If you’re looking for a way to clean up your spring cleaning routine, these DIY green cleaning recipes might be just what you need!
It’s that time of year again! Have you started your spring cleaning? I know a lot of people hate it, but I personally love taking the time to organize and clean. There is something so refreshing about purging the old and bringing in the new. It’s such a satisfying feeling to sit down at the end of the day (or week, I won’t judge) and know that all of the forgotten areas of the house have been given attention. Since I’m a “crunchy mom” by nature, I don’t use any standard cleaning products during this process. If you’re looking for a way to clean up your routine, you might want to try some of my DIY green cleaning recipes that I use around the house! These all get used heavily during my spring cleaning spree. I love that these cleaners are able to disinfect and clean my house while still smelling amazing.
Why I Use Homemade Green Cleaners
There are many reasons to switch to green cleaners in your house. One of the biggest reasons people want to make their own cleaners is so that they can eliminate toxins in the home. I know I personally love knowing everything that goes into my cleaners. I have kids that help clean, and knowing they aren’t touching or breathing in harsh chemicals is a huge plus for me.
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Some Interesting Facts on Conventional Cleaners
I mentioned before that the main reason I make our own household cleaners is to know exactly what is in them. But, what if we talk for a minute about what is in conventional cleaners at the store? In reality, that was a far more motivating factor for me in the beginning.
- Chemical levels can be up to 70 times higher inside your home than outside it. Did you know that?
- Over 100 chemicals commonly found in homes have been linked to allergies, birth defects, cancer, headaches, skin reactions, chronic fatigue, joint pain, asthma, and chest pains.
- Conventional air fresheners contain hormone-disrupting pthalates and cancer-causing ingredients such as formeldahyde and benzene.
- The chemicals found in conventional cleaners have been known to cause headaches, dizziness, and nausea. They can also irritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory system!
- Unsafe storage and handling of household cleaning products can result in childhood poisoning.
Here is some further reading on conventional cleaners, if you want to find out more.
- 8 Hidden Toxins: What’s Lurking in Your Cleaning Products?
- EWG’s List of Most Harmful Cleaning Products
- How Toxic are Your Household Cleaning Supplies?
- WHO: Children and Poisoning
- Medline Plus: Indoor Air Pollution
Basic Ingredients Needed for Green Cleaning Recipes
If you’re new to green cleaning and DIY cleaners, it can be a bit overwhelming. I thought I’d give a rundown on what I use in my home to help you get started.
There are a few basic ingredients you’ll want to stock up on to make your own cleaners. If it’s too overwhelming, try starting small. Replace one cleaner at a time, and before you know it, you’ll have a whole cabinet of DIY cleaners! Some things you’ll need to get started are:
- baking soda (from the grocery store)
- White Distilled Vinegar
- Castille Soap
- essential oils
- Witch Hazel
- Glass Spray Bottles
- Branch Basics Cleaning Concentrate
The number one reason I hear people turn away from DIY cleaning is the cost, but if you look at this list, the cost is so much less than what you would spend on cleaners at the store! Quality essential oils do cost more, but in most of my recipes, you only need a few drops at a time. If all you’re using them for is cleaning, they’ll last you a really long time.
Update November 2020:
I’ve updated many of these green cleaning recipes to reflect new information I’ve learned through my aromatherapy studies. You may notice that many of the recipes that originally just used water as a base have now been updated to provide a safer product.
When I first started using essential oils, I was told that they would preserve my products and keep bacteria from growing, but I’ve since learned that’s not the case. Water based recipes are breeding grounds for bacteria, so a preservative is necessary if you’re making something that will last more than a week.
Please note that the recipes now suggest using 25% high proof grain alcohol and 75% distilled water. If you want to learn more, this article from Loving Essential Oils is incredibly helpful.
DIY Green Cleaning Recipes – Plus Free Printable Recipe Cards!
To help you get started, I put together a list of my favorite green cleaning recipes. With these recipes, you’ll be able to clean every room in your house without using any toxic chemicals! If you just want to replace one cleaner at a time, I recommend starting with the all-purpose cleaner. It’s easy to make, and will make the biggest impact on your cleaning routine.
Lavender-Peppermint All Purpose Cleaner Recipe
If you didn’t already know, I’m a big fan of Branch Basics cleaning concentrate. It is a concentrated cleaner that’s plant and mineral based, non-toxic, and not tested on animals. It cleans so well, and lasts a long time. A combination of this cleaner and water (the dilution ratios are on the bottle) is my go-to cleaner for counters, tables, and other hard surfaces. One bottle of this cleaner lasts me several months, so it ends up being a lot cheaper than buying cleaners from the store, too.
If you don’t want to use Branch Basics, you can also make your own using this simple recipe below:
- 1.5 cup distilled water
- .5 cup 120 proof Everclear
- 10 drops each of Lavender and Peppermint essential oils
- 16 oz glass spray bottle
Mix all ingredients in a glass spray bottle and use as an all purpose cleaner. As usual, test on a small area first to ensure that it won’t cause damage.
Citrus Air Freshener Recipe
Everyone loves to have a good smelling home. It’s one of the things I worried about most when I started removing toxins from my house! I had nothing to fear, though. When I’m not diffusing oils, I can still freshen the air in my house by using a simple air freshener. To make your own, you will need:
- 8 oz glass spray bottle
- 3/4 cup distilled water
- 1/4 cup 120 proof Everclear
- 10 drops of your favorite citrus essential oil
Simply mix all of these ingredients in the bottle, shake well, and spray anywhere you need it!
