My Favorite Homemade Green Household Cleaners with Free Printables

Back in March, I posted about the green household cleaners I’ve been making and using around the house, complete with a guide on how to get started making your own at home. Now that I’ve been using them consistently for a few months, I thought I’d pare down the list and share with you my favorites, as well as a free printable for each, which you can print out and use as a label on the bottle! (I find they stay on best with packing tape, covering it completely with it so the label doesn’t get wet.)

All-Purpose Household Cleaner

This bad boy really is ALL purpose. I use it to clean practically every surface in the house except for upholstery, including the bathtub, toilets, counter tops, sink, messes on the floor, car dashboard, and more!

Why I Love It:

  • It takes less than five minutes to make and really works.
  • I love how it leaves my bathroom smelling like a health food store because of the tea tree oil!
  • It’s non-toxic so I can actually clean my bathroom when the kids are awake and I don’t have to freak out if they get some of the cleaner on their hands!
  • It’s green so when it eventually comes out of my septic tank, it doesn’t pollute the ground and make it’s way into streams, harming wildlife.

Recipe (for 32 ounces)

UPDATE – DO NOT MIX VINEGAR AND CASTILE SOAP: Some of my followers have informed me that mixing vinegar and Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap renders the both of the ingredients powerless. I wrote the Dr. Bronner’s company and asked if this was true – here is their response:
It is true, it is not good to mix vinegar and castile soap because it will unsaponify the soap. As Lisa states in her blog, “In great part it’s due to the fact that vinegar is an acid and the castile soap is a base. They will directly react with each other and cancel each other out. So, instead of getting the best of both (the scum cutting ability of the vinegar and the dirt transporting ability of the soap), you’ll be getting the worst of something entirely new. The vinegar “unsaponifies” the soap, by which I mean that the vinegar takes the soap and reduces it back out to its original oils. So you end up with an oily, curdled, whitish mess. And this would be all over whatever it was you were trying to clean – your laundry or counters or dishes or whatever.” http://lisa.drbronner.com/?p=292
My Solution is to make this cleaner is to remove the vinegar. After cleaning, I spray the surface with my disinfecting spray and wipe down or leave to disinfect. Recipe at the bottom of this post.
Mix the borax and some hot water and lightly shake to dissolve the borax. Then, add the remaining ingredients and slowly fill the rest of the bottle (slowly because of the soap – it will get bubbly!) with filtered water (especially if you have hard tap water).

Baking Soda Freshener

This is my favorite upholstery and fabric freshener, as well as extra scrubbing power in the bathroom. It’s just baking soda and essential oils – can’t get easier or cheaper than that! And if you’ve been potty training for six long excruciating months like us (not a success story over here!), then you’ll definitely want this around. We couldn’t live without it!

Why I Love It:

  • Easy to make
  • Super duper cheap
  • Smells amazing and really works to remove stank nasty smells from upholstery and carpet
  • Great to use in the bathtub and toilet bowl to remove yucky scum

Recipe

Save your Parmesan cheese container the next time you empty it on a plate of spaghetti (anyone guilty out there?) because it makes a perfect shaker container for our Baking Soda Freshener. Fill it halfway with baking soda, drop in 10 drops of each oil (unless your container is bigger than my 16 oz. one) and shake. Then, fill the rest up with baking soda and lightly shake again. Done!

Green Disinfectant

A non-toxic and green disinfectant – who knew it could be done? If you’ve read anything about hand sanitizers and the antibacterial chemicals in soaps and other products like I have, you’re probably searching for a non-toxic alternative. Well, here it is and it’s WAY cheaper than what you’ll buy in the store!

Use this to spray on counter tops (and you don’t have to wipe off!), all over the bathroom, cutting boards and any other non-porous surface that needs some germ smothering. It also works very well on mold and mildew. I sprayed it on some mildewed window casings and the mildew wiped right out. I was amazed!

Why I Love It:

  • Yep, you guessed it, CHEAP!
  • Also easy to make and use
  • Cruelty-free cleaner – and that includes humans!

Recipe
Depending on what you have in your cabinet or want to buy, you can use both hydrogen peroxide and vinegar, or one of each. Both have powerful antibacterial properties that won’t harm ecosystems or your organs.

*10 drops for an 8 oz. bottle, 15 drops for a 16 oz. bottle, 20 drops for a 20 oz. bottle

In a 16 oz. container, fill it with either vinegar or peroxide or half of both for the most power. Then add your essential oils. Lightly shake and done!

