The Ultimate Guide to Homemade All-Natural Cleaning Recipes
Cleaning products are one of the first places that Keepers of the Home look to eliminate toxins and chemicals from our households.
For me, making homemade all-natural cleaning projects was a logical first step, because I love to follow recipes, which is all that is really involved in making your own cleansers!
I spent hours scouring the internet back in the day for ideas, suggestions, recipes, and useful hints on the topic of homemade cleaners. After lots of trial and error, I have found a few that are my go-to faves, and I’m sharing them today so that you don’t have to do all of the leg work!
Before I get into the specific recipes, though, let me just say this: white vinegar and baking soda clean Just. About. Everything. You’ll see it’s the main combination in a bunch of the recipes below, but there are oodles of other things it can clean, too! (You’ll get a chuckle out of all the ways my daughters have learned to use it, too!)
So, with that said, let’s start in the kitchen.
Maybe you’ve seen my post with Must-Have Homemade Kitchen Cleaners. Out of those, my most-used cleaner is an all-purpose cleaner, great for all kinds of hard surfaces:
Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner
- 1/2 c white vinegar
- 2 Tbsp baking soda
- 10 drops tea tree, lavender, or lemon essential oil (for their disinfectant properties)
Mix the vinegar, essential oils and a little water before adding baking soda in a clean spray bottle (glass is best). Then fill to top with water. I use about a 12 oz bottle. Gently shake to mix ingredients, and then spray, wipe with a cloth, and allow it to dry.
Here are some other cleaners to use in the kitchen:
Homemade “Soft-Scrub” Cleaner
- 1 ½ cups baking soda
- ½ cup environmentally safe liquid laundry soap (ECOS, for example)
- 10 drops tea tree, lavender, or lemon essential oil
Mix baking soda and laundry soap in a mixing bowl, stirring vigorously to combine into a paste. Add essential oil and mix well. Store in an airtight food container.
If the mixture begins to dry out, add a small amount of water and mix well.
Homemade Disinfectant Wipes
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup with vinegar
- 8 drops tea tree oil
- 8 drops eucalyptus essential oil
- 8 drops lemon essential oil
- Empty “wipe” container (baby wipe, for example)
- 15 – 20 squares of cloth (old t-shirts work well, as do old dish towels or similar material)
Fold and place the cloth squares into the empty wipe container and set aside.
Combine in a mixing bowl the water, vinegar, and 3 essential oils, stirring until well mixed.
Pour this mixture over the cloths in the container where they will soak in and be ready for you to pull out and use!
Launder and repeat as often as the cloths hold up!
Homemade Liquid Dish Soap
- ½ cup warm distilled water
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- ½ cup white vinegar
- ½ cup Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Lemon essential oil (optional)
Combine distilled water with salt, stirring until the salt is dissolved.
In a separate bowl, combine the vinegar, Sal Suds, and lemon juice. Stir this mixture into the salt water mixture, and stir until thickened.
You may wish to add 10 – 15 drops of lemon essential oil both for scent and for disinfectant properties.
Pour mixture into a recycled dish soap container for storage.
Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
- 1 cup salt
- 2 cups baking soda
- 2 cups Borax
- 1 cup of Lemi-Shine (non-toxic, found in the detergent aisle)
Mix all ingredients together. Transfer to an air-tight storage container. It will last a long time: each load uses only 2 tablespoons of detergent! (I recommend keeping white vinegar in the rinse agent compartment, too.)
Homemade Oven Cleaner
- ½ cup baking soda
- 2 – 3 Tbsp water (or more/less)
- White vinegar (1/2 cup or so)
In a small bowl, mix ½ cup of baking soda and stir in 2 – 3 tablespoons of water, adjusting as needed to get a spreadable paste.
Spread this all over the walls of your ovens, rubbing it in for a scrubbing effect.
Let that mixture rest overnight.
In the morning, you will put some vinegar in a spray bottle and spritz everywhere you see baking soda, which will create a foaming action. Wipe clean with a damp cloth, rinsing until clean.
Homemade Drain Cleaner
- ¼ – ½ cup baking soda
- ¼ cup white vinegar
Sprinkle baking soda down the clogged or smelly drain, and follow that with the vinegar. Let the bubbling mixture sit for an hour or so, then pour boiling hot water down the drain to rinse.
