How to Make Your Own Eco-Friendly
Cleaning Products

How to Make Your Own Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

If you feel concerned walking down the cleaning aisle of your grocery store, you’re not alone. Many of the mass-produced products available use harsh chemicals, unlike eco friendly cleaners which are non-toxic, derived from natural ingredients, and better for the environment. Whether you have kids or pets or just want to live a healthier lifestyle, natural cleaning products often work just as well as the other stuff! Plus, they tend to be cheaper and can help you reduce how many single-use plastics you bring home.

By using chemical-free cleaning products, you can avoid cleaning with ingredients that could harm the planet. You can even be a trendsetter! Setting a good example for kids, guests and coworkers can help spread the love of green cleaning. Natural products may not work on the toughest messes, but they’re an excellent way to go green with everyday cleaning tasks. Let’s explore some tips and recipes for natural cleaning products you can DIY.

Tips for Homemade Cleaning

• Know what materials you're cleaning
• Make sure it's safe to mix your ingredients
• Use clean, preferably new containers
• Be cautious with essential oils
• Buy disinfectants from the store

Tips for Homemade Cleaning

Before we dive into some recipes for nontoxic cleaning products, there are a few things you should know about using and making them:

  • Know what materials you're cleaning. Certain ingredients don’t play nicely with certain materials. For example, you can’t use acidic agents like lemon juice or vinegar on a stone counter. They’ll etch and eat away at the stone. You also want to avoid abrasive cleaners on surfaces that could corrode, like metal. Pay attention to what’s in your homemade cleaner and what surface it’s going on. When possible, opt for green cleaning products that are labeled for specific surfaces.
  • Make sure it's safe to mix your ingredients. While most ingredients in organic cleaning products are safe on their own, some can cause dangerous chemical reactions. For example, mixing hydrogen peroxide and vinegar creates corrosive acid. Bleach and rubbing alcohol can create chloroform. Read up on household ingredients you shouldn't mix before making your own cleaning products.
  • Use clean, preferably new containers. In other words, don’t store your homemade, safe cleaning products in the same container your store-bought product came in. Even with thorough rinsing, some chemicals can stick around. You don’t want them to combine with other ingredients.
  • Be cautious with essential oils. Many DIY natural cleaning products use essential oils to add scents. People often consider essential oils harmless since they come from plants, but these oils can be dangerous if not used properly. Take extra care if your house has any children, pets, pregnant women or people with respiratory sensitivities. Ensure you understand essential oil safety before using them. Stick to safer varieties, like pure lemon oil and lavender oil. Keep them out of reach of children.
  • Opt for plant-based ingredients. If you're in doubt when out shopping for green cleaning products, or don't have the ingredients to make them yourself, search for products that have plant based ingredients. These products tend to be naturally derived and often have recycled packaging.
  • Avoid harmful chemicals in cleaning products. Emphasizing the importance of steering clear of harmful chemicals is crucial for both your health and the environment. Many conventional cleaning products contain substances that can pose significant health risks and contribute to environmental pollution. Opting for nontoxic and eco-friendly alternatives can help mitigate these hazards, promoting a safer home and planet.
  • Buy disinfectants from the store. Many organic cleaning products can help fight germs, but they aren't appropriate for full sanitization. According to government guidelines, an effective disinfectant should work against a broad spectrum of matter and take effect rapidly after application. Natural ingredients may not be strong enough to kill germs, or they take too long to do so. You can't exactly soak your countertop in vinegar. Opt for a safe disinfectant on germy surfaces, such as a counter where you worked with raw meat.

That’s the safety information out of the way. Let’s dive into some nontoxic cleaning products you can DIY!

10 Natural, Homemade Cleaning Products

Homemade natural cleaning products usually use household ingredients like vinegar, baking soda and rubbing alcohol. They’re typically nontoxic and nonflammable. Most shouldn’t cause any irritation, but avoid contact with skin and eyes regardless.

Before diving into homemade cleaner recipes, it's crucial to consider the environmental impact of our choices in cleaning supplies, including laundry detergent and laundry detergent pods. Opting for eco-friendly options not only supports eco-conscious living but also promotes the use of sustainable packaging, non-toxic ingredients, and biodegradability. These environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional cleaning products, such as the effective and convenient laundry detergent pods from Dropps, offer a safer and more sustainable way to keep our homes clean while minimizing our ecological footprint.

As you build your collection of safe cleaning products, try these 10 homemade cleaner recipes:

All-Purpose Cleaner

A good general-purpose cleaner is great for cleaning up spills, smudges, crumbs and dust. Use it on your counters, tables and just about any non-porous surface.

