I hate chemicals! I hate the way they smell, the way they feel, the way they are so toxic and I don’t want to use them around my kids. Luckily there are many natural cleaning solutions you can use that work just as well or better without all the chemical worry. Here are just some of the many.

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Green clean

Lemons

The acid in lemon juice removes dirt and rust stains. It’s especially effective when mixed with salt, which makes an excellent scouring paste,

Price: About 50 cents a lemon.
Uses:

Countertops: Dip the cut side of a lemon half in baking soda to tackle countertops; wipe with a wet sponge and dry. Don’t use on delicate stone, like marble, or stainless steel (it may discolor).

Cutting boards: To remove tough food stains from light wood and plastic cutting boards, slice a lemon in half, squeeze onto the soiled surface, rub, and let sit for 20 minutes before rinsing.

Dishes: To increase the grease-cutting power of your dishwashing detergent, add a teaspoon of lemon juice.

Faucets: Combat lime scale by rubbing lemon juice onto the taps and letting it sit overnight. Wipe with a damp cloth.

Garbage disposal: Cut a lemon in half, then run both pieces through the disposal.
Grout: Spilled morning coffee on your tile countertop or backsplash? Here’s how to tackle grout stains: Add lemon juice to 1 or 2 teaspoons cream of tartar (an acidic salt that acts as a natural bleaching agent) to make a paste. Apply with a toothbrush, then rinse.

Hands: When you touch raw fish, the smell can linger on your fingers. Rub your hands with lemon juice, which will neutralize the odor.

Laundry: To brighten whites, add 1/2 cup lemon juice to the rinse cycle for a normal-size load.

Plastic food-storage containers: To bleach stains from tomato soup and other acidic foods on dishwasher-safe items, rub lemon juice on the spots, let dry in a sunny place, then wash as usual.

Essential Oils

Extracted from plants, some essential oils can kill bacteria and mold. They’re very strong, so don’t go overboard: One drop of peppermint oil is as potent as 30 cups of peppermint tea.

Price: varies
Uses:

Combs and brushes: Fill a container with 1½ cups water, ½ cup distilled white vinegar, and 20 drops tea-tree, lavender, or eucalyptus oil. Soak combs and brushes for 20 minutes. Rinse and air-dry.

Scuffed floors: Apply two to four drops of tea-tree oil to the spots. Wipe excess oil with a cloth and rub in distilled white vinegar.

Gum-encrusted items: Orange oil is great at removing this sticky offender from various materials. (Don’t worry: It shouldn’t stain fabrics. But do launder immediately.) Apply with a cotton ball.

Shower doors: Wipe scum-covered glass doors with a few drops of lemon oil twice a month. It will protect them from grime buildup.

Toilets: Add 2 teaspoons tea-tree oil and 2 cups water to a spray bottle. Shake, then spritz along the toilet’s inside rim. Let sit for 30 minutes; scrub. You can also place a few drops of your favorite oil on the inside of the toilet-paper tube. “Every time the paper is used, the scent will be released,” says Siegel-Maier.

Windows: Mix 2 ounces water and 10 drops lavender or lemongrass oil to wipe grime off windows. Bonus: These oils may repel flies.

Liquid Castile Soap

Like other soaps, this plant-based version efficiently loosens grime and dirt from surfaces, says Siegel-Maier: “But it’s gentler, so it won’t dull them.”

Price: About $8 for 8 ounces at supermarkets.
Uses:

Car: Mix ¼ cup liquid Castile soap with hot water in a bucket (fill almost to the top). Rub a generous amount of the solution on your car’s exterior, windshield, hubcaps, and tires with a large sponge, then thoroughly hose it off.

Floors: You can mop almost any type of floor with a solution of ¼ cup liquid Castile soap and 2 gallons warm water. If the floors are greasy, add ¼ cup distilled white vinegar to the bucket. leather upholstery: Add 2 drops liquid Castile soap to 1 quart warm water. Apply to the leather with a barely moist sponge.

Marble countertops: Stir 1 tablespoon liquid Castile soap into 1 quart warm water. Dampen a cloth with the solution and wipe surface. Rinse, then dry with a clean cloth.

Sinks, showers, tubs, and ceramic tile: Create a homemade soft scrubber by combining 1 tablespoon liquid Castile soap and 1/3 cup baking soda.

Stovetop and vent hood: Add a few squirts of liquid Castile soap to 2 cups hot water. Apply to the stovetop, the burners, and the vent hood to cut through accumulated grease.

