery is for those hard to clean casserole dishes which most people use a brillo pad on … in a dry dish, pour some salt & a little liquid dish washing detergent to make a little paste … and then scrub away. Works like a charm. I haven’t tried the baking soda in the oven trick yet … but going to.

    Thanks so much. And … to answer your question from my blog … yes, indeedy … any post counts for our challenges. We’re all about sharing and learning. I’m going to add you to my blog roll. Take Care!

  5. The Greening Of Westford April 1, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

    Thanks Small Footprints! I have What a Card to thank for telling me about you. The parmesan container works soooo well – the holes are the perfect size! I’ll have to try the salt and dish det.

  6. Rae April 6, 2011 at 5:46 pm #

    Fantastic post – thank you for sharing some of your favourite recipes. I’m a long-time user of bicarbonate of soda and vinegar and don’t you even think of trying to take away my beautiful essential oils! I love to sprinkle a little salt onto the cut side of a lemon for a super scrubber!

    Mrs green @littlegreenblog.com

  7. EcoGrrl March 14, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

    Hey there- saw your comment on bulk shampoo- whole foods sells bulk shampoos, conditioners, soaps, lotions etc so should be in MA 🙂

  8. The Greening Of Westford March 14, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

    Thanks! I’ll have to ask. I have never seen them at our Whole Foods. Is it their brand of shampoo, conditioner, and lotion (the 365)?

  9. Michelle March 19, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

    I make all of the cleaning products we use in our home. I’m never without vinegar, baking soda, and Dr. Bronner’s soaps. We save so much money and no more worries about toxic chemicals!

    Peace,
    Michelle @ greenearthbazaar.com 😉

    • The Greening Of Westford March 22, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

      Hi Michelle,

      Can I start by saying LOVE your blog!
      I buy vinegar, baking soda and Dr. Bronner’s in HUGE quantities and just love the way they clean! Would never go back.

  10. Ann March 20, 2012 at 9:06 am #

    We use a lot of baking soda and vinegar. My son has sensory issues, and won’t want me to use normal detergent for all his washing. (he is 15)

    • The Greening Of Westford March 22, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

      Hi Ann, Good to know about the baking soda and vinegar being good for those with sensory issues. I’ll have to pass that on.

  11. Jacqueline March 22, 2012 at 11:02 am #

    Fantastic list of green cleaners. I wish I could get my hands on castile soap a little easier but I make do fine. My cleaners think I am nuts and keep asking for Jif (The cleaner not the peanut butter) and scowl when I tell them no but they have gotten a bit more used to my insistence and now know to reach for the vinegar before anything else!

    • The Greening Of Westford March 22, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

      Glad you like the list. So funny about your cleaners! nice to know they are learning too. Being around all those chemicals is not good for them. I know a woman who cleans houses for a living and uses only “green” cleaners for HER health.

  12. Rae May 22, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

    fantastic post; I love how this small range of items can take care of most daily cleaning jobs. My personal favourite are baking soda, white vinegar and lemon and rose essential oils – they clean practically everything for pennies 🙂

    Warm wishes
    Rae aka mrsgreen @ littlegreenblog.com

  13. Printabelle May 30, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

    Excellent suggestions. I love how cheap they are, too! I’d love for you to add it on my link party at: http://printabelle.com/?p=4459 Thanks!

  14. Printabelle May 31, 2012 at 4:50 am #

    Thanks for linking up! I think I worry sometimes that when the baking soda, vinegar and peroxide people realize that people are using these so much they’ll raise the prices! LOL! But in the meantime I also use many of these inexpensive ingredients for health purposes as well as cleaning!

  15. peter thomos September 19, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    I read your article and found very useful Homemade Green Cleaners…
    Thanks for sharing…

    Green Cleaners

  16. Green Bag Lady Teresa April 10, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    Great tips! Thanks Kristina!

  17. kitty February 10, 2014 at 3:20 pm #

    I have used Charlie’s soap for years. Safe for cloth diapers and nothing in it you don’t need! Does its job without all the extra ingredients.

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