DIY Green Cleaning: How to Get Started

DIY green cleaning is a great way to reduce the toxins in your home. Get started easily with a few simple ingredients and recipes. 

collection of green cleaning supplies: glass spray bottle with homemade cleaner, fruit peel vinegar in jar, baking soda in jar, and wooden scrubbing brush

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The wonderful thing about green cleaning is that is doesn't take much more effort than cleaning with toxic chemicals. If you're making your own cleaning products, you'll save money too!

Another bonus: using natural, non-toxic cleaners means my kids can help with cleaning tasks! No need to worry about locking up harmful cleaning supplies. And I don't have to do all the cleaning myself.

Should you make your own green cleaning products?

Making our own green cleaners is a great option. Many homemade natural cleaners work well and are simple to make.

If you are struggling to decide if you should make your own green cleaners, consider your time, money, and desire to actually make them. 

Let's chat about these for a minute…

Time: How long does it take to make green cleaning products?

Homemade cleaning products are very quick and easy to make. Find a few good recipes, mix a handful of ingredients, and you're set. 

Money: How much do homemade green cleaners cost?

DIY natural cleaners are extremely frugal. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide and very inexpensive. 

Homemade versions of green cleaning products will definitely save you money over the store-bought version (especially when comparing to the store-bought green and natural cleaners, which can be more expensive). 

Desire: Do you actually want to make green cleaners?

If you despise making your own cleaning products and can find an alternative to purchase, there is no need to force yourself to make them! It's not a necessary thing by any means. Free yourself from that thought!

Since green cleaners are so easy to make, you could always give the recipes to an older child. Many kids would love making natural cleaners! Hey, maybe it will even encourage them to clean! 

Do you love DIYing? Then you will enjoy making your own non-toxic cleaning products. Gather your recipes, ingredients, and supplies and you are set. 

Aren't sure if you want to make your own green cleaners?

If you aren't sure if homemade cleaners are right for you, or you think you may not want to make your own cleaning products, it's worth trying a few DIY green cleaning recipes.

Make one or two simple cleaning recipes and use them for a few days. That way you'll know how they work, how long they take to make, and if it's a good option for you. 

Some of the easiest green cleaning products to make are:

How to Find Store-Bought Green Cleaning Products?

collection of branch basics natural cleaning products

If you decide to buy green cleaning products you might find that many of them are expensive or hard to find. 

It's easy to get duped by sneaky brands when shopping for green cleaners. 

Beware of Greenwashing!

Many companies try to market their products as clean, green, natural, and non-toxic but they are far from it! 

Be wary of claims, such as “contains natural ingredients” and look at the actual ingredients.

If a company does not disclose its ingredients, it's a good idea to look elsewhere. 

Check the Environmental Working Group Database

You can check many cleaning products on the Environmental Working Group Database. Each product will get a score based on its ingredients. Scores of 1-2 are considered safe. 

Look up the products you are currently using and see how they stack up. 

Search for others you are interested in buying.

You might be surprised to find some “natural” brands rank pretty poorly. That's because they're not actually natural! 

Trustworthy Green Cleaners to buy

I have used and researched a few natural cleaning products in my day! Here are the ones I found to be effective and trustworthy:

  • Branch Basics – a natural concentrate you dilute. Can be used for every cleaning task
  • Aunt Fannies – vinegar-based natural cleaners
  • Counter Culture – probiotic cleaners (good for counter-tops and all-purpose cleaning)
    Note: I buy Counter Culture Cleaning Products from Grove Collaborative
  • Truce Clean – great all-natural all-purpose option
  • Force of Nature – transforms tap water plus a capsule of salt, water & vinegar into a non-toxic all-purpose cleaner & deodorizer 

Green Cleaning Ingredients

orange peel and pine needles in glass jar with vinegar for green cleaning

You can make a variety of green cleaning products to clean every room in your house with just a few ingredients.

Here are the top five green cleaning ingredients to keep on hand:

1. White vinegar

A great all-purpose cleaner, use white vinegar to soften and deodorize laundry, pair with baking soda to unclog drains, and clean the walls, floor, toilet, and bath.

Don't like the smell of vinegar? It actually dissipates after it dries, so you don't have to worry about everything smelling like a salad! But, if you'd like to scent your vinegar (and add some extra cleaning power) add essential oils. 

Create scented vinegar by adding 75 drops of lavender or tea tree essential oil to a one-gallon jug of white vinegar. Close the lid and shake to blend.