Cooking Oils

Vegetable- and plant-based oils, such as olive and sunflower, dislodge dirt, diminish scratches and imperfections, and “hydrate wood that has aged or dried out from exposure to the sun,” says Hunter.

Price: varies.
Uses:

Cast-iron pans: Make a scrubbing paste with vegetable oil and a teaspoon of coarse salt to combat cooked-on debris, then rinse with hot water.

Hands: To get paint off your skin, rub with vegetable oil, then wash thoroughly with soap.

Leather shoes: Wipe away dirt with a damp sponge, then apply a drop of vegetable oil to a soft cloth and rub the surface to remove scuff marks. Buff the shoes with a chamois to a shine.

Rattan and wicker furniture: To prevent rattan and wicker from drying or cracking, lightly brush them with vegetable or sunflower oil and gently rub in with a cloth. Warm the oil on the stove first to thin it and make it easier to apply.

Stainless-steel surfaces: For extra sparkle, pour olive oil onto a cloth and buff.

Wood furniture: Make your own polish by mixing 2 cups olive or vegetable oil with the juice of 1 lemon; work it in with a soft cloth. To smooth out scratches in light-colored wood, rub them with a solution of equal parts olive or vegetable oil and lemon juice.

Borax

When added to a laundry wash, borax makes detergents even more effective. It’s also alkaline, so it kills mold and fungus and softens water.

Price: About $5 for 4 pounds at supermarkets.
Uses:

Baseboards, countertops, and walls: Dissolve ½ cup borax in 1 gallon hot water and pour the solution into a spray bottle (which you can store for later use). Spritz generously, wipe down with a damp cloth, and let air-dry.

China (including hand painted): Soak china in a dishpan filled with warm water and ½ cup borax; rinse well.

Dishwasher: If the machine is smelling like last night’s chicken cacciatore, sprinkle borax in the bottom, let it sit overnight, then wipe down with a damp sponge. No need to rinse; just run the next load.

Pots and pans: Rub borax into cookware with a damp sponge; rinse well.

Toilet: Pour borax in the bowl and let it sit overnight. Swish the bowl a few times with a toilet brush and flush the next day.

Vinegar

This acidic wonder can wipe out tarnish, soap scum, mineral deposits, and more. Among natural cleaners, it’s the clear champ. Distilled white vinegar creates an environment that inhibits the growth of mold, mildew, and some bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella.

Price: About $1.80 for a quart at supermarkets.
Uses:

Coffeemaker: Pour equal parts vinegar and water into the machine’s water chamber, then switch on the brew cycle. Halfway through, turn off the coffeemaker and let the solution sit for about an hour. Turn it on again to complete the cycle, then run several cycles with clean water.

Dishwasher: To disinfect the interior of the machine, pour ½ cup vinegar into the reservoir and run an empty cycle, says Hunter. Or place a small bowl filled with vinegar on the bottom rack and run an empty cycle.

Drains: Clean drains―and the pipes they’re attached to―by pouring vinegar down them. After 30 minutes, flush with cold water.

Floors: Add ¼ cup vinegar to a bucket of warm water to clean almost any type of floor except marble (vinegar can scratch it) or wood (vinegar can strip it).

Glassware: For spotless hand-washed glasses, add 1 cup vinegar to the rinse water.

Moldy walls: Spray vinegar on the affected areas. After about 15 minutes, rinse and let dry thoroughly.

Showerheads: To combat mineral deposits, pour vinegar into a plastic grocery bag and knot the handles over the neck of the showerhead, securing with rubber bands. Let soak overnight. Rinse with water in the morning.

Steam iron: To get rid of mineral deposits, fill the iron with equal parts vinegar and water; press the steam button. Turn off, let cool, empty, and rinse.

Windows: Mix ¼ cup vinegar, 2 cups water, and a squirt of liquid Castile soap in a spray bottle. Spritz windows and wipe with a sheet of newspaper.

Baking Soda & Washing Soda

Baking soda (a.k.a. sodium bicarbonate) and its close cousin, washing soda (sodium carbonate), both absorb odors. But unlike baking soda, slightly stronger washing soda can’t be ingested; wear rubber gloves when handling it.

Price: About $1.08 for a pound of baking soda; $7 for 4 pounds of washing soda; both available at supermarkets.
Uses:

Can opener: Dip a toothbrush in a paste of 2 tablespoons baking soda and 1 teaspoon water and use it to dislodge gunk.

Garage floors (and other concrete surfaces): Pour washing soda generously on oil and grease spots and sprinkle with water until a paste forms. Let stand overnight. The next day, scrub with a damp brush, hose down, and wipe clean.

