21 Natural Cleaners That Really Work
Here’s the brutal truth about conventional cleaning products: they’re outright dangerous for your health. No wonder more and more people are deciding to make their own homemade cleaners!
But folks are getting wise to the situation.
Growing numbers of consumers are taking their health into consideration when shopping, meaning that more people are choosing to ditch their store-bought cleaners.
So how do you make a natural homemade cleaner?
We put together some effective, easy homemade cleaner recipes you can try at home, to help you get the toxic chemicals in conventional cleaning products out of your house.
1. Homemade all-purpose cleaner
We’re gonna kick off with a homemade cleaner you can use all around the house.
If you’re making one homemade cleaner, this should be it.
This DIY cleaner works well on a variety of surfaces.
It’s easy to make and it’s all-natural.
And as a bonus, it smells great!
Here’s what you need:
- 16 oz hydrogen peroxide
- 1/2 teaspoon lavender essential oil
- 1/2 teaspoon lemongrass essential oil
- 1/4 teaspoon peppermint essential oil
Mix the ingredients in a spray bottle, attach the nozzle, and shake. Spray on surfaces and wipe with a clean cloth.
2. Homemade carpet stain remover
Just spilled something on your carpet?
Here’s what you need to do right away.
First step: sprinkle some baking soda on the stain and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Then vacuum it up.
Second step: wash out the stain with some warm water.
Third step: squeeze some Yaya Maria’s, the most natural dish soap there is, right on the stain.
Use a sponge to rub in the soap gently. Let it sit for a while and then wash out the soap.
Repeat as needed until the stain has disappeared.
Find out more creative dish soap uses here.
3. Homemade dusting spray
A dusting spray help a lot when you're dealing with the sticky kind of dust that has grease or dirt mixed in with it.
While some brands charge a lot of money for their dusting spays, this one is highly affordable.
Here’s how to make your own dusting spray:
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 15 drops lavender essential oil
Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle, and shake well before using.
Spray the mixture directly onto the surfaces to be cleaned or onto a clean cloth.
Wipe the surface and repeat if necessary until it’s sparkling clean.
4. Homemade toilet cleaner
Think toilets are gross?
Chemicals in conventional toilet cleaners are even worse.
Here’s a DIY cleaner that gets the job done just as well as any store-bought product would.
Here are the ingredients for making this homemade household cleaner:
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 1/2 cup citric acid
Sprinkle those ingredients into your toilet and scrub.
Flush after 15 minutes.
5. Homemade air freshener
Got a funky smell in your home?
Here’s a homemade cleaner that will come to the rescue.
If airing out the house doesn’t do the trick, here’s a recipe that can handle any bad odor:
- 1 cup distilled water
- 2 tablespoons rubbing alcohol
- 5-6 leaves fresh basil
- 5 drops lemongrass essential oil
Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle, shake well, and spray to freshen the room. Remember to shake the bottle each time before spraying.
If you fancy you can experiment with higher ratios of essential oil and even mix different scents.
Looking for homemade cleaners that work?
Just keep reading.
6. Homemade dish soap
What is the best natural cleaner?
This one might be it.
But we’re not going to write about it in this post, because we’ve already written about 3 brilliant alternatives to conventional dish soap in another one.
Read about ‘em here.
Also, sign up for our free giveaway for a chance to win some all-natural dish soap.
7. Homemade grout cleaner
While there are multifarious options available at store for cleaning grouts, watch this video instead to learn about how to apply the most economical method.
Baking soda works wonders on dirty grouts and costs just a few pennies.
8. Homemade deodorizer
Whether you notice it or not, every home has a unique smell that guests recognize immediately when they come over.
If you wanna make that unique scent to your home disappear we’ve got just the right homemade deodorizer recipe for you.
This is all you need for this DIY cleaner:
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 10 drops of your favorite essential oil e.g. lavender essential oil
Mix the ingredients in a mason jar and place them anywhere you like inside your home.
You can prepare several jars with different scents and spread them throughout your home.
9. Homemade shower cleaner
No one enjoys taking a shower when your bathroom is full of mildew, grime, and soap scum.
Here’s a homemade cleaner to get a sparkling clean shower the natural way without any toxins.
Combine the following ingredients in a spray bottle:
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup of vinegar
Shake the bottle for the ingredients to mix and then apply to your shower walls.
Enjoy your shower!
10. Homemade glass cleaner
Tiered of dust, dirt, and fingerprints on your windows and glass doors?
Try this DIY all-natural glass cleaner:
- 2 cups of water
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup isopropyl rubbing alcohol
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch (for anti-streaking)
- 10 drops lavender essential oil
Mix the ingredients and pour into a spray bottle. Shake well before using the cleaner.
11. Homemade brass cleaner
No matter how beautiful any brass item used to be, once the brass is tarnished it just makes everything look old.
