Your home is your nest. The place where you rest and find respite from the crazy world outside your walls. But is it a safe place?
We are not referring to location, unpredictable weather conditions or age of your house, here. Rather we are calling your attention to the alarming amount of chemicals that are hidden in your cabinets and cupboards. The ones that are brought out on occasion to make sure that your house maintains that “sanitary and squeaky clean” feel. After all, a certain level of cleanliness is a wonderfully healthy thing.
Not only are cleaning products chock-full of chemicals, so is your toothpaste, your shampoo, anti-aging skin care products, your luscious wall-to-wall carpeting, that new mattress designed to help you sleep better, the paint that brightens your walls and your mood… It seems that no matter where you look, danger is abound. And fewer and fewer things are as natural as you wish for.
As a former housecleaner, I felt firsthand the power of what chemicals can do to your body when you are using them everyday. Even if you are cleaning your home just once a week, you still must exercise caution when using strong chemicals, because they can build up in your system over time.
In an effort to better my life – I quit. And immediately started my own business (almost two decades ago) that embodied the concept of natural housecleaning. In this way, I could also enrich the lives of others with uncluttered homes that were cleaned without the use of toxic chemicals.
They all loved it, and you will adore the way it smells too!
Why make your own DIY cleaning products?
Having a naturally clean home is actually an unassumingly huge beneficial form of self-care.
When you spend time caring for yourself, you have more energy to take care of others as well, including the Earth. No matter how you look at it, reducing or even eliminating the amount of chemicals in your home, can be a series of life-changing events.
Switching from conventional cleaners to DIY natural products and an eco-friendly cleaning routine will:
- help your entire family to be healthier, with potentially fewer allergies.
- make your indoor pets infinitely happier! Stop using carpet cleaners and deodorizers for your pets’ sake.
- increase your indoor air quality.
- reduce your cleaning costs as most DIY products are cheaper (and safer!) to make.
- save you time, as many natural products are effective at eliminating dirt. Since DIY cleaning products are non-toxic, you may find yourself naturally cleaning up, to the point where things do not get dirty enough to take those strong chemicals.
- provide you with a safer place to be – to cook – to eat – to bathe – to live.
Once you stop spraying every surface with chemical disinfectant, you can trust where you set your food down on any countertop or table.
There is a tremendous sense of freedom in a naturally clean home, that everywhere is safe. Which is exceptionally important with babies and children in the home.
Natural cleaning and clean water
Not only are the benefits of natural cleaning limited personally to you, your sustainable actions give some comfort to the environment too.
Think about all those colorful toilet cleaners getting flushed down the drain every day, straight into the (most often drinking quality) water.
Whatever “mountain mist” or “ocean breeze” air fresheners are sprayed in your home, know that they will take a journey into the atmosphere as soon as you open a door or a window (ironically for fresh air). The important thing to remember is that just because something goes away, meaning we cannot see it, or smell it, does not mean it is really gone. It is simply diluted, like microplastics in the ocean. Hindering healthy livelihood, and the innate right to such, of everyone and everything on Earth.
It is true that some of our chemical cleaning habits may be hard to break. Yet, if you understand the dangers, your chance of wanting to change is increased.
So, what can you replace those chemical cleaners with?
Well, it turns out that there have been natural solutions all along. Only it takes a bit of research if you are new to the idea.
Whole books have been written about natural housekeeping and they are a wonderful way to sweep into the topic.
If you want to go all out from the start, begin reading here: The Naturally Clean Home: 150 Super Easy Herbal Formulas for Green Cleaning.
This way you can jump straight into your naturally clean home with more than just the basics.
In the meantime, keep reading to find 8 tried and true recipes that have come my way (and have been in continuous use) over the years. All of them will give you a solid base to get started with cleaning your home naturally, simply and sustainably.
But, as you make the switch to using all natural cleaners, be sure not to get carried away with the novelty of it all.
Do not dump your old housecleaning supplies down the drain in your excitement to get started.
Instead, see if you could first pass them along to someone else who may be able to use them up.
If not, dispose of them properly, so as not to contaminate soil, air or water. Many of the cleaning items under your sink may be listed as having toxic materials and need to be disposed of as hazardous waste, along with old paint, antifreeze, motor oil and weed killers. Not that you should be using the latter either!
Natural ingredients to get started with making your own DIY cleaning products
Once you start making your own cleaning products, and discover just how easy it is, soon you’ll be teaching it to others. Telling your friends and family about the benefits of a naturally clean home too. Give them the knowledge and let them clean their own homes though. That is always the best way.
Not only does a naturally clean home smell better, in fact it can smell just about any way you wish with the use of essential oils. It often saves you money as well!
All you need to get started, are the following natural ingredients, many of which you may already have at home.
- baking soda
- essential oils
- castile soap
- fresh and dried herbs
You will also need some spray bottles, rags of various sizes, sponges and some energy to get scrubbing.
8 natural cleaning products for the home
Before you lose your will to step away from the screen and get to the actual cleaning of your home, let’s get on with cleaning recipes. Enough natural cleaning philosophy, for now.
1. The best natural all-purpose cleaner
If there is a single spray bottle in your home, make sure that it contains an all-purpose cleaner.
One that can be used on the table, on the countertops, the fridge, even in the sink.
In order to love cleaning your home (how many of us do?!), it helps to have an efficient cleaning process. So, with your home already decluttered, all you have to do is race through with cotton rag and a simple good-smelling spray.
