There has been a great deal of renewed interest in homemade cleaners and safe DIY natural cleaning products for the home. Obviously, much of this interest has been spiked by the coronavirus pandemic, but the interest is likely to continue for a long time to come.
If you’ve either been challenged by the shortage of cleaners and disinfectants available at your local stores, I have good news. There are a variety of cleaning products you can make right at home with ingredients you may already have in your pantry!
All this has inspired me to go back and review some of my old favorites while adding some additional cleaners to safely keep your home sparkling clean. I think you’ll appreciate these DYI cleaners for several reasons:
- They work!
- They are inexpensive to make.
- They are natural.
- They make little or no waste.
- Since you probably have many of the items in the house, you don’t need to go out and face unnecessary exposure.
Before getting started, be prepared to label all of your homemade cleaners, including the ingredients you have used. While these products are mostly safe, you’ll want a point of reference should a child or pet accidentally get into it. Now that we’ve taken care of the fine print, on with the list!
My Favorite Homemade Cleaners
This is one of my favorites that has stood the test of time. It is a superb DIY cleaner for grime and tough to clean areas of the kitchen and bath. This powerful cleaner uses just two ingredients, baking soda and peroxide mixed in a small bowl. Use the paste to scrub tough to clean surfaces. You’ll quickly see why this simple concoction is one of my favorites!
If you’ve been frustrated in your search for disinfectant wipes, here’s a superb homemade alternative. Ingredients include:
- 2 cups rubbing alcohol (70% or higher)
- 1 tsp Dawn dish soap
- 20 drops Simple Clean Essential Oil Blend
Other supplies you’ll need include a quart-size Mason type jar along with a stack of cleaning cloths or rags. Mix the ingredients in the jar and soak the cloths in the solution. Wipe and allow to dry to get surfaces disinfected easily and affordably.
You’ll appreciate the convenience of these drop-ins to your washing machine. Mix the following ingredients and put them in your favorite mold to dry.
- 2 cups washing soda or baking soda
- 2 cups borax
- 1/2 cup coarse salt or Epsom salt
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 15-20 drops of lemon essential oil
Have fresher smelling, softer clothes with this easy to make homemade liquid fabric softener. In a large bowl, gently stir 6 cups of water with 3 cups of white vinegar and 2 cups of Suave Rosemary + Mint Conditioner. Do not stir too aggressively or shake to avoid foaming. Use like any other liquid fabric conditioner in your washer.
Get rid of grime and tough stains on clothes by using a mixture of one part of Dawn dishwashing liquid with two parts of 3% hydrogen peroxide. Add the Dawn and the peroxide to a measuring cup and stir to mix. Pour the mixture into a dark-colored spray bottle and store it in a dark place. This is important as hydrogen peroxide will decompose back to water & oxygen when exposed to too much light.
This is a powerful solution to a task I would rather avoid. It is amazingly simple to make and does a great job of cleaning the tub and shower including getting rid of soap scum. To make this homemade cleaner, measure equal amounts of Dawn dish soap and white vinegar. One to two cups of each should be plenty. Heat the vinegar in a microwave until hot and mix with the liquid Dawn in a spray bottle. After mixing gently, spray the surfaces you wish to clean. Let sit for about a half-hour and rinse. You may not love cleaning that shower or tub, but you’ll appreciate the ease of use and enjoy the results!
You’ll have to plan ahead when making this cleaner as it needs to sit for two weeks. Your wait will be well worth it, however, and will result in a versatile cleaner that can do anything from cleaning drains to mopping floors. Ingredients you’ll need include:
- About 2 cups of lemon and/or orange scraps
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon yeast
- 2-liter plastic bottle
- 1 liter water
Mix the brown sugar and water in the bottle until dissolved. Chop up the pieces of citrus scraps and add them to the bottle along with the yeast. Put the cap on and mix. Loosen the cap and let sit, mixing the solution once a day. After mixing daily, loosen the cap to prevent pressure build-up. After two weeks, the contents should be strained. The liquid can be used as a spray-on cleaner. Pulverize the solid material that was strained and combine with baking soda to form a thick paste. It takes some patience, but you’ll get two powerful homemade cleaners in one!
This easy to make DIY dusting spray leaves wood furniture looking good while leaving behind a fresh, citrus aroma. Ingredients include:
- ½ cup of water
- ¼ cup of vinegar
- 2 tsp of olive oil
- Your choice of 10-15 drops of essential oil (lemon, grapefruit, tangerine, orange)
Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle and use as needed. Be sure to mix before each use as water and oil won’t stay mixed very long. The vinegar helps cut through grease and grime, the olive oil leaves wood shiny, and the essential oils leave a refreshing smell!
You’ll really appreciate this DIY floor cleaner, especially if your floors tend to show film residue easily. I appreciate it due to its superior grease-cutting properties. It also couldn’t be much easier to make. Grab a mop bucket and add ¼ cup of white vinegar, 1 tablespoon of Dawn liquid dish soap, and a ¼ cup of washing soda. Add about 2 gallons of warm to hot water to the bucket and mop using a traditional or sponge-style mop. Floors are left surprisingly clean with no residue!
Cleaning windows and glass without leaving streaks can be a challenge even for commercial cleaners. Try this DIY glass cleaner for some impressive results. Gather the following ingredients:
- 1/2 gallon of water
- 1/2 cup ammonia
- 16 oz. rubbing alcohol
- 1 teaspoon of Dawn dish soap
Fill a gallon jug about halfway with water and add all the ingredients except the soap. Shake and then add the liquid soap, mixing gently to avoid foaming. Pour into a spray bottle and use it like any commercial cleaner. Enjoy your shiny, streak-free surface!
