Are you looking to reduce your family’s exposure to harmful chemicals but don’t know where or how to start? Here is an incredibly simple guide to replacing toxic household cleaners with safe, natural alternatives, many of which you probably already have on hand. You’ll find out how to safely clean practically every surface in your house, from the windows to the toilet and everywhere in between. These cleaners are safe enough for kids to use, so the whole family can pitch in around the house without any concern about what they’re being exposed to. You will still want to keep these things away from young children who might accidentally ingest them. While perfectly safe to use for cleaning, some of these ingredients can be harmful if ingested, so make sure they will only be accessible to people who won’t try to drink them 😉
There are a few basic things you’ll need to make the switch to natural cleaning:
- Baking Soda
- Lemon Essential Oil
- Various other essential oils (optional)
- Dish Soap
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Olive Oil
- Microfiber Cloth (or any lint-free cloth)
- Glass Spray Bottles (plastic can break down over time from essential oils)
Using just these supplies, you can clean just about every surface in your house. Sounds easy, right? It really is! Here are some specific tips for tackling all of your chores with no harmful fumes or chemicals.
Dusting– This is one of those chores that’s perfect for little hands so I usually let my kids do the dusting, but I don’t want them exposed to commercial dusting sprays. There are two all-natural dust-busters we use in our house, so I’ll share them both.
- The simplest method is to dampen a microfiber cloth, add 2-3 drops of lemon essential oil to the cloth, and simply wipe the surface with it.
- If you want extra shine, however, you can make this all-natural dusting spray that’s safe for all finished wood surfaces. Simply add 1 cup of water, 2 T. white vinegar, 1 T. olive oil, and 15-20 drops of lemon essential oil to a glass spray bottle and shake well. Lightly spray the surface and wipe clean with a soft cloth.
Tubs,Tile and Grout– A paste made with baking soda and a little water can make scrubbing stains from grout and tile a cinch. Soap and water will also work on tile for everyday cleaning.
Toilets and Ceramic Sinks– Sprinkle baking soda in sinks and toilet bowls and let it sit for up to an hour, then pour vinegar over the baking soda and scrub with a toilet brush or cloth. The baking soda deodorizes while the vinegar sanitizes, leaving your bathroom naturally clean!
Floors (wood, vinyl, linoleum, and laminate)- A basic solution of 1/4 C. white vinegar and 1 C. water will clean most floors easily. For extra shine, you can also add 1 T. oil to the mix. Spray floors with the mixture and wipe with a soft cloth or mop. Alternatively, you can fill a bucket with 1 gallon of water and 4 cups of vinegar and mop the floor with this solution.
Marble and granite– While vinegar is an amazing natural cleaner, it should never be used on natural stone like marble and granite, which can be etched by acidic ingredients like vinegar or citrus. Mix 1 C. water, 1/4 C. rubbing alcohol, 3-4 drops of dish soap, and 5-10 drops of any non-citrus essential oil (such as lavender, peppermint, cedarwood, etc.) Spray on surface and wipe clean. This solution can also be used for most floors, and it dries quickly without leaving streaks because of the alcohol.
All-purpose cleaner– If you want to keep things really simple and just have one bottle of cleaner for most jobs, this is it. Mix 3 parts water with 1 part white vinegar in a glass spray bottle, add 15-20 drops of essential oils, and shake well. You can use this solution to clean countertops, sinks, tubs, showers, windows, floors, and even cutting boards and appliances. Just be sure to avoid using this one on granite or marble.
If the idea of making your own cleaners is too overwhelming, or you don’t really want your house to smell like vinegar every time you clean something, there are plenty of non-toxic, natural cleaners available to purchase. I’ve tried several companies over the years, but my absolute favorites are from Red’s Gone Green.
Her products smell so amazing that I genuinely want to clean my house just so I can enjoy the scent of clove-cinnamon-vanilla (which smells just like chai tea) or lavender-vanilla (incredibly calming.) Check out all of her products here. The all-purpose cleaners (except the grapefruit-orange-lavender) are even safe on granite and marble, so you can basically reduce your whole cleaning cabinet to just one incredibly fragrant bottle!
Hopefully this is a helpful crash course on how to start swapping some of your commercial cleaners for more natural alternatives. It really is simple and affordable to enjoy the benefits of non-toxic cleaning supplies. Have other natural cleaning hacks or tips to share? Leave us a comment below!