Homemade Cleaning Recipes

Homemade cleaning recipes

Cleaning your home with natural products is a great way to reduce your plastic use and a really important step in going toxin-free. From my own experience, I know it can be a slow process moving away from chemical products and finding the right natural alternatives, so I thought I'd share some simple, homemade cleaning recipes for you to try at home. 

All-Natural Cleaning

These all-natural cleaners can be used throughout your home from kitchen to laundry and they're really easy to make. I've included recipes for a homemade all-purpose cleaner, a homemade glass cleaner and even a homemade fabric softener so you should find something to suit your needs whatever the job. Each one has been tried and tested so you don't need to worry about having to find natural cleaning products that work.

The best thing about homemade cleaning recipes is that they are 100% natural, biodegradable and so much more eco-friendly than their shop bought counterparts. And because all the recipes are made with natural ingredients, they’re also perfectly safe to use around the house, so you don’t need to worry about inhaling any chemical nasties.

Homemade Cleaners

Homemade all-purpose cleaner with lemon juiceHomemade All-Purpose Cleaner with Lemon Juice  

A great all-rounder that can be used every day, this homemade all-purpose cleaner combines liquid castile soap with lemon juice and natural essential oils. The lemon juice acts as powerful degreaser helping to break down dirt, lift stains and neutralise odours. You can use it to clean your kitchen cupboards, bathroom countertops, tubs, tiles, window frames, walls, oven and dishwasher doors; or even the inside of your fridge. Just be sure to avoid natural stonework, polished wood surfaces or anything brass plated as these surfaces can be particularly sensitive to lemon juice. This homemade all-purpose cleaner recipe is also really inexpensive and super quick to make, and you can switch up the essential oil blend to suit your mood.

Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner with Lemon Juice

500ml filtered water
½ lemon or lime (juiced and strained)
2 tsp liquid castile soap
15 drops bergamot, sweet orange, lavender or rosemary essential oil

Method: Add all the ingredients to an empty spray bottle, screw on the nozzle and shake well. Spray onto surfaces and wipe with a soft, damp cloth or compostable sponge.

Homemade Wood Cleaner with Apple Cider VinegarHomemade Wood Cleaner with Apple Cider Vinegar

For polished wood surfaces that need a little love, this homemade wood cleaner with apple cider vinegar is a great way to bring back the shine. Use it on timber furniture, hardwood flooring or surfaces buffed with natural oil to remove dirt and dust and to restore lustre without eroding the wood treatment. This non-toxic wood cleaner is scented with sweet orange oil so it will leave your home smelling beautifully fresh without the chemical fragrance.

Homemade Wood Cleaner with Apple Cider Vinegar

50ml almond or olive oil
50mll filtered water
20ml apple cider vinegar (for dark wood) or white vinegar (for light wood)
10-12 drops sweet orange oil
 
Method: Add all the ingredients to a small, amber glass spray bottle, replace the lid and give it a good shake. Lightly spritz the surface of the wood and buff with a clean, soft cloth. You can also use a scrap from an old cotton t-shirt. Just be sure to test the recipe on a small, inconspicuous area first before committing to use it.

Homemade kitchen cleaner with vinegarHomemade Kitchen Cleaner with Vinegar

A really useful homemade cleaner with vinegar and essential oils that can be used as a disinfectant surface spray. With the added antiseptic, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of tea tree and lemon, this natural surface cleaner recipe is great for use on kitchen counters and tabletops.

Homemade Kitchen Cleaner with Vinegar

500ml filtered water
230ml white vinegar
1 lemon (juiced & strained)
20 drops lemon essential oil
8 drops tea tree or eucalyptus essential oil
 
Method: Add all the ingredients to an empty spray bottle, screw on the nozzle and shake well. Spray onto countertop surfaces and leave for 1-2 min before wiping down. Do not use on natural stone surfaces such as marble or granite as the higher acidity may cause etching over time.

Homemade kitchen cleaner without vinegarHomemade Kitchen Cleaner without Vinegar

If you’re wondering how to clean marble naturally, this homemade cleaner without vinegar is perfect. Infused with zesty grapefruit oils, it contains no abrasive ingredients like vinegar or citric acid so it’s gentle enough to use on stonework and brass. Made with an alcohol base, this natural surface cleaner recipe won’t completely disinfect your surfaces, but it will remove grease and dirt leaving your kitchen smelling citrusy fresh without damaging your marble or granite countertops.

