Greener Cleaning

Homemade Household Cleansers…

Needed supplies:
Baking Soda                                                              
Borax  (some people have issues with borax, it does have its ecological and health downfalls)                              
Liquid castile soap (Dr. Bonners is great, and one of the easiest to find sources)
Lemon Juice** (I prefer lemon juice over lemon essential oil)
Murphy’s oil soap
white vinegar
washing soda
bleach (last resort—bleach is not your friend unless all else fails)
ammonia (same as above…)

bleach and ammonia are not non-toxic–when using them, use gloves and ventilate, AND DON’T MIX!!!

…if you are looking for all-natural cleaning remedy, don’t use these  😉 …they are included because they can be used from common (and cheaper) home products, and are effective, but they are not green

(though used SPARINGLY, as a LAST RESORT, they do have their place)

Essential oils:
tea tree**
citrus (lemon**, orange, etc)
evergreens (pine, cedar,ect)

**=antibiotic, antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal
All-purpose cleaner recipies: 

1/4 c borax (optional)
1/2 c baking soda
4 drops lavender
4 drops citrus essential oil
combine into a shaker container to make a cleaning scrub


1 quart warm water 
4 tablespoons baking soda
1 teaspoon vinegar

1 c water
1 c vinegar
1/2 c lemon juice
5 drops tea tree oil
5 drops lavender oil
1 teaspoon liquid castile soap
1/8 c white vinegar
1/4 c lemon juice
2 c water
6 drops citrus oil
1 teaspoon borax
combine into spray bottle, fill with water and shake well before each use

½ teaspoon washing soda
2 teaspoons borax
½ teaspoon liquid soap or detergent
2 cups hot water
put it in a spray bottle

1/4 cup baking soda
1 cup household ammonia
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 gallon warm water
Fill spray bottle and clean…


1/2 c lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dr. Bonners lavender soap
10 drops lavender oil
10 drops lemongrass oil
add to spray bottle, fill with water and clean…
for really gritty, greasy messes, keep baking soda in a shaker, sprinkle on the dirty area and add a 1/2 c of vinegar to the cleaning spray, spray where the baking soda is and scrub!

Special Surfaces:

Glass and window cleaner:

Club soda and rubbing alcohol plus water
half-part vinegar plus half-part water
table spoon ammonia and tablespoon vinegar in a spray bottle filled with water

Wood polish:

Two parts vegetable, grapeseed or olive oil plus 1 part lemon juice. If you use juice, this must be refrigerated. You can substitute lemon oil.

polish/cleanser—Mix 1/2 cup of vinegar with 1/2 cup of veggie, grapeseed or olive oil apply to the wood floor in a thin even layer and buff…

Kitchen Floors

1 gallon hot water
2 tablespoons liquid castile soap
10 drops pine essential oil
5 drops cedar essential oil
(OR…replace essential oils with 15 drops orange oil and 1/3 c lemon juice
1 gal hot water
2 tablespoons liquid castile soap
1/4 c washing soda
1 c vinegar
20 drops tea tree oil


Carpet refresher:

3/4 cup baking soda, 2 tbsp corn starch, a few frops of lemon or orange oil…break up clumps and mix together…quick note—use an old parmesean cheese shaker to sprinkle on carpet…
baking soda with a few pinches of ground spices such as cloves or cinnamon OR add a few drops of essential oils to the baking soda, and use a fork to mix together and break up any clumps….let sit for 15-30 min befor vaccuming
For deoderizing: mix two parts cornmeal with one part borax; sprinkle liberally, leave for one hour, then vacuum

Carpet stains:

Baking soda plus water or club soda or shaving cream…put it on the stain, and scrub

Misc appliances and household fixtures:

Toilet bowl cleaner:

1 cup liquid soap
2 cups baking soda
Mix well. Add cup water plus 2 tablespoons vinegar to make foam.

A can of cola; let it sit 10 minutes in bowl and flush.

fizzy dentures cleaning tablets….drop 2 in the bowl and 2 in the top part…let sit over nite

Oven cleaner:

Cover spills with baking soda or salt (for grease) and soapy water (while oven is still warm). Let sit 10 minutes and wipe off. A pumice stone can be used on tough stains.

