Guest post from Koren of She Makes Magic
The alternative to conventional household cleaners is far simpler and cheaper than you probably imagine. With just a few all-natural staples you can quickly and easily make your own green cleaners.
Baking soda and vinegar are basically your best friends here, offering an astonishing range of applications across the whole house with antibacterial qualities to boot. Some people even clean from top to bottom using only these two stars.
But others (including me) aren’t huge fans of vinegar’s strong smell, even though it does dissipate rather quickly. That’s where fresh herbs, citrus fruit or peel infusions and essential oils come in. A few drops here and there and that pungent vinegary smell is promptly replaced with a fresh, all-natural perfume.
Other products you’ll want to keep in your all-natural cleaning arsenal include olive oil, castile soap, hot water and hydrogen peroxide. And quick word on that last one: despite its nasty-sounding name, hydrogen peroxide is simply water with an extra oxygen molecule that makes for a totally natural and super powerful sanitizer.
Armed with these few staples you’ll be able to make almost every cleaner listed below, plus a myriad others!
For the BATHROOM:
1. Homemade shower cleaner – baking soda, castile soap and essential oils combine to make this all-natural shower scrub.
2. Green clean the grout in your bathroom – a how-to walking you through three eco-friendly options to remove even the most stubborn grout grime.
3. Non-toxic bathtub cleaner – combine a little liquid soap, baking soda and essential oils to make a cleaner that can be stored for up to a year.
4. Clean your bathtub with a grapefruit and salt – clean thick grime and dirt rings from your shower area with this incredibly simple scrub.
5. Non-toxic sink and tub scrub – a gentle baking soda and natural soap combination that will leave your bathroom sparkling clean.
6. Homemade toilet cleaner – three simple cleaning formulas including a tea tree bowl scrub and a heavy-duty lavender-lemon scrub.
7. Non-toxic citrus floor cleaner – a simple 4-ingredient cleaner that can also be used on counter tops.
8. Budget no-streak glass cleaner – harness the streak-busting power of cornstarch and spend as little as 33 cents per 2 ½ cups.
9. Homemade air freshener spray – a little alcohol, water and essential oils combine to make a powerful air freshener that stores for one month.
10. The magic trick that hides all evidence of a #2 – this amusingly written piece on toilet smells tells you how to hide all evidence of a … well, you know.
11. Peppermint foaming hand soap – keep your hands clean with this fresh-smelling and super easy hand soap.
For the KITCHEN:
12. For your microwave – easily remove baked-on crud using just baking soda, white vinegar, water and a special technique.
13. No-rinse green refrigerator cleaner – vinegar, hot water and lavender essential oil will cut through grease, disinfect and leave a clean, natural scent.
14. Clean the stove – a surprisingly simple method using only hot water.
15. Homemade oven cleaner – another easy oven cleaning option using baking soda and white vinegar.
16. Make burnt pans shine again – halve scrubbing time with a little help from vinegar, baking soda and water.
17. Clean tarnished silverware – this DIY, which uses just aluminum foil, baking soda and water, is almost miraculously easy.
18. Natural stainless steel sink cleaner – clean and deodorize your sink and even solve mild clogging issues with this easy technique.
19. Green drain cleaner – unblock smelly drains using just baking soda, vinegar and hot water.
20. Homemade dishwasher detergent – a tried and true recipe for squeaky-clean dishes and glassware.
21. Make your own dishwasher tabs – a 5-ingredient recipe set in ice cube trays to make easy-to-use tabs.
22. Reusable peppermint kitchen wipes – a great way to recycle old clothes while harnessing the antibacterial power of peppermint essential oil.
23. Two-ingredient kitchen cabinet gunk remover – fight oil with oil for unblemished surfaces and cupboards.
For the LIVING ROOM:
24. DIY television and computer screen cleaner – just white vinegar and distilled water are needed for this streak-free cleaner.
25. Homemade dusting spray – a little natural soap, essential oil and water will have your surfaces spick and span in no time.
26. Remove spots and stains from upholstery – six green cleans for tough stains like red wine and coffee, including one method utilizing an egg yolk.
