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Eight Ways to Ease into a Natural Home

This post was written by Desiring Virtue’s monthly contributor, Katie Drumm.

It seems to me that there is a lot of confusion and misinformation when it comes to household cleaners. Today I would like to share some facts that may turn you off from traditional cleaners, but also provide you with some wonderful, natural cleaning alternatives. The best part is that most of the things I use to clean my home I own anyway for cooking or first aid, so they are not only healthy, but frugal options!

Living naturally can be a bit overwhelming, so I’ve broken down the way I clean my home and listed 8 easy ways that you can ease into your own natural home.

1. Learn about the products you’re currently using.

First, before you scoff and decide that you’d rather just bleach your home to death, take a moment to think about what you’re exposing yourself and your family to. For example, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Association) requires employers to provide their employees who handle bleach with gloves and safety masks. Yet we’re encouraged to clean our child’s toys by submerging them in a bowl of bleach. WHAT!?!?! The more I learn about the harsh, horrible chemicals found in the normal, everyday, popular cleaning supplies that most of us have in our homes the more and more frustrated I get with these companies!

Some More Things to Know:

  • There is no federal administration to regulate the safety of household cleaners. There’s no FDA for cleaning products! This means that manufacturers can pretty much put whatever they want in their cleaners–whatever gets the job done the cheapest. And they do.
  • Manufacturers of cleaning supplies do not have to tell consumers (or anybody else, for that matter) what is in their cleaners–they’re protected by trademarks and copyrights.
  • The Sanitation Department will not take your full containers of cleaners because they have classified them as hazardous materials.
  • Bleach irritates eyes, skin, and the respiratory tract just from inhalation.
  • When bleach is mixed with other cleaning agents, a poisonous gas is released that can cause bloody noses, neurological disorders, headaches and even death.
  • Household bleach, whether it’s mixed with other agents or not, can cause pulmonary edema, vomiting, or coma if ingested.
  • Chlorine, used in many household cleaners, was among the first chemicals used in chemical warfare during WWI.

There are many more things I could say about the dangers of bleach, chloride, lye, etc., but the point is simple: they are not safe. We have been told to rinse baby toys in bleach, to wipe our floors, kitchen counters, and bathtubs with bleach, to wash our whites with bleach, and our coloreds with color-safe bleach (whatever THAT really is), however, it simply isn’t safe. If scientists are required to practically put haz-mat suits on to handle these chemicals, why are we scrubbing our homes down with this stuff!?

If you are one of those ladies who just loves the smell of bleach, if that smell equals clean in your mind, can I encourage you to re-train your thinking? Remind yourself that that wonderful-bleachy-clean smell carries very real risks to your family.

I used to bleach my tile floors, my entire bathroom, and our white clothing. When I discovered the truth about household cleaners it was devastating: 1) that I was going to have to figure something else out, and 2) that I had been unintentionally hurting my family for so long!

Well, never fear: it’s not your fault that you didn’t know the dangers behind what you were using and you’re about to learn about natural cleaners you can use to replace the nasty chemicals! (and it’s going to be SO MUCH CHEAPER, TOO!)

2. Get rid of the toxic stuff.

To be clear, that’s probably most of what you own. It was for me, anyway. Anything with bleach, chlorine, or lye is no good. If you’re feeling really crazy you can get rid of anything with any harsh chemicals in it, which really will be all of it.

3. Fall in love with Vinegar.

I use a simple vinegar spray as my general household/anti-bacterial cleaner and my tile/linoleum/hardwood floor cleaner. I am in love with vinegar and have re-trained my nose to smell vinegar and think, “Clean!” (instead of bleach).

Four tablespoons of white vinegar to 3 cups of water in a spray bottle will take care of most of your cleaning needs. I have yet to find something on my counters or floors that vinegar couldn’t get up. I love it!

As a floor cleaner, I use the O-Cedar ProMist Microfiber Spray Mop. It allows you to use whichever cleaning solution you’d like and comes with a washable, reusable pad. I fill it up with my vinegar solution and it works perfectly! It doesn’t make the floor sticky and it dries really fast.

4. Embrace Hydrogen Peroxide.

For those really rough stains, Hydrogen peroxide always does the trick. I use it to clean my windows, mirrors, toilet, and bathtub. You can buy a bottle of hydrogen peroxide in the first aid section of your drug or grocery store. Replace the cap with a spray bottle head so you can use it as a spray. Keep the liquid in the dark bottle, though, so it keeps its effectiveness.

The first time you use it on your windows or mirrors you’re going to think, “Oh, no! This isn’t going to work!” Because it’s natural and doesn’t have a ton of synthetic, streak free additives, it doesn’t wipe off as perfectly as you might hope. No worries–give it 30 seconds and your windows or mirrors will be streak-free and sparkling!

5. Make Baking Soda your best friend.

Baking soda is basically good for everything. I store it in an aluminum salt/pepper shaker and use it to help the hydrogen peroxide on my toilet and tub.

If the scum is really bad and hydrogen peroxide just isn’t cutting it, after cleaning initially with hydrogen peroxide, I sprinkle some baking soda in the toilet bowl, let it sit for a moment, and then scrub with my toilet brush.

In the shower, after spraying with hydrogen peroxide, I sprinkle baking soda, leave for a few moments, and then scrub with a Scotch Brite Scour Pad.

Since I started using natural cleaning supplies, I’ve never had to use anything stronger than hydrogen peroxide and baking soda on my toilet or bathtub.

6. Keep a bottle of Rubbing Alcohol handy.

This discovery has changed the way I feel about my carpets. I really don’t like spots on my carpet, and so I was really excited when a friend suggested trying rubbing alcohol. It works!!! (even on pet stains!) Simply pour enough alcohol right out of the bottle to cover the stain and rub it into the carpet. It dries quickly as you’re rubbing and the stain just sort of disappears!

7. Get fruity with your Dusting

I am not a fan of dusting. That’s why I was so excited when I came across this dusting/polishing recipe. It really shines up my wood furniture and (although I think I might be making this up—>) it seems to keep it dust-free for longer.

One cup olive oil & 1/2 cup lemon juice. I keep mine in a glass cruet with a spout and a stopper. Before applying to wood, with the stopper in place, I lightly shake the jar so that the oil and lemon juice mix as much as possible. Then I pour out a tiny amount onto an old rag and wipe down the furniture. A very small amount will go a very long way! Then you’ll want to wipe the furniture down with a part of the rag that you didn’t pour the mixture onto to try and pick up excess oil. This works great and keeps my furniture looking beautiful for quite a while. Also, it smells wonderfully clean!

8. Finally get your Stainless Steel Appliances sparkling!

I’ve never found a commercial cleaner that worked better than olive oil at cleaning my stainless steel appliances. Simply use with a soft cloth for getting smudges off your appliances!

And that’s it! That’s everything that I use to clean my home. Actually, switching to natural cleaning products is so easy, that this isn’t so much “Easing into” a Natural Home–this is “Easily Plunging into a Natural Home!”

I love using natural products because I don’t want to put my (or my family’s) health in jeopardy and I LOVE how these natural products really keep my home clean. Also, since I use almost all of these items for cooking, I save a ton of money each month NOT having to buy separate cleaning products!

Natural Cleaning Solutions I Use:

  • Vinegar Spray: 4 tbsp vinegar & 3 cups water in a spray bottle
  • Hydrogen peroxide: original bottle with a spray bottle nozzle
  • Baking soda: in an aluminum salt or pepper shaker
  • Rubbing Alcohol: kept in the bottle it comes in
  • Olive Oil & Lemon Juice polish: 1 cup olive oil & 1/2 cup lemon juice in a glass cruet with a spout & stopper
  • Olive Oil: Just kept in the jar it comes in (stored in my pantry)

Other items I use:

What about you? Do you have a great, natural way of cleaning your home? Share it with us!

You may also find the information in Katie’s series[intlink id="4556" type="post"] “10 Ways to Ease Into a More Natural Body”[/intlink] helpful!

As Katie has studied and learned more and more about what it means to be a godly woman, she has become passionate about cultivating her home, the health of her family, and her heart for the Lord. Through these pursuits, she has begun to learn about living a more natural life. Her husband, her son, and she live north of Houston where they attempt a modern-day natural lifestyle, joyfully serve at their church, run a photography business, and enjoy just spending time with each other. You can find more tips for living a natural lifestyle while loving Jesus every step of the way at


  1. love this! Thank you! I’ve always wanted to try this, but never knew where to start or exactly how to do things differently! Thanks!!!!! I think I’ll try things as I start to run out of what I’ve already got.

