15 Chemical-Free Recipes You Can DIY For More Sustainable Cleaning

Do you ever look at the ingredients lists when you go shopping for household cleaners? If you do, what you see will probably scare you

Photo: Unsplash/@jeshoots

Photo: Unsplash/@jeshoots

Do you ever look at the ingredients lists when you go shopping for household cleaners? If you do, what you see will probably scare you. There are loads of dangerous chemicals in our everyday household cleaning supplies, things we can’t even pronounce or even know about. Many ingredients — even those marketed as harmless — can lead to cancer, endocrine disruption, allergic reactions, breathing problems, and more. These are the ingredients and chemicals we’re spraying into the air and around our loved ones, including young children and pets so it’s important to be conscious about what we put out there.

This is why we’re encouraging a shift towards buying cleaning products that are as natural (and clean) as possible. We know it can be daunting, but if you even switch over one item to be chemical-free, then you’d be eliminating several harmful chemicals in one swoop. A small step can still make a major difference.

If you really want to make that extra step, we even recommend making your own cleaning products using natural ingredients. To help you out, we’ve rounded up 15 DIY natural cleaning product recipes that you can easily whip up at home. Check them out!


Infused Vinegars

Vinegar is one of the best cleaners you can use — and it’s natural! While it’s not recommended on granite or marble, it works great on most surfaces. Rachael and Scott Johnston of Planted in the Woods shared how to make several wonderful-smelling infused vinegars.

“Lemon infused vinegar: Fill a jar with lemon peels, about halfway or full if you prefer it stronger, then top with white vinegar and let it sit in the pantry for up to two weeks. Strain peels and it’s ready to use⁠. Orange infused vinegar: Repeat the same steps as lemon vinegar. (You can do this with any citrus fruit and grapefruit also smells amazing)⁠. Lavender infused vinegar: mix 1/4 cup lavender to 1 cup white vinegar in a jar and allow it to sit in the window or counter for 7-10 days. Strain lavender and it’s ready to use (use ACV to make a lavender hair rinse)⁠. Rosemary lemon vinegar: add 10-15 sprigs of rosemary and the peels from two whole lemons in a jar and fill the rest with white vinegar. Allow to sit up to 2 weeks in a pantry. Strain rosemary and peels and it’s ready to use. Sometimes I add a few springs of fresh rosemary to the final product too⁠.”


Reusable Dust Wipes

Dusting is something that is done on the regular, so you might want to get wipes without tons of funky chemicals. You may also want a product you can use again and again to also cut down on waste. Essential oil brand doTERRA created this cool DIY for dusting wipes using cloth, distilled water, essential oil, vinegar, and olive oil.

Note: there are several essential oils that are toxic to pets, babies, and young children (including tea tree, eucalyptus, and citrus oils); so be sure to check before including those oils in any of these DIY projects.


Homemade Non-Toxic Floor Cleaner

Of course, you want your floors to be clean. But when you think about younger children or pets sitting, crawling, and rolling around on a surface wet with toxic chemicals, it may make you want to skip mopping altogether. Condo Blues has a great DIY Non-Toxic Floor Cleaner that only features three ingredients: dish detergent, water, and vinegar.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 part dish detergent: You can use whatever brand you like. I go with plant-based dish detergent.
  • 1 part vinegar
  • 2 parts of water
  • Refillable spray mop – I use an O-Cedar microfiber spray mop like this one because I can refill it with any brand or type of cleaner I want and the removable pads are machine washable. I think cloth pads clean better than disposable pads. Let’s not forget how much better reusables are for the planet and your wallet.

How to make: 

1. Combine the dish detergent, vinegar, and water in the spray mop dispenser.

2. Put the cap on the dispenser and mix the ingredients by giving it a shake or two.

3. Put the dispenser in your spray mop and clean up the town!

Pro tip from Condo Blues: If you don’t like the smell of vinegar, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the mix or use scented dish detergent.


Baking Soda Carpet Cleaner

Want to freshen up your carpet with one single and natural ingredient you probably already have in your house?

Well, then use baking soda! As Sensibly Frugal Living shared, this super affordable idea involves sprinkling some bicarbonate (a.k.a. baking soda) on your carpet, letting it sit for a bit, and then vacuuming it up. It’s a simple, cheap, and much healthier option.


Naturally Disinfecting Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Meagan of Growing Up Herbal shared a simple, three-ingredient toilet bowl cleaner that is inexpensive, healthier than what you’d buy in a store, and naturally disinfecting.

Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar (20% – used only for cleaning… or weed killing) (here and here are two online options)
    disinfecting essential oil blend – here, here, and here are some of my favorites

How to make:

  1. Take 1 cup of baking soda and place it in a glass bowl.
  2. Drop 50 drops of your essential oil blend into the baking soda. Remember, this is to be disinfecting your toilet bowl so it has to be STRONG… toilet bowls are nasty!
  3. Use a wooden spoon or a pestle to blend the oils into the baking soda.
  4. When all the oil clumps are broken up, put your blend in a glass jar to store.