Yeah, I know. Me too. These fizzing tablets help make the job just a bit easier, however. Ingredients for these tabs include:
- 1 cup of baking soda
- ¼ cup of citric acid
- ½ tsp of vinegar
- 1 Tbsp hydrogen peroxide
- Essential oils
You will also need some parchment paper and a baking sheet. A spray bottle is optional.
Mix citric acid and baking soda in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the hydrogen peroxide and vinegar together. Slowly pour the liquid into the powder so it clumps together. Add in about 40 drops of your favorite essential oil to the mixture. Pack into measuring spoons creating small balls and place on the parchment paper on the cooking sheet. If the balls are too dry, spritz with the vinegar to help them maintain their shape and then dry overnight. Store the balls in an airtight container.
When ready for use, drop a ball into the toilet and let sit until done bubbling. Use a toilet bowl scrub brush and flush.
12. All-Purpose Cleaner
I love this DIY cleaner because it is so versatile and easy to make and use. This may end up being you “go-to” cleaner that gets used every day! It is especially valuable if you have kids that seem to enjoy leaving greasy, sticky messes behind. Combine 1 tsp borax, ½ tsp washing soda, 1 tsp castile soap, and 18 drops of your favorite essential oil in a glass spray bottle with two cups of hot water. Mix gently before each use.
13. Cleaning Vinegar
Vinegar may be the Swiss Army Knife of natural household cleaners. The problem? That smell! The solution is a fresh smelling naturally-scented vinegar cleaner. I had previously posted a method for creating a citrus-scented vinegar cleaner, but the problem is it took two weeks. This method cuts that down to 24 hours. All it takes is white vinegar, a quart jar, and some citrus rinds. Juice the fruit, saving the juice for other uses. Cut up the rinds and place in the quart jar to about half-full. If you like, you can add some fresh rosemary or dried cloves for an additional layer of aroma. Heat the vinegar and add it to the jar to fill it. Put on the lid and let sit for at least 24 hours. Strain away the peels and you’ll have a powerful, vinegar cleaner without the offensive smell.
14. Citrus Degreaser
Need a heavy-duty degreaser that is safe, natural, and clean smelling? Here’s a recipe for a grease-cutting cleaner that combines 2 teaspoons of castile soap with 2 Tablespoons of baking soda and 20 drops of lemon essential oil. Mix with 2 cups of warm water in a spray bottle and you have the perfect cleaner for everything from stovetops to greasy stains on upholstery.
I love DIY products that are simple to make. This homemade air freshener uses just 3 ingredients and you can customize it to the aroma that suits your mood. You just need some distilled water (although tap water will do), some essentials oils (I like a lavender and lemon oil mixture), and an emulsifier (like rubbing alcohol). In a small glass spray bottle, just add 6 Tbsp of water, 2 Tbsp of emulsifier, and a total of 20 drops of essential oils. I use 10 drops of lavender and ten drops of lemon oil. Shake well and spray as needed. If you have trouble sleeping, spray on your sheets or pillowcases and the lavender can help you relax.
16. Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
This homemade cleaning gem serves a double purpose as a dishwasher detergent and scouring powder. Ingredients include:
- 2 cups of baking soda
- ½ cup washing soda
- ¼ cup Kosher salt
- ¼ cup citric acid
- 15 drops of lemon essential oil
Add 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture per load, then, as a spot preventer, add a small cup halfway full of white vinegar to the top rack of the dishwasher. This is also septic friendly for those who have septic tanks.
Taking care of expensive granite countertops doesn’t have to take expensive or harmful cleaning products. It is a porous material however, so special care needs to be taken to keep it properly cleaned and maintained. Here is a natural cleaner that is both safe and effective. Just pour a ¼ cup of rubbing alcohol into a 16 oz spray bottle and add a few drops of Dawn laundry detergent and fill with water. This will cut through grease like a champ without harming the sealant on your granite. Works just as well on marble too!
18. Brass Cleaner
Talk about simple! How about white vinegar or lemon juice with table salt in creating a powerful, effective, all-natural brass cleaner. Use on any non-lacquered brass product from candlesticks to cabinet and drawer pulls to restore that brassy shine. How easy is this? Dampen a sponge with vinegar or lemon juice and sprinkle some salt on it. Lightly rub the sponge over the surface and rinse with water and thoroughly dry with a clean cloth. No need to buy expensive cleaning powders!
19. Heavy-Duty Scrub
Alright, so many of us feel that if we are at the end of our rope with getting a really difficult area clean, we may have to resort to some super powerful, commercially produced, potentially toxic cleaner. Before you do that, try this heavy-duty natural scrub recipe. It may take a little elbow grease, but I have found it to provide some amazing results, especially considering how easy it is to make. All it takes is 1/2 cup borax powder and a half of a lemon. Pour some Borax powder out on a flat surface a dip the cut half of a lemon into it. Use the lemon as a scrubber to clean the affected area. It may take an application or two to get out tough stains, but is amazingly effective. This is NOT a solution for granite or marble countertops, however.
Have you ever looked at your kitchen cabinets? I mean REALLY looked at your kitchen cabinets? Taken a close look around the handle or swiped your finger across their surface? It can be a real eye-opener. Thankfully there’s an inexpensive, simple solution that is all-natural. All it takes is one part coconut oil with 2 parts baking soda. Rub into your cabinets with a sponge, cloth, or even your bare hands. Small brushes are great for getting into nooks and crannies. Wipe clean and polish, and you will be amazed at the difference.
A Final Word
Keeping our homes clean doesn’t have to be expensive or take commercially produced products. You can keep your home disinfected, clean, shiny, and smelling great by using some products you may already have in your pantry. You don’t need harsh chemicals, just a little knowledge, and a willingness to DIY. Stay safe, clean, and enjoy what a little elbow grease can do in keeping your house cleaner and your family safer!