“Cleanliness is next to godliness,” or so the saying goes. And while that may be a bit extreme, most of us would agree that it feels great to have a clean house. But what are not so great are the chemicals. Although no one knows for sure how these chemicals affect our health, they are associated with respiratory problems, skin irritation, hormone imbalances and even cancer. So what’s a clean freak to do? Make your own safe and effective cleaners. It’s fast, it’s easy, and— bonus—it can save you money. We’ve compiled a room-by-room guide to keeping your house clean, green and looking great.
In the Laundry Room
- Grate the bar soap or place in a food processor until finely ground.
- In a large bowl, mix 2 parts washing soda, 2 parts borax and 1 part grated soap. (Add a few teaspoons of baking soda, if desired.)
- Store in a closed container.
- Add 1/8 to ¼ cup of detergent to each load of laundry.
In the Kitchen
All-Purpose Cleaner and Countertop Spray
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- ¼ gallon (1 liter) hot water
- Essential oil, such as lavender, orange or lemongrass (optional)
- Combine ingredients in a bucket, stir and let cool a bit.
- Add a few drops of essential oil, if desired.
- Pour into a spray bottle.
- ¾ cup baking soda
- ¼ cup salt
- ¼ cup water
- Mix ingredients into a paste.
- Spread paste over a dampened area of the oven and let sit overnight.
- Scrape off and rinse clean.
- 1 cup borax
- 1 cup washing soda (For hard water, increase to 1 ¼ cup.)
- Mix ingredients in a container.
- Use the same amount of detergent you would normally use in your dishwasher.
In the Living Room and Bedrooms
Furniture Polish (For use on unvarnished furniture only.)
- ¼ cup olive or grapeseed oil
- 4 tablespoons white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Combine ingredients in a spray bottle.
- Shake well before using.
- Store in refrigerator.
In the Bathroom
- ¾ cup hydrogen peroxide
- ¼ cup water
- 40 drops of tea tree oil
- 10 drops eucalyptus, lemon or orange essential oil
- Mix together and pour into a spray bottle.
- Use on all surfaces.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
- ¼ cup baking soda
- 1 cup white vinegar
- Combine ingredients in a container.
- Pour into toilet and let sit for a few minutes.
- Scrub with a toilet brush and rinse.
- 2 teaspoons vinegar
- ¼ gallon (1 liter) water
- A few drops of essential lemon oil
- Pour all ingredients into a spray bottle and shake to combine.
- Spray and wipe with a clean rag or crumpled newspaper.