Uses for scented vinegar:

  • Clean the floor
  • Deodorize the toilet bowl
  • Clean kitchen counters
  • Spray shower walls daily to prevent the build-up of grime

Also see: 10 Ways to Use Vinegar

2. soap and water 

Cleaning with soap and water is a great way to tackle a bunch of cleaning tasks. By soap, I mean natural dishsoap or castile soap.

Simply squirt a little natural dish soap into a bucket, then fill with warm water and get to work. It really doesn't have to be much more complicated than that!

Soap and water work well to clean countertops, floors, walls, bathrooms, and more.

When I get the cleaning bug I like to fill a few containers with soapy water, and give one to each of the kids. We can turn up the music and scrub the house from top to bottom.

3.  Essential Oils 

Many essential oils are excellent germ fighters, plus they smell great!

I like to add a few drops to a spray bottle filled with vinegar for a powerful disinfecting spray and include them in a bucket of warm water for a great floor cleaner.

Essential oils are great to include in homemade laundry detergent and carpet deodorizers as well. 

The following essential oils are good options for natural cleaning:

(All of these are considered to be antiviral, antibiotic, antiseptic, and antibacterial.)

4. Hydrogen Peroxide

A wonderful, non-toxic alternative to commercial cleaning products, hydrogen peroxide very effective in removing stains.

Use undiluted hydrogen peroxide to disinfect and clean surfaces. Or mix with a little baking soda to make a paste for cleaning grout and kitchen sinks. 

There are some cations when using hydrogen peroxide as a cleaner:

  • can have a slight bleaching effect, so don't use on dark surfaces
  • will bleach darker clothing
  • will gradually etch the surface of stone, granite, and marble, so do not sure on those surfaces (such as a granite countertop)

Always keep hydrogen peroxide in the dark container it comes in. Hydrogen peroxide breaks down when exposed to light breaks. 

For ease of use, put a sprayer top directly on the brown bottle it comes in. 

5. Baking Soda

baking soda in glass jar and wooden scrub brush on table for green cleaning

The texture of baking soda makes it mildly abrasive. So, it is a great option for scrubbing stains in sinks and toilets.

Baking soda is also an excellent deodorizer. Keep an open box in the fridge to absorb smells, sprinkle some in the garbage disposal, and use to freshen carpets.

To make a carpet deodorizer, add a few drops of essential oil to a box of baking soda and stir to combine. Sprinkle on the carpet and allow to sit for 30 minutes, then vacuum.

Green Cleaning Tools

Having the right tools on hand makes green cleaning a lot easier and more effective.

Here are the most important tools you need to get started with green cleaning:

 

Tips for Green Cleaning Success

If we want to stick with natural cleaners, we have to keep it simple! Below are my top two tips for successful green cleaning.

1. implement a minimal Cleaning routine

Finding a simple maintenance routine helps you avoid big jobs in which breaking out the chemicals is a temptation.

For example, wiping down the shower regularly means you won't have to give it a scrubbing very often.

Spray the shower walls with vinegar after each shower and you won't have to worry about soap scum build up.

2. Make it easy

  • Keep spray bottles, vinegar, and essential oils on hand so you can tackle jobs as needed.
  • Attach recipes directly to the spray bottle so they can be easily refilled.
  • Use Multi-purpose cleaners – many homemade cleaners can be used for a variety of tasks, so don't make a new recipe for every single job. 

Green Cleaning Recipes

glass spray bottle filled with homemade green cleaning solution

 

Below you'll find a few recipes to get you started. Once you find the recipes that work for your situation, keep them somewhere that's easy to reference so you can make them when needed.

Create a Pinterest board dedicated to green cleaning, print out the recipes and tap them on the inside of your pantry or cabinet, or put them in a binder. 

You will find all the recipes you need here: Green Cleaning Recipes (Quick and Easy)

All-Purpose Cleaning recipes:

Disinfecting Spray

Citrus Peel Vinegar

Bathroom cleaning recipes:

How to clean the bathroom with non-toxic supplies 

Homemade Soft Scrub and Non-toxic Bathroom Cleaning Tips

Homemade Air Freshener: Calming and Deodorizing Room Spray

Floor Cleaning recipes:

My Favorite Floor Cleaner

See this info presented on video:


 

Do you have any natural, non-toxic cleaning tips to share? I'd love to hear them!

Post updated on 03/7/19 – expanded information and added new images. 

Stacy Karen

Stacy is a DIY obsessed, healthy living advocate. A preacher's wife and mom of three, she loves to encourage others to live a natural lifestyle.
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  1. Great points! This is very insightful post and working as eye openers for the online learners. Keep sharing