Fill a small glass bowl with 1/2 cup full-strength ammonia, place in oven and close. Let stand overnight, then wipe loosened dirt with paper towels or newspapers. If necessary, rub surfaces with a suitable abrasive, such as fine steel wool, then wash with warm soapy water and rinse. Repeat process if necessary.

Polishers/Metal cleansers…

Rust Remover:

Use a mixture of equal parts salt and lemon juice

Jewelry cleaner:

1 teaspoon salt plus 1 teaspoon baking soda. Fill jar halfway with quarter-size bits of aluminum foil. Add warm water. Drop jewelry in for 15 minutes to 1 hour. Polish with a soft cloth.

Mix 1 cup of warm water and 1/4 cup ammonia OR mix 1/2 teaspoon liquid dish soap
4 teaspoons ammonia. Take a soft bristle brush, dip it in the solution and gently scrub. Then put the piece of jewelry into the cleaning solution and let it soak for 15-20 minutes. Remove and rinse with warm water and either air dry or dry with soft cloth.

Aluminum cleaner:

Heat a solution of 1 tbsp vinegar per qt of water or 2 tsp cream of tartar per qt of water in each pan until discoloration disappears.

Stainless steel:

Use baking soda and soft-sided sponge.

Copper and brass polish:

1 cup vinegar plus 1 tablespoon salt.

Silver cleaner:

1 piece aluminum foil (big enough to cover the bottom of the cleaning container)
1 to 2 tablespoons baking soda
2 quarts very hot water

Lay the aluminum foil along the bottom of a plastic or glass container.
Place the tarnished silver on top.
Sprinkle the silver with baking soda, and cover it with very hot water.
Soak until bubbles stop, then rinse and polish the silver with a soft cloth.

household science of why this works…the silver sulfide (tarnish) breaks down and transfers to the aluminum foil, which you can then throw out

*removes tarnish uniformly, so don’t use it with antiqued silver*

Pest Deterrents:

Insecticides for plants:

2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
2 teaspoons liquid soap and water
Spray on plants LIGHTLY

Pest deterents:

6-8 drops peppermint or citronella essential oil can be put on a damp sponge an used to wipe down surfaces to deter ants, centapedes, silverfish and earwigs…the oil can also be added to water used to clean those areas

place bay leaves in cabinents and drawers to deter insects in general
a few whole nutmegs put in flour bins will deter weevils
a few sprigs of peppermint placed, or a few drops of peppermint essential oil sprayed in areas where mice droppings have been noticed should deter mice
Sinks, Drains and Such:

Drain cleaner/deodorizer:

To keep drains clear, flush daily with scalding water. 
For grease buildup, dissolve 1 lb washing soda in 3 gal boiling water and pour down drain.
to unclog–Pour 1/2 a cup of baking soda down the drain followed by a 1/2 cup of vinegar. Close the drain opening or cover it. Let the mixture sit for 5 to 10 minutes, Then pour a full kettle of boiling water down—do not use in conjunction with commercial products such as draino

Garbage Disposals:

to deodorize: put a lemon peel through the garbage disposal, along with 1/4 c baking soda, 1/2 c vinegar, 3 drops lavender and lemon essential oil—combine and pour in sink (makes a great fizzy scrub also) and rinse with vinegar and hot water


Use vinegar as a natural fabric softener. Add ½ cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle in place of store bought fabric softener. Vinegar has the added benefit of breaking down laundry detergent more effectively….add about 10-20 drops of essential oil for a better scent 
Mix detergent half & half with baking soda (use 1/2 the recommended amount of detergent)
for stain removers–Make a paste of washing soda and water for dirty spots
make your own powder detergent–5 cups soap flakes, 7 cups of Borax, 3 cups washing soda, 3 cups baking soda—you can add some essential oil of your choice but be sure to MIX WELL!!!; use 1/2 cup per load
1 ounce liquid castile soap
2 tablespoons glycerin
1 cup washing soda
1 cup baking soda
6 cups warm water
10 drops essential oil
mix in heavy plastic container (like old laundry soap container) and use 1/4-1/2 c per load…shake before each use
Diaper Whitener:

1/2 c borax
1/4 c vinegar
6-8 drops tea tree oil
pail of hot water
combine and soak diapers 20-30 min before washing

toss a scrap of cotton cloth with a few drops of a favorite essential oil in the drier for some extra yummy smell…


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