My Favorite DIY Cleaners + Recipes

Keeping your home clean is an absolute necessity, but those toxic industrial chemicals found in cleaning products should not be. The good news is that making your own cleaning products is not only healthier for your family and the environment, but also cost effective and quick.

Below I have included a list of all the products I use around my apartment. I like to keep my cleaning routine simple and uncomplicated so I’m more likely to keep up with my routine. Minimalism is the key here.

All purpose cleaner: good for most surfaces like kitchen and bathroom counters (I have laminate counters), and also the refrigerator door, stove top, and/or door handles. It is one of my most used cleaning products in my apartment because of its versatility and effectiveness.

Recipe:

1 cup white distilled vinegar

1 cup filtered water

15 drops of an essential oil like orange, lime,  lemon, pine, or eucalyptus.

Mix all the ingredients in a spray bottle (preferably an amber glass bottle so the essential oil doesn’t breakdown as quickly). That’s it!

Floor Cleaner (Bathroom and Kitchen tiles): I like to use castile soap mixed with some water and mop my floors. I then dry my floors using a dry towel and immediately throw it in the laundry (never re-use these for hygienic reasons). If you have a swiffer, you can attach your dry towel to the broom (like you normally would) so you don’t have to bend down to dry the floors. I find drying the floors an essential task in cleaning because it really does pick up a lot of the extra gunk and grossness that a mop would just leave behind.  

Window and Mirror Spray:

Recipe:

½ cup distilled vinegar 

¾ cup filtered water

½ cup vodka (helps with streaks)

Optional: You may also add a few drops of essential oils to make it smell fresher. I’d recommend something in the citrus family. Just mix all the ingredients in a spray bottle.

Cutting Board: For meat I like to use a glass cutting board since it has a non-porous surface making it the most hygienic option. You can simply wash it with just soap and hot water; if you really want to go the extra mile you can also add a layer of vinegar after it has dried. A word of warning though, glass is horrible for blades so make sure you sharpen your knives often!

When I’m cutting vegetables I don’t mind using a wooden board since produce carries significantly less germs compared to meat. Again I just like to wash with soapy warm water and towel dry the board to absorb as much moisture as possible. About once a month I’ll sprinkle some coarse salt on the surface and rub it with a lemon wedge, this really helps polish the surface and remove bacteria hiding in crevices.

Dish Soap: I simply use castile soap to hand wash my dishes.

Sink: I sprinkle baking soda into the sink about twice a week and leave it overnight. I also like to add 10-15 drops of my favourite essential oil to add a pleasant fragrance in the kitchen. The next morning I’ll scrub it with a damp hard bristle brush and then rinse it entirely with hot water. I use a sink strainer that fits properly (very important)  to prevent food from getting trapped in the drain.

Oven Cleaner: I really don’t do this all that often but when there is some buildup at the bottom of my oven I just mix these ingredients up on the spot.

Mix baking soda with some water until it forms a paste. I find adding an essential oil a bit unnecessary since you’ll be baking food in your oven and getting aromas from that anyway.

Scrub paste all over oven, let sit for 20 minutes, then clean with damp cloth.

Toilet Bowl: This is extremely important to keep clean for obvious reasons. I like to make the paste on the spot and let the mixture sit for at least 20 minutes. Then I use a toilet scrubber to scrub the rest of the bowl and flush. You can also use add some liquid castile soap afterwards if you’re really worried about bacteria. Make sure you never use hydrogen peroxide after using a vinegar based cleaner because the vinegar will combine with the hydrogen peroxide and form a toxic compound called peracetic acid.

Toilet Bowl Paste:

In a bowl mix equal parts baking soda to vinegar. I personally use about 1 cup of each. Mix in 10 drops of tea tree oil and 10 drops eucalyptus oil for maximum disinfection. After flushing, you may also add castile soap and scrub once more although this isn’t really necessary.

Shower Tiles: I like to use this spray at least twice a week (ideally after every shower) to prevent any mold or mildew in the bathroom. I just fill a spray bottle with straight white vinegar and it works like a charm. You can leave it on for a few minutes and use a squeegee to remove the residual liquid.

Hand Soap: I simply use castile soap.

Dust on furniture/ hard surfaces: Forget those toxic aerosol sprays! A clean damp rag does the trick.

Liquid Detergent: I use this mix for laundry and store it in a big mason jar.

Recipe:

1 cup castile soap

1 cup baking soda

1.5 cups filtered water

1 tbsp glycerin

⅓ cup salt

Use only ¼ cup for every load and it should last you for over 60 loads.

Carpet, Furniture and Mattress freshener: These items can easily absorb odors because of how often we use them. To combat this, I like to sprinkle this mixture over the area, let it sit for an hour, and vacuum it.  I like to do this on my couch once a week (just because we use it so often, if yours is hardly used then maybe once a month is more realistic). I also sprinkle this mix on rugs about once a month and on my mattress about twice a year. If you notice the scent is not as strong as it once was, just add a few more drops of your favorite essential oil to the baking powder for a refresher.

Carpet/Sofa Cleaner:

1 cup baking soda

20 drops of your favorite smelling essential oil/oil blend

Add ingredients into a cheese shaker or mason jar with a mesh strainer. Ideally anything with holes on top to make it convenient for sprinkling.

For hardwood floors and carpet I just like to vacuum weekly with a HEPA filter to prevent allergies and dust mites. I don’t really bother with floor waxing.


It may sound like a lot but you really only need 3 main ingredients (castile soap, vinegar and baking soda) which you probably already have at least two in your kitchen right now! Overall, I collectively invest about a half hour every 3 months or so in making all of my cleaning products from scratch. This for me definitely beats the expensive price tag associated with conventional cleaners and also the toxic fumes which can linger in your home for days.

Also another side note, when I first started getting into making all of my own cleaning products I started out very slowly. I just replaced my all purpose cleaner with one that I made myself and worked out from there. Don’t feel the need to have to diy everything overnight or else you might feel a little overwhelmed and get discouraged.

Anyway, wishing everyone a healthy and happy home. Now go get started!

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