Depending on how smelly or clogged the drain is, you may need to repeat the process again. Once you do it regularly, you’ll find that one time usually takes care of it!
Moving out of the kitchen, let’s talk bathroom cleaning.
A lot of the same principles that apply to cleaning the kitchen carry over into the bathroom.
For example, vinegar and baking soda still play a large role, and the disinfectant power of certain essential oils is key. Here are some of my favorite ways to tackle one of the most-used rooms in the house:
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Did you notice I didn’t write “Homemade” in the title of this one? That’s because technically the ingredient I’m about to tell you about isn’t homemade – and it’s going to blow your mind!
Are you ready??
Yep, the nectar of our childhoods is an amazing toilet bowl cleaner. Specifically, the lemonade Kool-Aid. Here’s the poop, er, I mean scoop:
Lemonade has citric acid, which helps clean the toilet bowl. (So does the old Astronaut Orange Beverage TANG, but does anyone actually have that anymore?)
All you have to do is flush your toilet, sprinkle a package of Kool-Aid lemonade around the sides and scrub with a toilet bowl brush. Let this sit for several hours (overnight is best), and then flush in the morning.
It’s just that easy!
Homemade Mirror and Glass Cleaner
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- ¼ cup isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 2 cups water
- 8 – 10 drops essential oil of choice, optional
Combine everything in a spray bottle. Shake to mix well. Spray onto glass surface and wipe clean.
Be sure you shake well to fully integrate the cornstarch, which is the ingredient that reduces streaking. You’ll want to shake before each use.
Homemade Air Freshener
- 12 – 15 drops of pure essential oil (grapefruit, lemon, orange, lavender are favorites)
- ½ cup white vinegar
- 1/12 cups water
Combine in a spray bottle, shake, and spray to freshen the room! (Shake before each use).
You can experiment with higher ratios of vinegar to water and upping the essential oil if this is not strong enough for your preference.
Moving into the Laundry Room now…
Homemade Non-Toxic Liquid Laundry Detergent
- ½ cup Borax
- ½ cup washing soda (i.e. Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda Laundry Booster)
- ½ cup of Dawn dish soap (every mother of baseball-playing, grass-stain gettin’ boys knows this!)
- 4 cups hot water
- Clean, empty gallon plastic jug (i.e. recycled juice/milk jug)
Combine the first three ingredients in the container (you may need a funnel to get it in there) and then pour in the water to dissolve the ingredients. Fill the container to the top with cold water. Shake before each use. For a standard-sized load of laundry, ¼ cup should work. Use a little more for a more heavily-soiled load.
(Note: This has worked in HE washers with great results!)
Homemade Stain Remover
There are a few ways I like to tackle stains in the laundry room. First, let me just say that a 3% Hydrogen Peroxide solution is a super stain remover! I’ve used it on lots of stains where I spray it on, let it soak, and then launder as normal. (Note to moms of girls just getting their first periods: there is nothing better to deal with the “Aunt Flow” stains in the underwear or on the sheets!)
There’s also the mixture of washing soda and white vinegar. You simply sprinkle the washing soda onto the stain, spray with white vinegar that has been diluted in a 1:1 ratio with water. Scrub the paste into the stain and let it stand for about 20 minutes. Launder as normal.
For really tough stains, like grass stains, the magic of Dawn dish soap comes in handy. This one calls for a bit of a recipe:
- 2/3 cup Dawn dish detergent
- 2/3 cup ammonia
- 6 Tbsp baking soda
- 2 cups warm water
Mix together all ingredients, and then pour into a spray bottle. Spray onto the stain, let it rest a bit, then launder as normal.
Because of the ammonia, you should NOT want this in chlorine bleach!
Homemade Fabric Softener
- 5 ½ cups water
- 15 oz bottle of your favorite hair conditioner
- 2.5 cups white vinegar
- 20 drops of essential oil for fragrance (optional, especially if your conditioner has a nice scent)
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pour into empty storage container (such as empty fabric soft container).
Use approximately ¼ cup per normal washload prior to the rinse cycle.
Homemade Dryer Sheets
This is super easy to do! Find a bunch of hubby’s old t-shirts (not his beloved old t-shirts, but the others!) and cut them into washcloth sized squares.