Garden tools: Dip a moist stiff-bristled brush in washing soda to scrub trimmers, clippers, and more. Rinse, then place in a sunny area to dry. (Don’t use washing soda on aluminum tools.)

Grills and barbecue utensils: To combat tough grease stains, dip a moist stiff- bristled brush in washing soda and scrub away.

Stove burner grates: In a dishpan, soak them in 1 gallon warm water and ½ cup washing soda for 30 minutes. Rinse and dry.

Stained teacups and coffee mugs: Fill with 1 part baking soda and 2 parts water and soak overnight; rub with a sponge and rinse.

Upholstered furniture: To remove odors, sprinkle baking soda on the fabric, then vacuum.

Scuffed walls: Erase crayon marks by applying a baking- soda paste (equal parts baking soda and water) to white painted walls (baking soda may dull colored walls). Let dry before brushing it off with a clean cloth.

Table Salt

Salt’s granular texture makes it perfectly suited for scouring. Table salt, sea salt, and kosher salt can all be used, but table salt is the cheapest choice.

Price: About 69 cents a pound.
Uses:

Artificial flowers: Place the fake blooms inside a paper bag and pour in salt. Close the bag and shake vigorously. The salt will dislodge accumulated dust and dirt.

Glassware: Salt won’t scratch the way a scouring pad can. To get out stubborn stains, add some salt for extra abrasion and scrub.

Greasy pots and pans: Sprinkle salt on cookware to absorb excess grease. Dump out the salt before washing as usual. (Not recommended for nonstick cookware.)

Spills in the oven: If that casserole bubbles over as you take it out of the oven, pour salt on the spill to soak it up. When the oven is cool, wipe with a damp sponge.

Stained teacups and coffee mugs: Sprinkle salt on the outside of a lemon peel; rub the affected area till clean.

Wooden counters and tables: Cover grease splatters with salt to absorb as much as possible. Wait an hour, then brush away the salt.

Hydrogen Peroxide

The bubbling action of hydrogen peroxide does wonders in lifting stubborn gunk on surfaces, but also works to fizz away perspiration stains on white fabrics. Keep a spray bottle filled with a peroxide and water mixture near the washing machine; spritz spots and rinse with clean water before starting a load. CAREFUL! This bleaches any fabric that is not white.

Here are some great recipes for natural cleaners that you can use around your home:

Surface Spray:

  • 16 oz spray bottle
  • 2 tsp. borax
  • ¼ tsp. liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s)
  • hot water

All Purpose Liquid Cleaner:

  • 1 gal. hot water
  • 1 tbsp. baking soda
  • 2 tbsp. liquid soap (like Dr. Bronner’s)

All Purpose Abrasive Cleaner:

  • liquid soap (like Dr. Bronner’s)
  • 2 tbsp. baking soda

Mix to make a foamy paste.

Refrigerator Cleaner:

  • 2 tbs. baking soda in 1 qt warm water

Wipe down inside and out and rinse with a clean wet cloth.

Oven Cleaner:

  • Dampen with water
  • Sprinkle liberally with baking soda

Leave 20 minutes, then scrub until clean.

Microwave Cleaner:

  • ½ c. vinegar
  • 2 c. water

Combine in microwave safe bowl, heat on high for 3-4 minutes, remove bowl and wipe down inside of microwave.

Dishwasher Detergent:

  • 2 c. borax
  • 2 c. baking soda
  • 4 little packages of unsweetened lemon Kool-Aid (or generic)

Mix together and store. You can substitute ½ c. of citric acid for the Kool-Aid but it’s harder to find.

Fruit and Vegetable Wash:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. baking soda
  • 20 drops grapefruit seed extract

Spray on produce, rinse after 5 minutes.

Fruit and Vegetable Wash #2:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. baking soda

Spray on produce, wipe after 5 minutes.

Drain Cleaner:

  • 1 c. baking soda first
  • 1 c. white vinegar second
  • 1 gallon boiling water

Allow to foam for 5 minutes before adding water.

Window, Glass and Chrome Cleaner:

  • 5 parts water to 1 part white vinegar, OR
  • 1 c. water, 1 c. vinegar, ½ tsp. castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s)

Toilet Bowl Cleaners:

  • Liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s)
  • Baking soda or borax

Scrub with a toilet brush.

Tub And Tile Cleaner:

  • Apply vinegar full-strength to a sponge and wipe
  • Scour with baking soda

Soft Scrub for Fixtures:

  • ½ c. baking soda
  • Castile soap
  • 10 drops of antibacterial essential oil (optional)

Add enough castile soap until you have a frosting like consistency. Scrub, then rinse with water.