Here’s how to use: 

“Before cleaning your toilet, it’s important to turn the water off at the back of your toilet then flush it to remove all water from the bowl. Next, sprinkle 1 TBSP of your mix around your toilet bowl and give it a good scrub with a toilet brush. Feel free to let this sit while you clean something else in your bathroom. After a few minutes, pour 8 TBSP of 20% vinegar around your toilet bowl. It will fizz and foam as the baking soda and vinegar react. Grab your toilet bowl cleaning wand and give the toilet an extra scrub or two so the vinegar can touch as much of the bowl surface as possible. Let this sit for 10-15 minutes before turning your water back on and flushing the toilet once more.”


All-Purpose Cleaner

On Instagram, Ixtlaly Gruny shares an easy DIY all-purpose cleaner that you can use around the house, without any fear or guilt about what’s in it.

“I made an all-purpose cleaner with 2 cups water, 1 cup hydrogen peroxide, and 1/4 cup lemon juice. All you do is pour these into an empty spray bottle and clean the kitchen or bathroom surfaces with it.”

Added bonus? Read on in the Instagram post for an easy DIY produce wash!


Furniture Polish

Do you want to polish your wood furniture, but aren’t keen on spraying those cleaners with the overpowering “lemon” scent? Try this instead! Biome shared an easy and natural alternative that you can easily make yourself.

  • 1 cup Olive or Jojoba Oil ⁠
  • 1/4 cup White Vinegar⁠
  • 10 drops Lemon Essential Oil⁠

Here’s how to make:

Combine oil with white vinegar and essential oil. Store in a bottle or reusable spray bottle. Shake before using. Apply to wooden furniture and wipe with a lint-free cloth. Store in a cool, dark place that’s out of the sunlight.⁠


DIY Disinfectant Wipes

Disinfectant wipes are a Godsend, but they contain chemicals we can do without. They are also super wasteful since you simply use one once and then throw it away. What if you could make your own from natural ingredients and reusable cloth? Waste Free Planet has your back, sharing this easy DIY with a great visual by Planted in the Woods. Aside from the essential oil, the only ingredients are water and vinegar (with the cloth squares).


Homemade Shower And Tub Cleaner

You don’t have to use harsh chemicals that leave you barely able to breathe in order to effectively clean your bathroom — we promise. You can use less but get that same clean effect. Bargain Briana shared a super easy to make spray made up of just Dawn (feel free to use a plant-based/natural dish soap for even fewer chemicals) and vinegar.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • ½ cup vinegar
  • ½ cup Dawn detergent – blue bottle
  • Spray bottle

How to make:

  • Warm vinegar in the microwave for 90 seconds.
  • Combine vinegar and Dawn in a spray bottle.
  • Spray on your shower or tub.
  • Let sit for 1-2 hours.
  • Wipe clean.


Mold and Mildew Cleaner

Mold and mildew are two things you do not want in your house. But you don’t have to get rid of them or prevent them with harsh chemicals.

On Instagram, Pihanalani’s Healing Arts shared an easy to make, yet effective recipe for DIY mold and mildew cleaner. It only takes five natural ingredients — distilled vinegar or hydrogen peroxide, water, and three different essential oils — in a glass spray bottle, to keep your space safe and clean.


Bleach Alternative


For generations, Latinxs have sworn by the super disinfecting and cleaning power of bleach. Sure, it works, but it’s also super harsh and full of chemicals. Why not try a healthier bleach alternative? Upstairs Downstairs Cleaning Service shared this easy to follow, natural bleach DIY graphic, featuring hydrogen peroxide, distilled water, citric acid, essential oil, and lemon juice.


DIY Goo Gone

Goo Gone works to getting sticker residue and other goo off of items but unfortunately, it’s loaded with chemicals and has a strong smell. On Instagram, X marks the Heart posted a handy how-to for making a natural version of the product. This version is made with much healthier baking soda and cooking oil, two ingredients you probably already have in your house.


Natural Sink Cleaner


Did you know that you can leave your sink clean, disinfected, and sparkling using only two kitchen ingredients? Yes! CLEAN TO THE T, LLC. shared this super easy DIY on Instagram showing that all you need for this project is lemon and salt.


DIY Laundry Detergent

We are used to reaching for those laundry detergents that promise a fragrant yet tough, deep-down clean. They usually deliver but think about it. All those promises are delivered through harsh and harmful chemicals, that you then wear against your skin 24/7.

Fortunately, you can get that fresh clean by taking a more natural approach. This Instagram video, shared by Agnes Mike of Zero Waste Living, also shows you how to make your own dryer sheets!


DIY Glass Cleaner

Another cool cleaning DIY by Upstairs Downstairs Cleaning Service is this natural glass cleaner recipe.

All you need is corn starch, warm water, white vinegar, and rubbing alcohol (should you decide to use it). Mix the measured ingredients in a spray bottle, and you’re set.

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Cleaning DIY DIY cleaners healthy cleaners natural cleaners
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