1. All-Purpose Cleaners

A good general all purpose cleaner is great for cleaning up spills, smudges, crumbs and dust. Use it on your counters, tables and just about any non-porous surface. It's gentle and smells great.

For this homemade all-purpose cleaner, you need:

  • ¼ cup of baking soda
  • ½ cup of vinegar
  • 1 gallon of hot water

Simply mix the ingredients in a glass spray bottle. You can also add fragrant herbs like rosemary or the rind of a lemon for a better scent. If you do, let them infuse for about a week before removing them. Once it's ready, spray away and wipe up with a cloth.

As an added step, consider storing your all-purpose cleaner and other DIY natural cleaning liquids in glass refillable bottles. 

2. Glass Cleaner

Here's another DIY cleaning spray with vinegar to make your home shine. You need:

  • ¼ cup of white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
  • 1 quart of warm water

Put the mixture in a spray bottle and spritz it on your windows and mirrors. Wipe down with a lint-free cloth.

3. Carpet Freshener

Many carpet fresheners on the market have irritating chemicals or fragrances. This homemade carpet freshener uses baking soda to remove odors. It can make your home feel and smell wonderfully clean. Baking soda is actually the only ingredient!

Simply sprinkle it over your carpet. Let it do its magic for a few minutes. Then, vacuum everything up.

4. Degreaser

This homemade degreaser uses a special ingredient - Castile soap. Some people even call it “magic soap” because it's a fan favorite in terms of green cleaning staples. It's simple, but it doesn't have all the extra ingredients in commercial soaps. You can use it in your own cleaner to break down grease quickly and easily.

You need:

  • 1 cup of distilled white vinegar
  • 3 cups of warm water
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon of Castile soap

You can also add in about 20 drops of a nonacidic essential oil. Acidic oils, like anise, can damage some surfaces. Mix all ingredients and store the mixture in a spray bottle. Use it on cooktops, countertops and ovens. Spray the degreaser on the surface and let it sit for 5 to 15 minutes before wiping clean and rinsing with water.

This homemade cleaning spray also works on cookware and utensils. Spray the degreaser generously and let it sit on the surface for at least 15 minutes or overnight. Then, scrub with hot water and rinse.

5. Air Freshener

Traditional air fresheners might smell good, but they can increase your exposure to air pollutants. One way to freshen up your home without these chemicals is to make a simmer pot. A simmer pot contains simmering water and fragrant ingredients, like lemons, oranges and herbs. It's a great way to reduce food waste, too. You can use scraps like orange rinds or fruits that are starting to go bad. It smells amazing and uses organic ingredients for those opting for a zero waste solution! 

You don't really need a recipe for simmer pots, either — although you can find plenty of those online. Just toss different ingredients into a pot about three-quarters full of water. Then, let it simmer for as long as you like. Don't leave the pot unattended, and add water every so often to keep it simmering.

Some items you can use in a simmer pot include:

  • Sliced oranges and orange peels
  • Sliced lemons and lemon peels
  • Apple slices
  • Cloves
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Lavender
  • Rose petals
  • Vanilla
  • Mint
  • Cranberries
  • Coconut shavings
  • Star anise
  • Pine branches
  • Coffee beans

These homemade air fresheners work especially well in the colder months. They offer a lovely, cozy feeling for the holidays.

If you prefer to use a spray, you can make one out of water and essential oils. Since oil and water don't mix, you'll also need an emulsifier, such as sea salt or rubbing alcohol. Some recipes for room spray use herbs to ramp up the aroma.

6. Bathroom Cleaner

Bathroom cleaners have a big job to do. Thankfully, chemicals aren't always required. Cut through grime and soap scum with this DIY bathroom cleaner. It works well on your tub, tile, shower and toilet bowl.

You need:

  • 1 ⅔ cups of baking soda
  • ½ cup of liquid Castile soap
  • ½ cup of warm water
  • 2 tablespoons of vinegar

Mix the baking soda, water and liquid soap. Add the vinegar and shake well. Use a cloth or sponge to wipe it across bathroom surfaces. Give the surfaces a quick rinse, and you're on your way to a squeaky-clean bathroom.

Laundry Booster and Stain Remover

 Hydrogen peroxide
Baking soda

7. Laundry Booster and Stain Remover

Laundry stains can be tricky. They tend to respond best to certain cleaners. For example, dish soap might work well on something oily like grease but not on blood. A quick Google search will usually tell you what works best for certain stains. Always check the instructions on the clothing first.