    • Heather Swenson says:

      I teach people about Queens of Green. Its a company who is serious about getting harmful and toxic ingredients out of your home. Queens of Green cleaning products use the best of science and nature to combine for the safest most effective cleaning.
      Queens of Green also has many more wonderful products for your family.
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      • I see that everybody is in love with vinegar, and though I have no problem with the use of vinegar itself, I am urging everybody to NOT use your VINEGAR on MARBLE, or GRANITE!!! It will DESTROY your marble, and FADE the natural beauty of both marble, and granite… Thanks! – A Pro

        • Out of curiosity, What should be used on marble? I tried chalk, it did not make it shine.

          • Try Norwex Cleaning Paste on Marble. Alternatively, you could try using nothing but a couple of cloths. Norwex Antibac Enviro Cloth followed by the Norwex Window Polishing Cloth.

  2. Used Hydrogen Peroxide with Baking soda on steel stove top,to get the grease around the gas burner out.Worked like a charm.How would you clean hardwood floor and granite counter top?

    • Hmm, I don’t know about hardwood floors or granite countertops. :/ Would the vinegar spray be okay to use on them? That’s prolly what I would use unless I learned it was harmful.

      • Cristina says:

        My husband has been doing hardwood floors for years even owning our own business. For our floors we do a ratio 1/4 cup vinegar with a gallon of water. If you use too much vinegar he cautions that it could strip the finish off your flooring. Hope this is helpful.

        • Wonderful! Thanks for sharing :)

          • I clean houses part time and have found that the best thing for cleaning hardwood floors is hot water and a mop. Hot water will dissolve any dirt or grime on the flooring and dry up very quickly to a streak-free, spot-free gleam. Just make sure you mop with the grain of the wood.

            • Hot water is effective, especially with the Norwex mop system. A lot of people love the mop because you don’t have to use any chemicals at all with it. Their microfiber is very effective at removing debris and contaminants from any surface and the mop is no exception.

      • No Vinegar on granite! My mum just got counters and that was one of the no-noes on the care instructions.

      • Vinegar is too acidic for granite. I believe you can use a spray made of rubbing alcohol, a couple drops of dish soap and water.

      • Vinegar is not good for hardwood floors-It will remove the finish. there is a product called Bona that is wonderful and has very little smell-you only use a very small amount.

      • Adrienne says:

        Never to use the vinegar for the granite. Yes, You can used the little vinegar and the water for the natural wood floors without any wax floors. One time, my client told me to use the white vinegar and the water in the small spray bottle and it already destroyed all the new granite bathroom counter and the shower walls, yike ! Her husband got mad but it was not my idea to put the white vinegar and the water in the spray bottle. It was his wife’s idea. Not Good :-(.

    • either a mixture of vinegar and water in a spray bottle or water mixed with rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle for granite countertops. I use white vinegar too for my hardwood floors. 1/3 cup vinegar in a gallon of water.

  3. I’m popping over from Titus 2sdays – LOVE this post. Less than 2 years ago I switched over…i even make my own laundry detergent. I love making and using my own products and I’ll never go back. (and with my littles – I always know they are safe!) Blessings from Zagreb

    • desiringvirtue says:

      Thanks for visiting! I agree that one of the greatest benefits to using natural products is not having to fear for your children!

  4. I see you’ve mentiOned lye as being “no good”. Do you make your own shampoo/conditioners/body wash? If so, what do you use or is there another post on this topic already?

  5. Thanks for the tips! I also wanted to recommend a book that was very eye-opening about all the toxic chemicals in todays products (from house cleaners, to make-up) it’s called
    “Pick Your Poison” by Monona Rossol. It is written by a Chemist, very informative. She mentions that citrus oils are toxic as well, unfortunately. :(

    • Ooooh, thanks for the tip on this book! I am for sure gonna look into it–bummer about citrus oils, though! :)

      • Angelika says:

        Aurora, does this mean that mixing lemon juice with the olive oil would create a toxic (citrus oil) solution?

        • I thought citric oils were caustic not toxic. Caustic meaning that they may burn your skin or eyes or cause some other immediate damaged and toxic meaning it is actually poisonous, carcinogenic, and/or permanently damaging to to organs/body.

          Citrus oils are different than juices and a person can make their own from peels or buy them in a pure form in health food sections.

          • Citrus oils are great to clean with, especially lemon oil, as it is anti-microbial! Hydrogen peroxide is harmful (caustic) to skin as well, but is safe for cleaning. In fact, the lemon juice would be caustic to skin if in contact too long! Lemon essential OIL with the olive oil would be a better combo than lemon juice….then you wouldn’t be applying water to your fine finishes! Essential oils are wonderful for cleaning….not harmful to breath in, and a very helpful, natural way to kill germs!

  6. For the Vinegar Cleaning Solution, is it 4 TABLESPOONS or 4 TEASPOONS to 3 cups of water? Thanks for the great advice!!

  7. Kel Camp says:

    I love the idea of natural cleaning like this!!!! It’s effective and cheap … I use some of these solutions and such but….. I also bleach my house down 1 time a week and use bleach&color-safe bleach on all my laundry in conjunction with my homage laundry detergent because my family carries the staff infarction MRSA and it is always lingering in my home and bleach is the only thing that kills it and keeps it away!

    • Larissa Green says:

      Have you looked at different essential oils? I know Tea Tree is a killer of the HIV virus and other viral diseases. There may be one that will be effective on the MRSA as well. Not sure though

      • Hi, just wanted to clarify in case anyone reads this post, there is no way to “kill” a virus, viruses aren’t living things. Also, there is currently no cure or vaccine for HIV, including tea tree oil.
        Tea tree oil can be very effective against many strains of bacteria and fungi and is recommended by many dermatologists as a safe topical solution for minor skin infections. Unfortunately, as with the HIV virus, tea tree oil will not kill the MRSA bacteria.
        (Sorry, I usually don’t correct people on their posts, but I had to on this one since HIV and MRSA are such a serious conditions) Be safe everyone!

        • Jessalyn Hutto says:

          Thank you for taking the time to comment on Larissa’s comment Bailey. It is wonderful to see so many people interacting through this comment thread!

        • My brother in law introduced us to a product call Nixall. It is effective against MRSA and is very safe.

        • HIV actually becomes inactive on surfaces as it has a lipid membrane which breaks down outside the body. Alcohol based hand sanitizers kill MRSA on hands so I do not know why it would not on surfaces. As far as viruses being alive, they themselves are not, but a virus is activated when in a living cell and those can be killed.

        • A product of called allicin of garlic and ginger kills MRSA. It’s a specially refined extract of garlic with ginger. Email me and I can give you the website.

        • DanetteRN says:

          Tea Tree oil has actually been studied in the eradication of MRSA colonized in the nose…. some studies actually identify it as being possibly effective- though there aren’t enough studies to support its use in healthcare. Lemongrass oil has also been shown to kill MRSA as well.

          I haven’t seen any actual studies about ginger and garlic though- I wouldn’t trust anything like that without checking to see if they’ve done research studies to test it. MRSA is some nasty stuff.

      • Plain rubbing alcohol is bactericidal, meaning it kills bacteria. I’ve been told that it destroys MRSA on nonporous surfaces, but I haven’t been able to find any specific guidelines (e.g., how long the surface must remain wet with alcohol). I use alcohol swabs to clean my phone, electronics, etc. several times a week…a box of like 200 swabs is roughly $1.70 at Target.

        • DanetteRN says:

          Actually, my hospital’s policy is that you should clean things with enough alcohol that they stay wet for 15 seconds. They also have a policy that for particular germs like clostridium difficile, you should clean items used by the person or that they have come in contact with bleach and they have to remain wet for 2 minutes, in order to fully kill all the bacteria. Some bacteria seriously HAVE to be killed with bleach- alcohol does NOT kill everything- MRSA yes, c.Diff, no…. so if anybody around you is having nasty diarrhea, (like after having taken antibiotics… it’s an opportunistic infection, the regular body flora usually have to be being killed first), you might want to use some bleach, regardless of how “Dangerous” it may be.

    • My son had MRSA 2 years ago. It is nasty stuff! I know they say you never totally get rid of it, but I immediately started having him drink Limu, which is a sea vegetable that builds your immune system. If your immune system is strong, you can fight it! He has never had any issues since he drinks Limu. If you want to check out more info, you can go to my website. My phone number is there and you can either call me or email me and I would be glad to give you information.

      Several years ago I found a “Streak Free” cloth at the Fall Festival and every year I get a few more. All you do is make it wet and wring it out. I never use anything else for my mirrors and windows and it does a fabulous job on stainless steal, etc!

      • Mary, Yes it is very nasty stuff!! Your son’s MRSA has probably become “colonized”. He still has it but it is just not active. Once you have it you don’t get rid of it.

    • dōTERRA’s OnGuard Essential Oil blend has had numerous studies done on the effectiveness of killing MRSA, I would highly recommend checking into it!! Also, I have heard personal success stories of it working!!

