7 Homemade Non-Toxic Cleaners
I am continually reminded that simplicity in life is often the best. If you're anything like me, you might feel like your brain is juggling too many pieces of information at once and you're trying to keep the "To Do List" from growing even more. So why would we want to complicate things with a task like keeping our homes, our refuge spaces, clean?
Simplifying and "going green" with my cleaning supplies was one of the first changes I made in a sustainable and lower-waste lifestyle. I loved researching new recipes for cleaners and finding natural, homemade versions that worked just as well (or better!) than the store-bought versions. But you might not love the research so today I'm providing you with 7 simple and non-toxic recipes for household cleaners that you can start using today!
I love my homemade non-toxic cleaners because they:
Simplify my day-to-day life!
Save a ton of money!
Are non-toxic and safe for everyone in the house!
Are kid-friendly and make cleaning fun for kids, too!
You will probably be able to make the majority of these with things you have at home already. And all together they use less than a dozen ingredients total! That's an incredible cost savings when you can reuse the ingredients for multiple recipes, multiple times.
1. Window/Mirror Cleaner
Method: Mix together equal parts water and rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle. Add 3-4 drops of essential oil if desired (peppermint is my favorite), shake well, and spray on everything your heart desires!
Use: To clean countertops, kitchen table, bathrooms, disinfect doorknobs, and even the car. This was my first non-toxic homemade cleaner I ever made and I still love it to this day!
2. Dishwashing Liquid
Method: This one is so easy it almost seems too simple to include, but it might be new to somebody reading. Simply buy your favorite castile soap and dilute it with equal parts water and pour into a foaming soap dispenser.
Use: Dispense it onto your favorite sponge or washcloth and clean the grime off those dishes!
My first love with castile soap will always be Dr. Bronner's. It holds a special place in my heart, especially since we were in neighboring towns in CA. Don't be turned off by the price - it lasts forever! And if you've never tried the peppermint soap you're missing out! Since moving to Okinawa it's easier for me to get Carolina Castile Soap from the Subscribe & Save program. It is equally as wonderful and doesn't require a reorder since I'm set up to receive a bottle every month.
3. Foaming Hand Soap
Method: This is just as easy as the dishwashing soap recipe. Mix equal parts castile soap and water and gently shake in a foaming soap dispenser. I usually dilute the soap a little more than half and half so it comes out easier for young kids using the soap dispenser.
Use: I put these in every bathroom and at every sink (besides the kitchen sink) in the house. I no longer have to worry about buying soap at the store (and never run out) because I always have a bottle of castile soap at the house. An added bonus is the money I save by not buying "cute" little bottles of soap and I don't throw away extra plastic bottles every month!
4. Laundry Soap
Method: Add castile soap directly to the load of laundry or to the washing machine soap dispenser. Use 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup depending on the size of the load and level of dirt for each load of laundry.
Use: I also add baking soda for extra cleaning power when it is needed but not in every load. The castile soap is a workhorse (I know I sound like a broken record at this point but I use it for everything in my house! Try it already!) I also use 1/4 cup of vinegar as the rinse aid in each load of clothes. It helps to soften clothes and helps get rid of stinky smells.
5. Linen Spray
Method: In a small spray bottle (like this one) mix equal parts witch hazel and water along with 4 drops each of:
tea tree essential oil
lemon essential oil
peppermint essential oil
lavender essential oil
eucalyptus essential oil
Use: To refresh linens or any fabric in your house. The smell is a heavenly combination that is both sweet and clean! I also keep a bottle in each of our bathrooms. We love this in our house because it isn't full of hormone-disrupting chemicals (more on this below...) and it also uses inexpensive ingredients that can be used in other ways besides just in the linen spray. I also don't mind my kids spraying this, unlike the store-bought fabric refreshers (I'm looking at you, Febreeze!) It isn't headache inducing and will leave your rooms and linens smelling fresh!
6. Mold Killer Spray
Method: Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and add in 20 drops each of tea tree essential oil and lemon essential oil.
Use: Spray wherever mold is a problem - bathrooms, showers, bedding, walls. This will help kill the spores and help keep them from coming back. When I notice a mold issue in our house (hello humid Okinawa!), I scrub the area first with this mold spray. Then I wash and rinse the surface, and spray the mold killer on and let it dry. This is most helpful if you keep up with it on a regular basis in mold-prone areas. This will have a strong scent but the vinegar smell dissipates as it dries. And I would much rather breathe this in than a chemical laden one!
7. Diatomaceous Earth/Insect Killer
Method: Fill a powder duster bottle (like this one pictured) with Diatomaceous Earth and spread wherever you have insect problems.
Use: While this is technically not a homemade cleaner I couldn't leave this wonder powder out of the line-up. I have even been known to pass baggies to friends so they could try it out before buying it. The absolute best thing about Diatomaceous Earth is that it's safe to ingest for humans and pets. I spray it on my plants to help with tiny insects, I spray it around my door to help deter ants and millipedes, I have also sprayed it on our cat to kill her fleas. There are so many ways to use this wonderful substance! The fact that I don't have to use Raid or other nasty chemicals in my house and around my kids and pets makes this 100% worth it.
If you have enjoyed these recipes for non-toxic homemade cleaners and you would like to start digging deeper into this lifestyle then I would highly recommended the book Low Tox Life by Alexx Stuart. This book walks you step-by-step through a whole lifestyle change of living low tox. It even starts with Alexx's story of what her life looked like before this journey and how she knew she needed to make a change. It's so relatable! The book covers the body, home, food and mind in depth and how you can make changes in each of those areas. If you want a one-stop resource for more low tox ideas this is it!
I mentioned how scents and chemicals can be hormone disrupting to our bodies. If you struggle with headaches, fatigue, brain fog, or any other similar symptoms it's quite possible that it's worsened by environmental factors in your home. If you've ever felt like you needed to make a change then ditching the fake smells is one of the quickest changes you can make that will have an almost immediate effect! If you've never researched this further I would suggest taking a look at the Environmental Working Group's website. It is a great place to learn more and research what's really in the products you're using. This was one of the first resources I used when I started to change what I clean with in the home.
And just one other little thing that makes it easier to keep homemade cleaners labeled and distinguishable from each other - grease pencils. I purchased two from Amazon and they are amazing for writing on all surfaces. They only need a little "elbow grease" (that idiom has a new meaning!) to remove the markings when you're done. And if you really go down the sustainable, low-waste lifestyle, they are great because it reduces the use of plastic markers and you aren't creating trash with a label maker. (It's a small thing I know, but one that some people take into consideration.)
Remember, make the changes a little bit at a time. Choose one store bought cleaner to replace with a homemade, non-toxic version and see how you like it. If it's a success, choose another one and enjoy the benefits on your health and wallet! As always, tag me in your pictures and try to get your kids involved. They will benefit so much from these changes as well.
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