Window Cleaner Recipe
I don’t use a special window cleaner regularly. To be honest, I usually just use my all purpose cleaner and a lint-free towel. However, sometimes I do take the time to make a cleaner specifically for glass, and it really helps with the streaking. You’ll need:
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
- 5-10 drops lemon essential oil
- 1 tbs cornstarch
Combine all the ingredients in a glass spray bottle, shake well, and spray onto a glass surface. Be sure to use a lint-free towel to clean!
Carpet Deodorizer Recipe
Do you use those canisters of carpet freshener when you vacuum? That used to be my favorite way to freshen a room. Since I have animals, I’d always get the ones that claim to deter fleas. When I actually stopped to read the label, I realized it said to remove animals from the room while it sits for 20 minutes. Umm…why do I want to use something I can’t have around my animals? What if my vacuum doesn’t get it all up? Why would I want to risk my animals getting sick when all I’m trying to do is clean and prevent fleas?
That’s the moment I discovered how easy it is to make my own carpet deodorizer. Here’s all you’ll need:
- 1 small box of baking soda
- 5-8 drops essential oil (Lavender & Cedarwood are my go-to’s)
- 1 8oz mason jar with a perforated lid (or a parmesan cheese shaker)
Sprinkle on your carpets, wait a few minutes, and vacuum up.
Dusting Spray Recipe
If you’ve got a lot of wood furniture to dust, you’ve got to try this recipe! For a quick dusting, I just use microfiber cloths, but when I want to condition my furniture and let it shine, this is a great DIY cleaner to have on hand.
To make your own dusting spray, you’ll need:
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
- 5-10 drops essential oil
Mix all of this into a spray bottle and shake to combine. Spray directly onto your furniture and buff with a clean, dry cloth.
Mop Solution Recipe
My floors get gross. I have 2 dogs, 3 cats, and 2 kids. Mopping is a really big deal in my house, and is something I do at least weekly (if not more). This cleaner leaves my house smelling so fresh while also disinfecting and cleaning my floors. To make your own mop solution, you’ll need:
- 1 gallon of hot water
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 2 tbs liquid Castile soap
- 15 drops lemon or pine essential oil
Mix all of this into a bucket and go to town on your floors until they sparkle! As usual, test all new cleaning solutions on a small area first.
Simple Soft Scrub Recipe
Cleaning my bathroom was always my least favorite chore. (It still is, I guess, but not for the same reasons!) I had to run the fan, open the windows, and still needed to take breaks to get my bathroom clean while dealing with the fumes! Luckily, it’s incredibly easy to make a homemade soft scrub that’ll leave your bathroom sparkling clean.
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 2 tbs Branch Basics Cleaning Concentrate
- 10 drops of your favorite essential oil (I like Lemon, Pine, & Eucalyptus for my cleaners)
- water (if necessary).
Mix the first three ingredients in a small bowl to form a paste. If necessary, add a small amount of water to get the right consistency (it should look like toothpaste). You can use this to scrub your grout, bathtub, shower, or any other area you would use soft scrub!
Peppermint Eucalyptus Soft Scrub Recipe
I recently re-discovered an old favorite green cleaning recipe of mine, and I have to admit, it might be the best smelling cleaner I’ve ever made. If you’re looking for something that’ll make your bathroom feel like a spa, this is the cleaner for you! It’s a little more work than some of my other recipes, but trust me, it’s so worth it.
In fact, it’s so good that it actually ended up with it’s own blog post. You can get the recipe card below, but if you want the full blog post, find it here.
More Green Cleaning Recipes to Try
Over the years, I’ve built up quite a library of green cleaners here on the blog. If you want even more to try, check out these posts!
- How to Make DIY Cleaning Wipes
- How to Make Wool Dryer Balls
- Natural Cleaning Products: How and Why to Make the Switch
- Simple DIY All Purpose Cleaner Recipe
Use These Green Cleaning Recipes to Clean Your Entire House!
When I first started using DIY cleaners, I started slow. I chose recipes that would make the biggest impact (like all-purpose cleaner) and started with those, first. As I got more comfortable with the idea of making my own cleaners, I slowly started experimenting with other recipes. Some I loved. Some didn’t work for me at all. The ones in this post are my favorites, so I hope you like them, too! I tried to give a big enough variety that you will be able to clean your entire home using these DIY green cleaning recipes. Just in time for a massive spring cleaning spree! No more excuses to avoid it now, right? You’re welcome! (PS: If you haven’t watched Moana, you should. Because I definitely just sang that for you).
Now That You’ve Got Your Cleaners…
Now, it’s time to actually clean! Spring cleaning makes me so happy. I know. I’m a little weird in that way. I just love how fresh everything feels when I’m done, and I can relax and know that it’s done for a whole year.
It’s so easy to forget something when you get ready to spring clean. If you’re like me, and need a visual when it comes to big tasks, be sure to download my checklist and use it as you clean! Don’t worry. I don’t always get through all of this, but it helps me prioritize what needs to be done! Simply click on the image below to download your own printable copy.
Are you ready to clean up your spring cleaning routine? Let me know in the comments below which DIY green cleaning recipe becomes a new favorite!