      • I can assure you there is NO essential oil or “non harmful” agent that will kill MRSA. I recently took a microbiology class that was extremely informative!

        • Krista is right. Essential oils DO kill MRSA. There is not much study done though because they occur naturally and cannot be patented. Hence no money to be made.

          • Altheology says:

            Youre right Julie, she should check out Vanderbilt hospitals artical on Doterras essential oil they are now using just for that very purpose. It’s the only thing they have ever found to kill mrsa. If we all used Doterras On Guard with 2 drops of lemon oil with 2 drops of their purify oil we wouldnt have to worry about ANY toxins or harming our children our houses would be sparkling, our floors, and mirrors shiny and we would have spent about 4.00 a month on cleaning supplies.

  8. Ann Marie says:

    Thank you for this great information! I recently started making my own glass cleaner after reading an article about how many harmful chemicals the commercial stuff contains, now I’m looking forward to branching out. I only use bleach for my hot water wash whites (towels, socks and underwear). Have you found any natural alternatives that get them bright white?

    • Instead of using bleach, my mother uses hydrogen peroxide for her whites, you could try that. I believe it’s 1cup to a load of laundry.

      • I use 1:1 hydrogen peroxide and washing soda (it’s baking soda that’s been baked so that the water has been removed-found in the laundry aisle usually on the top or bottom shelf) replacing Oxyclean I used to buy. 1/2 cup of each makes my STINKY Diapers smell like they were dried outside. I use 1/4 cup of each for my other laundry loads.

        The MIchelle Duggar laundry detergent is amazing, cheap and uses much mroe natural ingredients than regular laundry detergent, it’s also much easier on your skin than most commercial detergents. I made 1/4 of their batch and it lasted 6 months for 2 adults, 3 kids and diapers for 1-2 kids (middle one finally got potty trained).

        • What kind of diapers are you using? I have microfiber inserts for my pocket diapers that always seem to have a smell to them. Also, does the homemade detergent to harm to your diapers?

    • Also, you can save more money by using alcohol (that you’ll already have) to clean your windows and mirrors, it works like a charm!

    • Both of Amy’s suggestions are awesome! Thanks! :)

  9. Evelyn Hayes says:

    I have been making my own laundry detergent for about 5 years now. I started using vinegar and baking soda to clean about a year ago. I love doing it natural. I will also be trying the peroxide and the dusting solution.

  10. Katherine G. says:

    How do you get rid of mildew from showers or other bathroom and kitchen areas? Also why would citrus oils be toxic? Love the cleaning solutions. I’ve been using vinegar for years to clean glass surfaces and baking soda with vinegar combined to clean toilets. Works great.

    • Ugh. Mildew! Mildew is such a pain here in humid Houston! What I have found to be best is mixing some (like 2 teaspoons) of Tea Tree essential oil with water (about 2 cups) in a spray bottle, shaking it up, and spraying the mixture onto mildew. Don’t rinse it off–just leave it there! Grapefruit seed extract, vinegar, and dish soap are supposed to work, too. I’ve never used grapefruit seed oil or dish soap, and vinegar didn’t work for me. Hope this helps!

    • Yes, tea tree oil is great for mildew. Regarding your question about citrus oils, they are safe if you are careful with them. They can cause photo-sensitization, which means that if applied to the skin, they can create an effect in which the skin becomes more sensitive to the sun, creating extra burning and/or irritation. They are very safe to use in cleaning products, as well as adding a pleasant, clean scent coupled with anti-microbial benefits! Contact me through my website if you want to learn more about how awesome essential oils are:

  11. Amber Clawson says:

    What a blessing!! This is such a helpful site!

    Thank you!!
    God Bless

  12. What a wonderful website (and a fabulous post!). Just found you on Pinterest and am now going to delve into the rest of your site….

  13. When I decided to start my cleaning business, I didn’t want to use any chemical cleaners because of the toxins found in cleaning agents and because I hate using gloves (which is what I would have to do if I used cleaners. But don’t be fooled. Gloves alone won’t protect you as people inhale the toxins quite easily). My husband repaired office equipment for years. The seemingly safe chemicals he used really damaged all his fingers. I didn’t want a repeat performance – so I decided to use all natural products. If I have to use gloves, then I figure they aren’t safe enough for either me or my new clients. GOOD WEBSITE!!!

    • Jessalyn Hutto says:

      Great thoughts Shay! I am sure your customers really appreciate you making the extra effort to clean their houses without chemicals!

    • If I were cleaning other people’s homes I would wear gloves no matter what products I was using. You don’t know if they have conditions that are contagious. And while most things die off on surfaces, wet areas like showers and tubs can be breeding grounds for some things (warts and herpes come to mind) honestly, I use as many natural cleaners as possible in my own home and I wear gloves.

  14. For granite, I’ve been using half rubbing alcohol, half water, with one drop of dish soap to break the surface tension and a few drops of tea tree or eucalyptus essential oil. Seems fine, going on 3 years. Vinegar is too acidic for granite. Rubbing alcohol is a neutral pH.

  15. We have extremely hard water direct from a well with no filtration. Will the combination of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda get hard water stains off the toilet and sinks or is there another natural option that you know of? Thanks for the great article and advice!!

    • Lisa, I’ve never tried to get hard water stains off with hydrogen peroxide or baking soda or vinegar, for that matter, but I’d say it’s worth a try–I’m usually amazed at how well these items work! You might try straight vinegar–test it on a spot that can’t be seen first, though. Also, lemon juice may be the miracle worker you’re looking for! Let us know if you try anything and whether it works or not! :)

      • Larissa Green says:

        Soak toilet paper in lemon juice and pack along the sides of your toilet. Allow to sit 15-30 min. Throw away and use a pumes stone to lightly scrub any remaining stains. It worked on both min and my moms hard water stains in the toilet! Hope it helps!

        • I’ve been wondering about the Luke stones. I’ve tried lemon juice with no luck. I will now try the pume stones with

          • That should be pume stone, not Luke stone(wasn’t watching my spell check!)

            • I’ve used the pumous stone from the hardware store / pool section for several years on the hard water toilet rings. It’s takes off all stains and even took off the ground in grime on an old porcelain farm sink in our bath room. I only use it every couple of months and has had no harmful effects on the finish. It’s an amazing tool in good house keeper tool box. I am also loving all the natural cleaners. I’m recovering from a broken leg and have found so many good tricks. Thanks ladies

      • I used WD-4 on my hard water problems…gone in a flash. Main ingredient is fish oil. Spray on and rub off with a lemon half. Safe on your skin and smells lemony good when you are done.

      • Vinegar is really good for getting rid for hard water stains, and other mineral stains.

        Thanks for this awesome post Katie. I came to natural DIY cleaning from an Eco-friendly perspective, but the more I read about the toxic chemicals we usually use, the happier I am to have them out of my house and away from my family!

        I like to immerse my leftover citrus peels in vinegar for a couple of weeks for an extra powerful vinegar spray. Smells great too :)

    • Lisa,i have hard water and terrible soap scum issues, cause the people who owned the house previously didn’t really keep our clean and i have use heated vinegar and soap in equal parts and it works great on the shower walls. i spray it on and let it sit for 1-2 hrs and scrub and rinse and they feel almost brand new.

    • Try a pumice stone. They have the at home depot in the cleaning section and scrub away the build up without scratching the porcelain.

    • Try dawn and vinegar 50/50.. Leave it on for 15 minutes at least, its the only thing that cleans my showers

  16. Lisa Potts says:

    Anyone know a good cleaner for glass stovetops? Thanks.

    • Baking soda and vinager. Make a watery paste and let sit for about 10 minutes. Scrub with a scrubby sponge. Works great and no scratches.

  17. These ideas are all splendid!!! I will be emptying my cabinets of all chemicals today!!! I do however have one question, are white vinegar and distilled white vinegar the same thing? Is their effectiveness the same? I seem to only be able to find distilled.
    Thanks so much!!!

  18. Great tips and I plan to start using them! One thing I didn’t notice that you use is newspaper. I found, when I was cleaning commercially, that newspaper works great on glass! I only use water, a little dish soap and newspaper to get even shower glass sparkling clean. :) happy safe cleaning

  19. Larissa Green says:

    I’ve had a chemical free home almost since being married 3 year ago. Not only has it been safer for our health, it’s been nicer to our wallets! Vinegar, lemon juice, peroxide, and baking soda are my main cleaners. If you mix lemon juice and baking soda into a paste it’s great to clean pots, pans, and stove drip pans!
    I’ll never buy commercial cleaners again.

