All-Natural Cleaning Tips

Save money (and elbow grease!) by making your own cleaning products at home.

All-Natural Cleaning Tips

Making your own green cleaning products is good for the environment as well as the health of your family. But that’s not all it is good for – if you are looking to give your household budget a makeover, learning how to make your own green cleaning products will save you money.

Low on Price Without the Sacrifice

Making your own cleaning products is much cheaper than buying individual pre-made products. Baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, cornstarch, isopropyl alcohol and hydrogen peroxide are effective, inexpensive key ingredients found in many homemade cleaners. These items are readily available in local stores and are commonly found in our kitchens and bathrooms. Since you have these items in your home already, it will instantly save you money, time and storage space.

Multiple Uses = More Green in Your Pocket:

  • Since most homemade cleaners have the same base ingredients, they can be used in different ways and amounts to tackle specific areas of the house. Buying these items in bulk will save you even more money.
  • Baking soda can be used as a fabric softener, deodorizer, metal polisher, drain cleaner, nonabrasive scrub and toilet cleaner as well as other countless uses (this list doesn’t even cover its health and beauty uses).
  • Vinegar can be used to clean multiple surfaces, deodorize, remove mildew and as a fabric softener.
  • Lemon juice and lemons can be used as glass cleaner, deodorizer and stain remover while cornstarch can clean windows, carpets and polish furniture.

Don't Throw Your Money in the Garbage

Consider switching to microfiber cloths instead of using paper towels. These amazing little cloths lift off dirt, grease and dust while dry or with plain water because they penetrate and trap dirt. Since a good quality cloth is only a few dollars and can last for several years, a small investment now can save you hundreds of dollars over time. If you like using a refillable mop, find one that allows you to use your own solution and washable microfiber pads. You will never have to pay for toxic, expensive chemicals or expensive, disposable pads again.

Recipes for Success!

Below you will find some basic recipes to get you started (feel free to poke around our site to find even more!) If you're feeling particularly productive, check out how you can create your very own nontoxic cleaning kit designed to help you clean your entire home without a single expensive chemical. 

Daily All-Purpose Cleaner
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup seltzer water
8 drops of tea tree oil
1/8 cup hydrogen peroxide

Besides cleaning, this mixture can be used to disinfect surface areas in your home. Hydrogen peroxide eventually turns to water, so make sure to add more each time you use the solution.

Spot Wipes (Bleach Wipes Alternative)
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup club soda
8 drops of essential oil (for scent)

Combine ingredients and soak 20 heavy-duty paper towels in the mixture. Squeeze out the excess and store in a plastic sandwich bag. Use to clean spots and spills as needed.

Dual-Spray System (Bleach Alternative)   
3% hydrogen peroxide
White vinegar
Clear spray bottle
Dark spray bottle (or a spray nozzle to fit over hydrogen-peroxide bottle)

Fill clear spray bottle with straight vinegar. Fill dark spray bottle with hydrogen peroxide or apply spray nozzle directly to hydrogen peroxide bottle. To disinfect any hard surface, spray vinegar, then hydrogen peroxide or vice versa. Spraying order does not affect effectiveness. This solution can also be used to safely clean and disinfect produce. Spray both solutions, then rinse thoroughly.

Non-Abrasive Cleaner 
Pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into a bowl and add enough liquid detergent to make a texture-like frosting. Scoop the mixture onto a sponge and wash the surface. This is the perfect recipe for cleaning the bathtub because it rinses easily and doesn’t leave grit. Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin to the mixture and store in a sealed glass jar; this will keep the product moist. If you cannot find glycerin, make the mixture as needed.

Mold and Mildew Spray
2 tsp tea tree oil
2 cups water

Combine in a spray bottle, shake to blend and spray on problem areas. Do not rinse. The strong odor will dissipate over time. This recipe makes 2 cups. The tea tree oil is costly but works really well and will last a long time.

Window Cleaner
1/4-1/2 tsp liquid detergent
3 tbsp vinegar
2 cups water

Put all the ingredients into a spray bottle, shake it up a bit and use as you would a commercial brand. The soap in this recipe is important. It cuts the wax residue from the commercial brands you might have used in the past.

Toilet Bowl Cleaners

I have listed three different recipes here because I like choices and I think if you make something that will work best for you, chances are you will use it more. The first recipe is a great method to clean a non-stained toilet and keep it clean. The second and third recipes are good for toilets that need a deeper cleaning.

Vinegar and Baking Soda
1 cup vinegar
1/2 cup baking soda

Pour the vinegar into the toilet bowl and let it sit for at least 30 minute. When complete, dip your brush in the toilet and sprinkle some baking soda onto the brush. Scour the inside of the toilet with the brush until the all baking soda is gone. Repeat as necessary.

Borax and Lemon Juice
1 cup Borax
1/2 cup lemon juice

Pour 1 cup of Borax into a small bowl, then add 1/2 cup of lemon juice over the Borax; gently stir with a spoon into a paste. Flush the toilet to wet the sides, then rub the paste onto the toilet with a sponge (you might want to wear rubber gloves just to stay clean). Let it sit for 2 hours before scrubbing thoroughly. This is great for removing a stubborn stain like a toilet bowl ring.

Borax and Vinegar
1 cup Borax
1/2 cup vinegar

Flush the toilet to wet the sides of the bowl, then sprinkle a cup of Borax around the rim and sides of toilet. Spray 1/2 cup of vinegar over the Borax and allow to sit for several hours or overnight. Scrub thoroughly with a toilet brush until the bowl gleams. Sometimes hard water just leaves a stubborn ring that no amount of scrubbing or rubbing can eliminate. Use the pumice stone at this point and rub lightly on the stain.

Want to know how to look marvelous without splurging so much? Dr. Oz invites three beauty experts to share the smartest ways to save money while looking fabulous starting from your hair and makeup tools to the beauty products you use.