The next time you’re in the grocery store, pick up a bottle of conventional bathroom cleaner and take a look at the label. You’ll likely see unpronounceable ingredients and warnings galore. While you’d prefer to use something a little more eco-friendly, the natural cleaners on the next shelf are much pricier. How can you use better cleaning supplies without destroying your budget?
Thankfully, you can ditch toxic and expensive store-bought cleaners for some of these eco-friendly, family-friendly DIY cleaning products and techniques.
A few basic ingredients, including baking soda, borax, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, essential oils, and more can help transform a dirty house into a sparkling one. Whether you want to clean your carpet, bathroom or kitchen, these cleaners are easy and inexpensive to make from simple ingredients that are far less toxic than store-bought formulas.
Of course, some of these ingredients and cleaners are still not anything you would want to inhale or consume, so be sure to take precautions. Wear gloves (and eye protection when necessary), work in well-ventilated areas, avoid inhaling fumes, rinse thoroughly and keep the products away from kids and pets. Just in case, be sure to keep the U.S. Poison Control Center’s number handy: 1-800-222-1222.
1. Glass Cleaner
Keep those windows and mirrors spotless with this homemade formula from Good Housekeeping.
- 2 cups water
- ½ cup white or cider vinegar
- ¼ cup rubbing alcohol (70% concentration)
- 1-2 drops of orange essential oil (optional)
- Spray bottle
Add all the ingredients to the spray bottle. When it’s time to clean windows and mirrors, simply spray the mixture on a soft cloth or paper towel and wipe down the glass.
2. Grease Cleaner
This heavy-duty formula will help get the gunk out of oven hoods, grills and more.
- ½ cup sudsy ammonia (available commercially or make your own)
- One-gallon container
Put the sudsy ammonia into the one-gallon container. Add enough water to fill it. It’s that easy — this solution is ready to use. Just dip in a mop or sponge, soak up some solution and use it to wipe down greasy oven hoods or other greasy items. Then, rinse thoroughly with clean water.
Be sure to fully rinse and dry items before using them. You may want to use gloves when preparing and using this solution. Also, be sure not to inhale any fumes.
3. All-Purpose Cleaner and Deodorizer
Scrub down kitchen counters, appliances and even the refrigerator with this simple solution made from basic kitchen ingredients.
- 4 tablespoons baking soda
- 1 quart warm water
- Container to mix them in
Mix the baking soda and water together in a container. Then, simply moisten a sponge or cloth with the mixture and use it to clean.
Toilets can be tough to clean. DIY Natural suggests a few different methods to clean your toilet, including everyday cleanings, heavy-duty scrubs and a quick-clean strategy.
4. Everyday Toilet Cleaning
This solution uses the antibacterial properties of tea tree oil to disinfect your toilet.
- ½ cup baking soda
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- ½ teaspoon tea tree essential oil
First, get a spray bottle and add the vinegar and tea tree oil. Spray this mixture all over the toilet, including the seat, lid, handle and bowl. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Then, sprinkle the baking soda in the toilet bowl and scrub with a toilet brush. Use a cloth to wipe the vinegar and tea tree mixture off of the seat, lid and handle.
5. Deep Cleaning
If your toilet is stained and needs a deeper clean, use this mixture.
- ¾ cup borax
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 10 drops lavender essential oil
- 5 drops lemon essential oil
Mix all ingredients together. Flush the toilet to get the inside wet and then pour the mixture into the toilet bowl. Let it sit for several hours or, better yet, overnight. Do not use the toilet during this time. After the mixture has been in the bowl for several hours, scrub down the toilet bowl and flush again to rinse.
6. Quick Clean
If you don’t need a full clean, or time is of the essence — it’s only been a couple of days since a deep clean, or your in-laws just texted that they’ll be over in ten minutes — use this lightning-fast method.
- Baking soda
- Spray bottle
Keep some vinegar on hand in a spray bottle and a box of baking soda nearby for this quick clean method. First, spray vinegar on the outer surfaces (seat, lid, handle) and inside the toilet bowl. Let it sit for several minutes. Then, sprinkle baking soda in the toilet bowl, scrub with the toilet brush and flush. Next, wipe the seat, lid and handle clean with a cloth.
More Homemade Cleaners
For even more ways to keep your home sparkling while saving a few bucks, check out Good Housekeeping’s list of 25 DIY home-cleaning techniques, from how to deep clean bathroom grout, to sprucing up the kitchenware, to making your own wood polish or even cleaning a wool rug with snow.
Your Turn: Do you use DIY cleaners in your home?
Kristen Pope is a freelance writer and editor in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.