Once upon a time, cleaning the house meant covering every surface in products purchased from the nearest store. The manmade ingredients certainly stripped the place of germs and left behind a pleasant scent, but they also contained unsavory elements that left toxins lingering around the house and in the air.
These products, no matter how effective, aren’t your only option anymore. Instead, you can whip up your own cleaning solutions that are equally as hard-working without any of the unwanted additives — here are seven of them:
1. Wood Floor Cleaner
Your wood floors are undoubtedly precious, but they don’t need a fancy cleaner to keep them that way. Instead, you can whip up your own, but keep in mind the type of wood floors you have — waxed floors shouldn’t be cleaned with water, for example.
- ½ cup of white vinegar
- 1 gallon of warm water
- Mix them together and mop as normal. Just make sure you wring out your rag or mop so that as little water is left behind as possible.
2. Tile and Grout Cleaner
Once again, a simple combination of household ingredients — baking soda, vinegar and an optional dash of hydrogen peroxide — can tackle the tough-to-clean grout in your bathroom.
- Baking soda
- Spray a one-to-one water-to-vinegar solution over tiles and grout and let sit for five minutes.
- Scrub grout with a toothbrush or grout brush.
- Mix baking soda with water to create a paste. Work it into the grout with a toothbrush.
- Spray the baking soda with the one-to-one vinegar-to-water solution. This should cause the baking soda to bubble up and do some of the cleaning work for you.
- Try spraying hydrogen peroxide over any stains or mildew once you’ve exhausted your other options.
3. Laundry Detergent
Laundry detergent is also a cleaning product, and it’s one that comes laden with sulfates, fragrances and other unnatural additives that you don’t want on your clothes or skin. So, mix up washing soda, borax and a shredded bar of soap to create your own laundry detergent and keep those manmade ingredients out of your washing machine.
- Washing Soda
- Bar of soap, grated
- If you haven’t already, grate your bar of soap by hand or use a food processor.
- Mix two parts Borax, two parts washing soda and one part soap.
- Add between two tablespoons and ¼ cup of the mixture to each load of wash.
4. All-Purpose Cleaner
An all-purpose cleaner is one of the many simple three-ingredient cleaners you can whip up. All you need are distilled water and vinegar, along with castile soap. You can drop in tea tree essential oil, too, to rid surfaces of bacteria and fungus that might be lurking on your surfaces.
- 1 ¾ cups distilled water
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- ¼ cup castile soap
- Tea tree oil
- Pour all of the ingredients to a spray bottle (use a funnel to help you).
- Add tea tree oil if desired.
- Shake to mix and use.
5. Bathroom Cleaner
There are so many different areas of your bathroom to clean all-naturally. Surprisingly, you can tackle something as tough to remove as mildew with just a half-cup each of vinegar and borax.
- ½ cup Borax
- ½ cup vinegar
- Mix the ingredients.
- Apply the resulting paste with a sponge or brush — or, for hard-to-remove mold, let it sit for an hour before scrubbing and rinsing it with water.
6. Toilet Bowl Cleaner
In elementary school science class, you probably did a little science experiment where you blended baking soda with vinegar. And, if you remember what happened next, you know why these two pantry staples can clean your toilet bowl — they bubble up and work all on their own to get rid of stains and make everything shine.
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1 cup vinegar
- Pour baking soda into your toilet and let it sit for an hour
- Add a cup of vinegar and let sit for five minutes.
- Flush the toilet and voila: you shouldn’t even have to scrub the bowl to make it shine.
7. Window Cleaner
There are no chemicals required to give your windows a streak-free shine. Instead, you can use a special cleaning technique — two cloths help wick away all the moisture — and the following recipe for a window-cleaning solution:
- ¼ cup white or apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup rubbing alcohol
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 cups water
- Essential oil (optional)
- Funnel all of the ingredients into a spray bottle and shake.
- Spray onto windows and wipe them clean.
These are just seven examples of the many ways you can clean your home without chemicals. So, get to mixing these non-toxic ingredients to see just how much your place — and your eco-friendly efforts — can shine.
Bio: Emily has been working on gradually going off the grid through making her own cleaning supplies, developing her garden and decreasing her energy usage. You can read more of her work on her blog, Conservation Folks.