When it comes to commercial cleaning supplies, a myriad of options can be found in the aisles of your supermarket, drugstore, or home improvement center. But just because these products are readily available doesn’t mean that they’re optimal for your home—or you. Some of them contain harsh, toxic chemicals that are less than ideal for your health, and their packaging generates unnecessary waste.
If you’re looking for ways to avoid these products and still keep a clean, sanitary home, DIY natural cleaning supplies may be the answer. Simple, common grocery items like baking soda, vinegar, and lemon can be extremely effective. And since they’re non-toxic and you’re combining them yourself, you know they’re not harming you.
Do Natural Cleaning Products Kill Germs?
While they may not be as powerful as commercially formulated products in eliminating bacteria, natural sanitizers inhibit bacteria growth. They can reduce it to undetectable levels, mainly if used regularly. When it comes to natural cleaners vs. store-bought, the store-bought will likely be more immediately effective. Still, you should ask yourself whether you need such an intense approach, given the potentially damaging side effects.
Give these all-natural DIY cleaning supplies a try, and maybe you’ll decide to make the switch for the long run.
Common Natural Cleaning Ingredients
Several of the following formulas contain the same components, so you’ll want to have these on hand:
Note: Many people like to add a few drops of their favorite essential oil to scent their homemade cleaners.
DIY Natural Cleaning Products
All-purpose homemade cleaner
To create an all-purpose kitchen cleaner, combine equal parts vinegar and water. The vinegar smell won’t linger, but if you’d like to infuse the solution with a citrus scent, add a few lemon peels, close the container, and let it sit for at least a couple of weeks. Remove the rinds before using the cleaning solution. Essential oils can also be added to improve the scent.
Soap nuts (which are berries, not nuts, for those with allergy concerns) have shells that contain a natural soap called saponin. Soap nuts release saponin’s soapy essence, which acts as a natural laundry detergent.
Just place half a dozen nuts in a cloth drawstring pouch and throw it into the washing machine along with your clothes. If the load is heavily soiled, add a half cup of baking soda to the wash. Soap nuts can be reused a few times (they’ll turn gray when they’re used up) and should be removed from the pouch and hung to dry.
The recipe for glass cleaner is simply 1 cup water and 1/4 cup vinegar, shaken in a spray bottle. (A few drops of essential oil can also be added to improve the scent.)
If you want the solution to dry more quickly, add 2 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol to it.
To make a natural dish soap, many eco-friendly enthusiasts rely on castile soap, which was first made in the Castile region of Spain. The original formula consisted of olive oil and sodium carbonate, but today all sorts of other vegetable oils, including coconut, hemp, and avocado, are used to make castile soap.
It’s a highly versatile product that can be used for everything from body wash to household cleaners. To make dish soap, combine 1 part castile soap with 10 parts water.
Olive oil is great for wooden surfaces, helping to protect them while keeping them nourished and shiny. Make your own wood polish by combining 3/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup white vinegar, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Essential oils can be added as well.
To address spills and stains on your clothes or upholstery, combine 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup baking soda, 1 tablespoon castile soap, and 2 cups water in a spray bottle.
Shake the solution and spray it directly on the stain to break it up. Let the treatment sit for at least 15 minutes before tossing the item in the wash or, in the case of furniture, scrubbing the stain with a medium-bristled brush. This cleaner works best when it’s made just before use.
Put these formulas to the test, and you may be surprised by how well they compete with commercial products. Not only will you save money, but you’ll be on your way to a more natural, non-toxic, and eco-friendly household!