Making the Switch to Homemade Household Cleaners

by Lauren Froelich

I began thinking about making the switch to homemade household cleaners after watching my 1-year old son put literally everything in his mouth. Suddenly the (insert any item here) that I thought was clean because I had just cleaned it with Lysol didn’t seem so clean. I also realized that I want my kids to help with household chores, but don’t want to give them a bottle of Lysol when they’re little. When I first started looking online for information I realized that there was a lot of conflicting information about homemade cleaners which initially was a little overwhelming. For me, when I decided to make the switch, it was more my gut telling me that I didn’t feel comfortable with all of the toxins my current cleaners were putting into my home so I wanted to at least give homemade cleaners a chance. I also found solace in the fact that it’s really only been in the last 100 years or so that we’ve started using cleaners like Lysol or Clorox, and up until that point people used vinegar, baking soda, etc. to clean their home.

To begin making the switch to homemade cleaners I went through my cleaning regimen and picked the primary cleaning products I use. The cleaning products I decided to switch out for natural ones were Lysol, Pledge, Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner, and Windex. I’m still using my normal disinfectant wipes (mostly for the kitchen counters after working with raw meat or poultry), laundry detergent, and dish soap. I might switch those out eventually, but for now…baby steps. 🙂

I wanted to find recipes that used similar ingredients so I didn’t need to buy a lot of different items, and for the glass cleaner and all-purpose spray I wanted to find recipes that I could mix together and keep in spray bottles for easy access. After looking through a variety of blog posts, I decided to use recipes from the Young House Love blog for the glass cleaner, wood floor cleaner, and toilet bowl cleaner. I really like the Young House Love blog so I was partial to their ideas. For the all-purpose spray I decided on this one because I was already planning on buying the ingredients listed in it, and for the dusting polish I decided on this recipe.

Glass Cleaner: 1c water, 1c vinegar, 1/2tsp castile soap

All-Purpose Spray: 16oz water, 3tbsp castile soap, 30 drops tea tree oil

Dusting: dry microfiber cloth, Polish: 1/4c vinegar, 1/4c purified water, 2tbsp olive oil, 10-15 drops lemon oil (spray the polish on the rag instead of directly onto the furniture) (*My normal dusting regimen will just be with the dry cloth, but about once a month, or more often if needed, I will use the polish.)

Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Castile soap, baking soda and scrub with a toilet brush

Wood Floor Cleaner: 1/4c vinegar, 1gal warm water (*Generally I just sweep or vacuum my hard wood floors, but about once or twice a month I like to clean the floors with a mop like this one, which is when I will use this recipe.)

I did have to buy a few items. I purchased the vinegar and baking soda at Costco, and the castile soap and tea tree oil on Amazon. I decided to get a starter kit of Essential Oils so I can incorporate a variety of oils into my cleaning as I get more comfortable with it.

I’m only a couple of weeks into using my homemade cleaners so I’m sure I will change the recipes a bit as I go, but so far it’s going well! There is a bit of a vinegar smell after using any of the cleaners with vinegar, but it goes away pretty quickly and doesn’t really bother me. The blog I used the most when making the switch was Young House Love (again, just my preference) but if you Google “homemade natural cleaners” you will get an overabundance of results.

If anyone has a favorite recipe for a homemade cleaner please leave it in the comments!

Happy cleaning!

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