Healthy DIY Cleaners

The Green Mama’s best alternatives to commercial cleaners
dishcloths, lemon, vinegar, baking soda
© Can Stock Photo / brookebecker

Instead of filling your home and the environment with toxic chemical cleaners or spending like crazy on commercial solutions, try these safer, healthy DIY cleaners for a sparkly home!

All-purpose cleaner

Mix a really gentle castile soap and warm water. Use a clean sponge, rag, or brush and scrub! One cup in a gallon of water is perfect for walls, floors, and counters. One part castile soap to one part water in a foaming pump is perfect for hands.

All-purpose disinfectant

Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Shake it up and you’re ready to disinfect. Let it sit for 10 minutes (but don’t use vinegar on marble). If you are worried about Listeria, then warm the vinegar up and use it straight.

Scouring Powder

Mix one part baking soda, one part salt, and one part borax powder in a jar. Close the lid and shake. Lightly wet the surface and sprinkle, or use with a moist sponge or brush. Scrub and rinse.

Mirror, glass, and shiny silver faucet cleaner

Mix two teaspoons of vinegar with one quart of water in a spray bottle. If you wipe clean with old newspapers it won’t streak or leave lint.

Sink, bathtub, and stovetop scrub

Mix a paste of baking soda, a squirt of either dish or castile soap, and a squeeze of lemon to the consistency of frosting. Use it with a sponge or brush and scrub.

Stain remover (for clothing or porcelain)

Sprinkle the powdered version of an oxygen-based cleaner onto the stain, pour boiling hot water over it and let it sit for 10 minutes, then simply scrub the stain away. It works miracles!

Burnt pan cleaning method

Bring a half-and-half mixture of water and vinegar to a low boil. Remove the offending pan from the heat and add a few shakes of baking soda (2 to 3 tablespoons). It should fizz. Dump this out, add a bit more baking soda if necessary, and scour the nicely softened remains.

Air fresheners

The trick to deodorizing is to get rid of the odour. However, maybe that odour is your teenager. In that case you can leave little bowls of baking soda in the bathroom, clothes closet, and other offending areas. Add a few drops of essential oil, like tea tree, for a little extra help.

Fill a spray bottle with water and a few drops of essential oil (tea tree oil, oregano, and lavender smell wonderful and can have antibacterial properties) and spray in stinky places like the bathroom, near the diaper pail, or in the closet where the hockey stuff lives.

Rug Deodorizer

Sprinkle baking soda on the carpet or rug. Let it sit for 30 minutes and vacuum up.

*Originally published January 12, 2016