Commercial cleaning supplies can be highly toxic to both human health and the environment. You can avoid using those products, and save money too, by making your own natural cleaning supplies at home using common, food-grade materials.
- Salt will take out wine or fruit stains.
- Club soda will remove lighter colored stains.
- Baking soda and cornstarch make good deodorizers.
- Clean your oven with a paste of baking soda, salt, and water.
- One part water to one part vinegar in a spray bottle will clean most areas of
- Remove toilet bowl stains with vinegar.
2 cups white distilled vinegar
2 cups water
20 drops of essential oil
Warming until lukewarm will boost cleaning power for tough jobs. Useful for
countertops, appliances, windows, mirrors.
Creamy Scrub Cleanser
2 cups baking soda
½ cup liquid castile soap
4 teaspoons vegetable glycerin
(optional but acts as a preservative)
5 drops antibacterial essential oil
such as lavender, tea tree, rosemary (optional)
Stores up to two years in a sealed glass jar. For exceptionally tough jobs,
spray with vinegar first, let sit and follow with scrub. Great for kitchen
counters, stoves, bathroom sinks.
¼ cup white vinegar
a few drops of olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Store in refrigerator. Shake well before using. Dip a clean, dry cloth into
the polish and rub wood in the direction of the grain.
½ cup baking soda
½ cup white vinegar
Pour baking soda down the drain and follow with vinegar. Cover and let sit
for at least 30 minutes. Flush with boiling water. Repeat if necessary
Although many of our readers like to use Borax in their handmade cleaning
products - especially for laundry - it can be toxic and has been recently
classified as a reproductive toxin. Sufficient exposure to borax dust can
cause respiratory and skin irritation. Ingestion may cause gastrointestinal
distress including nausea, persistent vomiting, abdominal pain, and
diarrhea. So we do not recommend its use.
The use of essential oils is controversial and not necessary to the
effectiveness of these formulations. Exposure can cause breathing
problems for children and for some people with asthma or other respiratory
problems or sensitivities. Most sources say that pregnant and nursing women
should avoid many essential oils. Additionally, many of the plants used to
make essential oils are gathered from the wild, which is decimating some
species, such as rosewood and sandalwood.
For more information on this topic and other sustainable
housing issues, read our book
Natural Life Magazine's Green and Healthy Homes.