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23 Reader Suggested Natural Cleaning Recipes That Actually Work

Over the years I have tried a wide variety of homemade natural cleaning recipes. Some were great and would work but others just did not seem to be up to the task.

I read many posts on the subject and then tried the recipes but it was still hit and miss.

It was then that I realised something special.

The people who were reading and giving feedback on these posts were just like me and leaving feedback on what worked for them. The next thing I did was to start using and recording those natural recipes that were left as feedback.

The results have been fantastic for me, so for that reason, I am sharing some of them with you today. Here is my list of some of the best reader suggested natural cleaning recipes that actually work! 

WHY CHOOSE NATURAL CLEANING RECIPES?

Firstly I would like to say that many of the chemicals used in household cleaners today carry a risk of toxic exposure. This is due to the fact that indoor air moves very differently to outdoor air.

Outdoor air is subject to many different conditions which can dilute the toxicity of chemicals around us very quickly.

Indoor air is almost static and due to the warmth of our rooms, any harmful chemicals can be raised from ground level with ease.

It is also true that many household cleaning products carry strict warnings of use and are full of toxic chemicals.  Take a look and you will see that some are even being classed as hazardous waste.

Have a quick look at the ingredients list on most oven or drain cleaners and you will see they are marked as “highly corrosive”.

One drain cleaner also notifies me that it: “May be corrosive to metals. Causes severe skin burns and eye damage. Very toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects”. 

This is a product designed to be flushed away into our water systems and it is marked as “Very Toxic”.

Even our humble air fresheners can carry the instructions “do not breathe” and “if in contact with skin rinse with soap and water.” A further warning said “Avoid release into the environment”. 

A high number of commercially available floor and furniture waxes contain neurotoxic petroleum based solvents. Doctors agree that solvents can cause headaches, irritability and loss of concentration and awareness.

Secondly I would like to say that It seems crazy to me that we allow these things to exist at all. Do we really know what it is that we bring them into our homes?

I would say that for these reasons alone, changing to non-toxic, organic homemade cleaners seem like an obvious choice. It is simply, the clean green choice, and also the cheaper, healthier choice for you and your family.

Amazingly a household needs very few ingredients to make some remarkable natural cleaners. Even better as your budget allows you can also buy these ingredients in bulk.

By buying in this way the cleaners become extremely cost effective and lowers your carbon footprint.  This also allows you to support your local economy and gives you full control over the quality aspect.

You also know that they are safe for you, your kids, your pets and the environment as a whole. Whoever said that saving the planet was a hard thing to do and that no one person could make a difference!    

natural cleaners message blackboard chalk don't be the same be better

A quick note about natural cleaner recipes from my personal experience:

I would first like to say that for those who think vinegar is the king of all natural  cleaning agents when mixed with baking soda, you are wrong.

Vinegar is a base acid and when mixed with a base alkaline, (baking soda) the chemical reaction which takes place, (frothing) is actually just the two chemicals canceling each other out.

There are many you tube videos and websites which combine these two elements together. However the frothing and fizzing is only the chemical creation of water and salt.   (H2O) & (C2H3NaO2).

All you are really getting is a mild soft scrub.

With this in mind you may as well save the soda and vinegar for other purposes and just use plain old Kosher or sea salt if you really want to.

Now that I have just made many online enemies let’s get to the real question…   

DO HOMEMADE CLEANERS ACTUALLY WORK?

The short answer is yes.

It is true that homemade natural cleaners are much milder than the toxic mass produced ones. I would also argue that you cannot just spray the majority of them on and then watch the dirt dissolve away within moments.

However many of the natural recipes work just as well, if not better, than their modern counterparts. Traditionally our natural recipes have been passed down through the centuries through word of mouth and family teachings.

These recipes have been tried, tested and have evolved into the recipes that we see today. Above all else these homemade natural recipes have always been good for the environment and the family.

The modern, heavy in chemicals, manufactured cleaners by comparison are simply to strong for their intended purpose. They are bad for the environment and even worse for our health in both the long and the short term.