Count this among one of the best all-purpose cleaners you will find:
- 3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
- 3 cups distilled water
- 30 drops essential oils (organic citrus, grapefruit, tea tree, bergamot, basil or eucalyptus)
Mix all ingredients together in a spray bottle and give it a good shake each and every time before using. As far as essential oils go, choose your favorite scent one month, and switch to another when you run out!
Note: Never spray vinegar on marble, granite or other stone countertops or floors, as it will harm the surface. In that case, rather than making an all-purpose cleaner, use this homemade granite cleaner instead.
2. Squeaky (naturally) clean glass cleaner
The name brands all have catchy commercials and very shiny windows.
So, when you decide to make your own equally squeaky clean glass cleaner, you’ll have to make do with making a video of your own success. Though chances are it won’t ever be as popular.
Now is your chance to join the less popular crowd of women and men, who embrace simplicity and natural living. Those who care for their windows and mirrors with non-toxic grace. Now, there are several recipes for cleaning glass, and all of them have their merits, though this is my favorite for it is uncomplicated, and doesn’t involve a hint of cornstarch.
- 2 cups distilled water
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 5-10 drops essential oil
Add all ingredients to a glass spray bottle, give it a shake and spray liberally on your mirrors and windows when you are ready for them to shine.
The key to a streak-free surface is in what you use to wipe the glass cleaner off with. A very worn densely woven cloth will do, though black and white newspaper is the secret to window-washing success.
3. Dusting spray
Dust, it seems, is everywhere and it is impossible to get rid of.
If we could only just blow it away… Tried it. That doesn’t work.
Because dust is inevitable, industry has come up with a way to fight it. Bringing in a whole line of waxes, harmful fragrances and chemicals to tame it at best.
Often it comes in an aerosol can, which is also bad for the environment, and it is quite expensive for what it does.
What are your alternatives?
Homemade dusting sprays that contain no more than water, castile soap and essential oils in a spray bottle with a fine mister.
To keep your shelves dust-free, get the full recipe here:
A Simple and Effective Homemade Dusting Spray @ DIY Natural
4. Toilet cleaner
And it doesn’t even take a recipe!
All you have to do, is keep a jar labeled “baking soda”, and another bottle of straight vinegar.
Sprinkle 2-4 tablespoons of baking soda under the rim of the toilet bowl, then spray (or pour) vinegar until it bubbles and foams. Let this sit for a few minutes before scrubbing with your toilet brush.
Do this often, to prevent stains from hard water from building up.
Or you could try these practical, useful and good smelling Thieves Toilet Bombs from Coconut Mama.
5. Basic floor cleaner for tile and linoleum
We all have different floorings, so we will need different cleaning solutions.
For linoleum and tile floors, you can make a one-time-use cleaning mixture in a bucket that contains:
- 1/2 gallon warm water
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup vinegar (depending on the griminess of the floor)
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon castile soap
- essential oils are optional
Get out your trusted mop, or clean the floor the old-fashioned way on your hands and knees. For good or bad, you see more that way.
Dispose of your waste water responsibly.
6. Floor cleaner for wood
Wood floors come across as being some of the most traditional floorings still in use. And yet, they can be coated with so many kinds of stains and preservatives that is hard to know what will work and what will leave soap scum behind.
As with any cleaning product, natural or not, do yourself a favor and always test a small area first.
Testing is a good way to gauge whether your time and/or money will be wasted, don’t skip this step.
As for wood floors, some people proclaim that a bucket of hot soapy water works wonders. Others think that vinegar and water are the best.
If your hardwood floor is “finished”, it is better to avoid vinegar altogether. Note that baking soda can also damage the surface.
One of the best wood floor cleaners goes like this:
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon castile soap
- 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil (citrus, tea tree, eucalyptus, pine, juniper, etc.)
Add these natural ingredients to a spray bottle (not a bucket) and clean your floor systematically, patch by patch, with a mop or rags.
This allows you to not soak your wooden floors, which could cause long-term damage. In essence, keeping your wood floors alive and well for much longer than you imagined.
7. Deodorizing carpet cleaner
Carpets in the home can pose a real challenge.
They get spilled on by overturned cups of milk and wine, trampled with muddy shoes, and worse – all pet owners can agree.
While rugs can be put in the washer and dryer when needed, wall-to-wall carpeting is in a category all its own.
The simplest way to keep your carpet smelling fresh, is to make your own deodorizing carpet powder.
In a glass jar with a shaker lid, add 1 cup baking soda and 30-40 drops of essential oil.
Shake well to combine the two ingredients and sprinkle on the carpet. Let it sit for 10 minutes or so before vacuuming.
Once you start gathering essential oils, you will find that some are unsuitable for pregnant/nursing mothers, as well as crawling babies and pets that lick their paws on the carpet. It’s important to educate yourself before using essential oils.
8. Air freshener
Usually, the best way to get fresh air, is to simply open the windows.
Incense has long been used for purification purposes, as well as smudging to clear the air, though sometimes you just really want a fragrance. A scent that is not too strong, more subtle and refreshing.
They can help you sleep better, keep illness at bay, boost your mood and productivity. What’s that if not loving self-care, and a clean home all at once?!
One final word of caution:
Label your bottles of DIY natural house cleaning products. Always.
To be sure you know what you are spraying and where. And just in case you get something in your eyes, or one of your concoctions gets accidentally ingested by both two or four legged creatures.
Otherwise, have fun with keeping your house clean, the natural way.