Spring cleaning season is here! It’s time for opening windows, reorganizing clutter and freshening up our homes.
Surprisingly, many of the products we use to clean our living spaces do just the opposite: They make our homes a less fresh place to live. Some materials contained in household cleaners are among the top environmental dangers threatening our health, and manufacturers often use harsh or toxic chemicals in their products, putting consumers at risk.
Here’s the good news, though: You can create your own cleaning products using natural ingredients—like water—from home. These supplies can disinfect and eliminate messes as needed, and they’re better for your health and safety. Plus, these simple recipes also help you save money!
What You’ll Need
Many ingredients used in DIY cleaning products are probably in your cupboards already. Common household cleaning agents include:
- White vinegar
- Baking soda
- Castile soap
- Essential oils
- Olive oil
- Natural dish soap
- Citric acid
- Hydrogen peroxide
What to Do
There are dozens of creative options to make the cleaning solution that’s right for you, but here are three of our favorites.
Drain Cleaner: Some commercial drain cleaners can damage your pipes and cause chemical burns. To avoid these products, pour equal parts of baking soda and white vinegar into your drain. Allow time for these gentle ingredients to break down clogs, and then flush with boiling water.
Mold and Mildew Remover: While your instinct may be to use harsh cleaners to combat unhealthy mold and mildew, this simple mixture will do the trick. In a 24-ounce spray bottle, mix two cups of water and two teaspoons of tea-tree oil. Generously spray the affected area and let sit for 24 hours. Next, mix the solution into 1/4 cup of baking soda until a paste forms. Scrub the area with the paste and rinse.
Water Bottle Fizzies: Reusable water bottles are great for the environment, but their tall physique can make them difficult to clean. In a small bowl, mix one cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of citric acid and 1/4 cup of salt. Next, gradually mix in one teaspoon of natural dish soap and 1/2 teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide. Scoop into equal pieces on parchment paper and let dry overnight.
When you’re ready to clean, simply drop a tablet in your water bottle, give it a shake, and rinse!
Tips and Tricks
Be careful what you mix. The pH balance of some ingredients can cancel the effects of others, making your mixture ineffective. If you’re recycling old product containers, be certain to clean out bottles and spray nozzles thoroughly to prevent unwanted chemical reactions.
Label your creations and keep them out of reach of children and pets. This is a good precaution with all cleaning products. Unlabeled bottles can also lead you to make frustrating mistakes like spraying furniture polish on your windows.
Don’t make more than what you need. The average shelf life of natural cleaning products is one month or less. Store ingredients separately and mix as needed for a fresher clean.
Which DIY cleaner are you eager to try? Have any cleaning recipes of your own? Tell us in a Facebook comment or on Twitter!