Homemade Cleaners: Easy to Make, Safe to Use

So Fresh and So Clean

This may seem ironic, but many times the things we think are keeping us safe may actually be causing us harm. Take household cleaners, for instance. They are designed to rid our countertops, bathrooms and floors of grime and germs, yet you might be alarmed if you knew that some commercial cleaner ingredients are benign fillers; others are pretty heavy-duty agents that can be dangerous to people and pets.

The good news is you can make your own highly effective household cleaners with safer ingredients. It’s not hard to do, and you may feel a lot better knowing that you and your family are doing something positive for the environment — and not living around toxic substances that may be harmful.

Better, Safer Ingredients

Below, we’ll tell you how to make several common and useful household cleaners with ingredients that may be gentle yet effective for many everyday cleaning tasks. And they smell great! Ingredients such as essential oils, distilled cooking vinegar and baking soda are easy to find in regular and specialty stores. You may even have them in your pantry already!

Some commercial cleaners are benign fillers; others are pretty heavy-duty agents that can be dangerous to people and pets.

You will also see Castile soap listed among the alternative ingredients and wonder what makes it any different from regular ol’ soap. For starters, Castile soap is very versatile. Because this vegetable-based soap is free of animal fats and synthetic ingredients, it may be used to clean not only your house, but even your face, body and pets!

Hailing from the Mediterranean, it gets its name from the Castile region of Spain. It was traditionally made with olive oil but today can also be made with a variety of oils, including hemp, coconut, castor, walnut and avocado. These oils are what help Castile soap lather and cleanse so nicely! This natural, nontoxic and biodegradable soap can be found in liquid or bar form, but you’ll want the liquid version for these cleaning “recipes.”

Try one or all of these simple and effective DIY recipes for cleaning solutions you can feel good about! When you do, share a pic with #TakingOnHealthy.

GENERAL ALL-PURPOSE CLEANER

This all-purpose cleaner features pine oil, a natural germicide, as well as vinegar and tea tree oil; both are antifungal and antimicrobial. Lavender oil is antibacterial; plus it adds a lovely floral note.

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 2-3 cups distilled water
  • 1/4 teaspoon tea tree essential oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops pine oil

Directions:

Mix distilled white vinegar, distilled water and essential oils in a spray bottle. Add 10 drops pine essential oil; shake. Spray on any hard surface, and then wipe with a cloth.

BATHROOM MILDEW REMOVER

Did you know vodka is a natural disinfectant? Combined with a bit of water and three types of essential oils, it becomes an antibacterial powerhouse that can knock out mildew — and leave your house smelling fresh.

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Ingredients:

  • 1-2 cups distilled water
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 10 drops tea tree oil
  • 10 drops lavender oil
  • 10 drops eucalyptus oil

Directions:

  • Combine 1-2 cups distilled water with 1 cup vodka in a spray bottle.
  • Add 10 drops each tea tree, lavender and eucalyptus essential oils; shake.
  • Spray on mildew. Wait 30 minutes or more to allow the oils to break it down; then wipe clean with a cloth.

SURFACE SCRUB

Getting your stovetop to shine is easier than you think! Lemon, lime and wild-orange oils are great for dissolving pesky grease, while baking soda is a mild abrasive, perfect for scrubbing.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup liquid Castile soap
  • 10 drops lemon essential oil
  • 10 drops lime essential oil
  • 10 drops wild-orange oil

Directions:

  • Blend 1 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup liquid Castile soap with 10 drops each lemon, lime and wild-orange essential oils in a small bowl.
  • Apply to stovetop or sink with a sponge. Scrub and rinse clean.

WINDOW CLEANER

So you may know of black tea’s many potential health benefits, but it may be good for more than sipping! The tannic acid in black tea helps break up dirt and grease, making it a great way to clean glass windows and doors!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 8 black-tea bags

Directions:

  • Boil 1 1/2 cups of water; steep 8 black-tea bags in the water and let it cool completely.
  • Discard the tea bags and transfer the tea to a spray bottle.
  • Spray on your windows and dry with a cloth (crumpled newspaper also works well).

Practice Safe Cleaning

Here are some more tips to help keep your home clean and your family safe:

·        Label and date any homemade products

·        Keep all cleaners away from children and pets

·        Do not use if you are allergic to any of the ingredients

·        Spot test before using any cleaner as some may not be compatible with certain materials

For more information on safely cleaning and disinfecting your home, click here.

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