Cleaning a house naturally is not any more difficult than cleaning it with harsh chemicals. It improves indoor air quality and is much safer, especially for children.
We’ve switched entirely to natural cleaning products and our house is just as clean (or cleaner!). I don’t have to worry about the kids getting sick if they lick the floors. (What, your kids don’t do that?) 🙂
The other great thing about natural cleaning recipes is that they are safe for kids to use. The earlier, the better I say!
Natural Cleaning Ingredients
Switching to homemade DIY cleaners might sound like a lot more work, but it’s actually quite simple. The ingredients are easy to come by and last a long time.
The natural cleaning ingredients I always keep on hand are:
- white vinegar
- liquid castile soap or Sal Suds
- natural salt
- baking soda
- washing soda
- hydrogen peroxide
- microfiber cloths
- essential oils (optional)
- a spray bottle or two (preferably glass – I get mine here)
Easy Natural Cleaning Recipes for Beginners
Here are a few easy and inexpensive natural cleaning recipes to get started around the house:
Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner – Four ingredients and thirty seconds to mix it up is all it takes! Customize the scent with essential oils.
Glass Cleaner – No need for that bright blue, highly scented stuff … vinegar + water cuts through dirt and leaves glass streak-free.
Tile Grout Cleaner – Mix 1 part water and 3 parts baking soda mixed into a paste. Apply to grout and let sit, scrub with toothbrush, remove with sponge.
Cookware – Use sea salt or coarse salt mixed with a little lemon juice and scrub. Also, try baking soda and water made into a paste. This also works well on stained tea cups or coffee mugs, and even the cutting board.
Fabric Softener – Mix 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water together. Add 1/4 to 1/3 cup to the final rinse cycle.
Toilet Cleaner – Use undiluted white vinegar, pour around the top of the toilet bowl, scrub until clean.
Wood Dusting Spray – Banish dust and nourish wood at the same time.
What could be easier?!
19 Tips for Natural Cleaning Success!
Through trial and error I’ve learned a bit about natural cleaning over the years. Below I’ve compiled my top 19 tips for easy natural cleaning so you can skip the learning curve!
Please share your best cleaning tips as well in the comment section below!
1. Baking Soda for Oven Cleaning
A paste of baking soda and water cleans ovens without the chemicals or the hassle of the self-cleaning cycle. Just make a paste on the bottom of the oven, leave for a few hours and wipe off for a shiny, chemical free oven. This post explains the specifics.
2. Save Money on Magic Erasers
3. Switch to Microfiber
I have saved a lot of money since I switched to microfiber, and I was using inexpensive homemade cleaners before switching! I have a basic set of antibacterial microfiber cloths and a microfiber mop set that I absolutely love and use daily. I can literally clean my entire house (except toilets) with just water now! To keep things simple, I have one color-coded microfiber cloth per room. No chemicals and it saves money!
4. Make Scouring Powder
For soap scum on tubs and showers, make your own scouring powder with 2 parts baking soda, 1 part salt, and 1 part borax. It will cut through even the toughest scum!
5. Citrus Infused Vinegar
Fill a jar with (organic) citrus peels and pour undiluted white vinegar over them. Leave for a few days (up to 2 weeks) and strain out the vinegar to use as a natural cleaner. It works as a window cleaner (dilute with water), for mopping floors, or for disinfecting surfaces.
6. Use a Checklist!
Use a checklist for each room so that you can clean efficiently, or assign the jobs to children and know that they will be thorough. Here is my checklist (feel free to print and use!).
7. Treat Stains Naturally
Laundry soaps and stain treaters can be some of the worst offenders for toxic chemicals. There are natural options that work really well, but it helps to know a little chemistry, as different natural options will work better on different types of stains.
Here is my reference sheet that I keep by my washer for quick reference: (Free Printable – Click Here)
8. Clean the Dishwasher
To clean your dishwasher effortlessly, fill a dishwasher safe bowl or jar with 2 cups of vinegar and set on the top rack of the dishwasher. I use a small glass Pyrex container.