27. Make your own furniture polish – add shine to your furniture with just lemon, olive oil and vinegar.
28. Super-cheap leather cleaner – vinegar and olive oil combine to make an affordable cleaner and conditioner for leather seats and sofas.
29. Make your own wood polish – bring a lemony-fresh scent to your home with this simple furniture protector.
30. Carpet stain remover – an all-natural spot remover, perfect for when food goes flying.
31. Deep clean your carpets – if you can afford to hire a steam cleaner, you can professionally clean your own carpets without using any chemicals.
32. Clean wooden floors with tea – use the tannic acid in tea to smooth over scratches and bring out the natural shine of wood floors.
For the LAUNDRY:
33. Pre-wash laundry stain and spot remover – mix up a batch of this all-natural spray and keep on hand to squirt on stubborn stains before washing.
34. Remove pungent smells from laundry naturally – use baking soda to eradicate a range of smells, from smoke and sweat to baby spit-up.
35. Natural laundry soap or liquid detergent – a low-sudsing cleaner suitable for top or front loaders that can easily be made into a powder or liquid.
36. Homemade laundry detergent for cloth diapers – this special formula avoids castile soap, which can build up and cause diapers to repel moisture.
37. Get great smelling laundry without softener – five ideas for adding a natural scent to your freshly washed laundry.
38. Scented vinegar rinse – use fresh plants like lavender, mint, basil, chamomile or thyme in this fabric softener alternative.
39. Homemade bleach alternative – a 4-ingredient mix that will brighten whites and is also safe to use on colors.
40. Natural sheet and fabric softener – just add a cup of baking soda to your washing machine for naturally soft clothes and linen.
41. Make your own wool dryer balls – reduce wrinkles and soften your clothes while saving electricity with these DIY dryer balls.
42. Use aluminum foil balls to keep clothes static free – an incredibly simple and frugal technique that can be reused over and over again.
For the TRASH (and more):
43. Naturally control insects in the kitchen – a list of natural and frugal ways to deal with pests including fruit flies and ants.
44. Natural fly spray – combine apple cider vinegar and citronella essential oil for a powerful spray to keep bugs at bay.
45. Tablet air fresheners for trash bins – easy-to-make tablets that eliminate garbage smells and last for one month.
46. Homemade garbage disposal refresher – made with lemon peel and baking soda, these little tabs will instantly cure a smelly garbage disposal.
47. Homemade citrus vinegar cleaner – a lemony-fresh smelling all-purpose cleaning concentrate that can be used for surfaces of every variety.
48. Simple lemon lavender cleaner – for those who don’t like the smell of vinegar, a naturally scented cleaner that’s great for using up lemon peel.
49. All-purpose cleaner – a 3-ingredient cleaner perfect for everything from streak-free mirrors to wiping out the cat litter box.
50. Miracle all-purpose cleaner – great for the kitchen, bathroom, stubborn stains and anything else, you’ll need baking soda and hydrogen peroxide.
51. Homemade disinfectant – a quick spray harnessing the germ-killing qualities of lemon and thyme essential oils.
52. Natural toy cleaner – vinegar and water combine to make a disinfecting solution for children’s toys and a little essential oil can be added for a fresh smell.
Next time you’re hunched over your cleaning, scrubbing like mad and inhaling all manner of store-bought cleaner fumes — spare a thought for this list. Because here you have enough natural cleaning products to try something new every week for an entire year, in every corner of your home.
You’ll soon find there’s almost nothing an all-natural cleaner can’t handle. Many recipes are surprisingly simple to make, and you’ll wonder why you ever forked out the money for expensive and harsh chemicals in the past.
So go on. Pop over to your pantry, pull out the baking soda and vinegar, and get green cleaning. Your family and your wallet will thank you and your house will smell fresh as a daisy – a real one.
Koren Helbig is an Australian who likes to live well without spending the earth. She and her sister, Alana, create simple and cheap vegetarian and vegan recipes for everyday people at She Makes Magic, plus offer tips on how to live a natural and ethical lifestyle.