But here’s how to fix that.
All you need is a couple of ingredients for this DIY cleaner:
- white vinegar or lemon juice
- table salt
To clean any item made out of brass, simply dampen a sponge with some vinegar of lemon juice.
Rinse with water and dry with a soft cloth.
12. Homemade tile cleaner
This is probably the easiest and most affordable recipe on the whole list.
And it really works.
All you need is a damp sponge and some baking soda.
Simply sprinkle the baking soda on your sponge and start cleaning your tiles.
Rinse with clean water.
How’s that for an affordable homemade bathroom cleaner?
13. Homemade laundry detergent
This is a tricky subject since most homemade laundry detergent recipes contain way too little soap and will cause your precious attire to turn smelly after a few washes.
This is why we’ve written about this topic in great detail in a different post (truly worth reading before experimenting with homemade laundry detergent if you love your clothes).
14. Homemade drain cleaner and homemade garbage disposal cleaner
Everybody hate that feeling when the water level creeps up to the level of your ankles while your taking a shower.
Next time that happens to you, you’ll know what to do.
Here’s what you’ll need for this homemade cleaner:
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- a pot of hot water
The first step requires you to sprinkle the baking into the clogged drain.
Then add the vinegar and let the mixture bubble for a while.
After one hour, pour hot water down the drain.
Repeat if necessary.
15. Homemade water-ring remover
Isn’t it annoying when guests ignore to use a coaster on wooden surfaces?
Not anymore though, because from now on you’ll know what to do.
Make sure you keep those two simple ingredients handy to make this amazing homemade household cleaner:
- one part white non-gel toothpaste
- one part baking soda
Dampen affected areas with some water before adding the mixture of toothpaste and baking soda.
Rub the grain over the spot.
Repeat if needed.
16. Homemade refrigerator cleaner
If you think that using chemical cleaning products inside your fridge where you store your food doesn’t sound like the wisest thing to do, then we got just the right recipe for you.
This all-natural cleaner will keep your refrigerator clean and sanitized without spreading out any harsh toxins all over your next meal.
These are the ingredients you’ll need:
- 1 cup of vinegar
- 1 cup of water
That’s it. And it even works well on the inside and outside of your fridge.
17. DIY floor cleaner (tile, laminate, vinyl)
Still think you need a special, highly chemical cleaner for each spot in your home?
Then it’s time to rethink.
If you have tile, laminate, vinyl, and sealed wooden flooring then the most natural way to clean your floors is to simply use a combination of vinegar and water.
This one’s among the best homemade cleaners.
- 1 cup of vinegar
- 1 gallon of water
If you want to spice things up a little bit, then add some essential oil.
A few drops of lemongrass essential oil add a nice scent and will make your home smell pleasant and fresh.
Wanna learn more about natural floor cleaners?
Read this post.
18. Homemade oven cleaner
Cleaning your oven doesn’t need to be a time-consuming activity.
Here’s how to remove leftover grime and dirt the natural way.
What you need to make this homemade cleaning product:
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 2 to 3 Tbsp water
- 1/2 cup vinegar
Get out a small pan to combine the baking soda with the water to make a paste that you can apply to dirty spots inside your oven.
Rub the paste onto particularly dirty areas and let it rest over night.
After about 24 hours, spray some vinegar on the paste to create bubbles. This will remove any burned in dirt. Wipe of the paste and the dirt and then rinse until the oven is clean.
And that’s how easy it is to make a DIY natural oven cleaner!
19. Homemade stovetop cleaner
Most brands promise their stovetops are easy to clean, but is that really true?
Actually, it can be quite tricky to clean off any burned food, especially if you don’t want to use any harsh chemicals on a surface on which you prepare your meals.
So here’s a natural stovetop cleaner recipe that’ll come to the rescue.
All you’ll need is the following:
- damp cloth
Sprinkle the baking soda on a damp cloth and start scrubbing.
Use a clean cloth to wipe off any food residue or leftover baking soda.
20. Cutting board cleaner
Cutting boards provide a sturdy surface for chopping the ingredients for your next meal, but if you don’t clean and maintain your cutting boards you’ll have to buy new ones every other year.
Here’s what to do.
Prepare these ingredients for this homemade cleaning product:
- natural dish soap
- slice of organic lemon
After each time you use your cutting board you should wash it well with nontoxic, all-natural dish soap that doesn’t leave behind a bunch of nasty chemicals.
Secondly, you should treat any dark spots with a slice of lemon. Rub the lemon over darkened areas on the cutting board and wait for 10 minutes to let the natural acid bleach the spots.
Squeeze lemon juice on larger areas that require significant bleaching.
Finally, pour some vinegar on the board and spread it out to cover its entire surface.
A study from Middlesex University in the UK revealed that vinegar significantly reduces bacteria commonly found in your kitchen.
