I’ve gotten really into green cleaning products recently. With all of the attention we pay to the chemicals we ingest, we sometimes forget about the stuff we clean with. I collected some of my favorite DIY green cleaning recipes to share with you. If you’re looking to cut down on using chemicals that are harmful to the environment and to our bodies, this post is for you.
Whenever I tell people I make my own cleaning products, the first thing I get is the Huuuuh? face. As in, why on earth would you do that when you could run to the store and pick one up that’s already made for you?
Let me start by telling you right off the bat that if it wasn’t easy, I wouldn’t do it. I’ve got way too much going on to be bothered with complicated green cleaning recipes. The recipes I use are incredibly simple and nontoxic—in my book, this is key when you have a toddler who not only puts just about anything in her mouth but scales furniture when I turn my back.
The next thought that flickers across a person’s face is usually, How do you know it actually works? Most people don’t ask that out loud but you can totally see that they’re thinking it (my sister, however, absolutely asks it out loud). Once I explain the ingredients I use and their magical powers (which I’ll get to in a bit) the face is usually all Tell me your secrets!
Since I can never remember these magical recipes off the top of my head (I keep them on a card in my recipe box), I thought I’d lay them all out for you right here…
My favorite DIY green cleaning recipes
I usually keep spray bottles of the first few of these at the ready and make the others as I need them. My rule is, if I need it often, it better be ready for me.
- All purpose cleaner: 1/2 cup warm water, 1/2 cup vinegar, 2 tablespoon lemon juice, 15 drops tea tree oil
- Grease cutter: 2 cups warm water, 1/4 cup Castile soap, 10 drops essential oil
- Mildew/Germ killer: 2 cups of water, 25 drops of tea tree oil, 25 drops of lavender oil. Spray it and don’t wipe it off
- Window/Glass/Chrome cleaner: 5 parts water, 1 part white vinegar or 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon Castile soap
- Toilet bowl cleaner: Castile soap and baking soda
- Tub and tile cleaner: Vinegar then scour with baking soda
- Wood floor cleaner: 1/4 cup of vinegar, 1 gallon warm water. Use a slightly damp mop or rag
- Linoleum cleaner: 1 cup vinegar, 1 gallon warm water
- Drain cleaner: Pour 1/4 cup of baking soda, 1/2 cup of white vinegar and a kettle of boiling water down the drain (before pouring the water, let the vinegar and baking soda do their fizzy business a bit). Depending on how bad your clog is, you might have to do this a few times
So. How do I know these green cleaning recipes work? Let me break it down:
- Because of its super high acidity, vinegar kills most mold, germs, and bacteria.
- Tea tree oil is antimicrobial and effective against bacteria, viruses and fungal infections (it’s even used to treat athlete’s foot).
- Baking soda neutralizes odors and is a gentle scrubbing agent.
Add a little organic vegetable oil-based Castile soap (we love the peppermint scented one!) to the mix and I think it’s safe to say we have ourselves a green cleaning party.
And as if the ease of the recipes and the effectiveness aren’t enough, it is cheap to make your own stuff. I mean, you can get a 13.5 pound bag of baking soda from Amazon for less than twenty bucks. That bag will last foreverrrrr.
One question that people always have when it comes to these recipes is Does it smell? While you will definitely smell the vinegar and tea tree oil while you’re doing your cleaning thang, you absolutely won’t once it dries. Pinky promise.
So, what do you think? Have I convinced you to give my DIY green cleaning recipes a try? Or do you just think I’m a dirty, tree-hugging hippie? 😉
Interested in more posts about green cleaning and an eco-friendly lifestyle? Try these:
- 9 Handmade Products That Will Help Your Family Produce Less Waste
- 20 Tips for Green Cleaning with Lemons
- Easy, Eco-Friendly Microwave Cleaning Hack
- Going Shampoo Free
- How to Remove Sticky Residue Naturally
- Easy Hack to Keep Fruit Fresh
Post updated March 2017
you definitely are a tree hugging hippie, but you’re a brilliant one! Thanks for this!!!!!
Ha! I don’t know about the brilliant part… but you’re probably right on the whole tree hugging hippie thing.
vinegar is my go to! Xo Megan, http://www.TfDiaries.com
Ooh great DIY cleaning tips Jen!!! 😀 Will try it out here in my grandparent’s house 😀
I write a green cleaning blog and use most of those same ingredients. I found you from the Project Inspire Linky. Thanks for your tips and recipes.
Yes, Yes, Yes
Love it, `Vinegar is so magic !!!
We make our own cleaners and love all the uses for vinegar. Sometimes the smell gets to me though, so looking to make it with an essential oil to balance it out. Next I am going to check out your post on uses for lemons!
Ooooh, now I’m interested in whether or not you mixed with any oils! I’ve been putting a few drops of lemon in mine because it makes me feel so fresh and so clean clean. 😉
I’m not too bothered by the vinegar smell, mostly because I know it will go away once it’s dry. I’ve actually even started using apple cider vinegar in a DIY shampoo combo. I’m considering a blog post on that one soon.
What do you use the hydrogen peroxide for??
I never realized I forgot to mention the peroxide!
OK, so peroxide is like a natural bleach. It’s great to use to get moldy stains out of grout— and if just spraying some on doesn’t do the trick, make a little paste with baking soda and scrub away. It’s also really good at removing stains from carpets— you just have to be careful to do a post test in case it needs to be diluted so that you don’t bleach the carpet. And you can use a 1/4 cup of it in your laundry instead of bleach too!
I see hydrogen peroxide — how is that used in cleaning?
Peroxide is like a natural bleach. It’s great to use to get moldy stains out of grout— and if just spraying some on doesn’t do the trick, make a little paste with baking soda and scrub away. It’s also really good at removing stains from carpets— you just have to be careful to do a spot test in case it needs to be diluted so that you don’t bleach the carpet. And you can use a 1/4 cup of it in your laundry instead of bleach too!
Hi Jen! Thanks so much for these recipes! I think we’re both a couple tree-hugging hippies so I bought the ingredients I need and I’m excited to put them to earth/body-friendly good use!! 😉 Have you had any trouble with the castille soap clogging up your spray bottle in any of your formulations? Thanks!!
I haven’t had any trouble with clogging. I’m not sure if it helps or not, but I usually give the bottles a good shake before I use them. Let me know how it goes!
Thanks for these. I use some of these, but will add the few I don’t. You should be aware that vinegar and Castile soap don’t mix. They create a chemical reaction that neutralizes the cleaning power of the soap. While vinegar and soda turns into salt, it does work to clean while it is changing. Some say it doesn’t, but from your experience and mine it does clean while it’s transitioning. I’ve been using Norwex cloths on my kitchen surfaces, but still use these other cleaners for the bathrooms and a few other places around the house. We also make our own clothing detergent that’s been a big money saver and we know it’s safe.
Thanks so much for these recipes! Happy weekend!
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