Green Tip of the Week #20 – Do It Yourself Green Cleaning

Green Tip of the Week #20 – Do It Yourself Green Cleaning

Green cleaning is all the rage these days and for good reason; it doesn’t endanger you or the environment. However it may seem daunting to make the switch when you already have a cabinet full of commercial cleaning products and you don’t want to spend the money for special pricey green cleaners. The good news is you don’t need to buy special green cleaners. You can get rid of the harsh chemicals and fumes and get started on green cleaning by making your own cleaning products. It’s easy! In fact, you probably already have most of the ingredients you will need to make your own natural cleaners.

lemons.pngWhy clean naturally?
It’s safer and healthier for you, your children and your pets! No more worrying about opening windows to air out toxic fumes, locking your kids out of the bathroom while you scrub the tub, or freaking out if your toddler starts gnawing on the freshly cleaned coffee table or licking the sliding glass door. When you make your own cleaners, you also cut down on waste produced from commercial cleaning products/bottles and you will save yourself money.

Things you’ll need to get started:

  • Empty spray bottle
  • Bowls with lids
  • Baking soda
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Essential oils (for disinfecting and fragrance) – Lemon, clove, cinnamon, and lavender oils disinfect, clean and help eliminate odors. Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic, germicide, antibacterial, and fungicide.
  • Newspaper (crumpled), soft cloths, sponge
  • A marker for labeling your cleaning products*

Simple cleaning product recipes

All-purpose cleaner for countertops and floors

  • Add ¼ cup of vinegar and 5 drops each of lemon, clove, and cinnamon oils to a gallon of water. Add some baking soda if you have an area that needs scrubbing.

All-purpose scrub

  • Mix together a cup of baking soda, a tablespoon of liquid soap, and a few drops of an essential oil like tea tree oil. Dab a wet sponge into the scrub. Add water to make into a paste if needed. Great for bathrooms.

Window and glass cleaner

  • Mix equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle. Dry using newspaper (and then recycle it) or a soft cloth.

Wood furniture polish

  • Mix two parts olive oil with one part lemon juice. Rub on furniture with an old cloth. Use a soft, dry cloth to buff it. Note: This polish should be made fresh each time you use it.

Toilet bowl cleaner

  • Sprinkle baking soda into the bowl, then drizzle with vinegar and scour with a toilet brush. This combination both cleans and deodorizes.
  • For toilet bowl rings, sprinkle baking soda around the rim and scrub with a toilet brush.

This is green cleaning you can feel good about. It’s effective, inexpensive and safe for your family and the environment.

*Be sure to label all of your cleaning products and keep them out of reach of children. While these cleaners are much safer than commercial chemical-laden cleaners, essential oils should not be ingested.Treat the oils like medicines that are poison in unknowing hands.

View all of Crunchy Domestic Goddess’ Green Tips.

Have any green tips you’ve recently learned? Please email them to me and I may include your tip with a link to your site or blog in a future post. :)


  1. Sweet! Thanks for the tip! I’ve been wanting to do this but I can’t afford those enviro-friendly cleaners! Thanks!

  2. Thanks so much! I am reading “Green Housekeeping” right now, and it is fascinating and I am enjoying learning how to clean and keep my home safe. The inexpense of it is great too.

  3. I also keep a spray bottle with water, vinegar and tea tree oil handy for everyday cleaning in the kitchen.

    The kids thought it was so cool when I used that and newspaper-type junk mail to clean bird poop from the window in a matter of seconds! lol

  4. We have found that plain old borax works wonders when cleaning the shower. Also, I love the assortment of recipes available on a printable card from the Oregon Environmental Council. It’s easy to post it on the fridge to use every time you want to mix up some eco-healthy cleaners.

  5. Thanks for the recipes, I’ve been wanting to make some natural cleansers!

  6. Another squawk from the chemist’s wife.
    If one mixes Baking Soda with VInegar, one gets SALT! I had no clue until my husband made fun of me for cleaning with salt!

    Separate both make great cleaners.

    But remember how vinegar is made! You would be surprised (I was!) that vinegar is an oil product!

  7. Excellent post! Very helpful! I am always amazed at what vinegar can do!

  8. nice. can you come live with me for a week and help me?

  9. Love this post… can’t wait to give some of these ‘recipes’ a try.

  10. I’ve been making the switch to all chemical-free cleaning (still working on the bathroom), and have found that using microfiber towels works wonders!

    They are really expensive if you buy the ones marketed towards cleaning, but I found a huge box of seconds in the Auto department of WMart for under $5.

  11. I love to clean green! Just a note, DO NOT use vinegar to clean granite countertops! It will ruin them, granite is porous. I use a greanite cleaner made by Method.

  12. Author

    Chelle –
    interesting. i had no idea. so many recipes say to combine baking soda w/ vinegar. and i have no idea how vinegar is made. ;)

    so what’s wrong w/ cleaning w/ salt? hehe. is it so wrong? ;oP

  13. The salt is not bad per say, rather the combined result is less effective (it isn’t table salt it is sodium acetate) than using them separate if that makes sense. Ok my dork of a husband just did some reading (your blog is an inspiration) combined it makes Sodium Acetate (a salt) which can break down oils and fats (great for cleaning the kitchen & bathroom) So you were right cleaning with salt is not wrong! Oh he is so chewing on some humble pie!

  14. thanks! i am off to try them – i love the idea of putting esential oils in..i love the smell of lavender and lemon. yum!

    i have been using the Norwex cloths so I don’t have to use chemicals – the window cloths are amazing! I got them as a gift, I think they are a little expensive if you buy them – but they are pretty amazing. I just wet the cloth, wipe the windows down, and done!

    I haven’t been able to find much information about the “environmentally friendly antibac agent” that they use, though? But I’m not using chemicals with them, so it has got to be a little bit better, right?

  15. What about all the Crunchy Domestic Gods out there?!

  16. Important step in finding a commercial cleaning service is checking references. This can be a sure-fire way to hear first hand what kind of company this is, and what kind of services they offer. Make sure when in the evaluation process that you ask for references, and check them out thoroughly. Another step you can take to protect yourself would be to ask the cleaning company if they offer insurance. Many commercial cleaning companies offer certified bond insurance, which is insurance money set aside to be used in case of broken, damaged, or lost property of their clients. Make sure when you’re in the evaluation process that they verify proof of their certified bond insurance.

  17. Read so much about diy natural cleaners this week and I can conclude my observations in this comment. While all the solutions are great, they are only related to your daily cleaning in terms of having a universal cleaning detergent. Not anything exceptional for heavy stains or something. Would like to mention my favourite diy green cleaning solution: ammonia, baking soda, lemon juice for scent, and water. Domestic Cleaners are sure to clean with natural solutions if you want them to.

    The comment from Robin is completely irrelevant, gets me wondering a bit.

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