Making your own natural cleaning products is a great inexpensive, toxic-free way to ensure your house is free from unnecessary chemicals, plus it will smell divine!

These alternatives are easy to use and can be used safely in place of commercial household cleaning products.

This is just the tip of the ice burg, there are plenty of other fantastic ingredients to help clean but these are just to point you in the right direction.

Here are 5 ingredients you will need for environmentally friendly cleaning.

1. Vinegar

Vinegar is made from soured fruit juice, grain or wine.
It has natural disinfectant properties which makes it great for cleaning use around the house.

Vinegar can cut grease, remove stains and odours and even soften water.
It can also dissolve mineral deposits, grease and remove mildew or wax build up.
It’s fantastic for removing stains on carpets, countertops, pots and pans and makes a great window cleaner leaving no smears.

2. Baking Soda AKA Bicarbonate of Soda

It is a common ingredient in baking, but it doesn’t need to end there.

Baking soda is an all-purpose, non-toxic cleaner that is effective at removing stains, getting rid of dirt and grime and works as a mild abrasive for scouring stovetops, ovens, pots, pans and sinks.
It can clean and polish aluminium, chrome, porcelain, silver, stainless steel, tin and jewellery.
It can even be used as a deodorizer around the house and in the fridge to absorb unwanted smells.

Before vacuuming, sprinkle some on your carpets for added freshness and to help deodorize them. 

3. Essential Oils

For cleaning, essential oils are great options for cleaning anything from the floor to your sinks, tubs and toilets.
They’re also brilliant for diffusing into the air to kill unwanted bacteria.

Here are just some of the available essential oils that are great for cleaning:

Eucalyptus – a fantastic antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral oil with immune boostingeffects too.
Great for cutting grease, especially around the hob, bathtub and grease on counters.
Because of its antifungal properties it’s also great to use in areas that are often moist, like bathrooms, to help prevent mould growth.

Lemon – Lemon oil has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties that make it wonderful for cleaning.
It can be added to your natural cleaning products for a clean fresh smell and can even be added to your white laundry items to help brighten them.
Lemon oil also works as an anti-histamine so dab onto insect bites should you get nibbled.

You don’t even need to use lemon essential oil to get a good clean going.
When using a lemon to squeeze over your salad or into your green tea, run the half-slice of lemon over your counters and sink. It helps to cut grease, polish metal and lighten stains.

Before putting your stained item into the wash, rub the stain with lemon to help break it down.
For use as a laundry brightener, add 1/2 cup of strained lemon juice to the rinse cycle.

Lavender – Has great cleaning properties, is antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral, and like Eucalyptus also boosts the immune system.
It’s great for sensitive skin and can used directly on the skin for burns and bites too.
Lavender essential oil is a fantastic oil to diffuse into the air around the house, or add to a bottle and use it as an air freshener. It has a fantastic effect on mood, helping to release tension, calm the nervous system and help you relax.
It can also be rubbed onto temples to help ease a tension migraine.

Peppermint – With its refreshing minty scent and powerful antibacterial properties, peppermint essential oil makes a great addition to homemade cleaning products.
It’s fantastic in antibacterial cleaners for areas like the bathrooms or kitchens and has the added bonus of acting as a natural pest deterrent.
Peppermint blends well with lavender, eucalyptus, lemon and rosemary.

Tea tree oil – A well known anti-fungal, tea tree works to kill mould and mildew as well as being a great antibacterial and antiseptic.
Simply mix two teaspoons tea tree oil with two cups water in a spray bottle then spritz the mixture on to any mouldy or mildewy areas, like showers. Don’t rinse off the mixture, just let it work its anti-fungal magic.

Oregano – Naturally antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-parasitic, Oregano oil is very potent and must be diluted.
It’s great for cleaning, but also for helping prevent a cold or flu, or help speed up recovery should you have got one. It’s also great to fungal infections.
Tigon Oregano oil can be used internally and externally for this purpose.

Essential oils are extremely concentrated and potent. Most essential oils should be diluted before use, and unless they state they are food grade, they are not for internal use.
If you’re pregnant, diabetic or have a medical condition please consult a medical professional before using essential oils.

4. Castile Soap

Castile soap is a vegetable oil-based soap as opposed to animal (tallow) fat-based soap. Look for a castile soap in liquid form that is free from dyes and one that is not petroleum-based, such as Dr Bronners liquid castile soap.

5. Salt

Salt is one of the most versatile ingredients as it has abrasive and bleaching properties. It is a great natural deodorizer and can be mixed with vinegar and flour to make a cleaning paste.

So how do I use them?

There are literally dozens of variations, measurements, ingredients and oils to use in natural cleaning products and everybody has their favourites.
These are just a few simple suggestions of basic natural cleaning options, but there are plenty more where these come from!

All-Purpose Cleaner

One easy way to make up a surface spray is to use white vinegar mixed with water (about 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water) in a spray bottle and spray on everything from the bathroom and toilet to the kitchen countertops.
This doesn’t give you the additional benefits of antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic essential oils however, nor the delicious smell, so try adding a few drops of essential oil to make it more powerful. Tea tree, lemon and lavender are great starting options.

All-Purpose Cleaning with Castile Soap

¼ cup castile soap to about a litre of water in a spray bottle. Add ¼ tsp. tea tree essential oil and spritz spritz spirtz!

All-Purpose Disinfecting

Wild Oregano Oil can be added to water and sprayed around the house to remove bacteria and mould in the air, or alternatively use a drop or two on a sponge or wet cloth for cleaning kitchen counters, sinks and stoves.
You can even wipe down the inside of your fridge to help remove any bacteria or mould trying to make itself a home.

