I’ve bought several different natural cleaners and they are either expensive, don’t work or aren’t what I would consider safe enough to use around children. After trying complicated recipes over the last few years, there are four basic products that everything I now use to clean are based off of, baking soda, vinegar, lemons and Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap. After all, if we keep things simple and effective, they’re a lot easier to stick with!
1. Baking Soda - This is one of the most versatile products out there. Warehouse stores like Costco usually have it for a great price (about $6.50 for 13.5 pounds). I keep a pint size jar in the cupboard for baking and use the rest for cleaning. It’s great for scrubbing, deodorizing and boosting laundry detergent.
2. Vinegar – Cheap, white vinegar gets pretty much everything done. It’s good for degreasing (combined with lemon it’s even more powerful), deodorizing, a fabric softener that reduces static cling, a window cleaner and more. Once you start using vinegar, you’ll realize it’s good for just about anything!
3. Lemons – Fresh lemons or lemon oil boost the cleaning, deodorizing and degreasing power of baking soda and vinegar. To keep lemons fresh, they can be kept in a bowl of water in the fridge. As an added bonus, the water takes on the smell of lemons and keeps your fridge smelling fresh! Lemon oil is even more cost effective than fresh lemons. A fresh lemon is usually 33 cents or more in my area, while a 15ml bottle of doTERRA lemon essential oil is $10, contains about 250 drops, requires no prep work and lasts for years. I usually have to use an entire lemon for a recipe, but only 2-3 drops which costs 8-12 cents. Find out why I choose to use doTERRA here.
4. Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap – Dr. Bronner’s uses fair trade, organic ingredients. It seems expensive at first, but keep in mind it is extremely concentrated and one bottle lasts for a long time. It’s great for many things, hand soap, dish soap, all purpose cleaner, toothpaste substitute and I’ve even heard of people using it for deodorant, but haven’t been brave enough to try!
Bathroom Scrub -
2 cups baking soda
1/4 c vinegar
3 TB Dr. Bronner’s
3 drops Lemon Essential Oil (optional)
Amounts are approximates, I usually add about that much of each and then add more baking soda if it’s too thin or more vinegar if it’s too thick. Once stirred, the mixture should be a thick paste. To use, put some of the paste on a wet sponge and start scrubbing! It should remove soap scum and water spots easily, but getting the bathroom steamy first will help loosen stubborn residue and make it even easier to clean.
1/2 c white vinegar
5 drops Essential Oil(s)
Mix the vinegar and oils in a glass container, the oils will break down a plastic container. The length of time the room freshener will last depends on how much odor the room has, just replace the mixture as needed. Commercial air fresheners contain toxic compounds that cause issues from respiratory problems to cancer. Click here to see the ratings for Febreze by ewg.org. As a comparison, click here to see the rating for white vinegar.
How do you use the ingredients above to keep your house clean? Are there any others that didn’t make the list that you would recommend?