  20. To break the paper towel habit, I use old t-shirts that the Goodwill sells already cut into squares. Goodwill sell a 50 pack of squares for $1.25. I keep the squares in a drawer by my kitchen sink, under the sink in the bathrooms, and in the laundry room. Whenever I would have grabbed a paper towel, I just reach for a square. I haven’t bought paper towels in years.

    • Ashley Wood says:


      Thanks for the tip. We’ve been doing some thing similar, but I bet it would be easier to cut down our old towels into smaller pieces. I tell you something I think makes a great rag are those cloth diapers. I used when my kids were little as a shoulder cloth / burp cloth because they were thicker and then I liked how thick they were, so we kept them for rags.

      • I’ve used t-shirts cut up into rags, and I’ve used old cloth diapers too. It’s great to recycle but I have since found something that works better. Norwex Antibac Microfiber Cloths. Oh my goodness! You have got to see them in action. Go to Youtube and search for Norwex Chicken Demo. You’ll find a lot of videos but pick one with a lot of hits and it will show you clearly that the Norwex microfiber is superior in every way to any other cloth you can use. Plus you don’t have to use chemicals with it. You clean with just water. And the cloths have a two year guarantee.

  21. I use a handheld steam cleaner to do all my cleaning except the inside of the toilet bowl and a steam mop on my floors! I love the fact that just water cleans my whole home! I’m going to try a few of your tricks for the most stubborn areas!

    • Jessalyn Hutto says:

      That is awesome Tana! I have seen infomercials for different types of steam cleaning systems that supposedly clean everything, but never thought they truly would!

  22. i have been making my own cleaning solutions for over 6 years now! it is great to clean and be able to breath and then let your children walk on the floors. plus it is much cheaper! i also use tea tree oil for cleaning.

  23. Will the peroxide help on shower doors with soap scum? I have tried everything and nothing seems to work. Any suggestions?

    • Vinegar is very helpful with hard water deposits….not sure if this is what you are referring to as “soap scum”? You need to apply it full strength and let it sit for awhile while it loosens the deposits. As for scummy soap, I suggest switching from a bar soap to a liquid castille soap….then you don’t have that film coating your skin and pores!

  24. I use an alcohol/ water mix to clean my granite counters, as well as the stainless steel appliances. Works like a charm for pennies!

  25. Question about the furniture polish…I have a lot of antiques and pieces hand crafted by my grandfather in my house and I am worried that the acid in the lemon juice would take off the finish. If not immediately but over time. Any problems with this?

  26. My 18 month old daughter has a “fuzzy” (small blanket with ears) that she sleeps with and sucks on the ears. Needless to say that even though I have 3 of them and wash them routinely, they are still nasty. About every other week I boil them before running the in my sanitary cycle. What would any of you recommended to add to the boiling water to help disinfect them?!?!

    • Another was to disinfect/cootie-killer that seems to be largely overlooked is freezing. My daughter’s Peter Rabbit and undergone numerous “skin grafting” operations and re-stuffing and he simply can no longer withstand being deep washed. So, we use a little detergent to spot clean when needed, and put Peter in the “freezer spa” for about 5 hours when it seems time for him to be freshened. The temp kills cooties and dust mites.

  27. Also….what do you use to disinfect cutting boards after prepping raw meats/fish?

  28. I use a spray bottle with a cup of white vinegar, a cup of clear ammonia and a cup of rubbing alcohol and a cup of water. I clean everything with this mixture, I mean everything, wood floors, windows, counters, appliances. Love it, it dries quick and doesn’t leave streaks, cheaper than cleaners you buy at stores.

  29. I go through so much distilled white vinegar that I have been wishing that you could purchase a big tank and have a vinegar tanker truck stop by once a month and refill it! lol

  30. I didn’t read all of the comments, but I did read some about vinegar on granite. Before we moved into our home (with new granite countertops), I read that you shouldn’t use vinegar on granite. So I use a mixture of 50/50 alcohol & water. It gets up anything, kills the germs, and leaves it nice and shiny. :)

  31. I use club soda on my mirrors and windows. It works better when it’s fresh but it’s still just fine months later. Just put it in a spray bottle and go to town! On my smaller tile floors like in the bathroom or entry way sometimes I’ll rub orange halves on the tile and then wipe off with a damp cloth. It smells great and it’s a good workout! Thanks for your blog! I did a speech for one of my classes about “green” cleaning and it’s something I love learning about!

  32. Lory Rehne says:

    You can buy hydrogen peroxide at Smart and Final in a gallon jug. We use it for our laundry too.

  33. I find it interesting that you tout hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol over bleach, neither of which are more any more natural or and marginally less toxic than properly applied bleach.

    • I agree, Kay. Diluted chlorine is no more dangerous or unnatural than hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol. Public drinking water usually carries a minimum of .20 milligrams per liter of chlorine, and I’ll take whatever long term effects of chlorine disinfection there may be over an outbreak tomorrow of giardia, MRSA, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, E. coli, etc. Choosing cleaning products is, like anything, about weighing outcomes and risks.

    • Kay,

      I absolutely agree with your statement. Basically, everything IS a chemical (atoms, molecules, and a combination of such). Vinegar is ACETIC acid, and hydrogen peroxide is HORRIBLE to use on open cuts because it actually “EATS” the good skin as well as the bad stuff (hence the bubbles). Also, bleach (chlorine) that is used for cleaning homes is used in swimming pools. There is a minimum and maximum level that needs to be balanced in order to keep bacteria and algae from growing in the pool. The fact that the use of “alternative” chemicals (i.e. vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, citrus juice (also known as citric acid no matter how you cut it), etc.) doesn’t mean that you are providing a “safer environment” for you home. It just means that you are using less harsh chemicals, and a more frugal alternative to cleaning.

  34. I didn’t get through all of the comments, so hopefully this wasn’t already asked and answered. I am curious if you have a dishwasher and if you do, what you use in your dishwasher? Thanks!

    • I used vinegar instead of rinse aid in my dishwasher. I’m still trying to find a dish detergent substitute that I like (I’ve tried a few with ho hum results) so I’m starting by using dish detergents that at least do not contain phosphates. the vinegar is a great rinse aid!

  35. This is a great website and I’m really finding the natural cleaning substitutions helpful. I’ll have to try a few of these in my own home soon. This post reminds me of GreenEcoHolic. Has anyone ever heard of it? It’s a green and sustainable living blog but if your interested in natural cleaning check out the DIY Home Products section at they have tons of natural cleaning recipes and cool cleaning tricks and tips too. Happy cleaning!

  36. i was wondering how do you clean toys? im having a baby in 2 months and bought a bunch of stuff from garage sales and i feel like i cant get them clean enough but i dont want to use chemicals on them. my mom always taught me that bleach is fine on them as long as it dries completely before they play with it again but im not sure air drying chemicals really makes them not there and even if it is true what if it doesnt dry completely?

  37. Anyone ever used Babyganics? The tub cleaner is plant based and really it’s through soap scum. Thought I’d share.

  38. Ashley-Babyganics also makes a toy cleaner. You can find these at babies r us or Toys R Us or online. If you really want to make your own, you can likely search the ingredients at least. Or, you are probably safe to just wash these toys and then boil them like you would bottles.

  39. Another to try: take spray bottle and put a few tablespoons of Prell Shampoo, then about a 1/2 cup of rubbing alcohol and then fill the rest with water! Works on mirrors, counters. Prell by it’s
    self is great as a pretreatment for laundry stains especially grease stains! I would never use it on
    hair but it has saved many of my hubbys shirts!

    • Monica, I’m glad you mentioned Prell Shampoo. Years ago, my mom accidentally dropped her bottle of Prell on the kitchen linoleum. When she went to wipe it up, it had stripped the color out of the flooring in that area! That’s when she decided to never use it on her hair again! No wonder it gets out the stains you’ve mentioned above. :)

  40. Do these cleaners kill viruses/bacteria like salmonella, E.Coli, etc?

  41. I’m interested to try all of these, but I have to say, alcohol did not work on pet stains one bit!

  42. Although I’m a huge fan of fume free cleaning, I have yet to get vinegar to clean my floors – especially toddler-with-the-stomach-flu messes… It simply doesn’t work… I might have to try rubbing alcohol..? Have you run into this problem?

    • Hydrogen peroxide is very good at removing stains from carpets. Use full strength. Do a spot test first. I’ve never had problems with discoloring carpet!

