Spring Cleaning without Chemicals

Spring is here! Birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and it's time to clean things up using all-natural, eco-friendly products. Follow along and easily create your own arsenal of safe and effective cleaners. Many of the ingredients you need are probably in the kitchen right now!


The Ingredients

Castile Soap

Cleans dirt and cuts grease. Castile soap provides the perfect solution for most of your cleaning needs. It is plant-based and chemical free. Thanks to it's alkaline pH, castile soap effectively binds to grease and dirt particles. It is the perfect soap to gently and effectively clean most things, from you skin and hair to floors and sinks. Keep in mind that castile soap does not foam up like conventional soaps because it doesn't contain chemical foaming agents. That's OK: soap cleans, bubbles don't.

Vinegar

Cuts grease, disinfects, deodorizes and removes mildew, mold, mineral build-up and wax build-up because of it's highly acidic pH. Also a great rinse aid.

Lemon Juice

Natural disinfectant and whitener thanks to its acidic nature.

Olive Oil

Gently polishes wood and stainless steel without scratching it.

Baking Soda

Great for scrubbing dirt, removing grease, whitening and deodorizing. Baking soda acts as a mild abrasive to scrub away dirt and grime. It's cleaning power comes from how it reacts with other substances. It reacts with grease to make glycol, a common ingredient in soap. It also reacts with vinegar to create an even stronger acid that boosts cleaning power. Best of all, it neutralizes and eliminates odor-causing molecules thanks to it's alkaline nature.

Essential Oils

Anti-bacterial, anti-viral and cuts grease in addition to providing a natural, chemical-free, phthalate-free scent. Essential oils are 100% plant based and make the perfect addition to any cleaning solution.

  • Tea Tree Oil – anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, germicide
  • Lemon Oil – lifts dirt, anti-bacterial, anti-viral
  • Lavender – anti-bacterial
  • Wild Orange – Cuts grease
  • Rosemary – Antibacterial, antiseptic
  • Eucalyptus – germicide
  • Peppermint – Antibacterial
  • Pine – kills yeast spores, household germs, mildrew and mold
  • Thyme – germicide, kills salmonella

 


The Recipes

Once you've got the ingredients, you can start to make your own cleaning supplies to suit your cleaning needs. I've found a re-purposed mason jar with a reCap Spayer Cap makes the perfect spray bottle for many of these cleaners. You can pick the size you need for any job, and they are durable and easy to label. These are some of the recipes I've used, but you can tweak them here and there - have fun experimenting!

All Purpose Cleaner (Castile Soap)

  • 1 liter water
  • 1 cup castile soap
  • 15 drops of lavender, peppermint or lemon essential oil (optional)

Combine and pour into spray bottle.

All Purpose Cleaner (Vinegar)

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 15 drops lavender, peppermint or orange essential oil

Combine and pour into spray bottle. Do not use vinegar on marble or granite.

All Purpose Scour

  • 1⅔ cups baking soda
  • ½ cup liquid castile soap
  • ½ cup water

Combine in a squirt bottle. Mix before using. Rinse well.

Dishwasher/Toilet Cleaner

  • ½ cup baking soda
  • ½ cup washing soda
  • ½ cup white vinegar

Combine dry ingredients. For toilets: sprinkle on surface, scrub and chase with vinegar. For the dishwasher: add dry ingredients to soap dispenser and vinegar to rinse dispenser.

Furniture Polish

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Pour into a spray bottle. Shake well, spray, rub and polish on rag. Be sure to do a test patch before polishing a piece of furniture since wood finishes vary.

Glass and Mirror Cleaner

  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 8 drops of lemon or orange essential oil (optional)

Pour into spray bottle. If there is a residue left behind by other glass cleaners, clean with a 5% rubbing alcohol solution first.

Stainless Steel Cleaner

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp vinegar

Drive vinegar on a rag. Rub surfaces to get rid of smudges. Drip vinegar on the other side of rag. Wipe and let dry.

Laundry Soap

  • 7 liters hot water
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 cup liquid castile soap
  • ⅓ cup coarse salt
  • 20 drops of lavender, lemon or orange essential oil (optional)

Dissolve dry ingredients in hot water. Add soap and stir. Use ½ cup per full load of laundry. Works well with all water temperatures and HE machines.


The Mess

We find that small children are excellent at creating a mess. Any decent sized domestic pet will also perform well given the right conditions. With the spring weather and general muddiness outside, try to have more friends or extended family members drop in and see what happens. You never know what your all-natural, eco-friendly cleaning products will be able to handle.