Homemade Kitchen Cleaner without Vinegar

250ml vodka
250ml warm water
2 grapefruits (zests only)
2 tsp liquid castile soap
 
Method: Peel the grapefruits and place the zested skins into a glass jar. Pour over the vodka and secure with an airtight lid, allowing the skins to sit for 2-3 weeks. Strain the infused vodka into a bowl or jug using a muslin cloth, add the castile soap and water, transfer to a spray bottle then shake. Spray onto surfaces & wipe with a soft, non-scratch cloth.   

Homemade sink cleanerHomemade Sink Cleaner

If your sink and stovetop are looking a little dull or dirty, there’s a really simple trick to get them sparkling again in no time. Just follow the homemade sink cleaner recipe below. It’s the easiest way to remove built-up grease or coffee stains from your stainless-steel surfaces, and it won’t leave any scratches.

Homemade Sink Cleaner

2 tbsp baking soda
½ lemon
 
Method: Sprinkle the baking soda over your sink or stovetop, cut the lemon in half and squeeze it over the baking soda until it fizzes. Use the lemon to scrub the surface clean then rinse with warm water.

How to descale a kettle with citric acidHow to Descale a Kettle with Citric Acid

This citric acid kettle descaler requires very little effort and will save you hours of scrubbing. The first time I made the recipe I was amazed by how effective it was, and now I know how to descale a kettle with citric acid, I use it every few months just to remove any surface limescale build-up and to keep the kettle looking like new.

Citric Acid Kettle Descaler

2 tbsp citric acid
100ml white vinegar
400ml water
 
Method: Add the citric acid, white vinegar and water to an empty kettle. Allow it to boil until the limescale is completely removed. Empty and rinse with clean water.
Tip: Once the mixture has cooled sufficiently to handle, you can use it to clean the outside of your kettle with a soft cloth; or place it in a ceramic dish on the lowest shelf of your oven at 230°C for 20-30 mins to steam clean the inside before wiping down.

How to Clean a Wooden Cutting Board with LemonHow to Clean a Wooden Cutting Board with Lemon

This homemade cleaning recipe is really just a 2-ingredient trick showing you how to clean a wooden cutting board with lemon and salt. It’s an easy way to refresh your chopping boards and remove surface stains without the use of chemicals.

Chopping Board Cleaner

1 tbsp coarse salt

½ lemon

Method: Sprinkle the salt over the surface of your chopping board and squeeze over the lemon juice. Use the lemon half to scrub the wood clean. The combination of salt and lemon helps to remove stains and neutralise odours like garlic that tend to linger on wooden surfaces. Rinse with hot water and stand the board upright to dry.

Tip: If you want to give your boards a whole new lease of life, finely sand back the surface and wipe clean before treating with salt and lemon. Once dry, you can finish with a coating of walnut or linseed oil to protect your board for future use.

Homemade shower cleaner with vinegarHomemade Shower Cleaner with Vinegar

A powerful homemade shower cleaner with vinegar and citric acid that works to break down soap scum and limescale while keeping your bathroom clean and mildew free. With the fresh scent of lemon and lime, this natural shower spray will leave your bathroom smelling wonderfully clean. Lemon is known to have natural anti-fungal, antibacterial and anti-microbial properties so this recipe will help to prevent the build-up of mould in your bathroom.

Homemade Shower Cleaner with Vinegar

400ml boiled water
100ml white vinegar
2 tbsp citric acid
½ lemon (juiced and strained)
½ lime (juiced and strained)
 
Method: Mix all the ingredients in a jug until the citric acid dissolves, then transfer to a clean spray bottle. Apply to your shower walls, shower head, bathtub, sink or taps. Leave the shower spray for a few minutes, then wipe down and rinse with warm water.

Homemade glass cleaner with vinegarHomemade Glass Cleaner with Vinegar

This is a super easy and effective glass cleaner recipe that can be used on your bathroom mirrors, windows and any other glass surfaces in your home. Naturally scented, this homemade glass cleaner with vinegar and lemon essential oil is completely safe to use and leaves behind a very subtle lemon fragrance with no harsh vinegar smell.

Homemade Glass Cleaner with Vinegar

800ml warm water
120 ml white vinegar
15 drops lemon oil
 
Method: Combine all ingredients in an old spray bottle, shake well and spritz the surface lightly. Use a natural cloth to buff the glass clean. Our bamboo multipurpose wipes are brilliant for this because they don’t leave bits of lint behind like most other natural cloths do.

Natural tile and grout cleanerNatural Tile and Grout Cleaner

If you’ve neglected the grouting between your bathroom tiles for longer than you should, this natural tile and grout cleaner is the easiest way to get them looking white again without using harsh chemicals. Baking soda is a natural mould remover and helps to neutralise the smell of mould in your bathroom while absorbing moisture to prevent it building up again. White vinegar is also mildly acidic killing around 82% of mould species including black mould, so this homemade cleaning recipe is extremely effective!