  43. I love the idea of using “natural” cleaners, more so just for convenience and streamlining the number of products I need to have on hand. I must, however, take exception with your harsh and misleading commentary regarding bleach. My family has manufactured bleach since the 1930s…my chemist grandfather had a family dairy farm and began making bleach to disinfect his bottles and milking equipment. His milk had far less spoilage than his dairy peers were experiencing and soon he was making bleach full time to supply to the local dairy community. He later expanding to textile finishing and government water treatment contracts. I worked at one of his manufacturing plants and my job was staying on top of OSHA materials and education. Bleach diluted with water iis absoluelty safe (but never mix with other products, especially amonia which when combined with bleach will create a very toxic gas reaction), however, at full strength it is very dehydrating and will eventually cause skin and mucus membranes to crack or fissure. Using the diluted stuff purchased retail should not cause t

  44. Hi There – just wanted fo let you know that the primary ingredient in color-safe bleach is Hydrogen Peroxide. Also Oxiclean’s main ingredient is baking soda and the second is washing soda. This stuff is just what my grandma used! These substances form oxygen, hydrogen peroxide and soda ash when mixed with water.

  45. I use 1/2 c. Washing soda, 1/2 c Borax, 1 c Vinegar, and 1/4 tsp Dawn dish soap in about a 3 gal. bucket of warm water and I clean everything with it (Walls, Bathroom, Kitchen, and my floors) If what I am cleaning is not to soiled I will leave the Dawn out.

  46. Love your post and have been using nothing but vinegar for almost two years now. I found a micro fiber cleaning cloth for glass that I love and works perfect with the vinegar! One note of warning about hydrogen peroxide. You you need to be extremely careful about using it if you have a septic system. It will kill all of the good bacteria in your system and ruin it.

    • Hydrogen peroxide is perfectly safe to use with a septic tank. It is H2O2 and pretty much just turns to water when it reacts with anything. That’s why it is in a dark bottle. It is bleach you have to worry about using too much with septic.

  47. Another tip is use a ball of crumpled tinfoil in your dryer instead of those toxic scented dryer sheets. Do you know that when you use scented dryer sheets, especially in urban areas, you make it hell for your neighbors.

    • Tin foil will never make its way into my home again as aluminum is one of the leading causes of Alzheimer’s, the only thing you need to use for fabric softener is good ole vinegar. I buy it by the 2 gl jugs at Costco for under $3, every bathroom has one as does the laundry room and kitchen. I use it for most everything. It not only softens, but it disinfects as well.

  48. Karen Flores says:

    I totally agree with this post. I recently switched all my cleaning products these essential items and so far working wonderful. Didn’t know about olive oil for stainless steel so will be trying that very soon. Me being a clean freak, using vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda to clean has blown my mind!

  49. We have always used peroxide, as I’m allergic to bleach, but I love to know the rest of these tips! Tanks!

  50. Thefi Clayton says:

    I love your ideas for cleaning products and am planning on starting to use them. But, regarding the vinegar, I’m all for it – Can it be mixed with lemon or lime to cover the vinegar smell???…i just can’t stand that smell – Would it still be effective mixing it with another natural product???

    • Thefi,
      I just found this idea on pinterest regarding vinegar. Put the peels from 2 oranges into a glass mason jar, then fill with vinegar and let sit for 2 weeks. After 2 weeks, strain the vinegar (to remove any orange peel residue) into a spray bottle and you are supposed to have a fresh smelling vinegar cleaner. I haven’t tried it yet. I have my orange peels soaking now, but still have another week to wait. Hope it works, as I can’t stand the vinegar smell either! :)

  51. I have copper pipes and hard water which made my toilet have brown rings and calcium build up.I used the laundry recepie and sprinkled some in toilet over night . Used a brush and no more calcium build up. Now i sprinkled some every night. No brown rings. i also put some in the tank sand that is cleaner then it ever was.I keep a kraft cheese bottle with holes in both bathrooms.

  52. I use my large peanut butter containers, once they r empty lol, to store my baking soda. I just drain a few hole at the top and its perfect,,,, nice and large. I use alot of baking soda.

  53. Thanks….I am gradually changing all of my cleaning solutions to all of these…much healthier, and environmentally friendly. So far working great…..and I love the suggestion by Denise…to use the PB jar for the baking soda( I just hadn’t gotten out to get the shaker container). What do you use for dish soap?… I haven’t seen a good substitute for it yet….. Thanks. :)

  54. Loving this post! I’ll be sure to add a link on my blog, where I’ve been exploring the use of natural cleaners over harmful chemicals.

  55. You mention that bleach is poisonous if ingested. I believe hydrogen peroxide is as well.

  56. Most of these naturals are not on our septic safe list, have you happened across any septic safe naturals?


  57. Thank you x10! I recycle and now I’m changing my cleaning products.

  58. Will vinegar work to clean the drain out lines of the air conditioner? Our air man recommends running bleach through our clean out once a month.

  59. When using straight H2o2(peroxide) you should use gloves because it can cause skin irritation!

  60. Great suggestions for natural cleaners, with one exception… I may have missed someone mentioning this as I skimmed through the comments, but if you are really trying to eliminate toxic cleaners, you should not be using rubbing alcohol. It is very toxic if ingested, and I don’t think that breathing the fumes can be good for you, either. If your conscience permits, plain vodka or pure grain alcohol would be a much safer alternative for the cleaning mixtures that call for alcohol.

  61. Thanks for the great tips. My sister emailed them to me, and I will certainly try them…I use baking soda for everything including cleaning my stove top, sinks and corningware, no scratching like scouring cleanser powders.
    MY TIP IS FOR THE GLASSM ENCLOSURE OF YOUR SHOWER STALL….wet a cloth, pour some hair shampoo on it, rub the glass thoroughly and rinse off..and leave to dry…..magic!!! all the soap scum is gone and the glass dries without streaks. :)

  62. Great natural cleaning tips! I included this post in my A Little Sunday Potluck series this morning. Please stop on over and say hello and grab a feature button if you would like… :)

  63. Lana O'Neal says:

    To clean hardwood floors, boil water and let two tea bags seep. The tannic acid in tea leaves your hardwood floors with a beautiful shine.

    • I tried this……..looks real good! I was told not to ever use water on my hardwood floors, when they were installed, so I made sure my mop was barely damp when I used the tea mixture.

  64. OMG….since I have became allergic to Propylene Glycol, it has been hard to find any cleaning products including shampoo,conditioners, and lotions, it is in everything, well I tried the hydrogen peroxides it worked wonders in my sower stall. Haven’t tried the vinegar yet, but will. Thanks

  65. I love this and have already kinda started using more natural cleaners…i use the vinegar alot and will do more with this advice i have 2 babies one 5mo one 16 mo and would love to be able to clean w them home haha! My question is we have concrete stain flooors? Would the vinegar mixture work with cleaning them as well?

  66. Also my mum is getting older now so has for a number of years paid someone to clean the outside of her upstairs windows. She was told you only need water to clean glass and to get them streak free use screwed up newspapers.

  67. I use a spray bottle filled with vinegar and a couple squirts of dishsoap to clean my bathrooms. It works amazing. Just spray the tub, clean the rest of the bathroom, and when you go back to the tub, all you have to do is wipe with a damp cloth and all dirt and grime come off. And no scrubbing required!

  68. Anyone who says they have a “chemical free” home is sadly mistaken. Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical, which you’ve recommended here. Our bodies are made from chemicals. Ethers, esters, phenols… these are the things that make “natural” pine and cedar and fruits smell good. Vinegar is just acetic acid … acid, oh no! And they are all chemicals. Did you know the material safety data sheet for hydrogen peroxide requires gloves and goggles? And the warning says: Liquid or spray mist may produce tissue damage particularly on mucous membranes of eyes, mouth and respiratory tract. Skin contact may produce burns. Inhalation of the spray mist may produce severe irritation of respiratory tract, characterized by coughing, choking, or shortness of breath. How about baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)? According to the safety data sheet, you should get medical attention in case of contact with baking soda. All this is to say, almost all chemicals in moderation are fine as long as you don’t drink them or pour them in your eyes. And they all have dangers and need to be used appropriately. Chlorine (actually chloramine) gas is only produced when mixing bleach and ammonia, which is a warning you will see on the back of every cleaning product.

  69. Thanks for sharing your tips. I also have used vinegar for house cleaning and love it.
    My wood floors are beautiful and clean and people who come in my home usually ask me what do I use on my wood floors because they are always so clean and shiny.
    I use lemon oil to clean my wood cabinets in the kitchen but will try adding the olive oil.
    I agree that the cleaning products out there are so harmful to us and our environment.

  70. April Smith says:

    I found this on Pinterest this evening and have already replaced everything in my cleaning cabinet! Does the dusting solution work on things other than wood? Like marble?

  71. Thank you Katie. I am replacing my toxic products right now!!!

  72. Wow! Thank you! This is so informative and simple. Can’t wait to start!

  73. Libman is another great little spray mop with reusable washable cloths and use you own cleaner. Bonus: it’s made in the USA!

