Did you know it only takes a few inexpensive ingredients to make robust natural cleaning products for your home? Things like baking soda, Castile Soap, vinegar, Hydrogen Peroxide and more! Because there are so many toxins in household cleaners, I’ve been buying and using these natural cleaning ingredients and recipes since 2011 and haven’t looked back!
The Merry Messy Moms Show
This post is also on my podcast, The Merry Messy Moms Show! Listen to the episode below and make sure to subscribe a leave a review wherever you get your podcasts!
Listen on YouTube
Natural Cleaning Ingredients
(click on the link to buy them from Amazon)
- Baking Soda
- Castile Soap (peppermint, lavender, or citrus)
- Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds
- Distilled White Vinegar
- Super Washing Soda
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Essential oils – there are many options, but here are my cleaning favs – Thieves, Purification, Lemon, Lavender, Pine, Citrus Fresh or Tea Tree
- Kosher Salt
- 24 oz. plastic spray bottle or 16 oz. brown amber spray bottle
Also known as sodium bicarbonate, it is a component of the natural mineral natron that is found in mineral springs. It is a natural deodorizer and scrubbing agent, perfect for removing soap scum and stuck on particles. Make a paste with some Castile soap and water, or just water and you might be surprised by how effective this very simple and safe ingredient can be!
Castile Soap is traditionally made from Olive Oil and comes from the Castile region of Spain, which is where it derives its name. Today it is also made from coconut, castor and hemp oils. It is free of animal fats, making it vegan, and free from synthetic ingredients, making it environmentally friendly and biodegradable. It is also a gently surfactant, unlike harsh ones such as sodium laureth sulfate that strip your hair and skin of its natural protective oils (like sebum). I have written extensively about Castile Soap here on the blog – see all of the ways you can use it here!
Sal Suds is an all purpose cleaner. “As it says on the bottle: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is a surfactant that cuts grease and dirt, generates copious suds, and biodegrades quickly and completely. SLS is made by combining a sulfate group with lauryl alcohol from coconut oil, then attaching sodium. If improperly formulated, SLS can irritate skin, but our superb formula uses coco-betaine and lauryl glucoside to counter this.”
It is a sulfate, not just a soap like Castile soap, so therefore, it is not appropriate for use on the body or hair. It’s much better for household cleaning, washing the car, washing outdoor furniture, and other tough jobs. I use it in my Laundry Detergent and Dishwashing Soap recipes.
For a list of all of the ways to use it, click here to visit the post on Dr. Bronner’s website.
Distilled White Vinegar
This was one of the first ingredients I bought when I decided to go natural. It is so good for household cleaning, but of course, it doesn’t smell the greatest. I found that I did get used to the scent and adding essentials to it really helped to mask the unpleasant scent. It is a mild disinfectant, more powerful if followed by hydrogen peroxide and left on for 30 minutes or more. The addition of essential oils, especially if they’re from Young Living Essential Oils, can really help the solution kill germs!
Super Washing Soda
This is baking soda’s cousin, also known as sodium carbonate, SAL soda, or soda ash. It is a naturally occurring alkaline mineral with a pH of 11. It is a great addition to your natural laundry and dishwashing routine. It is a water-softener, stain-busting bleach substitute when added to laundry; it neutralizes odors much like baking soda; it gives shine to silver; and it can replace chemical solvents when removing heavy-duty household spills and stains like motor oil, grease, wine, crayons, lipstick and wax. However, due to its very high alkalinity, it is caustic so make sure to wear gloves when you use it and keep it out of reach of children and pets.
This is a safe and effective disinfectant and alternative option to chlorine bleach. Its molecules are made of two hydrogen and two oxygen atoms (H2O2) that decompose after use back into oxygen and hydrogen, so it’s completely green and nontoxic, and is colorless and odorless to boot. It must be stored in a dark container or cabinet out of direct sunlight as sunlight will break it back down into oxygen and hydrogen.
For household cleaning, the 3% solution is an effective disinfectant if left on for 30 minutes or more. It can also be used as a laundry and upholstery stain remover for light or white items. I wouldn’t use it on colored items as it will remove the color like bleach does.
I have a whole post I wrote just about hydrogen peroxide – see it here!
Essential oils are wonderful to use in cleaners. They add extra cleaning and germ fighting power, and also smell wonderful, making the cleaning experience more enjoyable! In my family, we also use them for our health. I only use Young Living Essential Oils as I’ve found them to be the best and most effective ones on the market. Learn more about their oils here.
This particular type of of salt has larger granules than other types of salt, which makes it a perfect scrubbing cleaner for cast iron pans and for thickening up Sal Suds for Laundry Detergent and Dishwashing Detergent. I’ve used other types of salt such as Sea Salt and Table Salt in these recipes and it didn’t work!
Waterproof, Vinyl Labels for Natural Cleaning Supplies
Grab my waterproof, vinyl labels that include the recipes on them here in my Etsy shop! These labels make it super easy when you need to refill your bottles.
Why Use a Natural Cleaner?
The last time the FDA passed a chemical regulations law was in 1976. More than 150,000 chemicals have been released on the market that have not been tested for safety! Chemicals are considered innocent until people start getting sick. There are no regulations requiring companies to disclose the ingredients in household cleaners, so we have no way of knowing whether or not a product is safe for humans, animals and the environment.
Cleaners Cause Indoor Air Pollution
The Environmental Protection Agency reports that the air inside the typical American home is 2-5 times more polluted than the air immediatley outside – and in some extreme cases, 100 times more contaminated. Ten percent of all toxic exposures report to the U.S Poison Control Agency are from common household cleaners. Chemicals within our homes contribute to indoor air pollution, especially ones containing fragrances, chlorine bleach and ammonia.
Health Affects of These Chemicals
Common cleaning products can release more than 450 chemicals into the air and are linked to asthma, reproductive toxicity, cancer, neurotoxicity and more! They are even harmful to babies growing in the womb.
According to the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org):
Studies have shown that infants exposed in the womb to cleaning products used by their mothers may suffer lower birth weight, lower IQ, and wheezing and respiratory symptoms that may persist throughout childhood.
They can even worsen asthma and CAUSE adult-onset asthma – what?! How is this okay?
Many cleaning products, including spray cleaners and disinfecting wipes, contain asthmagens—chemicals that can either worsen asthma or cause asthma in someone who never previously had it. Studies show that using traditional cleaning sprays as rarely as once a week can increase your risk of developing adult-onset asthma. Common asthmagens and respiratory irritants in cleaning products include quats, ethanolamines, glutaral and sodium hypochlorite (chlorine bleach).