To Clean Countertops

Either sprinkle some baking soda onto a damp cloth and wipe over the surfaces and then rinse with clean water, or try mixing a small amount of baking soda into your castile soap and doing the same.
If you have opted for a neutral scented castile soap, try adding antibacterial essential oils like eucalyptus, lemon or rosemary to give it more of a clean!

For the easiest clean, simply use neat vinegar on a dishcloth and wipe any greasiness off your kitchen surfaces or hob.
One with a good reputation behind it is Wellnessmama’s homemade all purpose cleaner

Window Cleaner

In a spray bottle mix 1 cup white vinegar, 10-15 drops of Lemon Essential Oil and water
OR equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle

To help keep the flies at bay in summer, try adding fly repelling essential oils like lavender or lemongrass to the mix.

Spray and wipe with newspaper to really bring out the shine and prevent smearing.

Household Air Freshener

Simply fill your spray bottle with water and add in a few drops of whatever essential oil scent you love the most.
Lavender, lemon, lemongrass, peppermint, orange, may chang and so on. You can even combine them to really get your senses going.

If you have an atomiser/diffuser you can also add a few drop of whatever oil you like and let it disperse across the room.

Laundry

Essential oils can be used to enhance the cleanliness and fragrance of your laundry.
One advantage of adding Eucalyptus to your laundry is that it can kill dust mites that just looove living in your bedding.
To achieve effective dust mite control, add 25 drops of eucalyptus to each washing machine load.

For general freshness, place a washcloth dampened with approx. 10 drops of Lavender, Lemon, Bergamot, eucalyptus, lavender or any other scent you like and add this to your laundry.
The benefit of adding these oils means moths will also be deterred when you put your nicely clean clothing in the wardrobe.

Moth Repellents

To help prevent moths from invading your wardrobe, try placing several drops on a cotton wool ball of either cedarwood, rosemary, lavender, thyme, clove, cinnamon, peppermint or lemon. Hang them in the wardrobe or pop them in your draws and this should shoo them off.
Alternatively fill tea bags with lavender flowers and do the same thing.

Floor

Depending on the type of floors you have, the type of cleaning will vary, but any floor can be cleaned naturally.
For laminate, ceramic, no-wax vinyl, linoleum floors, brick or stone tiles, use a mixture of ½-1 cup vinegar in approx. 4 litres of water. Use a wet mop and really bring up that shine.

Additionally, add 10-15 drops of essential oil to boost its cleaning powder.
Try 10 drops of Lemon Essential Oil, 4 drops of Oregano/Tea tree/Eucalyptus Essential oil and 1/4 cup white vinegar to a bucket of water to power-up those antiseptic properties!

Stubborn Dishes

If you know you won’t be running to wash up straight after eating, but you know the dishes are likely to become difficult to clean up, sprinkle salt over the dishes to make them easier to wash up later.

If it’s already too late and you didn’t do this to start with, try adding a couple of tablespoons of vinegar to your hot soapy dish water to help cut the grease.

If you have a stubborn dish or cooking pot, add about 3 tablespoons of salt into the dish or pot and fill with boiling water. Let it stand until the water is pretty much cool and wash as normal.

Another option is to soak the item/s in hot soapy water and scour them with salt or baking soda until clean. Rinse well.

Dishwashing

Add 1 cup of undiluted white vinegar in the rinse compartment and run the dishwasher as usual (with no dishes in it). This removes soap build up and can help the dishwasher run more efficiently. Aim to do this a least once a month.

Drains

If you’re trying to de-gunge and deodorise your plug holes, pour in 1/2 cup of baking soda followed by 1 cup of vinegar. It will bubble up as it starts chemically reacting then just let it bubble for 15 minutes. Follow this by pouring boiling water down the plug hole to really get a thorough clean.
You can do this weekly to keep your drains from blocking or becoming odorous.

Fridge

For a quick wipe down, simply sprinkle equal amounts of salt and baking soda onto a damp sponge and wipe the fridge surfaces down.

To keep your fridge odour free, place a small bowl of baking soda inside and this will absorb any odours.

Oven

Spray water over the bottom of the oven and throw a whole load of baking soda over it and spray it with more water to make a paste. It tends to work best overnight but you could leave it for an hour or so if you’re in a rush.
In the morning scrape out all the baking soda mixture which will have altered in colour to a murky brown, and then use a wire brush to scrub any stubborn spots.

To give it a good shine, once all the baking soda has been wiped off, give it a rinse with vinegar and water.

Bins

Baking soda will help absorb the smell of the rubbish, just sprinkle the bottom of the bin and then sprinkle again after you put a new bag in. You can always sprinkle a couple of essential oil drops into the bin too.

Kettle

Remove lime scale build up from inside your kettle by filling it with water and about 110ml of vinegar. Let it stand overnight, rinse with clean water and dry.

Toilet

Pre-dilute 1 part castile soap with 4 parts water in a squirt bottle. Add ¼ tsp. tea tree essential oil and squirt around the bowl thoroughly. Sprinkle baking soda onto the toilet brush and proceed to scrub the bowl and let sit for 10 minutes before flushing.

Pets

Do you have cats? Line the litter box with a cup of baking soda before adding litter to help neutralise the smell.

 For further advice on how to clean your home naturally, check out the cheat sheet from Dr Bronners here  or from Wellnessmama here

If you have any questions or comments feel free to contact me via our Facebook!

– Emily

*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention.

Also note that essential oils are extremely concentrated and potent. Most essential oils should be diluted before use, and unless they state they are food grade, they are not for internal use.
If you’re pregnant, diabetic or have a medical condition please consult a medical professional before using essential oils.
Also take care when using essential oils around pets. 

Photo credit: www.greenpeople.co.uk and https://www.drbronner.com/

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