DIY Natural Cleaning Products Recipe Guide
Did you ever wonder what exactly are in the cleaning products you’re using around your home? Unfortunately, more often than not, commercial cleaning products are full of nasty chemicals which could be harmful to both your own health and the health of the planet, such as formaldehyde, 2-Butoxyethanol, ammonia, and many others.
There are more and more safe, chemical-free, natural cleaning products coming to the market every day. However, if you’re on a budget or live somewhere where your access to eco-friendly options is limited, DIY natural cleaning products may be the best option for you. Even if you already enthusiastically use some store-bought cleaning products, why not try experimenting with the homemade options as well?
Aside from being free of nasty chemicals that you’ll find in conventional cleaning, DIY natural cleaning products are also great because they can often be made without any plastic or waste!
A few best practices before you get started with making your own:
- Use a new, clean bottle so that you can be sure there is no chemical residue left from its previous contents
- Avoid using any vinegar cleaner on marble, granite, tile, and slate as it could potentially cause damage
- It’s always best to test a small amount first on an out-of-sight area to be sure it doesn’t damage the surface
Below, you’ll find a few simple ways to make your own natural DIY cleaning products that cost a fraction of the price, don’t pollute the earth or damage your health and still clean your home effectively.
1. All-purpose surface cleaner
An all-purpose cleaner is a staple in many households. To take a step towards sustainable, zero waste cleaning, learn to make it at home!
What can scare some people off is the use of vinegar in this recipe, as they worry that their entire home will then smell of vinegar. We can assure you that that’s not the case. The smell of vinegar doesn’t linger in your home and quickly disappears when you’re done cleaning.
If you want to mask the smell of vinegar even more, you can do so by adding some essential oils to the mixture – but they’re certainly not necessary.
For this sustainable cleaning recipe, you’ll need:
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup of vinegar
- A spray bottle (reuse one from an old cleaner or purchase a glass one)
- 2-3 drops of citrus/mint/eucalyptus essential oil – optional
This is as simple as sustainable cleaning gets – simply mix the water, vinegar and optional essential oils and pour in a spray bottle. Use this anywhere that you’d usually use your all-purpose cleaner. On particularly tough stains, you may want to let the cleaner sit on the stain for a while or lightly sprinkle it with baking soda.
2. Laundry detergent
Saponin is the cleaning and dirt-disolving ingredient that is released from soap nuts when they are mixed around your washing machine. They are a super simple and traditional way of cleaning your clothes and linen. And remember, you won’t need to use laundry softeners since the soap nuts naturally soften your fabrics and has anti-static properties.
For our natural laundry detergent, this time we have options. Either;
- Add 6 soap nuts in a reusable pouch and throw in with your laundry
- Or you could try grinding 6 soap nuts up before adding them to a pan. Add 2 cup of boiling water and simmer for around 20-30mins. Once cooled, pop in the fridge for a few days before using as a liquid detergent
And the best thing about soap nuts? Simple compost them in your garden at the end of their life!
3. Anti-mould & mildew cleaner
The natural anti-mould properties of tea tree get to work in this easy to make cleaner for those areas of mould and mildew;
- Spray bottle filled with white wine vinegar
- 5-10 drops of tea tree essential oil
Mix and shake up the 2 ingredients in your reusable spray bottle and spritz the troublesome areas generously. Let this sit for 20-30 minutes and then wipe it away firmly.
4. Toilet cleaning powder
Zero waste cleaning of your toilet may seem like an unpleasant chore, but it certainly doesn’t have to be. This toilet cleaning powder makes the process simple, cheap and sustainable.
We recommend that you prepare a jar of this cleaner in advance and keep it on hand for whenever you need to clean your toilet, but you can always just mix up a small amount separately before cleaning.
The ingredients you’ll need for this zero waste cleaning recipe are:
- ¾ cup baking soda
- ½ cup citric acid
- 20-30 drops of citrus essential oil
These three simple ingredients are all you need. Combine them in a bowl, making sure that the essential oil is mixed in evenly, and store in a jar in a dry place.
If you’ve got any citrus peels that you’d otherwise throw away, feel free to zest them and add the zest to the mix, to add some more natural scent. This won’t affect the cleaning process, but it will make your bathroom smell really nice and fresh.
When it comes time to clean your toilet, simply sprinkle a few tablespoons of this mixture into the toilet bowl, let it fizz up and then clean with the brush – that’s all there is to it!
5. Natural bleach alternative
Bleach is a common cleaning ingredient – but it can be very damaging to our health and the environment. Thankfully, if you spilled red wine over your white shirt or your tea towels are starting to get a little smelly no matter how much you wash them, there is a great natural alternative.
The ingredients you’ll need are:
- 1 gallon of hot water
- 1 tablespoon of castile soap
- 2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide
- 20 drops of tea tree oil
- ¼ cup of lemon juice
Combine these ingredients together in a bucket or bowl (make sure the water is very hot). Place your stained or smelly laundry in the mixture and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the water becomes cool enough for you to squeeze and mix the clothing to ensure it’s fully submerged and soaked.
