If you spill something on your counter or floor, you probably have some sort of “all-purpose cleaner” that you reach for, and it’s most likely in a spray bottle. But some of those chemical-laden cleaners are questionable at best and dangerous at worst – their labels are festooned with warnings about accidental ingestion, inhalation of fumes, eye contact, skin contact, etc.
However, you can use the empty containers of these cleaners to hold your own home-made, non-toxic cleaners. Just make sure that you dispose of the contents responsibly (contact your local EPA or solid waste authority) and wash out the bottle thoroughly if you choose to re-use.
Here are three recipes for all-purpose, non-toxic cleaners for your home. Two of them are sprays and the other is a creamy scrubber. While they are non-toxic as far as cleaners go, it’s not a good idea to ingest them or let your toddler get into them unsupervised (after all, these recipes smell yummy!). But these cleaners are safe enough for your children to help you clean with your supervision.
Lemon or Peppermint Creamy Scrub
In a 1-quart container (you can reuse an empty mayonnaise jar or plastic yogurt container), mix:
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1/4 cup borax laundry booster
- 1 tablespoon liquid, biodegradable soap
- 5-10 drops lemon or peppermint essential oil
Add water and stir until you achieve a thick consistency that can still be poured, like a thick milkshake. The thicker the consistency, the more potent the cleaning power. Use this scrub to clean your bathroom and kitchen sinks, bathtub, faucets, and anywhere you would use conventional soft scrubbers.
All-Purpose, Germ-Killing Spray
In a 1-quart spray bottle, mix:
- 1/2 cup of white vinegar
- 3 cups of water
- 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract or tea tree oil
- 1 teaspoon of biodegradable liquid soap
- 10-20 drops of lavender or lemon essential oil
Shake this spray well and use it on sinks, countertops, floors, or any smooth surface and wipe with a cloth. For tough stains on a hard surface or baked-on mess (such as in an oven or microwave), sprinkle baking soda over the stain or gunk and spray with the above spray until the baking soda is thoroughly dampened. Let it sit for 15-25 minutes, then wipe with a cloth. The stain may require some elbow grease, but the crusty stuff should come right off. You can even use this spray on windows.
Oil Soap Spray
In a 1-quart spray bottle, pour:
- 1 tablespoon of oil soap (found in the cleaning aisle of your local store)
- 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil
Fill the bottle with water. Shake well and use on floors (wood, vinyl or linoleum), cabinets, stoves, etc.
Now you can consider your home truly, naturally clean – not toxically clean!