Natural Kitchen Cleaning

natural kitchen cleaning

Of all the rooms in my house, the kitchen has to be cleaned the most often, is the most difficult to clean because of the variety of surfaces, and because they come into contact with our food (and vice versa) so not cleaning it well has the most potential for harm.

It is also a place where harmful chemicals often lurch, despite the fact that this is where they are the most dangerous. I’ll share my best tips for cleaning the kitchen naturally, and please share yours in the comments!


At my house, cabinets get food, fingerprints and wall art (mainly the lower ones) from my aspiring Picassos, and these can be a pain to clean. I’ve become hooked on microfiber to clean these with just water, but another great solution is a natural all-purpose cleaner and a clean rag (I use cut up old t-shirts and towels).

Counters and Table

My All-Purpose Cleaner also works great on countertops and tables. I’ve used it on granite and formica and it doesn’t leave residue. I would not recommend specific granite cleaning sprays, as these are some of the worst offenders in the chemical department. Do not use vinegar/lemon or anything acidic on granite as this can erode the finish and wear down the stone. You can also use a homemade alcohol based cleaner for tough messes and great shine, but I wouldn’t use it everyday.


Depending on your floors, the type of cleaning will vary, but any floor can be cleaned naturally. For laminate, ceramic, etc., a mixture of 1 cup vinegar in a gallon of water on a wet mop will clean really well. You can use the All-purpose cleaner to pre-treat any tough stains. There are also other options for carpet and hardwood.

For tile and grout, I sprinkle with baking soda and then spray with hydrogen peroxide and leave for a few minutes before scrubbing and then wiping off. This is the only way I’ve found to keep grout white.

I’ve switched to microfiber on this and am looking forward to my microfiber mop coming in, but in the meantime I just clean the floor by hand.


For natural dish soap, I use Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castille or the Dishwashing Liquid from Tropical Traditions. I’ve tried many natural variations of homemade dishwasher detergent, but usually default to Tropical Traditions Dishwasher Soap since it is the best natural option I’ve found.

To clean the dishwasher itself, I put a bowl or two on the top shelf of the dishwasher right side up and fill it with undiluted white vinegar. I then just run the dishwasher as usual (no other dishes in it) and this removes soap scum and makes the dishwasher run more efficiently. This is on my once-a-month to do list.

Oven Cleaning

I have a self-cleaning oven but don’t like to use that feature, unless it is an especially cold day in winter, because it heats the house up a lot. The easiest way I’ve found besides using the self-clean is to spray water over the bottom of the oven and dump on a lot of baking soda (about 1/4-1/2 inch think) and then spray with more water to make a paste. Then, I leave it overnight. In the morning, I scrape out all the baking soda mixture (which is brown by this point) and then use a wire brush to scrub any tough spots. After all the baking soda has been wiped off, a vinegar and water rinse will leave a spot free shine.

I also recently discovered this natural way to clean the oven even more easily in 15 minutes!

Garbage Disposal

I use my garbage disposal a lot and sometimes it gets that not-so-lovely odor. To combat this, there are a couple of options:

  • Cut a lemon in half, shove in garbage disposal and grind (with water running) for 10 seconds
  • Freeze lemon and orange peels in ice cube trays with vinegar or water and throw these in and grind for 10 seconds
  • Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda in and then 1 cup of distilled white vinegar and let sit for 10 minutes before running the water and and the disposal

Cast Iron

This won’t be in everyone’s kitchen, but we use cast iron a lot (haven’t had trouble with anemia during pregnancy since we started that). I try not to use soap on cast iron since it ruins the seasoning that takes so long to accomplish. Instead I use a steel scouring pad and some regular salt and scrub. This usually gets them clean without any trouble.

Paper Products

We’ve finally transitioned to paper free in our kitchen, and I won’t ever go back. We actually bought several hundred cloth napkins for our wedding years ago, and we still use those, though if I ever replace them, I’ll replace them with a darker color to hide the stains they have now. A couple of dozen cloth napkins will last a family between washes and will save a lot of money and waste in the long run.

We also use extra dish towels instead of paper towels and just replace them every six months to a year, which is still cheaper than buying paper towels.

Produce Washing

The way I wash produce largely depends on where it came from and what it is. For stuff from our garden, it gets a light wash in water before use. For store bough produce with tough skin, I soak in vinegar for about 10 minutes, and then lightly scrub with my hands after I’ve dipped them in baking soda. I do this before placing them in the fridge so that the chemicals don’t transfer to the fridge and so the kids can get their own fruits and veggies for snacks. I’ve also tried a hydrogen peroxide and water spray, and this seems to work for softer skin fruits and veggies like peaches or grapes or berries (1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide in 2 cups of water – stored in a dark bottle!).

What is Under My Sink

I keep it simple with kitchen cleaning. Under the sink, I have bottles of white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, Dr. Bronners, baking soda, my homemade cleaner, microfiber cloths and assorted cloths and scrubbing brushes. I’m yet to find a mess I can’t tackle with this regimen. (On a related note, I keep everything under my sink in a boot tray that typically goes by the backdoor so that I can remove them all at once to clean under the sink).

Kitchen Cleaning Checklist

Today, let’s all get our kitchens naturally clean! Take the chemicals to a hazardous waste disposal place and stop using them!! I’ve found this checklist from Real Simple helpful to clean the kitchen from the top down. You can also download my personal organizing printable that have  my chore lists, room-by-room checklists and daily to-do lists to help make the process easier.

