Spring Clean With These DIY Natural Cleaners

You don't need to purchase expensive chemical cleaners to spring clean your home—use these natural products found right in your pantry, instead!

Make your own homemade household cleaners from household items found right in your pantry. We all know baking soda is one of the many common household items that make a great addition to one’s cleaning arsenal, but there are many more. Check out this list!

1. Baking Soda

Baking soda paper packages on colored background.
Baking soda is good for scouring surfaces without scratching, and it’s a great deodorizer.

2. White Vinegar

white vinegar and scrub brush - Cleaning
White vinegar is a must have in every home! Use to get rid of mold, bacteria, and germs, great in combination with baking soda.

3. Rubbing Alcohol

bottle of rubbing alcohol on white background
Rubbing alcohol kills bacteria and germs and evaporates quickly.

4. Salt

Salt shaker with spilled salt on the wooden table
Salt is good for scouring and removing coffee and tea stains.

5. Lemon Juice

Lemon Juice  and sliced lemons
Lemon juice kills germs and bacteria, acts like a natural bleach, and hides odors.

6. Olive Oil

Olive Oil - Olive
Olive oil is good for polishing surfaces.

7. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide in brown bottle
Hydrogen peroxide kills bacteria and mold and gets many organic stains out of fabrics.

8. Tea Tree Oil

Essential oil - Tea tree oil
Tea Tree oil kills germs, hinders mold, and hides odors.

9. Club Soda

Club soda seltzer in a glass with lemon
Club soda/seltzer is great for stains, especially on carpets and upholstery.

10. Mild Dish Detergent 

Green liquid dish soap poured onto a sponge.
Dish soap is a must have, as it cuts through grease. Or try pure Castile soap (soap made with vegetable oil).

Cleaning Materials and Recipes

eco-friendly cleaners natural cleaners

Empty spray bottles can be recycled from store-bought cleaning products (be sure to rinse thoroughly), or bought empty; rags, scouring pads, a good scrub brush, bucket, and mop will help get any job done.

Once you’ve assembled all of that, you may still need some guidance on what to do with it. Not all natural cleaning supplies are created equally. Each one has a range of things it’s good for, and each one mixes with some of the others for an enhanced outcome. Here are a few cleaning “recipes” to get you started.

All-Purpose Cleaner

Fill a spray bottle halfway with vinegar and top it off with plain water. Add lemon juice or another pleasant-smelling essential oil to hide the vinegar smell. Shake it up and use as everyday household cleaner. For a stronger all-purpose cleaner, you can use ammonia instead of vinegar. Use four parts water for every one part ammonia.

Glass Surface Cleaner

Fill a spray bottle a quarter way with vinegar and top off with warm water. For a faster-drying alternative, pour 1 cup rubbing alcohol, 1 cup water, and 1 tablespoon vinegar into a spray bottle. The rubbing alcohol evaporates quickly and acts as a good rival for commercial glass cleaners.

Bathroom Cleaner

Make a paste from baking soda and a little Castile soap or mild dish soap. Add a few drops of tea tree oil for antiseptic properties and mold repellant. Scrub down bath and sink surfaces first without water and then rinse. To keep the mold growth in your shower and bathtub down, keep a spray bottle with water and several drops of tea tree oil on hand, and spray after each bath or shower.

Toilet Cleaner

Pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda in the toilet. Add 1 cup vinegar. Stir it up with a scrub brush and let it sit and fizz, then scrub again and flush. For heavy stains, use ammonia instead of vinegar. (Note: Never mix ammonia with bleach).

Floor Cleaner

Fill a bucket with one gallon hot water, 1 cup vinegar, and a few drops of tea tree oil. For tough jobs, add 1/4 cup borax or baking soda and 1/2 cup ammonia. For marble or granite floors substitute rubbing alcohol for vinegar or ammonia. This will protect the porous surface from the harsh acidic qualities of the vinegar and ammonia.

Furniture Polish

In an old olive oil bottle, mix 1 cup olive oil and 1/2 part lemon juice. Pour the oil onto soft cloth and gently rub into the furniture. This is best for real wood surfaces, but works on faux wood and plastic, as well.

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Sherie Blumenthal

Sherie Blumenthal is a Food Access Coordinator with Lots to Gardens, an urban gardening and community nutrition initiative sponsored by St. Mary’s Health System in Lewiston, Maine.

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