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6 DIY Non Toxic Cleaning Recipes

Being healthy and green often means saving money too! These effective, non-toxic green cleaning recipes cost just pennies to make.
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Approximately 85,000 chemicals are in use today. According to the Breast Cancer Fund, complete toxicological screening data is available for only 7% of these chemicals, and more than 90% have never been tested for their effects on human health. Wow!

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, household cleaning products rank among the most toxic everyday substances to which people are exposed, and most chemical brands are not safe.

Some especially toxic household cleaners include ammonia, chlorine bleach, aerosol propellants, detergents, petroleum distillates, phthalates, and toluene.

Many of these substances not only harm the skin, but they also give off toxic fumes that affect the person using the product and everyone else in the area.

Everything from dermatitis to headaches to cancer have been associated with the chemical products we use to clean our furniture, bathrooms and clothes, including air fresheners.

toxic-cleanersTraditional cleaning agents infect our lungs with carcinogens, assault our immune system, and expose us to unnecessary physical stress.

They are also typically made from petroleum, and remain toxic in the earth’s soil, water, and environment for generations.

In contrast, green cleaning products are typically made with common kitchen ingredients like water, white vinegar, baking soda and castile soap. Some also include coconut or orange oils, and other powerful plant ingredients.

Making the switch to naturally derived, biodegradable, non-toxic cleaning products is easy. Today’s green cleaning products have been proven to clean just as well—if not better than— traditional cleaning products without the side effects associated with the use of toxic chemicals.

As the health and environmental impacts of conventional cleaning products become more thoroughly understood, more and more brands of healthy, green, and effective cleaning products have started hitting the market.

Look for brands like Branch Basics, Mrs. Meyer’s, CitraSolv, Ecover, Seventh Generation, and Method next time you are at the store. Branch Basics is my favorite, and I find it actually works better than any conventional products I’ve used.

In these financially challenging times, being green usually means saving money too! These effective, non-toxic green cleaning recipes cost just a few dollars to make:

Homemade Glass Cleaner

Using isopropyl alcohol and white vinegar together makes a quickly evaporating spray glass and mirror cleaner that competes with national brands. This formula can also be used to give a nice shine to hard tiles, chrome, and other surfaces.

If you use old newspaper to wipe your windows and mirrors, you’ll have the ultimate eco-friendly, streak-free shine!

  • 1 cup rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp. vinegar

Mix together in a reusable spray bottle.

All-Purpose Disinfectant

  • 2 tsp. borax
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 3-4 cups hot water
  • 15 drops tea tree oil
  1. Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle and mix well.
  2. For extra cleaning power, add 1/4 tsp. liquid soap to the mixture.

Tub and Tile Scrub

  • 1-2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup liquid soap
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. vinegar
  1. Mix all ingredients, adding the vinegar after the other ingredients are well mixed. (if you add the vinegar too early it will react with the baking soda).
  2. Immediately apply, wipe and scrub.

Toilet Cleaner

  • 1 cup of borax
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  1. Pour both borax and vinegar into the toilet before going to bed. In the morning, scrub and flush.

Furniture Polish

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  1. Mix into a bowl or spray bottle, and polish furniture with a soft cloth.
  2. Wipe dry with another cloth.

Laundry Enhancers

  1. To brighten laundry, add one half cup of strained lemon juice during the rinse cycle.
  2. For a fabric rinse, add one quarter cup white vinegar during the washing machine’s rinse cycle to remove detergent completely from clothes.
  3. To reduce the amount of laundry detergent you need to use, add baking soda or washing soda. These minerals soften the water, which increases the detergent’s power. For liquid detergent, add one half cup soda at the beginning of the wash. For powdered detergent, add one half cup soda during the rinse cycle.

Related: Homemade Non-Toxic Laundry Detergent

For even more awesome cleaning recipes, including dishwasher detergent, floor polish and more, check out my favorite book on the subject, DIY Non-Toxic Cleaners.

About the author

Dawn Gifford

Dawn Gifford

Dawn is the creator of Small Footprint Family, and the author of the critically acclaimed Sustainability Starts at Home - How to Save Money While Saving the Planet. After a 20-year career in green building and environmental sustainability, chronic illness forced her to shift her expertise and passion from the public sphere to home and hearth. Get the whole story behind SFF here.


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  • I make furniture polish similar to the one you show the only difference is I use orange peels. I let my orange peels soak for 3 weeks in a mixture of olive oil and a small amount of vinegar then I strain it and pour into a dark spray bottle.

  • One old-time product I buy for cleaning is Bon Ami. It is great for scrubbing without scratching. I use it with the blue Scotch-Brite No Scratch sponges for tough jobs.

    It is not recommended for glass but, have used it on Corningware glass lids & glass lids to my stainless pots without damage.

    It is wonderful for soap scum, burnt food & that slimy film on pet bowls.

    Bon Ami is made of minerals so it is non-toxic. No bleach! It is cheap, costing around .80/can at Publix. Whole Foods charges almost $2.

    Another good scrubbing powder is Food-Grade Diatomeacous Earth. This can be inexpensively bought at feed stores.

    Do not buy DE from garden stores or pool supply, it is not Food Grade. NOT THE SAME PRODUCT.

    I made a paste & cleaned coolers & freezers with it. This also worked well.

    The Food Grade DE can also be used for flea control, as well as, a dewormer by adding it to pet food & your own smoothies. The silica in it is great for, nails, hair & skin.

  • Thank you so much for this information. I copied it to a document with your website address at the top … as I usually do, so I know where I got the recipes.

    I use baking soda and vinegar to clean drains, but haven’t found a good tub cleaner that’s “green.” I’ll try this one.

    I’m looking for a good dryer sheet substitute. Don’t know if those dryer balls advertised are any good or are hard on the clothes.

    Appreciate your weekly blog updates!


  • Just wondering how long these last? Do you use all in one cleaning or can they sit til next cleaning?

  • Stumbled upon your website today and SO glad I did! I signed up to receive your weekly posts. These recipes for homemade cleaners are wonderful! I use the Duggar family recipe for homemade laundry detergent already, as well as homemade fabric softener (cheap hair conditioner and vinegar) Thank you so much for all this helpful information.

  • Just found your site today! Wow! Do you know if borax contains an artificial fragrance? I am avoiding xenoestrogens like the plague. What do you wash your hair with? Thanks SO much for sharing all of your wisdom.

    • Thanks so much for commenting! Plain borax has no fragrance. I often wash my hair with baking soda mixed into a cup of water (shampoo) and a vinegar rinse (conditioner), but sometimes I’ll buy an eco-friendly shampoo/conditioner from the health food store, especially when traveling.

  • When you say liquid soap, do you mean dish soap? If so, is there a particular kind that doesn’t have chemicals and that actually works? I have been cleaning “green” for awhile, but feel like it needs to shift up a gear.