See more great green ideas and recipes on my Green Living page!
This post was featured at Nature’s Nurture Blog! Thank you!
This post is linking up at these parties.
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Comments

  1. Pinning this, and then making more to add to my collection. Thank you!

  2. Thanks so much, Ellen!

  3. Thanks for sharing your recipes! I want to try the baking soda freshener. I have read that hydrogen peroxide and vinegar are dangerous when mixed together. I’ve read it’s better to spray one, wipe clean, and then spray the other and wipe clean. Doing it that way is supposed to be as effective than bleach.
    http://www.blurtit.com/q789922.html

  4. Sara these are fabulous ideas (and your labels are so cute!) I use vinegar for lots of things already, and Dr. Bronners is a family favorite (has been for years!) I am partial to the smell of lavender (yum!). I need to invest in the essential oils you mentioned. My favorite “commercial” cleaner is Mrs. Meyer’s All Purpose Cleaner (Lavender scent of course!) Yours are an economical alternative to the pricy Mrs. M!

  5. Thanks for the recipes !
    Did you know that vodka is very good too for cleaning and killing the bacterias ?
    Hug
    Have a nice week
    Thanks for the visit
    Anna

  6. Great list, Sara! And the printables are such a nice touch :) Thanks for sharing at Tiny Tip Tuesday!

    By the way, I’m featuring you on my blog tomorrow morning, so come check it out!

  7. Thanks for sharing these awesome recipes!

    Mrs. Delightful
    http://www.ourdelightfulhome.blogspot.com

  8. Hey Sara, this post is being featured tomorrow for Tiny Tip Tuesday! If you would just include a link at the bottom that leads to Nature’s Nurture, I’d really appreciate it. ;) Thanks!

    • Hi! Sure, sorry about that. Oversight on my part! It’s been fixed. Excited to be featured!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I wanted to check in on your recipes using Hydrogen Peroxide? which grade are you using for your recipes for cleaning surfaces and using in the laundry? 35% or 3% or ?. Thank you for these recipes… I have had the book Clean House Clean Planet for well over 5 years now… and have read it from front to back… back to front… middle to front and back… OH GOD I LOVE IT!!! and have made many of the recipes… Thanks for all that you do.

  9. How long is the all-purpose cleaner good for? Should I make it in in small batches?

  10. pattyphillips says:

    Can you use the Dr Bonner Peppermint soap instead of the castile soap for the all purpose cleaner?

  11. pattyphillips says:

    Thank you

  12. Love the receipes but I make mine a little different because of a post I found from Lisa Bronner that says that vinegar and castile soap cancel each other out. Found it here http://lisa.drbronner.com/?p=292

    • That’s very interesting, Chrystal, I’ve never heard of that before. It does seem to make sense. I searched for more articles on that and didn’t really find anything scientific to prove it, though. I haven’t had any trouble with clumping in the all-purpose cleaner. I’ll have to keep reading more about it. Thanks!

  13. Hi Sara. I made the All-purpose cleaner and love it. However, I have a soapy residue leftover on my counters. I followed the recipe to the tee. Any suggestions? Also, kudos on the baking soda refresher and the cute labels for our containers. Very much appreciated.

    • I’ve used a similar recipe, and it’s because Castille soap and vinegar should not be mixed. There is a link in the comment above regarding this very subject.

      • Hi Daphne, I have been doing some research on the subject of not mixing Castile Soap and vinegar and am just about to write about it. You’re right – everyone says they shouldn’t be mixed. Funny thing is, though, it hasn’t seemed to weaken my cleaning products to do so, so it hasn’t bothered me at least. But I will write about it!

  14. Hi Farrah! Glad you like the labels :). I’ve never had a soapy residue left on my counters before, but it should wipe up with a cloth. Otherwise, you could reduce the Dr. Bronner’s or eliminate it completely. I’ve actually been reading that it counteracts the cleaning power of vinegar and am going to write a post about it soon.

  15. Eileen Akselsonh says:

    I don’t care for the scent of lavender and wonder if it could substituted with a citrus scent in the cleaning recipes.

    • Hi Eileen! Yes, please feel free to use any essential oil you want. Tea Tree Oil is antibacterial and anti-fungal, so it’s really good to keep in cleaning supplies. Thyme oil also helps with bacteria. But sure, orange oil or lemon would would be wonderful in these recipes.