Next, you will take some of the homemade fabric softener from the recipe above, and fill about ½ of an airtight, lidded storage container with this. Place the t-shirts in the container, and press them down to soak up the fabric softener.
Squeeze out excess before tossing a square into the dryer with your clothes. These are obviously recyclable, and don’t have to be laundered between uses!
And finally, to the living areas of the house.
Homemade Dusting Spray
- 1 Tbsp castile soap
- 15 drops lemon essential oil
- 2 cups water
Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and shake gently to combine. Use as you would any typical dusting spray, either spraying onto a clean cloth and wiping, or spraying on the surface and wiping. (I’d start with the first option, or test a small area of the furniture first).
Homemade Wood Polishing Spray
- ¾ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- 30 drops essential oil, optional (I like lemon, orange, or lavender best)
Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and shake vigorously. Spray directly on wood furniture and buff with a clean, dry cloth. Shake before each use.
Homemade Carpet Freshener (With Added Benefits)
In addition to freshening the smell in a room, this combination of ingredients can disinfect, kill fleas and their eggs, and act as a rodent deterrent.
- 2 cups Borax
- 1 cup baking soda
- 10 drops essential oil
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well. Store in an air-tight container. When you’re ready to use, just sprinkle around the carpet and let sit for about half an hour. Vacuum up, and you’re good to go!
Homemade Carpet Stain Remover
Sprinkle the stain with baking soda and let it sit for about 10 minutes, then vacuum it up.
Next, mix 1 Tbsp Dawn dish soap, 1 Tbsp white vinegar, and 2 cups of warm water.
Sponge this onto the stain and blot with dry cloth, repeating until stain disappears.
So, those are the go-to recipes that I find most helpful around the house. Here’s another great article with some additional natural cleaning tips if you’d like some more ideas. Let me know if you’ve got a recipe or potion that works wonders in your household!
What are your favorite homemade all-natural cleaning recipes?
That Kool-Aid tip for toilets may be a game changer for us. Our toilets get SO NASTY (we have incredibly hard water where we live) and I resort to muriatic acid to clean off the grime that builds up. Here’s to hoping Kool Aid does the trick!
Hi Jamie!! Did you ever get to try the Kool-Aid on you toilets?? Just wanted to followup and see how and if it worked out for you??
I’ve been looking for such recipes for some time and I’m really happy I found them at last! It’s really great that most of the ingredients are already in my home and can’t wait to try them. Thanks for sharing!
I made the all purpose cleaner and it foamed out off the bottle. I put the vinegar in the bottle and when I added the baking soda it foamed and foamed out of the spray bottle.
Hi Mimi, combining vinegar and baking soda can be quite an experiment of fizzling proportions!! To prevent a mess try adding the essential oils and water to the vinegar first. I use vinegar and baking soda together in a different recipe that puts alcohol and essential oils in the bottle first, then vinegar and finally the baking soda and water and I have never had an issue of the mixture overflowing. We’ll make a note of that in the post as well, thanks for sharing!
All that does is produce a solution of sodium acetate. Your baking soda and vinegar have reacted and are long gone. None of their respective properties remains. You may as well use plain old table salt.
Frank- as someone who has an interest in science and natural cleaning, can I ask what you would suggest? Use them separately? Or just use the vinegar since acetic acid has mild disinfectant properties? Regular cleaners flare up my migraines.
Love the recipies just wondering if there is a substitute for the Dr. Bronners Sal Suds in the dish soap recipe as Sal Suds contains coco betaine which I am allergic to.
Hi Cyndye, Thank you so so much! 🙂 We’ve found the following products that might help: Seventh Generation Free & Clear Dish Liquid and Melaleuca Lemon Brite
Thank you so much, I like your recipes and I’m definitely going to try them all. Also, do you know any way to clean sofas, homemade or not.
Thank you, Zohra! That’s awesome and we love them too. 🙂 Regarding diy cleaners for (fabric) sofas, we typically use these Ingredients: Rubbing alcohol, White vinegar, Essential oils (optional), Spray bottle, Sponge/towel. Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle (using the fine mist option). Note: use equal parts rubbing alcohol and white vinegar. Hope this helps! 🙂
I’m so looking forward to trying these recipes & thanks for having them all included together… Great job!
