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How to Make Your Own Non-Toxic Cleaning Products at Home

It comes as no surprise that many common household cleaners are dangerously toxic and loaded with harmful ingredients. Using these chemical-based cleaners can lead to long-term health issues, and the manufacturing and disposal of these products pollute the environment.

Despite the consequences of exposure to indoor air pollutants, the U.S. government doesn’t assess the safety of cleaning products or require manufacturers to list ingredients on their labels. This means that consumers are somewhat in the dark when it comes to choosing safe cleaning items.

Thankfully, chemical-laden products aren’t the only means to keep a home clean. Rather than purchasing costly, toxic cleaners, try making your own natural, non-toxic versions using ingredients that you likely already have in your kitchen. Making your own homemade cleaning solutions is better for your health, protects the environment, and is a great way to save money.

What’s in Your Cleaning Products?

Warning! Toxic! Flammable! With labels like these it’s clear that the use of conventional cleaning products is potentially damaging to our overall health and wellbeing at home. Below are some of the most harmful chemicals currently used in household cleaners.

Dioxane
This ingredient is a carcinogen found in many common laundry and dish detergents.

Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
Also known as Quats, this chemical is known to trigger asthma and is often found in spray cleaners and fabric softeners.

Chlorine Bleach
Bleach fumes can contain chlorine and chloroform, which have been connected to respiratory and neurological effects and cancer when inhaled.

Fragrance
The familiar ingredient known simply as “fragrance” may contain hundreds of different chemical compounds, including phthalates, an endocrine disruptor. Fragrances are known to trigger asthma, allergies, and other respiratory irritations.

Diethylene Glycol Monomethyl Ether
This ingredient is a solvent used in some degreasers and heavy-duty cleaners. This compound is actually banned for use in cleaners in the EU, as it’s been linked to reproductive health effects. Luckily, none of these ingredients are necessary for keeping your home clean and sanitized. It’s easy to make your own safe, non-toxic cleaning products using the natural ingredients listed below.

Safe Ingredients for Homemade Alternatives

Baking Soda
This powder successfully cleans, deodorizes, brightens, and cuts through grease and grime & is proven to have virus-killing capabilities.

Castile Soap
Castile soap is made from 100% plant-based oils (meaning it doesn’t contain animal products or chemical detergents). This soap works wonders for cutting through grease and sanitizing surfaces.

Vinegar
Due to its acidity, vinegar gently and effectively eliminates grease, soap scum, and grime.

Lemon Juice
Natural lemon juice removes mildew and mold, cleans stubborn grease, and shines hard surfaces while freshening up spaces with its citrus scent.

Olive Oil
This cooking oil is not only good for our health, but doubles as a cleanser and polisher.

Essential Oils
These naturally occurring plant compounds boost cleaning powers in DIY cleaning mixes and make your home smell wonderful – no artificial fragrances required.

DIY Non-Toxic Cleaning Recipes

Here are a few simple and inexpensive natural cleaning recipes to get started around the house:

All-Purpose Cleaner
Ingredients:
1 cup vinegar
1 cup water (distilled or filtered is best so it doesn’t leave residue)
30 drops lemon essential oil
10 drops lavender essential oil
To Make: Add essential oils and vinegar to a glass spray bottle and shake well. Add water and shake again.
To Use: Shake before using, then spray on surface and wipe clean with a soft cloth.

Glass, Window, and Mirror Cleaner
Ingredients:
2 cups of distilled water
2 tablespoons vinegar
10 drops essential oil of your choice
To Make: Combine ingredients in a spray bottle (preferably glass).
To Use: Spray what’s necessary to clean your window, mirror, or glass surfaces and wipe it down with a microfiber cloth.

Disinfectant (Bleach Alternative)
Ingredients:
1 cup of distilled water
1 teaspoon liquid castile soap
½ cup baking soda
20-30 drops of tea tree oil
To Make: Stir castile soap, baking soda, and tea tree oil together in a bowl.
To Use: Wet the surface you’d like to clean with water. Apply the mixture to the surface, scrub, and then rinse thoroughly.

Oven Cleaner
Ingredients:
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup distilled water
½ cup baking soda
To Make: Mix together equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
To Use: Heat the oven to 125 degrees and grab your spray bottle of vinegar/water mixture. Once the oven is warm, spray the food residue and grease until it’s damp, then pour baking soda directly onto the affected areas. Turn off the oven, let it cool. Lastly, using a wet towel scrub away at the mess with a sponge.

Floor Cleaner
Ingredients:
2 cups vinegar
4 cups water (warm)
5 teaspoons of olive oil (for wooden floors)
To Make: simply combine one part white vinegar with two parts warm water in a bucket. Add in drops of olive oil if polishing wooden floors.
To Use: Grab a mop or rag and scrub down floors with the solution. No need to rinse off, leave it to dry.

Wood Cleaner
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 quart of warm water
To Make: Combine ingredients in a spray bottle.
To Use: Spray onto wood surfaces and dry with a soft cloth.

What To Buy When You Don’t Want To DIY

A growing number of commercial non-toxic home cleaning products are also available as healthier and environmentally sustainable alternatives. If you don’t have the time or desire to make your own, using these products helps contribute to the growth of green companies while also keeping your home sparkly clean. The natural cleaning brands below are praised for their safety and effectiveness, and their product lines can be found on grocery store shelves!