One of the easiest ways to eliminate toxins and synthetic chemicals from your home plus save money is by making your own cleaning solutions. Recipes are simple and use ingredients that are easy to find and affordable. You can find these base ingredients at most grocery stores or large online retailers:
- Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) for grease, odors and dirt
- Distilled vinegar for disinfecting (never mix vinegar with baking soda or hydrogen peroxide; avoid using on natural stone and wood surfaced)
- Borax (sodium borate) solvent for grease, stains and grime
- Washing soda (sodium carbonate) solvent for grease, mineral stains and dirt
- Hydrogen peroxide for disinfecting
A variety of essential oils can be used for cleaning, but these often used for because of their purported antibacterial and germicidal properties: are
- Tea Tree
- Sweet Orange
Keep soft, washable cloths on hand for wiping surfaces; many people recommend microfiber clothes, which you can usually purchase in bulk online.
This Laundry Detergent recipe has the most time consuming step, shredding then chopping your bar soap, but it’s worth the time, especially if you or loved ones have sensitive skin. The recipe and video were submitted by Jennifer Dusza, Lemongrass Spa’s Consultant Relations Manager.
Detergent Tip: do not use Spearmint Eucalyptus, Midnight Orchid or Detoxifying Charcoal Bar Soap to avoid color transfer to clothes.
One box borax
One box washing soda
1 teaspoon Lemon Essential Oil
1 bar Tea Tree Face Soap, shredded then finely chopped
1 bar Lemongrass Signature Body Soap, shredded then finely chopped
Mix all ingredients in a glass storage container. Use 1-2 tablespoons of detergent per load.
Not ready to make detergent from scratch? Try this refreshing Laundry Booster:
Add 3 ½ cups washing soda and 1 teaspoon Peppermint Essential Oil in a quart sized glass jar. Add lid and shake well. Use 1-2 teaspoon per load of laundry. *Avoid using with on/around children under age 6 due to high menthol content which can cause slowed respiration in some children.
Wool dryer balls and reusable dryer sheets can be purchased online; some natural grocery stores also stock them in their home section. To make your own Felted Wool Dryer Balls to reduce static and decrease dry time, try these from Jennifer Dusza, Consultant Relations Manager.
- 100% Wool Yarn
- Washer and Dryer
Make a tight ball (about the size of a tennis ball) with your yarn. The tighter the ball, the longer it will last. Push the end of the yarn deep inside the ball (Jennifer recommends using a crochet needle). Put the balls inside a leg of the pantyhose and make a tight knot between each ball. Wash and dry the balls on hot for three cycles. Remove dryer balls from the pantyhose, and they are ready to use in your next dry cycle.
You can diffuse your favorite essential oil to freshen the scent in any room, but Lemon, Eucalyptus, Lavender and Sweet Orange are a few of the best to dissipate unpleasant odors from pets, dirty laundry, cigarette smoke and more.
Carpet Deodorizer, adapted from a DIYNatural recipe
2 cups baking soda
20 – 30 drops Lavender Essential Oil (or essential oil of your choice)
Combine baking soda and essential oil in a glass jar, and shake to combine. Liberally shake mixture on carpet. Let sit 1-3 hours, depending on area. Thoroughly vacuum carpet.
Nothing’s better than an all-purpose cleaner to conquer most of your cleaning battles! You could substitute tap water for distilled water in a pinch, but you will want to use the solution within a few days to avoid microbial growth.
Multi Surface Cleaner, recipe contributed by Jenn Pizza from Maryland
8 oz. distilled water
8 oz. distilled white vinegar
10 drops Lemon Essential Oil
10 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
Add all ingredients to a glass spray bottle. Shake to mix. Use to clean most surfaces such as countertops, sink, bathtub and appliances.
All Purpose Cleanser
6 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
10 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
12 drops Lemon Essential Oil
Add essential oils to glass spray bottle; fill up the rest of the way with water to dilute. Shake well then use it to wipe down surfaces in the bathroom, kitchen or laundry room.
All-purpose cleaners aren’t always the best choice for windows and mirrors. Instead make your own Window Cleaner by adding 1 ½ cups distilled water, 2 tablespoons white vinegar, 6 drops Sweet Orange Essential Oil, 3 drops Lemon Essential Oil and 1 drop Tea Tree Essential Oil to a glass spray bottle; shake well. Spray on glass surface and dry with a soft cloth.
Toilet Tablets, recipe contributed by Jenn Pizza from Maryland
1 Cup Baking soda
1 Cup Citric Acid
10 drops Lemon Essential Oil
Mister bottle filled with water
Mix dry ingredients in bowl. Spray in a few pumps of water and QUICKLY mix with hands (Quickly mixing will prevent citric acid from activating). Fill ice cube tray and let sit overnight. Drop one toilet tab in bowl/tank as needed. The longer it sits the better it cleans.
Killer Cleaning Paste
“I have used this with success to clean everything from bathtubs to ovens. This is such a popular recipe, and everyone who tries it is amazed! “ Lea Harris, Certified Clinical Aromatherapist.
Mix 1 cup baking soda, 4 tablespoons hydrogen peroxide (double this amount for a soft scrub) and 20 drops Lemon Essential Oil in a ½ pint glass jar (or recycled peanut butter jar).
Wood Polish, recipe from Diffuser World
¼ c. distilled white vinegar
¼ c. olive oil
Mix olive oil and essential oil in a glass spray bottle; shake to combine. Spray on wood surface and buff with a soft dry cloth.
Mold & Mildew Remover
Mix 10 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil per ounce of vinegar in a spray bottle. Spritz on areas of mold or mildew and wipe off well. Tea Tree essential oil can also be used in high-pressure washers to rinse driveways and sidewalks to prevent mold accumulation; add a teaspoon to a gallon of water in the holding tank.
I’d love for you to share your favorite essential oils for cleaning or recipes and tips in the comments!
*Unless otherwise noted, recipes adapted from Lea Harris, Certified Clinical Aromatherapist.