When we went zero waste a couple of years ago, we started making our own household cleaners. It reduces waste from packaging, and it saves money; but most importantly, the homemade cleaners contain no chemicals that can harm your family or the planet. One ironic result is that since we have started making our own, our kids are super sensitive to the smell of store-bought cleaners. These days, my house smells nice from natural lemon and lavender, and I know my home is safe from chemicals.
Chemicals in traditional store-bought household cleaners linger in the air that we breathe. Household cleaners with chemicals are not safe for children, pets or us because they enter our bodies by absorption through the skin or through ingestion of household dust and chemical residues left on dishes and cutlery. After we’ve finished cleaning and these chemicals are flushed down the drain, they cause great damage to the environment, our oceans and wildlife.
The hazardous chemicals found is household cleaners are as follows:
PHTHALATESPERCHLOROETHYLENE OR “PERC”
QUARTERNARY AMMONIUM COMPOUNDS
Today there are many nontoxic cleaning products available on the market, including but not limited to Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyers, Naturally It’s Clean, Ecover, Green Works, Shaklee, Simple Green, Dr. Bronner’s, Nellie’s All Natural, and All-Green Janitorial Products.
However, you can easily make your own household cleaners by using combinations of a few simple ingredients. You probably already have most of them in your home.
Here are some very common household items that can be used for cleaning:
- Baking soda
- Soap—Unscented liquid soap without petroleum distillates cleans almost everything
- Cornstarch—Shampoos carpets and rugs
- Vinegar—Cuts grease, cleans mildew
- Essential oils of tea tree, Thieves, lemon and lavender—Tea tree and Thieves oil is a natural antiseptic, antifungal and disinfectant. Lavender and lemon are gentle antiseptics and antibacterials.
Check out my YouTube video on making homemade household cleaners:
Here are some recipes I use for making my own household cleaners. These formulas are effective and are guaranteed to save you money:
Scrub for tubs, showers and sinks—Baking soda + lemon juice
Window and mirror cleaner—Vinegar + newspaper
Disinfectant wipes—I make my own disinfectant wipes that are great for wiping down surfaces in the kitchen and toys. They are especially good during flu and cold season. Here is another YouTube video on how to make my wipes:
- ¼ cup of dish soap, ½ cup baking soda, ½ cup coarse sea salt, and warm water.
- Make a past with the soap, baking soda and salt.
- Using a gloved hand, cover the oven with the paste.
- Let sit overnight.
- With a damp sponge, using the scrubby side as needed, wipe out the oven.
- Give it a final rinse with warm water.
Toilet Bombs: Ok, nobody enjoys cleaning the toilet, but these toilet bombs made with just 4 ingredients make cleaning it a whole lot easier.
- 1 Cup Baking Soda
- ¼ Cup Citric Acid
- 1 Tablespoon Dish Liquid
- 4 Drops of Tee Tree Essential Oil
- Silicon Ice Cube Tray
Blend all 4 ingredients in a large bowl, and mix well with a whisk. Press mixture into silicon molds and remove any excess mix around the mold. Dry overnight. Remove from molds and keep in airtight container. To clean the toilet, place one bomb in toilet and it will begin to sizzle. Voila! Your toilet should be clean.
Thieves Oil All-purpose Spray:
- 32-ounce spray bottle
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon pure castile soap
- 3/4 cup hydrogen peroxide
- 20 drops Thieves Oil
Fill the bottle with the water. Add vinegar, castile soap, hydrogen peroxide, Thieves Oil.
Floor Swiffer Pads and Cleaning Solution: With three little kids at home, I feel that I do nothing but clean sometimes. We spend most of our time in the kitchen, so naturally I do like to wipe down the floors at the end of day. I have found this recipe for homemade Swiffer pads and cleaning solution that have been a lifesaver.
If you you want to buy Essential Oils:
I had a question regarding your thieves oil all-purpose cleaning spray. I read on another zero waste blog “If you combine vinegar and Castile soap you unsaponify the soap. In order to make soap you saponify fat. By unsaponifying the soap, you’re reverting it back to fat. You can’t clean with fat.” (Kathryn Kellogg). Your ingredient list has both vinegar and Castile soap and I’m wondering if your spray is still as effective?
I have heard that too but never had my castile soap turn into fat but if you’re worried you can just skip the soap and the spray will still be very effective. Good luck.