Do it all in one step:

I recently found Branch Basics, an amazing natural cleaner that is safe for even chemically sensitive people and that can clean the entire kitchen, gets stains out of clothes, dirt out of grout lines, cleans an oven like magic, and is safe to use on skin. In fact, it is tear free and I’ve been using it for baby shampoo! I’m addicted. I even feel safe letting my kids clean with it!

What is your best kitchen cleaning tip? Do you have any suggestions for natural kitchen cleaning that I missed? Share below!

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Reader Comments

  1. Are any of these things disinfecting?  I’m having trouble giving up my Lysol to ensure the germs are gone…

    • The microfiber cloths with the silver are disinfecting, as are hydrogen peroxide. The essential oils in the natural spray make it disinfecting also. If you are really worried about it after cooking meat or after illnesses, just add a few drops of oil of oregano to the all purpose cleaner. Smells like pasta sauce but kills all the germs.

    • Hi Jen!  Have you ever tried Basic G disinfectant/deodorizer or Germ Free disinfecting wipes from Shaklee Corporation?  Both kill 99.9% of germs like Lysol and Clorox without the harsh toxic chemicals.  I use that stuff because of my asthma.  We just did a gig for Earth Day. 

  2. I have tiny ants coming in my kitchen- haven’t figured out from where. Vinegar will deter them but I have granite countertops. Any ideas?

  3. Does the Dr. Bonner’s liquid soap leave a film on your dishes. I used it for the first time last night and it seems to leave a film of some sort on my dishes and wondering if I was the only one

    • Try adding some White vinegar to the water and if you have a concentrate Dr. Bonner’s you might need to dilute it

  4. I’ve had the same problem with Dr. Bronner’s.  I usually use LifeTree Dishwashing Liquid.  What do you think of that brand?

  5. I cannot find your recipe for dish liquid for washing in the sink that contains washing baking soda, borax, vinegar and Dr. Bonner’s Castile soap

  6. I love the 1 cup vinegar to 1 gallon floor cleaner recipe… I added a few drops of lemongrass essential oil for the lemoney fresh scent.
    Thanks! I know I’m late to the blog crowd here but I’m just getting my home established and have been doing a lot of homecare research.

  7. Moved into an “old” house. Can’t yet afford to replace vinyl kitchen floor. Do you have a wax-stripper recipe? How about a wax recipe? Thanks for your blog & your help.

  8. Hi, Katie! When you wash dishes with Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap, do you dilute it or use full strength? (Not meaning for soaking, for when you apply soap to a sponge to wash.)

  9. I have a bottle of the unscented and looked all over for dish washing dilution instructions! Couldn’t find a thing. There’s a lot of writing on the bottle though, so I’ll check again :) How do you find it works as far as a grease cutter on dishes? I made my own dish soap with Dr. Bronner’s bar soap, water, glycerin, and EOs but it doesn’t cut grease. Maybe the liquid works better?

  10. What would you recommend for cleaning stainless steel appliances? I have a chemical cleaner that leaves them shiny but I also have a toddler and her health is a priority. Anything natural I can use so they are shiny and streak free?

  11. Quick question Katie. If you don’t use any paper products what do you use to drain any foods that your fry on? I know you could use cloth but how could you get that grease out?? Thanks this would be helpful to know

  12. Would you please compare and contrast the Tropical Traditions All Purpose Cleaner with the Branch Basics one, maybe safety of ingredients, as well as effectiveness in cleaning household areas and laundry?

  13. Hi there, what do you guys use to clean stone floors? I have some rough finished Arizona flagstone all throughout my halls and kitchen. I have been trying to figure out what to clean them with…I am wondering about something close to the clothing detergent recipe, that has borax, washing soda and Dr. Bronner’s soap and essential oils. Anyone tried that?

  14. Is ice actually good for the garbage disposal? I always thought it was bad for the blades. Just because of how hard it is.

  15. I appreciate the tip about the vinegar for floors. I think that the floors are usually my least favorite thing to clean in the kitchen, but it makes a huge difference to walk across a clean floor. I’m going to keep this article and give it to my kids. Maybe it will inspire them to clean more regularly!

  16. Need some help with cleaning my kitchen floor and I tried the scrubbing powder even bought branch basic with oxygen boost,bleach,hydrogen peroxide and borax.The floor is linoleum and a very light color and we had carpet on it what caused yellow stains.Any ideas what else i could try

  17. I had a white linoleum floor! Uggghh! I like to have my floors spotless, but could never get it clean. It was certainly not what I would have put in a kitchen….but I didnt build the house so I dealt with it) Anyway, I used everything to try to make it look clean. I even got down on my hands and knees to try and clean it with cleaners such as Commet ( a no-no it leaves huge white spots) Windex spray, will only asphyxiate yourself lol… Fantastic Spray…all didn’t work.
    Finally I found that this works pretty well. It strips the floor clean of the shine, but at least the floor is clean and you can put the shine back on with Mop and Glo. I preferred just a clean floor.
    In a bucket,fill 3/4 fill of hot water, not scalding. Use 3/4 cup white vinegar and about half a teaspoon of Dawn dishwashing liquid. (Make sure not to use too much soap because you have to go back and rinse it. Less is better. You don’t want to slip and fall if the floor is wet.)
    It actually worked for me and my floor looked so Amazing! After a few times it looks even better. Hope this works for you!

  18. Do you have any tips for cleaning stainless steel appliances? Mine are constantly covered in finger prints. I’m about to test out a microfibre cloth on them & hoping that helps.

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