Many commercially produced cleaners are loaded with harsh chemicals that aren’t great for you or the environment. For this reason, you might opt to make your own cleaning solutions at home — or maybe because you just didn’t have a chance to run to the store.
Whether it’s more convenient or you just hate chemicals, you can make your own surprisingly effective, chemical-free cleaners from stuff you have around the house. Here are 14 DIY cleaner recipes so you can spruce up every part of your home the natural way.
Pine cleaner for surfaces
We love this recipe around the holidays, but it’s doable any time as long as you have access to some pine. As we’ve mentioned, to make it you’ll need pine needles, vinegar, water, rubbing alcohol, a big jar, and a spray bottle — plus at least a week or more for it to hang out in a sunny place before you can use it. Find our full instructions here, and then use it to wipe down tables and countertops.
Orange cleaner for surfaces
If you’re not into pine, might we suggest oranges? All you need to make your own cleaner is a few leftover citrus peels from oranges or clementines, distilled white vinegar, and a little water. Simply fill up an airtight container with the peels, cover them with white vinegar, and wait two weeks. Our full instructions are here.
Distilled alcohol for tech
You can buy pre-made cleaners for your gadgets, but why should you? We’ve told you before that all you really need to keep your tech nice is rubbing alcohol mixed with distilled water. Learn all about it here.
Dish soap or vinegar for windows
You do not need Windex for your windows and mirrors as long as you have some dish soap and, ideally, vinegar (but even that is optional). As we’ve mentioned before, you can clean your windows using a few drops of dish soap in a bucket of water, or 10 parts water mixed with one part white vinegar. The real secret to success is fully drying the surface after wiping it with your homemade solution, so keep a dry, clean cloth on hand to finish up.
Vinegar for floors
Do not keep refilling your Swiffer Wetjet with the store-bought solution. Instead, as we’ve suggested, try filling the old bottle with equal parts water and distilled vinegar, then adding a few drops of dish soap. Shake it all up to mix it and pop the bottle back into the machine. If you are so anti-chemical you don’t even have a Wetjet, just use this same solution in a bucket with your regular mop.
Black tea for hardwood floors
Dirty, scratched hardwood floors do not need fancy cleaners. Like you after a long day, they just need some nice tea. Bring water to a boil, add eight black tea bags, and wait 10 or 15 minutes. Apply to the areas of your floor that need love. As we’ve told you before, the tannins in the tea can enhance the warm colouring of wood and help hide small scratches. Moreover, black tea derived from the Camellia Sinensis plant contains polyphenolic compounds that prevent microbial growth.
Vinegar for surfaces
Vinegar is truly multipurpose, which is why we love it as a DIY cleaner. To clean your surfaces, combine one cup of distilled water, one cup of white vinegar, and 15 or so drops of your favourite essential oil in a spray bottle.
Castile soap for ovens
One of our favourite DIY cleaning secrets is using Castile soap and baking soda to make an “easy off” oven cleaner. Mix them together in equal amounts until they form a paste, then use a sponge to apply to the inside of your oven. Wait half an hour, then wipe away with a wet cloth, spray everything down with vinegar, and wipe dry.
Alka Seltzer for toilets
Drop two Alka Seltzer tablets into your toilet. No, really. Wait ten minutes, give it a scrub, and you’re done with cleaning it, no chemicals required. (You can also try a capful of mouthwash.) Check out our guide here.
Borax for liquid detergent-free laundry
To clean your laundry without detergent, combine two cups of borax, two cups of washing soda, and one cup of soap flakes for a more cost-effective alternative to liquid detergent.
Lemons for microwaves
De-gunk your icky microwave by nuking some lemons in water then scrubbing the interior afterward. You’ll need one lemon, three minutes, and a good sponge. Here are the instructions.
Citric acid for dishwashers
Tea tree oil (and more) for showers
An enduring shower cleaner recipe we’ve loved for a long time involves water, white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, dish soap, lemon essential oil, and tea tree oil. Follow the recipe here, fill up a spray bottle, and turn your shower into a clean oasis.
Mineral oil for wood
To dust and clean your wood furniture, we’ve recommended a quick mixture involving mineral oil in the past. You need a cup of water, one-fourth cup of white vinegar, two teaspoons of mineral oil (or coconut oil), and 15 drops of lemon oil. Our full explainer is here.
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