Run through on a hot cycle with no other dishes in the dishwasher to clean and remove the musty odor.
9. Clean the 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.
10. Natural Air Freshener
In a medium saucepan, simmer a quart of water with natural ingredients to freshen and clean the air. Just make sure not to let the water evaporate off completely! My favorite combinations are:
- 1 sliced lemon, 2 tablespoons rosemary and a dash of vanilla
- 1 sliced lime and 1 piece chopped ginger root
- 1 sliced orange, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and a dash of nutmeg and cloves (smells like pumpkin pie!)
- 2 tablespoons thyme and 1 sliced lime
11. Homemade Laundry Soap
Save a lot of money by making your own laundry soap! Here is the recipe I use and it makes enough for our family of 7 for months and costs pennies!
12. Remove Urine Stains
If you have potty training kids like I do, tackle urine stains in mattresses with this great solution for removing the stains and smells using hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap.
13. Clean Shower Heads
Clean a shower head by filling a plastic bag with white vinegar and then tie the bag around the shower head so that the shower head is immersed in the vinegar. Leave on for up to 12 hours and remove carefully. Pour it down the drain and your shower head should be clean and free of hard water residue.
14. Car Upholstery
Clean stains are car upholstery with Dawn dish soap, baking soda, and club soda. Here’s the method.
15. Clean Toilet
Dump a cup of baking soda into the toilet and let it soak for at least an hour. Pour in a cup of white vinegar, leave for 5 mins and flush. Unless the toilet is really dirty, this will clean it without scrubbing! Here is my bathroom cleaning checklist and recipes.
16. Stove Vent Fan
Clean the stove vent fan with boiling water and baking soda. Here’s how.
17. Glass Spray Bottle
I am not a fan of plastic spray bottles, especially when they contain substances that can break down the plastic. A friend gave me a glass spray bottle as a gift and I’ve since made several more using old Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar bottles with the tops from a plastic bottle. These also look a lot better in my opinion and are an Earth-friendly option vs. generating more plastic packaging.
18. Microfiber for Windows
Since switching to microfiber for window cleaning, I will never go back! It cleans without chemicals (all you need is water!) and leaves no streaks or lint. This is my favorite brand.
19. Store-bought Cleaners
Yes … there are store-bought cleaners with good ingredients that make life even easier. While I enjoy making my own DIY cleaning recipes and truly feel it simplifies life, I honestly don’t love the smell of vinegar and not everyone wants to use borax.
Here are some store-bought green cleaners I’ve used over the years and love:
- Branch Basics – My favorite non-DIY option so far, this concentrated cleaner was developed by a mom with a chemically sensitive son. Hear the story behind the company here, or use the code MAMA15 to get their starter kit for 15% off.
- Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds Concentrate – A coconut-based natural formula that cleans exceptionally well. In fact, one drop added to two quarts of water is enough to clean carpet stains. A teaspoon in a quart of water is enough to clean most surfaces and this is a very effective spray laundry stain treatment when diluted with water.
- Bon Ami Powder – A natural powder-based cleaner and scouring powder that works great on tough stains and grime on surfaces like showers and tubs.
- Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap Concentrate – For personal care uses, gentle house cleaning, foaming hand soap and more.
- Laundry Soap – I still make my own most of the time but will buy BioKlean liquid laundry soap or Ecover zero if I’m pressed for time or traveling. My Green Fills is another solid option that I’ve used and like.
Ready for More?
Hooked and ready to try some more? Here are some other great natural cleaning recipes and ideas:
Natural Homemade Laundry Detergent
Make Your Own Natural Homemade Laundry Detergent – Video Tutorial
Natural Stain Treatment Reference Sheet (Printable)
Natural Cleaning and Organizing Checklist
Non-Toxic Bathroom Cleaning
Non-Toxic Kitchen Cleaning
Here’s another article with some additional tips on natural cleaning.
Do you have any favorite natural cleaning tips? What are some of your favorites? Share below!