Why do we place essential oils into our natural cleaners?

colored water in three jars

Essential oils play a large part in natural cleaning recipes as they can be used to disinfect, soothe and add fragrance.

This tradition of using essential oils in natural recipes can be traced as far back as ancient Greece and the time of the pharaohs. Records show that both cultures would use oils derived from flowers and herbs for cleaning and in medicine.

They also used to place sachets or pillows of sweet smelling herbs to freshen their linens or place in their rooms much as we do today. They also discovered the antibacterial qualities of lavender and clove, plus the cleaning abilities of lemons.

Many of their discoveries still apply today which is why the humble essential oil is as popular today as 5,000 years ago. (if not a little stronger).   

Caution: Pregnant women, diabetics and people with allergies or respiratory conditions should consult a doctor about using essential oils prior to using these recipes if they are unfamiliar with them.

I feel that I must point out that essential oils should always be handled and used with care. They are strong, volatile and very potent concentrations of the plants from which they are extracted.

In addition to this they should also be stored away from pets and children and used as per the manufacturer’s guidelines.

There is some debate about the use of essential oils and the danger to pets and other animals. I have another post which delves into this area in greater detail referencing dogs, cats and birds.

My findings on the subject indicate that there are risks involved and the post should be read in full.

BASIC RULES FOR MAKING NATURAL CLEANING RECIPES

  • Always label your homemade cleaners and include an ingredient list in case of an accident.
  • Include on your label the date on which it was made, as some ingredients may suffer with age.
  • Never mix a commercial modern product with your homemade product, the results could be dangerous and unpredictable.
  • Always store them out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Don’t use ammonia.
  • Never use the containers of commercial products to store your own homemade cleaners.
  • Never digest your cleaner no matter how good it looks or smells.
  • Natural cleaners are organic in nature but are a weak acid, alkaline or abrasive so please wear gloves to reduce the risk of skin irritation.
  • Vinegar is an acid and can cause harm to some surfaces. Please read my article on is vinegar the best natural cleaner.
  • Store them in a dark bottle and away from sunlight as UV light will degrade the quality of the oil.
  • Always add essential oil to ingredients not ingredients to the essential oil.
  • Purchase and use essential oils only from reputable companies whose oils are third party tested. (A list can be found on my post: essential oils and the the danger to cats, dogs and birds).
COMMON INGREDIENTS AND TOOLS REQUIRED

CLEANING INGREDIENTS    (COMMON)

  • Baking soda
  • Washing soda
  • Beeswax
  • Borax
  • White vinegar
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Castile and vegetable oil based soaps
  • Citrus solvent
  • Cornstarch
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Alcohol (vodka and/or rubbing alcohol)
  • Cream of Tartar
  • Lemon juice/ Lime juice
  • Essential oils
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Tea tree oil
  • Toothpaste
  • TSP (trisodium phosphate) 
  • Mineral oil

CLEANING TOOLS    (COMMON)

  • Unbleached cloths/rags (not microfibre)
  • Natural sponge (not manufactured if poss)
  • Sustainable natural scrub brushes
  • Glass spray bottles
  • Glass storage containers 
  • Labels
  • Gloves 
  • Measuring cups/spoons
  • Glass mixing bowls 
  • Metal bucket (for mixing ingredients)
  • Dustpan and broom
  • Cleaning wand
  • Funnels
  • Vacuum
  • Mop and bucket or hard floor cleaner/steamer
  • Cleaning caddy or box

ALL PURPOSE HOUSEHOLD CLEANER (no vinegar)

  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp liquid castile soap
  • 1 1/2 cups distilled water
  • 10 drops of Tea tree oil
  • Glass spray bottle

METHOD

Combine the baking soda and 1 cup of the water in the spray bottle then shake or stir until the baking soda dissolves. Next, add the castile soap and the tea tree oil and replace the lid and then gently shake the mixture. Once the bubbles have dissipated you may wish to add the remaining water or use the mixture as it is depending upon personal preference. If the mixture separates over time then simply shake it gently before use.

