Clean Up Your Act: All Natural Homemade Cleaners

And now we’ll continue the cleaning chit-chat with this handy little homemade cleaner breakdown. When we talked about getting even greener and experimenting with homemade cleaners in year three of YHL, an expert in that very area offered up a few of her favorite formulas. And we jumped at the chance to learn how all natural and totally eco-friendly cleaning materials are easy and effective- and sometimes way cheaper than paying for the more toxic stuff that can hurt pets, kids, people in general and the planet at large. Here’s what Evan the all-knowing homemade cleaner girl passed along:

This has become an obsession for me. If you think of your home as a sanctuary you want it to be not only beautiful but safe for your health! Store bought chemicals and cleansers can not only be toxic, poisonous or cause other averse health effects (no wonder they have all those warnings and skull & crossbone images on them) but they can also be expensive, completely unregulated, bad for the environment and full of excess packaging that ends up in landfills every day. They often come with big bold warnings that say things like “danger”, “caution”, “corrosive”, “irritant”, and even “chronic health hazard” which by definition can mean anything from “chemicals that destroy tissue” (corrosive) to “causes sterility and birth defects” (chronic health hazard). And even those that just say “danger” or “caution” can be attached to warnings that say “may be fatal or cause blindness if swallowed” or “highly toxic, flammable, poisonous and corrosive.”

Well Evan, when you put it that way, the toxic store bought cleaners bearing those labels (which can commonly be found on everything from basic toilet bowl cleaners to oven and drain solutions) sound pretty terrible. Tell us more.

By contrast, some non-toxic and all natural ingredients like baking soda and vinegar are not only not corrosive, poisonous, or hazardous to your health in any way, they’re actually completely safe if ingested (after all they’re found in the kitchen and they’re 100% edible!).

But how do you put them all together? Here are some of Evan’s favorite all-natural homemade cleaning formulas:

Surface Spray:

All Purpose Liquid Cleaner:

All Purpose Abrasive Cleaner:

Mix to make a foamy paste.

Refrigerator Cleaner:

Wipe down inside and out and rinse with a clean wet cloth.

Oven Cleaner:

Leave 20 minutes, then scrub until clean.

Microwave Cleaner:

Combine in microwave safe bowl, heat on high for 3-4 minutes, remove bowl and wipe down inside of microwave.

Dishwasher Detergent:

Mix together and store. You can substitute ½ c. of citric acid for the Kool-Aid but it’s harder to find.

Fruit and Vegetable Wash:

Spray on produce, rinse after 5 minutes.

Fruit and Vegetable Wash #2:

Spray on produce, wipe after 5 minutes.

Drain Cleaner:

Allow to foam for 5 minutes before adding water.

Window, Glass and Chrome Cleaner:

Toilet Bowl Cleaners:

Scrub with a toilet brush.

Tub And Tile Cleaner:

Soft Scrub for Fixtures:

Add enough castile soap until you have a frosting like consistency. Scrub, then rinse with water.

Mildew/Germ Killer:


Spray on tile and do not wipe off.

Mildew/Germ Killer 2:

Spray, let sit. Rinse after 1 hour.

Wood Floor Cleaner:

Mop or rag should be slightly damp for cleaning.

Linoleum Floor Cleaner:

Mop or rag can be fully wet for cleaning.

Carpet Stain Remover:

Combine in spray bottle. Spray on stain, wait 5 minutes, blot with clean rag.

Carpet Stain Remover:

Mix vinegar and baking soda into a paste. Gently work into stain with a toothbrush. Let dry then vacuum completely.

Carpet Deodorizer:

Mix together then sprinkle generously on carpet, wait 15 minutes and vacuum.

All-Purpose Carpet Cleaner:

After vacuuming first,

Blot mixture onto nap of rug with a wet rag, Dry and air thoroughly. Vacuum.

Air Freshener:

Mix in spray bottle, don’t spray on silks or delicates. Experiment with how much oil to add, but start with 5 drops.

Air Freshener 2:

Mix in spray bottle, don’t spray on silks or delicates.



Furniture Polish:

Mix in a glass jar. Dab a soft rag into the solution and wipe onto wood surfaces.


Rub into the scratches and polish.

Rust Remover:

Leave sit for 2-3 hours, then scrub w/ lime rind (or try Almost-Doctor Dan’s method).

Metal Polish (copper and brass):

Add vinegar until you make a paste. Rub on metal with a clean rag. Wipe clean.

Powdered Laundry Detergent:

For light load, use 1 tablespoon. For heavy or soiled load, use 2 tablespoons.

Liquid Laundry Detergent:

Mix soap in saucepan with 3 pints of water. Heat on low until dissolved. Stir in soda and borax until thickened. Remove from heat. Add 1 quart hot water to bucket, then soap mixture, mix well. Fill rest of bucket with hot water, mix and let sit for 24 hours. Use ½ c. per laundry load.

Laundry Pre-treatment (*do NOT use with bleach, since ammonia + bleach can create dangerous fumes):

Mix in spray bottle. Spray spot.

Laundry Pre-treatment 2:

Mix in spray bottle. Spray spot, let sit for 20 minutes.

Fabric Softener:

Add ½ – 1 c. vinegar to your softener dispenser

Bleach Alternative (Laundry):


But wait, Evan has even more ideas to keep things green and clean around your casa:

And just because she’s such a pro, Evan even included her resources so you can learn more or see where she got her facts. Gotta love a girl who’s so thoroughAND considerate:Consumer Reports, Nat’l Geographic, The Green Guide, Do It Green, Frugal Living, The Vinegar Institute, EarthEasy, Coyne and Kutzen “The Urban Homestead”

But what about you guys? Do you see any favorite homemade formulas above? Any others to add to the mix? We always love a good DIY project, so homemade cleaning supplies are right up our alley. And we’re itching to know what you’re whipping up in your neck of the woods. Do tell.






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