  74. You can get a dish wand and fill it with half vinegar and half blue dawn dish soap and use it to clean the shower and bath it works wonders

  75. You can clean you garbage disposal, pipes and really anything by combining the baking soda and vinegar. It foams up similar to hydrogen peroxide but even more so and breaks up the clogs.

  76. Hi, well first of all thank you, this is so great, I’m just starting with a natural leaving, I’m doing a super clean up under my counters and start brand new… what I want to add is that, when your family or friends are sick and coughing, what I did, instead of using Lysol which is terrible, I bought a small spray bottle and added, 25 drops of lemon essential oil and 25 drops of the orange essential oils, 15 drops of eucalyptus oil, and fill the bottle with distilled water,, shake well before use, then spray the entire house and office to kill bacterias… I love the smell…

  77. My mom buys cheap vodka and puts it in a sprayer bottle with a few drops of an essential oil to make a countertop disinfectant.

    I’m totally going to try the olive oil on my terrible kitchen sink (hard water stains) before I get out the hardcore chemicals she sent me home with.

  78. I have been cleaning houses for 12 years and am sad to say I’m a little late to jump aboard this train! One of my (or used to be) go to products has always been liquid non abrasive cleaner, now I use baking soda and it works just as well. Also, I now use Theives from young living. It smells wonderful and is a essential oil that naturally fight bacteria.

  79. Natural Cleaners – Will the olive oil & lemon concoction work on laminanates and NON-Wood surfaces??

  80. First of all- great site! A lot of helpful info in the comments section too :). I’ve mostly switched over our cleaning products- can anyone help with a dishwasher detergent substitute? Also, I’ve found that a couple drops of dawn dish soap added to the vinegar and water mix is great for glass and chrome- streak free!

  81. HELP~
    I poured rubbing alcohol on a stain in my childs room and went to change laundry. I came into the house and the WHOLE house smells like a nail/home salon but extremely strong.
    I put all the fans on in the house but I felt my nose hair burning. What can I do.

  82. I use vinegar on EVERYTHING for cleaning but, I put it in a quart mason jar with lemon peel and let it “sit” for about two weeks and it is GREAT! The lemons act as a grease cutter, plus it adds a great smell, you can switch it up by using oranges and limes, depending on the smell you want. It also can be used as an air freshener, just spray it in the rooms that need a little lift, like Fabreeze only natural. I also use vinegar in my laundry instead of bleach, just 1/3 cup per large load. Hope this helps =)

  83. What is a good alternative to bleach on dirty socks, towels and underwear??

  84. What do you use to kill stomach virus germs? The only thing I know that will kill them is bleach. Please enlighten me.

    • Handwashing is the single most effective way to protect yourself, regardless of what is in your home. Most GI illnesses that people call “stomach bugs” or “the stomach flu” are spread through contaminated or improperly handled food and drinks. You can contaminate your own food just by not washing your hands before you pick it up to put it in your mouth. After handwashing, the next best thing you can do is…well, practice good hygiene in the kitchen and bathroom. Okay, so that requires a lot of handwashing, but there’s a reason that the CDc calls it the single most effective way to prevent the spread of infections! If you are really worried that the microbes that make you sick are lingering in your house, physically wash surfaces with hot, soapy water and a lot of scrubbing. You can use an assortment of “natural” products to destroy the viruses, but unfortunately, viruses are not actually alive until they are inside your body. Antibacterial crap won’t touch them (as they are not bacteria)…you have to physically remove or destroy a virus, which can be accomplished with many non-bleach products.

  85. I myself am a big fan of substituting natural cleaning products for harsher chemicals when it comes to cleaning things that do not need to be disenfected. Sadly, I’ve recently learned vinegar is not a disinfectant and doesn’t kill microorganisms

    I’m a college student and in my microbiology class we tested the effects of natural cleaning products against common bacteria such as e.coli. Vinegar was one that we tested and it did not kill the bacteria.

    It’s good for general cleaning, but I would continue to use harsher chemicals for areas such as the bathroom.

    • May Loyd (College Student Majoring in Chemical Engineering) says:

      Yay for someone else bringing an educational comment to the table!

  86. May Loyd (College Student Majoring in Chemical Engineering) says:

    Would just like to mention that there is no possible way to get rid of chemicals altogether. Everything you list here is a chemical; i.e. vinegar, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide etc. Just in case you didn’t know, a chemical substance is a form of matter that has constant chemical composition and characteristic properties. I am just tired of people being miss informed about going natural. These are all still chemicals therefore people should not be mislead that they are going chemical free. Hydrogen peroxide, for example, in high concentrations, is an aggressive oxidizer and will corrode many materials, including human skin. In the presence of a reducing agent, high concentrations of H2O2 will react violently. Luckily what is sold in stores in below 3% concentration. Just be informed about what you tell people before convincing them that they are going chemical free. Heck, even lemons are made up of chemical components such as citric acid not to mention all of the organic components that give off that amazing smell. Hope that this has been informative and maybe sparked some interest in chemistry.

    • Thank you…I was literally about to post the same thing!

    • Jessalyn Hutto says:

      Thank you for your comments May Loyd. Katie never meant to imply that using a product like Hydrogen Peroxide would lead you to a chemical free home. Rather, she is seeking to get away from as many synthetic chemicals as possible. The post has been updated to reflect this distinction.

  87. Dianna Smith says:

    Just wanted to tell you I have been using the peroxide for quite some time and I agree it works great. Also use the baking soda for so many things. Thanks for the tip on the furniture polish and appliance cleaner.

  88. Please be careful using hydrogen peroxide or borax, both have health risks related to their use. I’ve always been told don’t use anything you wouldn’t eat. I use lavender essential oil in water for windows, first aid, kitchen, bath or anything really & it smells great.

    • I have been a hair stylist for 38 years, using lots of peroxide(in higher volumes then mentioned here) & yes it is hard on skin and lungs………I have a spot on my lung to prove it, but using it in a 3% volume should not affect the lungs( unless you just stick your nose right to it and keep inhaling) it can burn your skin fhough

  89. This is a good post, with many useful tips…but PLEASE remind your readers that some of these products aren’t safe to store around children or pets! Hydrogen peroxide, for example, can cause vomiting within a couple of minutes if you ingest as little as one teaspoon. Rubbing alcohol is more concentrated than almost any liquor, and therefore poses a serious health risk to curious children. Also – have you read about any of the risks associated with getting alcohol in your eyes? “Eyeballing” alcohol was a big deal on YouTube recently, and a number of doctors warned that it can damage the structure of the eyes, potentially causing blindness. Even simple baking soda, if consumed in large quantities, can cause potentially fatal alkalosis. As with all cleaning products, the ingredients listed above should be stored/locked up so that they are totally inaccessible to children and pets.

  90. I have a lot of allergies to cleaning products so I have also found vinegar to be very useful. I asked my fiance to buy me a Shark Steam Mop for Christmas one year. He thought I was crazy but I said it would be awesome to not have to take Benadryl just to clean my floors. It uses no chemicals. Just water. And it has a cloth to freshen your carpets. He also bought me the handheld Shark Steamer. It has lots of attachments. You can use it to dust, clean mirrors and windows, counters, etc. It cuts through grease wonderfully. I only use it for detail cleaning though since it takes longer and I work full time and go to school. He also got me the Swiffer Sweeper Vac. It gets up all of the pet hair and you never have that line of dirt left on the floor that you couldn’t get into the dust pan while sweeping. It keeps all of the dust and pet hair from flying in the air while you clean. These are my little tips. I do plan to try some of yours though. I hope to eliminate the rest of the chemicals in this house if I can. Pinterest has been an awesome help with this. Thanks for sharing your tips. Hopefullly I will be sneeze free very soon.

    • I have also found that vinegar cuts cigarette smoke in the air and freshens the house. We came upon this trick when I came home one day and my fiance was cleaning the coffee pot. we both smoke and you couldn’t smell it in the air at all so whenever family is coming over for dinner we make sure to run vinegar through the coffee pot and the house smells great afterwards!!!

      P.S. We are both working on the smoking thing right now but we will continue to use this little trick to freshen the air regardless.

  91. Hello there..not only did I enjoy your breakdowns of the natural cleaning products, (I am a mommy to be and not a fan of chemicals), but also I enjoyed your blogs about pregnancy. I have a blog devoted entirely to my husband & mine’s path to parenthood. I can always relate to feelings you’ve described..and it makes me feel like more of a woman to know others know the same fears.

  92. I found this website through Pinterest and so grateful I did. I have the worse soap scum on my shower doors. The previous owner must have not cleaned them well and now I’m stuck with them. Right now I am still using a harsh bathroom cleaner, I dry them, then spray them with a mixture of vinegar alcohol and water. But there’s still soap scum :( I would love to see my shower doors clear or close to would be great…any suggestions? I have a handheld steamer but I’m afrai to use…help!

