Cleaning Safely

We recently decided to switch to using only homemade, natural cleaning products in our house. Our biggest motivation for this switch was our daughter’s safety. Even though we could lock our home cleaning products in a cabinet she would not be able to reach (theoretically), we just did not want to take the risk she could one day get into a product that is loaded with potentially harmful chemicals. So, rather than stress about “child-proofing” our cleaning supplies and making sure they were out of her reach when we were cleaning, we are eliminating that worry by using natural, non-toxic cleaning products, which I’m hoping to make myself. Additionally, we added up the cost of all the cleaning products we use and it was significantly more than what we’d pay to buy the ingredients to make our own products.

When we first started thinking about switching to natural/homemade cleaning solutions, I (Grace) looked at the products that we have in the house for cleaning purposes, I started to wonder, “Do we really need all of these?”. Here is a list of the things we’ve always kept around for cleaning and their estimated prices: Dishwashing soap ($2), dishwasher detergent ($7), all-in-one general purpose kitchen/bathroom spray ($3), toilet bowel cleaner ($3), glass cleaner ($3), mopping/floor solution ($4), dust spray ($2) and tile/tub foam ($4). Added up, that’s $28. I’m not really sure why I even bothered to buy some of these. I think it’s because when I walked down the aisle at the store, I just assumed I needed one of each type of cleaner. It never really occurred to me that I could make something myself at home with basic ingredients. (I guess this is a prime example of how effective advertising/marketing can be…).

I did some research and found several recipes for home cleaning solutions. They all had some of the same basic ingredients: White vinegar ($2 for 32 oz), washing soda ($3), tea tree oil ($3), lavender oil ($3), and castile soap ($6). The grand total of these basic ingredients was $17 and I’m guessing they will last a lot longer than the items I’d been using previously. I can use these for numerous different types of cleaning solutions, if I need to do so. Plus, I know that if Ryan, Myla or myself accidentally ingest any of them, the ingredients/solutions made from them are non-toxic.

Additionally, my natural ingredients take up less space in my cabinets as well (I don’t have a lot of cabinet space in our house, so every square inch that is saved helps!).

Below are the first two home cleaning solution recipes that I’ll be trying this week (to see if they are effective…). Do you have any homemade/natural cleaning recipes or tips? Please share!

Finally, while I was perusing for cleaning solution recipes I came across a blog in the Chicago Tribune called, “The ‘dangers’ of home cleaning products”. If you’ve got a few extra minutes, it’s an interesting read. Click here to read it.

All Purpose Cleaner/Disinfectant

  • 2 cups of hot water
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of washing soda
  • 15 drops of tea tree essential oil
  • 15 drops of lavender essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a reusable spray bottle and shake well. To use, spray on surfaces, especially cutting boards, countertops, and toilets. Wipe with a dry cloth.

(recipe courtesy of Natural Home @

Dishwasher Soap

  • 1/2 cup liquid Castile soap
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice (fresh is ideal)
  • 3 drops of tea tree extract
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar

Combine water and Castile soap. Stir. Add lemon juice, tea extract, and vinegar. Stir until evenly blended. Store in a squirt top bottle. Use 2 tablespoons per dishwashing load.

recipe courtesy of Natural Moms @

One thought on “Cleaning Safely

  1. Sarah L says:

    Interesting recipes! I’ve thought of trying some things like that before, but just never have gotten around to it. I do try to do everything as “naturally” as possibly around our house, including cleaning. I mostly just use vinegar. I keep a spray bottle filled half with water and half with white vinegar and use that for most everything (mirrors, kitchen counters, kitchen table, floors, even wiping down the couch). If I am cleaning the bathroom I use undiluted vinegar so the acidity is stronger. I also use vinegar in our laundry instead of fabric softer.

    The one “regular” cleaner I do buy is Clorox anywhere hard surface. It claims to leave no chemical residue, so I use that to clean up after raw meat, eggs, etc. I can be a germ freak so I feel better using that for certain jobs. 🙂

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