ALL PURPOSE HOUSEHOLD CLEANER (vinegar)

DISINFECTANT (No1)

  • 50/50 solution of vinegar and distilled water
  • Essential oil for the aroma
  • Glass spray bottle

METHOD

Combine the ingredients in a glass spray bottle, shake, and you are ready to go. As an alternative to essential oils you could make up the liquid in a glass jar with some citrus fruit rind and leave for two weeks. Strain the liquid into a glass spray jar prior to use.

ALL PURPOSE HOUSEHOLD CLEANER (vinegar version 2)

  • 1 cup of vinegar 
  • 1/2 cup of distilled water
  • 1/2 cup of rubbing alcohol/surgical spirits or vodka (ouch)!
  • 5 drops of castile liquid soap (the soap may become unsaponified)
  • Essential oil for the aroma 20 to 30 drops of your favorite
  • Glass spray bottle

METHOD

Combine the ingredients in a glass spray bottle, shake gently, and you are ready to go.

Whenever you use alcohol please  make sure that the room is well ventilated and that you are not near any naked flames.

I don’t have great results with this recipe but my friends do.

 APPLE CIDER ALL PURPOSE HOUSEHOLD CLEANER 

  • 1 cup of apple cider vinegar 
  • 2 cups of hot distilled water
  • 5 to 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract
  • 10 15 drops total of tea tree and/or lavender essential oil
  • Glass spray bottle

METHOD

Combine the ingredients in a glass spray bottle, shake gently, and you are ready to go.

This recipe can be used as a daily shower spray to cut down on soap scum build up just spray, leave and wipe off after 20 mins.

 

 KITCHEN CLEANER AND DEODORIZER

  • 4 tbs baking soda
  • 2 cups distilled water

METHOD

Combine the ingredients in a glass spray bottle, shake gently, and you are ready to go.

Alternatively pour neat onto a cloth and wipe down surfaces. 

 

LAUNDRY CLEANER

  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 2 bars of castile soap grated
  • 15 drops tea tree oil

METHOD

  • Grate the castile soap and then blend into a fine powder in a food processor, be careful not to inhale the dust.
  • Place the soap in a pot and cover with water until melted.
  • Pour the soap into a large clean 5 gallon bucket and put on gloves and a dust mask.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients,(taking care as borax and washing soda are irritants) and stir.
  • Add hot water 4/5ths full and fully mix the ingredients.
  • Let the mixture cool add essential oils and let sit overnight.
  • Pour the gel into glass containers and use 1/2 to 1 cup per load.

DISH WASHING LIQUID

  • 1/4  cup soap flakes
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1/4 cup glycerine
  • 5 to 10 drops lemon essential oil

METHOD

  • Combine soap flakes and water and stir until dissolved.
  • Allow to cool until lukewarm.
  • Stir in the oil and glycerine and leave to cool.
  • As it cools into a gel, stir and pour into a suitable container.

DISH WASHING LIQUID (No 2)

  • 2/3  cup sal suds
  • 1 and 1/3 cup distilled water
  • 1 tbs washing soda
  • 40 drops lemon, grapefruit or tea tree essential oil
  • 1 tbs kosher salt dissolved in 3 to 4 tbs hot water

METHOD

  • Heat the salt and water until dissolved and put to one side.
  • Heat the distilled water the washing soda until dissolved.
  • Stir in the sal suds, oil and 1 tbs of the salt water mixture.
  • Pour the mixture into a suitable container and stir.
  • If a thicker mixture is required add more of the salt water.
  • It may thicken further as it cools so be mindful of this

SOFT SCRUB

  • 2 tbs castile soap
  • 3/4 cup baking soda
  • About 2 to 3 tbs of water to make a smooth paste
  • 10 drops grapefruit oil or citrus essential oils of choice 

METHOD

  • Combine baking soda , castile soap and oils.
  • Add water to mixture and stir until a smooth paste is formed.
  • Put into suitable container and use sparingly.

SOFT SCRUB (No2)

  • 1 cup castile soap
  • 1 cup baking soda or washing soda

METHOD

  • Combine baking soda, washing soda and castile soap.
  • Dab a wet cloth into the mixture and apply then rinse.

HEAVY DUTY SCRUB

  • 1/2 cup borax
  • 1/2 lemon

METHOD

  • Dip the lemon into the borax and scrub the surface.
  • Rinse with warm water.