  93. I can’t believe I am reading this…..recently, I read about a formula that I have told everyone about & it’s a combination of what you are suggesting. I mix 2T. each of rubbing alcohol, white vinegar & ammonia in a spray bottle with 2 cups of water. I use nothing else to clean with!!! This clean spots on carpet, disinfects the bathroom, degreases the kitchen, cleans windows & mirrors beautifully, etc. I use nothing else to clean with. I can’t recommend this enough, it really works!

  94. Ginger Phillips says:

    You mentioned using a metal salt/pepper shaker for baking soda. I have been using old Parmesan cheese containers. Works great and a great way to repurpose. By the way…I haven’t bought cleaners in over 2 years… :) You have some great ideas. I am anxious to try the olive oil on the stainless steal!

  95. Hi! I found your site through Pinterest, and I made the polishing recipe today – it worked great! Thanks! But I have a quick question. Forgive me if this has already been asked. I tried to read through most of the posts, but there were just too many! :)
    Do you know how long the dusting/polishing recipe will last since it has fresh lemon juice in it? And do you store it in the fridge or not? THANKS!

  96. Grreat Post!

    My e-book covers a great deal of the topics you discuss, and suggests some of the same cleaning products. I cover the adverse health effects of using these cleaners, and you are right, many of them are very dangerous. My e-book is called “Taming the Toxic Menace in Your Home”, and is on Amazon.
    Regards and keep writing!
    Cliff VanGuilder (The Eco Engineer)

  97. You shopld look into the Norwex line of products. You won’t have to use anything but water to do all of your cleaning. I don’t sell the product just love their floor mop, and their anitbac cloth. Their window cleaning cloth is the best! I sold my husband on it!

    • I love Norwex products! The glass cleaning cloth is nothing short of amazing, using just water. I haven’t purchased glass cleaner in years. I also use it on my glass cooktop, mirrors and shower door. The microfibres used in their cleaning cloths pick up even the greasiest films to leave everything streak free. I even have a set in the car, I do the windows first inside then out, then wipe down the whole vehicle after a wash with no streaks. I also have their microfibre mop, and it does wonders on the floors with just hot water. Their cleaning solutions are also non toxic, but I find them expensive and just make my own.

      I have hard water, and plain old vinegar works better than CLR to get the lime scale off my coffee pot and humidifier.

      3% hydrogen peroxide works wonders on any bodily fluid messes/stains like blood, vomit, urine etc.

      50/50 dawn dish soap and vinegar is amazing on soap scum. I keep a scotch scrubber with fill able handle in my shower and just scrub it down while I’m in there!

      Baking soda is my go to scrub powder, and it is safe for surfaces.

      To clean the oven, I sprinkle baking soda on the door and oven bottom, then spray it with a spray bottle full of vinegar until wet down, leave it sit for 30 min, then scrub and wipe up. For really baked on grime I use a razor blade scraper to scrape the harder stuff off.

      To keep the house smelling nice, I have terra cotta rings that sit on the light bulbs in my lamps, I just put a few drops of essential oils on them each week. A cotton ball with a few drops of essential oil on it tucked in the air registers works well too. I have even used plain vanilla extract on them. The house always smells nice, for almost free.

  98. Have tough grease build-up?? —-> Use orange infused vinegar!!
    Ive been slowly switching over to Green Cleaners since my little boy figured out that the cabinet doors can open (& then taught his older sister). I quickly opened the package of child locks that had been in my drawer, unopened for years, and put them up. I have two toddlers (Girl:28m & Boy:15m) and it seems like my boy will have the child locks on the kitchen cabinets figured out anyday now!
    Vinegar has become a great friend in my house! It cleans very well, and I wont be too scared if one of the kiddos happens to taste it. I have several ways I use it but the only I feel I must share is the
    Orange Vinegar!!
    Fill a glass (or plastic) with orange peels, fill the rest of the way with vinrgar, seal, and wait 2 weeks (or longer but if the peels start changing color, get them out. lol). When done, put in a spray bottle and enjoy!
    When we moved into our apartment there was a large build-up of grease above the stove. I scrubbed it on a weekly bases for a year with chemical cleaners that were made spacifically for grease build-up (And never make a budge!). Then, I used the OrangeVinegar! I srayed it, let it sit for about 5 minutes, then did a gental scrubbing. It came off so easy!! i was so excited!! it was like scrapping butter out of the bowl. Never will I underestimate Green again!

  99. Found this on Pinterest. Thank you to everyone who has posted! I loovvveee the smell of original Pinesol (the stronger the better!!) and in my mind the smell of bleach = clean. I’m trying to retrain my brain that the smell of Pinesol & bleach doesn’t necessarily = healthy! This post & the many responses is most helpful. Thank you!

  100. Ginger Phillips says:

    I tried the olive oil/lemon juice on my cupboards in the kitchen. They look great but they must also taste great! My dog keeps licking them! Silly puppy!

  101. I know for fact that peroxide is not good on the skin my brother in law had a infection and was told to clean the wound with peroxide… unfortunatley it ate his skin away. Pretty potent stuff. NOw his skin looks like a deep sunburn.

  102. You can on google and type in SDS on Windex, peroxide, etc… Every manufacture has to have information on their products and safety guidelines, including what is in it and it’s dangers. You will be surprised at the information that you find. If you can’t find a specific item call the manufacture and ask them to send you the information.

  103. Shirley Smith says:

    Be very careful about using vinegar on cement areas around home… most people don’t realize it is used even in building industry to desolve cement… when mistakes are made with too much cement with building block homes, they just pour pure vinegar over it and go on with their work…

  104. Vinegar is great for cleaning windows too.

    Vinegar makes a GREAT fabric softener ( I simply put it it in a downy ball). It softens the clothes, no odor is left behind and it doesn’t cause my daughter to break out.

    Also, our elderly cat has, at times, decided that he wants to mark his territory in the linen closet ( if we leave it open) GROSS!. There is absolutely nothing that gets the odor out like vinegar. I simply put a cup in the load of laundry and let it wash through a long, soak cycle. I then do a short wash with a detergent. No kitty smell.

  105. Emma Brown says:

    Vinegar is the king of natural home cleaning! I’ve seen it in so many cleaning tips that it’s hard to remember all of its functions.
    Great article – thank you for sharing this valuable information!
    Here you can find how to clean leather furniture with natural products.

  106. Im having some trouble with my cleaners.. Im using the solutions suggested here and on other websites but my nozzles seem to always stop working… On my ocedar mop, on dollar store squirt bottles and on much more expensive organic cleaning squirt bottles… Any suggestions?? Does this happen to any one else???

  107. I hate to be the negative one here, but I have tried many of the different diy cleaners here, and am really not happy for the most part with the results. Especially the toilet/bathroom cleaner. As far as using the vinegar, peroxide or baking soda diy cleaners in the bathroom, I would have had about the same results if I had used just plain water. I have boys in my house, so my bathrooms and toilets can get pretty bad. These cleaners did not even touch the cleaning that they needed even with a lot of scrubbing where when using the store cleaners, I could just wipe, and things came clean as well as looked clean. A lot less effort, time and mess were put in with the store cleaners. I would love to rid my house of the toxic chemicals that come with store bought cleaners, but I also want to be able to have a clean house without taking forever to scrub to get there and still not have satisfying results in the end. I have followed the ingredients as they are posted, and I have even tried some other suggested mixtures that I found on pinterest, but I am still finding them to be subpar for getting things clean. Do any of you have suggestions for these diy cleaners that work for those of us that have some “real” dirty messes to have to clean up and not just for a little sprucing up where already only tidy adults live? I am not sure if I will be able to eliminate the toxic cleaners from my house if they are the only things that will do the job, and this really frustrates me, because the thought of all the chemicals that we will be exposed to is very unsettling. I would love to hear some feedback from anyone who found a mixture of these cleaners that works for deep down cleaning and what that mixture is and what they used it for. I hope someone will post! Thanks!!

    • cheryl duke says:

      Hey there Carolyn! Just read your post. I, like u, wanted a better, more natural cleaner. I found Melaleuca products 3 years ago and LOVE them! They do an awesome job and are safer for your home. Saves me money too! Contact me to get info.

  108. Is the hydrogen peroxide ok to use on colors?

  109. Stainless Steel Cookware:
    2T baking soda + 1.5 t lemon juice
    pasty scrub in pans = no water stains on pans

  110. I just spent an hour deep cleaning my bathroom with the vinegar mixture and a little hydrogen peroxide and I must say, my bathroom has never looked better! I’ve been looking to make the switch to all natural cleaners for a long time and thanks to this post I’ve finally made the switch! Thank you for posting this!

