The market is flooded with cleaning products that contain toxic chemicals that can cause health issues for you and your family and are detrimental to the environment. Instead of going with whatever the hot new cleaning product is, making your own safe, natural cleaner is simple, affordable, and safer for your home and Earth.
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If you’re interested in jumping on the DIY train for home and body care, or GIY (“Green It Yourself”) as Lisa Bronner from Going Green puts it, making your own at-home cleaning concoctions is fun and easy. The best part? You’ll rid your home of toxic chemicals commonly found in commercial cleaners, and save money to boot.
Why Should I Avoid Most Commercial Cleaners?
First off, let’s discuss why going with a homemade, natural cleaner is a better option than most commercial cleaners. If you read the label of a common, store-bought cleaning product, you’re more than likely going to be overwhelmed with the amount of complex, unfamiliar chemicals and substances listed. Even products that claim to be “organic” or “natural” can still contain the following toxins that are harmful to you and the planet:
- Found in numerous cleaning products to add “fragrance”
- Causes hormone imbalances and reproductive issues
- An antibacterial and antifungal agent
- Causes dermatitis and increased allergic reactions
- Perchloroethylene (PERC):
- Usually found in heavy-duty carpet cleaners
- Causes skin and eye irritation, as well as damage the liver and respiratory system.
- Quarternary Ammonium Compounds (QUATS):
- Antibacterial agent often found in disinfectant wipes
- Disrupts important cellular pathways
- Found in several multi-purpose cleaners
- Harms the skin, eyes, kidneys, and blood
Further Reading: Avoid These Toxins in Your Everyday Home and Body Care Products
Ingredients for Your Natural Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner
While new cleaning products hit the market all the time claiming to disinfect in “revolutionary” ways, the truth is that the best cleaning ingredients are some of the simplest and have been used for centuries.
- Essential oils – Tea tree, lemon, or lavender have natural antibacterial properties and leave your home smelling great
- 1 qt. (1 L) water
- ¼ c. (60 mL) of Castile Soap (any scent)
Take a spray bottle and add water. Then simply add the rest of the ingredients. Shake gently to mix. Keep in mind that it’s best to add the water first and the Castile soap second so it doesn’t create too much foam.
For Hard Surfaces and Extra Tough Stains
If you are dealing with especially stubborn grime or stains after using the all-purpose spray, you can follow up with:
- Rinsing the area with two tablespoons of lemon juice
- Applying 10 to 20 drops of essential oil (if the Castile soap doesn’t contain any)
- Scouring the area with ¼ c. (60 mL) of salt
If you have hard water or especially tough stains, you can substitute the Castile soap for our Sal Suds Cleaner. Sal Suds is a simple detergent, rather than a soap. It is more concentrated and formulated for “heavy duty” projects. This is largely a matter of taste, though. Here are the mixing instructions if you choose to go this route:
- 1 qt. (1L) water
- 1 Tbsp. (15 mL) Sal Suds Cleaner
- 20 drops tea tree essential oil (optional)
What Can It Clean?
The following are just a few things this all-purpose cleaner works great on.
- Kitchen counters (quartzite and granite)
- Bathroom counters & shower surround (tile)
- All types of stone
- Painted surfaces
- Wood tables and cabinets
- Stainless steel appliances and sinks
- Ceramic sinks & tubs
- Carpets (spot cleaning)
- Microwaves & ovens doors
- Leather furniture (except suede)
- Plastic acrylic
- Outdoor furniture
- Car interiors
- Pet bowls
- Baby gear
Check out Lisa Bronner’s article “ GIY All-Purpose Cleaning Spray ” on Going Green for more tips!
Why It’s More Cost Effective
When you clean your home, how many products do you tend to use? Because of the way most products are marketed, it’s easy to be convinced to use a different product for your mirror, countertop, shower, toilet, and floor. Using one, homemade natural cleaner saves the trouble of lugging multiple bottles around and saves you from buying multiple unnecessary products.
If you’d like to get started creating your own homemade cleaner, check out our selection of Pure-Castile Soaps and our Sal Suds Cleaner and subscribe to our newsletter for weekly content (and 15% off!).
Sal Suds cleaner shows >60% biodegradation after 28 days per ISO 14593.