White vinegar is one of the most popular stain removers. It's great for whitening whites and brightening colors. It can even remove odors and help clean your washer. Just add about a cup to your regular load.

Other natural ingredients you can use for removing stains include:

  • Hydrogen peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide works like a milder form of bleach. Look for the 3% version. Simply add a cup to a load of whites before washing. For stain removal, dab or pour a small amount onto your clothes and let them sit for about 10 minutes.
  • Baking soda: The ever-versatile baking soda can also help out in the laundry room. It's very safe and perfect for odor removal. It can also help boost the performance of your detergent and soften hard water.
  • Borax: Borax is a great general-purpose laundry booster. It can help remove stains and control odor. Borax can soften hard water, too.

Remember not to mix these ingredients together — especially the hydrogen peroxide and vinegar. If you use multiple methods, do them separately and clean your clothing and machines well between applications.

8. Kitchen Stainless Steel Cleaner

Vinegar and olive oil make an odd but effective pairing. They can add some sparkle and shine to stainless steel sinks and appliances. Put white distilled vinegar into a spray bottle and spray your surface generously. Wipe it down with a microfiber cloth, following the grain of the stainless steel. Just like wood grain, steel grain refers to the direction of the lines.

Next, rinse the surface with a damp cloth. Put a few drops of olive oil on a new cloth. Wipe the surface down one last time, following the grain.

9. Microwave Cleaner

Cleaning a microwave usually calls for a lot of elbow grease. This cleaner can make your job much easier. It adds moisture to the splatters and breaks up stuck-on food.

Grab a microwave-safe bowl or cup. Fill it with about ¼ cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of water. Heat it in the microwave on high for 4 to 5 minutes. It should soften any splatters and stains. Wipe them up with a cloth for a spick-and-span microwave. Need some extra cleaning power? Wait for the mixture to cool, then dip the cloth in it before wiping.

10. Floor Cleaner and Carpet Cleaner

Emphasizing the effectiveness of natural cleaners in maintaining the cleanliness and hygiene of floors and carpets is crucial, especially considering the importance of avoiding volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for both health and environmental reasons. The best homemade cleaning solution for floors varies. Some ingredients can damage certain types of flooring. For example, acidic ingredients like lemon juice can wear away a wood finish. Instead, grab some vinegar and water and use one of these natural homemade cleaners on your floors:

  • Vinyl floors: Mix ½ cup of rubbing alcohol and ½ cup of vinegar with 2 gallons of water. Add a few drops of liquid dish detergent. You can also add a few drops of essential oil for a better smell. The detergent tackles tough residue, and the alcohol fights stains.
  • Wood floors: Freshen up your hardwood floors with ¼ cup of white vinegar and a gallon of warm water. Add a few drops of essential oil if you want some fragrance. Be careful not to use too much vinegar. If there's too much, you could damage the floor's finish. Err on the side of caution.
  • Ceramic tile floors: Start by sweeping up any debris to prevent it from scratching the tile. Then, mix ¼ cup of white vinegar, ¼ cup of baking soda, 1 tablespoon of dish detergent and 2 gallons of hot water.

You can apply any of these homemade cleaners with a cloth or a mop. Follow them up with some clean water and let the floor dry.

If you’ve got a stain on your carpet, you can create a similar cleaner. Mix 1 cup of warm water with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and a few drops of dish detergent. Spray the solution onto the stain and rub it in with a clean cloth. Grab a new cloth and press down to absorb the moisture. Spot test this method first to avoid discoloring the carpet.

Clean Up Your Home and the Planet with ecoATM

While you're on a cleaning streak, ask yourself if you have any old cell phones lying around.

Clean Up Your Home and the Planet With ecoATM

These environmentally friendly cleaners are a great way to avoid harsh chemicals and keep them out of our ecosystem. Plus, you can skip buying single-use plastics. Whatever your goal is, green cleaning is a great choice! Compared to traditional cleaning products, which are mostly water and contain harmful ingredients, eco-friendly alternatives offer significant environmental and health advantages by minimizing exposure to toxic substances and reducing pollution.

While you’re on a cleaning streak, ask yourself if you have any old cell phones lying around. It might be time to get rid of them — but don’t throw them away! Discarded electronics create e-waste, which is hazardous to the planet and human health. ecoATM combats e-waste by providing convenient places to trade in used phones. If we can, we’ll give you cash on the spot for your phone. If not, we’ll responsibly recycle it for free.

Learn more about our work for the planet, or find an ecoATM kiosk near you to get started!