  16. Bethann Harris says:

    this may be a weird question but is there a reason you use lavender and tree oil? I really like the carpet powder I have been doing that for a few weeks but I didn’t see it here I just kind of got the idea because I make air freshiners with the same stuff and whenever I would vacuum I would just dump it into the carpet and vacuum it up but I was using mystical flower garden… should I switch to lavender and tree oil or just add tree oil to what I already use or is there a reason for those two specifically???

  17. Hi. Haven’t made any products but I am thinking this is the year! I do have a question, however, As I haven’t had luck with vinegar and/or baking soda in my fiberglass shower stall. We have hard water. Will the all purpose do the trick?

    • Hmm, hard water is tricky. I found that using the all purpose cleaner, along with sprinkling baking soda on top of it, works very well to remove hard water, scum and oils. Another idea is to let it sit for at least 5 minutes so it can really work.

      • Hi. That will probably work great for the horizontal services, but I guess I’ll have to wing it for the vertical since baking soda won’t be able to sit on that area. Thank you so much for the feedback! Happy New year!

        • Miranda Hessel says:

          If all else fails, just use some original CLR- EWG gives it an A for being non-hazardous as a cleaner.

  18. Hi Sarah, I just mixed the ingredients for all purpose cleaner, sans vinegar. Do you suggest diluting it with water or just use it as per the recipe?

  19. I have been looking for OPAQUE SPRAY BOTTLES for my homemade cleaners that use hydrogen peroxide so it does not degrade while sitting around. Have you found any? At the moment I have an old black sock on the outside of one bottle and the other bottle is an old Spray & Wash bottle (which isn’t 100% opaque, but it is dark blue so I figure that is better than nothing).

    • Hi Laura! Hmmm, that’s a good one. I haven’t found any opaque cleaning bottles out there. One idea that isn’t terribly convenient is to paint the bottle, or wrap it in opaque contact paper. Otherwise, I have found that keeping the cleaners in a dark cabinet or under the sink works just fine, because it’s never exposed to sunlight.

  20. Since vinegar and baking soda are acid and base… I thot they would also create a neutral solution that was ineffective. They bubble up immediately then are they still good for cleaning?

  21. While out searching for options I came across your post and featured it on my blog at http://whittskitsfabricscrafts.blogspot.com/2013/03/mining-monday-diy-cleaning-products.html
    Great ideas! Thanks!
    Carrie recently posted..Bit o’ Cooking: Crockpot ChexMix… seriously!My Profile

  22. Gayle Cooper says:

    I use the Baking Soda Freshener to take away baby spew smell, always have it in my nappy bag its great you can even put it on your clothing if Bubba spews on you and it dusts right off. No more smelling of Baby spew for me :)

  23. Love your website! Do you mind doing a hand soap recipe with Dr. Bronner’s soaps? Any recommendations?

    Thanks!

  24. Jessica says:

    These are absolutely AMAZING!! I own and operate my own home cleaning service and my customers absolutely LOVE that I have gone green and eco-friendly!! Thank you so so much for these recipes!!

  25. One more question, for the purpose cleaner, I purchased (Dr. Bronner’s lavender scent, since I will be doing your hand soap recipe) can I use the lavender scent for the all purpose cleaner replaced with the peppermint in your recipe. Will the smell be too strong?

    Thanks!

    -Romina

  26. I like your post…really impressive work….thanks..

  27. Christine says:

    Printed off all your natural recipes and cant wait to make them up. Thank you

  28. Shane Kruger says:

    Hi Sarah
    Ive been following your blog for a while now and have recently made the decision to start making my own cleaning supplies but now i am faced with a problem,i live in South Africa and the castille soap you use from amazon is not deliverd to S.A,is there any other alternative brands that i can look for?

    Thanks so much for all your wonderful ideas
    Shane.

  29. Since tea tree oil is dangerous to dogs, is there another oil other than lavender that US similar and safe?

  30. First of all, thank you so much for all of the EASY recipes! I am very new to a “non-toxic” lifestyle. I just need to know if there is a particular reason why you choose the lavender and tea tree oil in many of your cleaning products. I think I read somewhere on your website that the tea tree is an antibacterial. Is this why you add it to all of your products? Is the lavender just your preference or does it also add another cleaning attribute to your products? Once again, thank you! I find your site the most user friendly!

    • Hi Kelly! Yes, the lavender and tea tree oil are the most potent as far as antibacterial properties go. That’s why I use them in particular so much. However, many of the essential oils are antibacterial, as that’s how they work in nature to protect plants from disease. Other good ones are eucalyptus, lemon, and orange. But tea tree oil really packs the most!

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