It’s a great way to keep your cutting board sanitary and nontoxic at the same time.
21. Homemade disinfectant wipes
If you love disinfectant wipes then you’ll really like these all-natural and nontoxic alternatives to store-bought brands.
And they’re so easy and fun to make…
Here’s what you need to get:
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 10 drops eucalyptus essential oil
- 10 drops tea tree oil
- 10 drops lemongrass essential oil
Put the ingredients into a bowl and mix ‘em well.
Pour the homemade disinfectant over some cloth squares and there you go…
You’ve just made some reusable, nontoxic disinfectant wipes.
Why make homemade cleaners?
There are many reasons why you should make your own cleaners.
It’s a great way to safe a few bucks due to affordability of most ingredients.
The ingredients in homemade cleaners make it much easier for the environment to biodegrade.
Finally, ingredients in homemade cleaners are much better for your health.
To strengthen the last point, it’s best to look at some of the ingredients in conventional cleaning products.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) analyzed the ingredients of well over 3,000 products and over 1,000 ingredients found inside commercial household cleaning products.
Their results indicate that over 50% of conventional cleaners contain substances that cause harm to your health.
We’ve listed some examples of commonly found chemicals conventional manufacturers use in their cleaning products:
Fragrance is a catch-all term that manufacturers use to hide over 3,000 chemicals. One in twenty of them earned a high hazard score in the latest EWG analyses.
2. Quaternary Ammonium Compounds or “Quats”
Quats cause asthma, skin allergies/irritation, and developmental and reproductive toxicity. They can be found in spray cleaners and fabric softeners.
Ammonia harms your respiratory system and it’s a skin irritant.
4. Chlorine Bleach
Bleach causes severe skin burns, eye damage, respiratory irritation, and it’s overall harmful to your health if swallowed. This ingredient is found in drain openers, oven cleaners stain removers, toilet cleaners, stovetop cleaners and other household cleaning products.
This ingredient causes skin irritations, asthma and it’s a suspected carcinogen.
This one is a known carcinogen that also cause asthma, skin irritation, and reproductive toxicity.
Conventional household cleaners use numerous additional toxins in their formulas.
These harmful chemicals enter your body through your skin and through your lungs and can lead to health issues in the long run.
Making your own natural cleaners is therefore the right step to protect yourself and your family.
But what about the safety of homemade cleaning products?
Are homemade cleaners safe?
At this point it seems important to point out the not-so-harmless natural of borax (sodium borate). The EWG gave this ingredient and F-rating due to a number of worrisome findings.
- damage fertility
- harm an unborn child
- act as an endocrine disruptor
- cause dermatitis, skin irritation and skin allergies
- cause respiratory irritation
If you were wondering why we didn’t include any recipes that contain borax, now you know.
Other natural ingredients that you’ll often come across in DIY cleaner recipes are vinegar and baking soda. Vinegar received an A-rating by the EWG with no concerns to your health. The same applies to baking soda or sodium bicarbonate.
Stay away from any recipe that tells you to mix ammonia and bleach. Mixing these two ingredients will create chloramine gas, that dissolves the tissue in human lungs which may result in death.
Also, don’t mix acids with bases since they cancel each other out.
Common ingredients found in DIY household cleaners that are acids:
- Vinegar (acetic acid)
- Lemon juice (citric acid)
Common ingredients found in DIY household cleaners that are bases (aka alkaline):
- Bleach (never mix bleach with anything)
Since acids and bases cancel each other out, you could also just use water to clean your toilet.
Are homemade cleaners effective?
A study carried out at the University of North Carolina showed that even though natural ingredients are not as effective as harsh chemical cleaners, they performed well against common household pathogens.
Vinegar can be successfully applied to eliminate Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.
The findings also showed that baking soda effectively zaps Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella choleraesuis, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Both of these natural ingredients eliminated antibiotic-resistant bacteria within 30 seconds.
How long do homemade cleaners last?
Ingredients like vinegar and baking soda will last for a long time, but there are other natural ingredients in homemade cleaners that should be used fast if you want to utilize their full cleaning power.
An example of a “green” ingredient you should use right away is lemon juice since it will turn rancid if you let it sit for longer than a couple of days.
Recipes that contain hydrogen peroxide are another example. This ingredient breaks down easily and in the process loses its effectiveness.
Most other DIY natural cleaning products last for about 2-3 months.
If you’re unsure about how long a specific ingredient inside your recipe will last it is always best to prepare a smaller amount of your homemade cleaners and use it while its fresh.
Over to you
We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of DIY cleaners that work.
There’s really no need to purchase conventional cleaning products that harm your health when there are such affordable homemade cleaners available.
Now that you've learned how to make your own cleaners, here are 11 areas in your kitchen we bet you forgot to clean.
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