Mildew/Germ Killer:

  • 2 c. water
  • 25 drops of tea tree oil
  • 25 drops of lavender oil

Spray on tile and do not wipe off.

Mildew/Germ Killer 2:

  • 16 oz spray bottle
  • 1 part hydrogen peroxide
  • 2 parts water

Spray, let sit. Rinse after 1 hour.

Wood Floor Cleaner:

  • ¼ c. vinegar
  • 1 gal. warm water

Mop or rag should be slightly damp for cleaning.

Linoleum Floor Cleaner:

  • 1 c. vinegar
  • 2 gal. warm water

Mop or rag can be fully wet for cleaning.

Carpet Stain Remover:

  • 1 part borax
  • 10 parts warm water

Combine in spray bottle. Spray on stain, wait 5 minutes, blot with clean rag.

Carpet Stain Remover:

  • vinegar
  • baking soda

Mix vinegar and baking soda into a paste. Gently work into stain with a toothbrush. Let dry then vacuum completely.

Carpet Deodorizer:

  • Baking soda
  • 10 drops of essential oil (optional)

Mix together then sprinkle generously on carpet, wait 15 minutes and vacuum.

All-Purpose Carpet Cleaner:

After vacuuming first,

  • 1 c. white vinegar
  • 3 c. boiling water

Blot mixture onto nap of rug with a wet rag, Dry and air thoroughly. Vacuum.

Air Freshener:

  • 2 parts water
  • 1 part rubbing alcohol
  • Essential oil

Mix in spray bottle, don’t spray on silks or delicates. Experiment with how much oil to add, but start with 5 drops.

Air Freshener 2:

  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vinegar or lemon juice
  • 2 c. hot water

Mix in spray bottle, don’t spray on silks or delicates.

Furniture Polish:

  • ½ tsp. olive oil
  • ¼ c. vinegar or lemon juice

Mix in a glass jar. Dab a soft rag into the solution and wipe onto wood surfaces.

Scratches:

  • 1 part lemon juice
  • 1  part vegetable oil

Rub into the scratches and polish.

Rust Remover:

  • Sprinkle area with salt
  • Squeeze lime onto salt

Leave sit for 2-3 hours, then scrub w/ lime rind (or try Almost-Doctor Dan’s method).

Metal Polish (copper and brass):

  • 2 tbsp. salt

Add vinegar until you make a paste. Rub on metal with a clean rag. Wipe clean.

Powdered Laundry Detergent:

  • 1 c. grated Fels Naptha soap
  • ½ c. washing soda
  • ½ c. borax

For light load, use 1 tablespoon. For heavy or soiled load, use 2 tablespoons.

Liquid Laundry Detergent:

  • 3 pints water
  • 1/3 bar Fels Naptha soap, grated
  • ½ c. washing soda
  • ½ c. borax
  • 2 gallon bucket
  • 1 quart hot water

Mix soap in saucepan with 3 pints of water. Heat on low until dissolved. Stir in soda and borax until thickened. Remove from heat. Add 1 quart hot water to bucket, then soap mixture, mix well. Fill rest of bucket with hot water, mix and let sit for 24 hours. Use ½ c. per laundry load.

Laundry Pre-treatment (*do NOT use with bleach, since ammonia + bleach can create dangerous fumes):

  • ½ c. ammonia
  • ½ c. white vinegar
  • ¼ c. baking soda
  • 2 tbsp. liquid soap or laundry detergent
  • 2 quarts water

Mix in spray bottle. Spray spot.

Laundry Pre-treatment 2:

  • 1 tsp. liquid laundry detergent
  • 2 tbsp. ammonia
  • 1 pt. warm water

Mix in spray bottle. Spray spot, let sit for 20 minutes.

Fabric Softener:

Add ½ – 1 c. vinegar to your softener dispenser

Bleach Alternative (Laundry):

  • ¼ c. hydrogen peroxide

To help cut down on cleaning:

  • Run your dishwasher late at night without a heat-dry setting and let things air dry overnight instead
  • Replace sponges with washable and reusable items like microfiber cloths and dishrags
  • Premix large batches of cleaning formulas so they’re always on hand and you’re never tempted to buy store stuff again
  • Set your washer to cold/cold for the most eco laundry you can get
  • Have people take off their shoes when they enter the house and wipe down the shower after each use (these preventative methods will really keep the house cleaner and cut down on your work)

Need more info about essential oils?

You can download the most popular essential oil encyclopedia app on Amazon. This app is also available on the Google Play store.