  111. Rubbing alcohol, few drops of dawn and water for counter tops.

  112. Why do you use the Dr Bronner Castile Soap? Is it because of the mildness? It has lye in it, saponified coconut oil.

  113. I was wondering where you find the sprayer for the hydrogen peroxide? Love this article, thanks!

  114. Thank you for posting all of this amazing information, and the comments are awesome too! I wish more people realized how dangerous cleaning chemicals can be. My mother became a bleach fanatic when I was a kid and, surprise surprise, I’m the only one of three kids who developed asthma and severe allergy problems (my brother and sister were grown by this time). I have heard horror stories of chemical burns from cleaning supplies, nose bleeds, and a lot of deaths from bleach and Lime Away. I am so glad that more people are finally jumping on the natural cleaning bandwagon. Yay!

  115. Good Morning,
    I have a question does anyone know how to get tea stains off of a kitchen counter top???

    Thanks in advance

    • Spray hydrogen peroxide on it. Let it set for a moment or two. It should take it out. Peroxide works as a bleaching agent. You can also use it in the laundry room.

  116. Rubbing alcohol is a chemical, too. ;) And as for citrus oils – well, just because something is natural, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should soak your skin in it, ingest it, and/or stick it in your eyes. True, natural citrus oils are potent, but they’re still better than some industrial alternatives!

    Vinegar, by itself, is not particularly antibacterial – certainly nothing like bleach. BUT some university studies were done that found that vinegar + peroxide IS as antibacterial as bleach. You don’t mix them ahead of time; you spray on one and then the other. When they combine, they temporarily create a third chemical that’s highly disinfectant. And, as others have mentioned, there are disinfectant essential oils available. (I don’t buy the comments about not being able to kill viruses. Regardless of what terminology is proper, if doctors can prescribe “antiviral” meds on a widespread basis, I believe it’s possible to “do away with” viruses.)

  117. 1. I have 2 very athletic boys & I use vinegar to wash their smelly clothes, sneakers/cleates. It works like a charm. I just splash some in the machine with the laundry degergant. It gets the musty smell out of stuff that has been sitting in the hamper too long as well.
    2. I use vinegar in my dish washer instead of rinse aide & my dishes/glasses don’t get spots.
    3. I use equal parts vinegar & rubbing alcohol to clean my dogs ears. I have always had golden retrievers & their ears are prone to ear infections especially when they are in the water a lot. I use the same solution on my son who gets swimmers ear & never gets swimmers ear

  118. Great ideas, but have you heard of Norwex! You use their microfiber cloths and water! That’s it! It lifts up the germs, grease, dust add dirt within the cloth when you wipe across the surface and it truly cleans the surface without anything but water. Check out my website! If you have questions let me know.

  119. Jessica H says:

    I came across your website via Pintrest and decided to spend the whopping $10 (actually less) that it took to buy everything needed to give all of this a good try over the weekend. I was very skeptical to say the least, but within the first 15 minutes, I became a true believer! I have 2 kids under 5 and always hated having harsh chemicals locked up all over the house, but those are out of here! I was really amazed at how easily my stove & microwave came clean with just vinegar & baking soda, when regular cleaning products would have required time to sit & then more scrubbing! Thank you so much for your website, I’m so glad I found it!

  120. Brewed tea (without sugar of course) is great for cleaning hardwood floors.

  121. Dawn is toxic and full of petrochemicals and artificial colors.

  122. Wonderful, and so true. Thank you!!

  123. Kim Wemhaner says:

    I have a tip on microwave cleaning. I use 1 cup of water and 2-3 tbsp lemon juice in a little microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 3 minutes on high. Wait a minute and wipe down. No chemicals and it smells good when you’re done!

  124. The best thing I have ever found for cleaning windows/mirrors would be vineager and water and use a black and white newspaper(no colors!!). Never streaks!!

  125. Omg, sooo glad I tried the vinegar spray!!! I’m SOLD!! I’m a picky cleaner and bought the vinegar and my typical glass cleaner “just in case”. My windows, glass table, TV are CLEAN and sparkling!!

  126. damaris says:

    loved the tips,keep it up,

  127. Danielle says:

    Just wondering if using vinegar and/or lemon with olive oil has ever attracted ants and/or other bugs?

  128. Instead of using paper towel to clean the mirrors and windows, I use newspapers and it does not leave any streaks.

  129. Michele Goodknight says:

    I have tried these an they really work well. Use to clean houses for others for extra money an used these then too. My customers loved their houses an never questioned what i used. So well tested. Nice to see a list like this in one place. Thanks

  130. hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent, it can bleach wood pulp used in paper manufacture and its used to bleach hair, its still a chemical and not a very nice on either, it’d give you same bad burns just like normal household cleaning bleach…

    • Basic hydrogen peroxide that you can buy at your local pharmacy will not cause burns like household bleach. You can actually use it as a mouth rinse, and flushing wounds.

  131. Stacy Carol Williams says:

    along with using old rags and paper towels, I found using coffee filters work well too.

  132. Just in case no one’s mentioned it already, Blue Dawn, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda make a great stain remover! It also gets the sticky off when you remove labels! The site below talks about the stain remover and also, if you search for blue dawn, has a million uses – may not be “natural”, but its supposed to be mild and safe.

    • You’re right – it’s not natural and it’s not safe. For really tough, greasy stains I like Dr. Bronner’s “Sal Suds.”

  133. what do you use for laundry detergent

  134. I use vinegar straight out of the bottle without adding water to clean my kitchen and bathroom. It doesn’t seem to hurt anything not adding the water and I feel like I’m disinfecting more that way.

    Once I stopped using commercial cleaners, I have found we have fewer allergy problems and I don’t feel sick after cleaning like I use to.

  135. spicegrovedesigns says:

    LOVE this! thanks so much for sharing!!

  136. I swear this is the best pet stain remover. My cat peed on the new carpet and after using this there was no stain and ZERO odur! I started using in once a month to wash out the plastic litter box and it took the smell that leached into the plastic out too.
    10 ounces of hydrogen peroxide
    3 tablespoons of baking soda
    about a tbsp. of your favorite light colored dish soap
    just mix it up and pour into a spray bottle.

  137. Glenda Fleming Thomas says:

    I want to repost this on my blog is that ok ? Of course I would give your link

  138. I use peroxide to disinfect my kitchen & bathroom sinks. I keep a spray bottle near each sink & just give them a mist every day. We barely get sick in my house! Rubbing Alcohol is great for shining up chrome fixtures.

  139. I also use rubbing alcohol and a brush and sponge to clean my microfiber furniture. So far I haven’t had any stain that it wont get out and in have both a cat and a dog who love my couch.

  140. Heather Marlow says:

    Love these tips! thanks for the article!


    In order to legally label your products “non-toxic” the FDA requires testing of the product on animals. There are many great cleaning brands that, therefore, cannot be labeled non-toxic because of high ethical standards, not chemicals. So don’t just look for that label, and if you do see it you know that company tests it’s products on animals.

    My favorite low-chemical, high ethical brand is Mrs. Meyers:

  142. Why don’t I ever hear of anyone using wool toilet brushes. You get them at a restaurant supply store. They are the best!! Put your cleaner in the toilet, scrub with your wool brush inside and out. I even do the floor around the toilet. Then swish it around the sink….it is disenfectant….bathtub…..then wipe everything down with a dry rag. Whole bathroom can be clean in minutes and you can do it every day after your shower!!

  143. Any ideas on dish washing detergents? That actually work?

  144. Onecatsighs says:

    Omg. Total convert! Cannot believe how well these recipes clean! I’ve had a stain from oil on my couch for months and have tried many normal cleaners. One wipe over with the alcohol and it’s like it never happened! THANK YOU! :)

  145. I feel like you are either totally ignorant or are just making things up.

    Bleach has a very short shelf life…and when used diluted (like when you use it in your home!). And light and hear destroy bleach…so if you put a few tablespoons of bleach in the sink with cold water…swish your baby toes around in it… Then rinse them with hot water – BAM. BLEACH IS GONE!

    Hydrogen peroxide isn’t anymore natural than bleach is! It’s still a bleaching and oxidizing agent!! Just like bleach.

    OSHA standards are in place so there is a standard – so the employer or employee knows exactly what is okay and what is not! This way if something goes wrong they can determine if the problem is with the material or the user. And industrial bleach is not the same bleach used in homes. AND…even if your product is natural…you should still take general precautions by keeping your area well ventilated and using gloves.

    Please consider reading up a little on your “natural” home cleaners. Or maybe do some research on the products you’re vilifying.

    Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda mixed with certain other chemicals are just as dangerous when bleach is mixed with other chemicals. You’re fear mongering is unattractive.

    • And please excuse my typos…I’m using a different platform that I haven’t used before. It makes it difficult to see my previously types lines as I move down a line.


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