Just wondering if you have any suggestions with the essential oils… Like what not to use if you have pets in the house? Or if the amount used of essential oil per recipe is diluted enough that it won’t affect them?
Thanks in advance, peace and blessings!!
I’m new to your site & loving it! I have hard water so when using your recipes should I use distilled water? That’s what I’ve been doing but wonder with other ingredients if it’s necessary? Thank you for all your wonderful tips.
I just commented on your Baking Soda post, but meant to leave my gratitude on this post as well! I am new to this entire world of natural cleaning products and with this article am about to make the leap. I’m so inspired! Thank you!!!!
Hi I’m really grateful to you for taking the time to list all these recipes. I am in the process of ordering all the ingredients but am struggling to find Borax anywhere. I live in Scotland and I have tried to order it from amazon.com but it won’t deliver to my address and the amazon.co.uk only has a Borax substitute. Do you know if the Borax substitute will work just as well?
Do you have a DIY for wood floor cleaning? The wood furniture spray would be very time consuming. Thanks, terry
We use dr bronners on the floors and they come out beautiful. They have unscented and lavender.
Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner – vinegar and baking soda = salt water, as you’ve written on your other page https://keeperofthehome.org/vinegar-myth-vinegar-great-natural-cleaner/
Do you have another recommendation for vinegar as the all purpose cleaner?
Ha! I was about to post exactly the same comment. I’m confused as to what to put in my cleaner now..
ALWAYS ALWAYS looking for a dog URINE odor remover. Any suggestions? Staining of carpets never an issue. Odor? Thats another story. I didnt feel like searching for the apostraphes
I’d love to try the dishwashing detergent recipe, but Lemi-Shine isn’t available in Australia. I haven’t been able to find a suitable replacement online, is there anything you could recommend?
Love to try some of these homemade all natural cleaners Thanks for sharing !
Hi there. I am huge into all natural cleaning as well and have done a fair amount of research on the uses of all natural cleaners. Unfortunately, the reaction you see when you mix baking soda and vinegar together does not mean it is “cleaning” instead it is the chemical reaction of a base(alkaline) and acid(acid) neutralizing itself. While baking soda and vinegar together may be a good soft scrub for getting rid of some soap scum and other buildup, it is certainly NOT an all-purpose cleaner. The neutralizing effect of the reaction of the two chemicals render it useless against bacteria, viruses, and mold. Pure vinegar or even a 50/50 dilution of vinegar in purified water is much more effective at cleaning. I know you mean well, just don’t want people to be misinformed as this is often something I read when I first started researching natural cleaning methods.
I noticed that one of your recipes calls for Dawn dish soap, isn’t Dawn considered to be a toxic/full of chemicals product?
The Toxic: Knowing that Dawn was not a great dish soap, I wanted to know the facts. … The Environmental Working Group gave Dawn a ‘D’ grade because of it containing methylisothiazolinone, which is a “High Concern: acute aquatic toxicity; Some Concern: skin irritation/allergies/damage”.May 29, 2014
Dish Soaps: The Good, The Bad and The Toxic | PractiGanic: …
Several of your recipes for cleaning products call for adding Dawn. According to the Environmental Working Group Guide to Healthy Cleaning, Dawn dishwashing liquid (variety of this brand was tested) has a “C” rating which is “Moderate Concern: Some potential for hazards to health or the environment. At least some ingredient disclosure.”
Can vinegar solutions that drain into a septic tank kill the “good bacteria”?
With the first recipe, all the baking soda sits on the bottom and clogged the sprayer because of this. Any suggestions?
I wish you would update your recipes to reflect what other users have already pointed out – vinegar is a useful cleaner because it is acidic, baking soda because it is basic – mixing them together just neutralizes them and creates salt. The cleaning power of your basic all-purpose cleaner is similar to plain water. This website is the first to come up in a google search for homemade cleaners and it gives advice that doesn’t make sense.
Arm & Hammer Washing Soda? Where do you find this or is it just baking Soda?
Mixed all purpose cleaner as per your instructions and she erupted, foaming out of bottle. No shake gentle necessary! Lost the lot.