Cleaning your home in an eco-conscious way doesnï¿½t have to mean buying pricey products. You can make your own with a few basic items like baking soda, white vinegar, lemons and salt.
Cleaning your home in an eco-conscious way doesn't have to mean buying pricey products. You can make your own with a few basic items like baking soda, white vinegar, lemons and salt. "DIY products tend to be much more cost-effective than commercial products," says Jolie Kerr, the columnist for Deadspin's Ask a Clean Person and the author of "My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbagâ€¦And Other Things You Can't Ask Martha." It just might require some elbow grease! Your wallet AND health will thank you.
1. Glass Cleaner
When her child started licking the windows in their home, Wellness Mama was inspired to find an all-natural glass cleaner. A tip from an elderly neighbor to use vinegar sent her on a mission to create her own: And she did it by mixing two cups of water with two tablespoons of vinegar. She also adds 10 to 15 drops of essential oils, which helps with the vinegar smell. Put the mixture in a BPA-free spray bottle and it's better than store-bought cleaners. Use with old newspapers or microfiber cloths -- anything but paper towels, which will leave balls of lint on your mirrors.
Related: Homemade Glass Cleaner
2. Linen Spray
Musty clothes signal the annual change of season, but they don't have to. As Jolie Kerr said, "I love a DIY linen spray!" She suggests combining three ounces of vodka or isopropyl alcohol with one to two cups of distilled water in a spray bottle, then adding either three to five citrus peels or 10 drops of your favorite essential oil to add scent. Allow the mixture to infuse for a week before using to freshen and de-wrinkle your bed and table linens.
3. Bathtub Scrubber
Lemon is a natural deodorizer and classic ingredient in homemade cleaning solutions, but grapefruit works just as well, leaving an unexpected fresh scent. For cleaning the bathtub, skip the chemical scouring powder and use grapefruit and kosher salt to scrub the grime away. Just halve a grapefruit and sprinkle the top with a generous amount of salt. Scrub all over, making sure to squeeze some of the citric acid on the fixtures. Rinse thoroughly.
Related: Grapefruit Salt Scrub
4. Oven Cleaner
Putting a toxic cleaner on surfaces that surround food just sounds like a bad idea. Baking soda can act as a natural scrubber for baked-on grease. Martha Stewart recommends mixing one part baking soda to three parts warm water for a powerful paste. Add a little mild dishwashing detergent and you have a bathroom cleanser too.
Related: DIY Oven Cleaner
5. Dusting Oil
Dusty floors and furniture are toxic for people with allergies. However, commercial spray-on dusting compounds are filled with silicones, butane gas and propane. Keep the sneezing at bay in a greener way by combining 10 drops of pure lemon oil, two tablespoons of lemon juice and a few drops of olive oil. Sprinkle the mixture onto a clean old T-shirt and use as a duster.
Related: DIY Dusting Oil
6. Cleaning Wipes
Wonderfully convenient, cleaning wipes are also expensive, not to mention wasteful. So how does one sub out these throwaway products without sacrificing the handiness? Recycle threadbare washcloths to use as cleaning wipes. Kristin Mar of LivingSimply stashes brightly colored washcloths in a jar full water and white vinegar in a two-to-one ratio along with disinfecting tea tree oil and lemon and lavender essential oils.
Related: DIY Reusable Cleaning Wipes
7. Grout and Tile Cleaner
Scrubbing the mold off the grout and tile with a toothbrush is a thankless task. But depending on the amount of grime in your tub, Wellness Mama has a solution for you. For light cleaning, dip a damp sponge in baking soda and rub down the tiles. Rinse with water. For heavy-duty mold, mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water in a spray bottle. Spray on the grout, wait 45 minutes, and then wipe down with a sponge and rinse well.
Related: Natural Tile and Grout Cleaner
8. Dryer Sheets
Who doesn't love the feel of freshly dried clothes with a dryer sheet? The problem is in the chemistry: Dryer sheets contain camphor, ethyl acetate and chloroform, which are linked to cancer, endocrine and reproductive issues -- and the risk is greater when the substances are heated. Enter the homemade dryer sheet. Cut up old T-shirts to fit in a resealable container of your choice. Half a cup of white vinegar plus six to eight drops of tea tree oil or grapefruit seed oil will kill bacteria, deodorize and reduce static cling. Add drops of an essential oil to get the scent of your choosing.
Related: Homemade Dryer Sheets
What Do YOU Think?
Have you tried using homemade cleaning supplies? Share your own tips in the comments below!