Making home-made cleaning products can seem daunting at first, but once you get started, it’s really so simple. I am in the process of completely switching out all the cleaning products we have at home, because the more I know, the more I’m motivated to keep a chemical-free home and the more I understand that so little is needed to maintain one. Natural, all the way, and plant power works! There is just so much crap in so many things and there simply doesn’t need to be. I find it completely outrageous that there are proven carcinogens and that these substances actually exist in so many of our daily products. (Don’t get me started on the food we consume!) I’ll put together a natural body products post a bit later on because I’m also experimenting with deodorants and soaps, but for now, let’s talk home cleaning products and some simple recipes to try.
Basic natural cleaning pantry
distilled white vinegar
dr bronners liquid castille soap (from health food stores or here – we like peppermint and citrus the most)
dr bronners castille soap bar (from health food stores or here)
baking soda (from woolworths)
washing soda (from woolworths)
citric acid (from woolworths)
distilled (demineralised) water (from woolworths)
essential oils (we use young living)
glass amber spray bottles (from here)
A word about essential oils — They are so good for cleaning as they are antibacterial, and some anti-fungal. We use Young Living because after trying a few different brands, I have found them to be the best quality.
So: The best oils for cleaning are lemon, lemon, lemon! (Did you know lemon oil dabbed directly onto a cloth can remove pen marks from walls and gooey grimy stuff from fridges and surfaces? It’s amazing stuff!) Anything citrus is great for cleaning and others we use all the time are tea tree, eucalyptus, purification and thieves.
Onto the recipes! Here are the recipes to the cleaning products we use at home. So simple and they work.
All-Purpose Spray –
- 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar + 20 drops essential oils + 1 cup distilled water.
- The essential oils I like using for this spray are: tea tree, peppermint, thieves, purification, lemon, grapefruit, clove & / or orange. You can really experiment here and combine any essential oils to make your own scent depending on your mood or season. (Peppermint equals Christmas, folks! JUST SAYING.) We currently have a blend of 10 drops of purification + 5 drops of grapefruit + 5 drops lemon.
- I make this spray all the time since it’s the one we use for everything — wiping tables, cleaning sinks and basins, wiping tiles, etc. Combine and store in a glass amber spray bottle (the amber protects the oils from spoiling.) Make sure to shake well before using.
Mould Spray –
- Mix 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil with two cups of distilled water.
- Pour the solution into an amber spray bottle.
- Spray the solution directly onto the mould and leave it for an hour.
- Use a scrub to brush and remove the debris.
- Use your chosen surface cleaner on the affected area and allow to sit for several minutes.
- Use a scrub and then sponge to wipe down the surface.
- Repeat if necessary, until the mould has been completely removed.
Tub Scrub –
- Mix 1/4 cup liquid castile soap + 10 drops of thieves or tea tree oil + 1 cup of baking soda.
- Combine and store in mason jar. Make sure to shake well before using. Spoon it out on a scrub brush and scrub away when your tub needs it! So nice to know your babies are soaking in a natural, non toxic bath.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner –
- Add 1/2 cup of baking soda + 1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar + 10 drops of tea tree oil to the toilet bowl and let sit for a few minutes then scrub away! You’ll need to make this fresh each time because the baking soda and vinegar have a little party when mixed together.
Dishwasher Powder –
- 1 cup washing soda + 1/4 cup citric acid + 1/4 cup salt + 10 drops essential oil of your choice – often the citrus ones are best. Some people use borax but there’s some debate over whether it’s all that natural, so if borax isn’t your thing, you could just add distilled white vinegar to the rinse compartment. It’s the borax that makes those glasses shine.
- Mix together in a large jar and scoop out as needed. Use less than a tablespoon of this per load. More is not better, in this case.
Laundry Powder –
- 1 bar Dr. Bronner’s pure castile soap (or same ratio of ground coconut soap which I source from here.)
- 1 cup washing soda
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1/4 cup epsom salt
- 20 drops essential oils
- In a food processor with a grating attachment, shred the bar of soap (or do it manually if you’d rather, but use the finest grate on your grater). Remove the grating attachment and add the washing soda, baking soda, oils and salt to the food processor then pulse together until a fine powder results (or if you’re doing it manually, just mix the finely shredded soap and the powders together in a bowl).
- To use, add 1 tablespoon (2 tablespoons for very soiled clothes) to a regular load of wash.
The wonderful thing about oils is that you can swap them out seasonally. Try a combination of some of these oils in your laundry powder throughout the different seasons:
Summer – Lime, Peppermint, Grapefruit, Citronella + Lemon
Autumn – Clove, Orange, Cinnamon + Patchouli
Winter – Spruce, Wintergreen, Clove + Eucalyptus
Spring – Rose Geranium, Lavender, Bergamot + Chamomile
Stain Removal –
Add sodium bicarbonate to a small dish and add enough water to form a paste. Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil and mix well. Apply to stain and rub lightly, leaving to rest overnight. Then, wash as usual.
So there you have it —
Happy toxin-free cleaning!