DISINFECTANT (No2)

  • 1/2 cup borax or vinegar
  • 1 gallon hot water

METHOD

  • Combine the ingredients and clean.

DISINFECTANT (No3)

  • 1/4 cup  vinegar
  • 5 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2 cups  water

METHOD

  • Combine the ingredients and place into a glass spray bottle.

DISINFECTANT (No4)

  • 1/4 cup  vinegar
  • 5 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2 cups  water

METHOD

  • Combine the ingredients and place into a glass spray bottle.

DISINFECTANT (No5) 

  • 20 drops lavender essential oil
  • 1 cup  water

METHOD

  • Combine the ingredients and place into a glass spray bottle.
  • Lavender contains 50 percent of an ingredient called linalool which kills bacteria and viruses

LAVENDER OIL FURNITURE WAX 

  • 20 drops lavender essential oil
  • 200 mls of olive oil
  • 100 mls of melted beeswax 

METHOD

  • This recipe calls for 1 part beeswax to 2 parts olive oil so it may be easier to weigh the ingredients rather than try to melt and exact amount.
  • Place the  beeswax and olive oil into a pan and heat gently.
  • Once the ingredients have combined take off the heat and allow to cool for two minutes.
  • Add the lavender oil and stir then transfer to a wide mouthed glass jar and leave to solidify.  

LAVENDER OIL WOODEN FURNITURE POLISH 

  • 15 drops lavender essential oil
  • 1 tbs rubbing alcohol or vodka
  • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 30 mls lavender base oil or olive oil

METHOD

  • Combine all the ingredients and mix well.
  • Place into a glass spray bottle and rub into the wood on contact.  

LEMON OIL FURNITURE DUSTING CLOTH 

  • 10 drops lemon essential oil
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • A few drops of olive oil 

METHOD

  • Dip a cloth into the mixture and lightly wipe down furniture.

BRASS CLEANER 

  • 1 lemon
  • Table salt 

METHOD

  • Squeeze 1/2 of the lemon juice into a cloth.
  • Add a good amount of salt to the cloth.
  • Rub down the brass item vigorously.
  • Rinse with warm water and dry. 

SILVER CLEANER 

  • 2 tbs baking soda
  • 1tbs warm water 

METHOD

  • Combine the baking soda and water to form a paste.
  • Layer the paste as required onto a soft cloth.
  • Rub down the silver item vigorously.
  • Rinse with warm water and dry. 

CHROME CLEANER/CHOPPING BOARD CLEANER 

  • 1 Lemon
  • Saucer of salt

METHOD

  • Cut the lemon in half and dip into the salt.
  • Rub the salted lemon over the chrome or chopping board surface.
  • Rinse with warm water.

COFFEE MAKER CLEANER 

  • Vinegar

METHOD

  • Run full strength vinegar through a coffee cycle.
  • Rinse by running clear water through a cycle three times.

WINDOW/MIRROR CLEANER 

  •  1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup  distilled or tap water

METHOD

  • Combine the two ingredients in a glass spray bottle.
  • Wipe dry with a clean cloth or crumpled newspaper.
  • If the solution dries quickly it will leave streak marks.

So in conclusion I hope that you are now inspired to try the above natural recipes for home cleaning. I believe that I have now given to you the opportunity to clear your home of those nasty toxic chemicals. Chemicals that are too strong and simply hurt you, your family and the environment.

Remember, one drain cleaner also advertises on the can that it: “May be corrosive to metals. Causes severe skin burns and eye damage. Very toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects”. 

There are other natural recipes that I use for deodorizers, air fresheners, stain removers, oven and drain cleaners, to mention but a few.

If you like this post and would like me to cover these in later articles, please leave feedback and I will be happy to do so.

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sustainability dad

Mark Aspland is a proud father of two boys, would be amateur actor and green living enthusiast. He has been sharing hints, tips and sustainable living content on his website Sustainability Dad since august 2019. 

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He now has an army of followers who are like hearted individuals passionate about the environment and how to affect positive change through peaceful action.