Then, let your clothes sit in this mixture for several hours or overnight. Once finished, rinse the laundry with cold water and hang it up in the sun, which should do the rest of the work.
6. Scrubbing powder
Some parts of our home need something a little stronger than diluted vinegar, which is where you may want to use this scrub instead. You can use the mixture to clean your oven, tub, shower, or anywhere else that needs some more thorough cleaning.
The ingredients for this zero waste cleaning recipe are:
- 1 cup of baking soda
- ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide
- ¼ cup of castile soap
Mix all ingredients together and you’re good to go. This is around the amount that you should need to do all deep-cleaning in a smaller home with one bathroom, but the mixture won’t last long if you keep it in a cupboard. If possible, use it up in one day.
7. Window & glass cleaner
Leave your glass and windows sparkling clean with a homemade, eco friendly glass cleaner. So easy to make and we’ve found them just as effective (if not better) than the chemical options purchased from the supermarket.
You will need:
- 2 cups distilled water
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 10 drops essential oil
Combine all of the above into a spray bottle and give it a good shake. We recommend you use distilled water instead of tap water as it’s purer and less likely to leave any marks on your glass and mirror surfaces. Its also best to us.
It’s always best to clean your glass and mirrors starting from the top and working your way down.
8. Air & fabric freshener
Avoid the chemical air fresheners and aerosols and switch to a homemade, natural freshener. All you need is two ingredients:
- Spray bottle filled with water
- 10-20 drops of essential oil
After adding 10 drops of your prefered essential oil to the spray bottle of water, have a little sniff and test for concentration. remember, a little goes a long way with essential oils, so gradually add more drops until you are happy with the strength.
Now you can spray your fabrics, furniture, soft linens and the air for a perfectly natural air freshener without the carcinogens that are rife in aerosol products.
9. Microwave cleaner
After steaming up these two key ingredients, all you have to do is wipe away:
- Small cup of white wine vinegar
- Juice of 1 lemon
Pop your microwavable cup in the microwave for 2 minutes. The mixture will begin to steam and allow this to sit for a minute or so longer after the 2 minutes is up. Open the door and wipe the inside of your microwave with a damp cloth for effortless cleaning and refreshing.
10. Drain cleaner
Slow-flowing pipes again? It’s something we all find ourselves facing from time to time. Instead of grabbing those harsh chemicals from the supermarket though, try your hand at this natural alternative first:
- Generous amount of bicarbonate of soda
- 250ml – 500ml of white wine vinegar
Don’t pre-mix this one together first! Simply pour the bicarb down the plughole followed by the white wine vinegar. The two ingredients will cause a reaction when combined that will help break down and remove any stubborn blockages and dirt.
Leave this to sit for around 15minutes and then pour a kettle of boiling water down your plughole to flush out any last remaining blockage.
11. Zero waste carpet cleaners
If you have carpet in your home, you’ll know that it can be a pain to clean – especially if you’re trying to do so with zero waste cleaning products. Fortunately, this is a quick and effective recipe that you can use to get rid of the stains on any carpet in your home.
- 1 cup of baking soda
- 1 cup of cornstarch
- ¼ cup of vinegar
- ¾ cup of water
Mix the cornstarch and baking soda together and place in a mason jar with a pierced lit or a salt shaker. In a spray bottle, combine the water and vinegar.
Spread the powder as evenly as possible over your carpet (you can use thicker layers in the dirtiest spots) and spray the carpet with the vinegar solution, until the carpet is damp but not wet. Brush this mixture gently into the surface of the carpet – take care not to damage it. Lastly, leave the mixture to dry on the carpet overnight and vacuum up any leftover powder.
12. Furniture polish
Looking for a vegan and natural alternative to restore your wooden furniture and bring them back to life? Olive oil works great and is our go-to option;
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 3/4 cup of olive oil
- Juice of half a lemon
Mix the 3 ingredients up and gently rub the mixture over old wooden surfaces to add and restore shine.
Now that you’ve make your very own DIY natural cleaning products, you might be wondering what to use with them? Instead of those pesky plastic scouring sponges, consider picking up some wooden dish brushes or natural scouring pads to scrub away at tougher stains and marks, or switch to a biodegradable dish cloth made from natural fibers.
There are also some wonderful reusable cleaning spray bottles available which are perfect for storing your new natural cleaning solutions in.
Want to protect your hands whilst cleaning? Opt for natural rubber gloves instead of the many synthetic washing up gloves available in the supermarket. Not only is the rubber sustainably grown, but it is fully biodegradable and compostable after use – just chop them into small pieces and pop them in your composter.
Hopefully, there are a few new recipes here that you can start putting to work right away for you. And if you didn’t want to make your own DIY natural cleaning products, then you can always pick up pre-mixed eco friendly cleaning products that come with the plastic!