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Easy, Homemade Green Cleaners

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homemade cleaners
source: liz west

The problem with most commercial cleaners is that they contain a variety of ingredients that range from questionable to downright dangerous. As Emily from Live Renewed pointed out, manufacturers aren’t even required to list all of the ingredients on the labels, so it can be hard to figure out exactly what’s in your favorite cleaner.

Our cleaning routine is pretty simple. We use vinegar for almost everything, and the only chemical cleaner we use is our dishwasher detergent. I’m going to start experimenting with homemade detergents once our  current stash runs out (which may be a while!), but for now, here are the natural cleaners we use:

All-Purpose Cleaner

We use vinegar mixed with equal part water as our main cleaner for windows, mirrors, kitchen counters, the inside of the fridge, the toilet, sink and shower and even the floor. For everyday cleaning, vinegar is really the most versatile cleaner there is, and it’s also a natural disinfectant. I’ve read that you can add essential oils to mask the smell, but because vinegar is odorless once it dries, we don’t really bother with any extras.

Santizing & Disinfecting

To sanitize the counters after cooking with raw meat, we spray the counters with straight vinegar and wipe them down and then spray them with hydrogen peroxide and wipe down again. The use of both of these, one after another, is as effective as any commercial disinfectant on the market!

Stainless Steel Cleaner

To keep our stainless steel appliances clean and smudge free, we use a tiny amount of baby oil on a clean rag to buff the surface. Now, I’m not entirely sure that mineral oil — the main ingredient in baby oil — qualifies as a natural cleaner. However, because we use such a tiny amount (it will take us years to get through one tiny travel bottle of the stuff), I’m okay with considering this a green alternative to commercial stainless steel cleaners!

Tough Stains

For tougher stains, boost the power of your vinegar by sprinkling the area with baking soda and then spraying with vinegar. The resulting chemical reaction (which you probably remember from making a volcano in elementary school) will help work on any tough stains.

Laundry Detergent

We use Laundry Tree soap nuts for all of our laundry. The one downside to this is that you have to use hot water unless you make a cold water solution by boiling the soap nuts ahead of time (which I haven’t yet taken the time to do), but we are very happy with how clean these tiny dried fruit get our laundry!

If soap nuts aren’t for you, here’s a recipe for homemade laundry detergent.

Andrea at Simple Organized Living shared her favorite natural cleaners a few weeks ago as well, and her list also includes drain cleaner, face wash and more.

How about you? What natural cleaners do you use? Feel free to share your links in the comments!