Natural Tile and Grout Cleaner

2 tbsp baking soda
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp water or hydrogen peroxide (to whiten stubborn mould stains)
4-6 drops tea tree essential oil
 
Method: Mix all the ingredients into a paste and apply liberally to the affected area. Leave for 10-15 mins, then use an old toothbrush or pot scrubber to remove the mould.

Homemade toilet fizzies with lemongrassHomemade Toilet Fizzies with Lemongrass

I love the smell of these homemade toilet fizzies with lemongrass essential oil. Not only are they fun to make, but they will leave your toilet basin sparkling clean with barely any effort. This quick and easy toilet bomb recipe combines the antibacterial properties of citric acid with baking soda - a gentle abrasive that helps to break up dirt, rust and mineral deposits. All the ingredients are naturally biodegradable, so they are safe to use in your home and much less damaging to the environment.

Homemade Toilet Fizzies with Lemongrass

1 cup baking soda
¼ cup citric acid
30 drops lemon balm essential oil
2-3tsp water
 
Method: Mix the baking soda and citric acid in a bowl. Slowly pour in the essential oils, mixing as you go. Add the water gradually until the mixture is just damp enough to hold together when packed. Press into a silicone ice cube tray and allow to dry overnight before removing and storing in an airtight jar. To use, simply pop one of the homemade toilet fizzies into your toilet basin and let it dissolve for a couple of minutes. Use a natural bristled brushed to scrub the bowl clean then flush.

Homemade laundry detergent with castile soapHomemade Laundry Detergent with Castile Soap

After experimenting with soap nuts, I decided they didn’t quite cut it. This homemade laundry detergent with liquid castile soap and natural essential oils is much better for a really clean wash that’s eco-friendly and free from toxic chemicals. Castile soap is derived from vegetable oils so it’s cruelty-free and fully biodegradable. It works as a natural surfactant breaking down and capturing dirt, while the baking soda and salt help to fight stains, neutralise odours and soften the water so the detergent can work more effectively. This DIY laundry liquid won’t leave an overly strong, synthetic fragrance on your clothes like regular laundry detergents, but it will leave your clothes smelling naturally fresh. For an added fragrance boost, you can follow up with the homemade fabric softener recipe below.

Homemade Laundry Detergent with Castile Soap

5 cups very hot water
½ cup washing soda or baking soda
¼ cup sea salt
20 drops of your favourite essential oil (I use a blend of Jasmine, Tuberose, Cedarwood and Rose Geranium)
5 cups liquid castile soap
 
Method: Add the washing/baking soda, salt and hot water to a large bowl and stir until everything is dissolved. Slowly mix in the castile soap and essential oils then transfer to a glass bottle or old laundry liquid container. The mixture may separate after a short time but just give it a good shake before each use. Measure out ½  - 1 cup (about 120ml-240ml) of laundry liquid per load and pour it into the detergent drawer of your washing machine before selecting your normal cycle.

 

Homemade fabric softener with conditionerHomemade Fabric Softener with Conditioner

Many commercial fabric softeners contain synthetic fragrances and preservatives that can be damaging to our health and the environment. This homemade fabric softener with conditioner helps to freshen your laundry naturally without the addition of harmful chemicals. I was sceptical about using conditioner in the wash, but it really does help to enhance the softness of your laundry. If you don’t like the idea of it though, you can just omit it. The vinegar will help to neutralise odours, prevent static and keep your clothes from fading, while the addition of essential oils ensures your wash comes out smelling perfectly fresh.

Homemade Fabric Softener

½ cup warm water
1.5 cups white vinegar
½ cup Paraben/SLS free hair conditioner (optional)
15 drops essential oils (lavender or jasmine work well here, or for something fresher try a blend of citrus and eucalyptus)
 
Method: Add all the ingredients to a glass bottle or an old fabric softener container and fasten the lid. Shake to combine. Measure out 40-60ml (about 2-3tbsp) of laundry liquid per load and pour it into the fabric softener drawer for the rinse cycle.

 

Making Homemade Cleaning Products

Making your own all-natural cleaners couldn't be simpler. You don't need any fancy equipment and you can get all the ingredients in your local supermarket or zero-waste store. Citric acid can usually be found in the baking aisle while liquid castile soap, like Dr. Bronner's, is often sold in bulk or in smaller bottles in the cleaning section. 

You can store your homemade cleaning products in old glass jars or empty spray bottles and you'll find a list of the best natural cleaning tools in this post. For more homemade cleaning recipes and advice on chemical-free cleaning, I really recommend the Low Tox Life book by Alexx Stuart.