Published:
February 27, 2017
Last Updated:
March 4, 2021

DIY Cleaners for a Less Toxic Home

Winter’s almost over, and soon it will be time for spring cleaning and organizing. This year, consider making your own cleaners to save money and reduce chemicals in your home. The Environmental Working Group says in its “Cleaners Hall of Shame” list that everyday household cleaners contain some shocking fine-print warnings such as “serious burns,” “lung inflammation” and “probably carcinogenic.” And many of these cleaners are actually banned in the European Union. That’s why it’s a good idea to either opt for organic cleaners or better yet, make your own mixture.

When it comes to DIY household cleaners, vinegar is your best friend. If you don’t have it in your pantry, stock up and read on for our roundup of homemade cleaning mixes.

Glass
To clean glass surfaces, mix two cups of water, two tablespoons of white vinegar, two tablespoons of rubbing alcohol and five drops of peppermint essential oil, says Real Simple. Then pour into a spray bottle and shake to mix.

Faucets
Wipe faucets using a simple mix of dishwashing liquid and warm water, then buff with a cloth, according to the book Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Home. If the faucets have mineral deposits, you can wrap them in a paper towel soaked with white vinegar. Remove the wet paper towel after one hour, and then clean with a dry one.

Bathtubs
HGTV suggests using baking soda, which is mildly abrasive, to scrub away bathtub rings. If the tub is really dirty, mix baking soda and water, let it sit on the tub surface for up to 20 minutes, and then scrub away with a sponge.

woman sitting outside with mug in front of plant

Clothing
Instead of using fabric softener, which may cause asthma and other health issues, try half a cup of distilled white vinegar in your washer during the rinse cycle. (PS-Your clothes won’t smell like vinegar.)  EWG says you can also make your own dryer balls with wool batting or wool yarn.

Toilets
Scrub your toilet with a mix of ½ a cup of castile soap (which is vegetable-based), ½ a cup of baking soda, 15 to 30 drops of essential oil, 1 cup of distilled water, and a spray of hydrogen peroxide. The recipe on Live Simply suggests that rather than mixing hydrogen peroxide into the bottle, it’s easiest to spray it directly into the toilet bowl after you’ve put the mixture in the bowl. Otherwise, gas from the hydrogen peroxide can build up in the bottle. And vinegar can be used here too in place of hydrogen peroxide.

What’s your favorite DIY cleaner recipe? Share with us in the comments below.

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