Tag Archives | diy household

Clean House – Toss the Toxins and Make Your Own Household Cleaners

DSC_0201 (2)If you are considering making some changes in your household and beauty products in your pursuit of a non-toxic life, household cleaners are the first place to start. I threw away over 10 bottles of toxic cleaning supplies last week with some very mixed emotions. I felt relief from the extra space available under my counter, wasteful for not using these items, and disgust with myself for not realizing how bad the ingredients in these cleaning supplies were in the first place. Mostly I am just happy that I no longer have these toxic substances in my home.

In my quest to make baby steps towards a less toxic life I’ve had to make some decisions on what products to use up/not waste and what to go ahead and toss. For the most part, I began replacing items with homemade concoctions or eco- friendly items as I ran out. When I ran out of laundry detergent, I made my own. I used all my dryer sheets before switching to simple vinegar fabric softener. I am still using regular store-bought dishwashing detergent (because I bought it in bulk a long, long time ago), but I’ll be switching to homemade or a non-toxic eco-friendly one as soon as I run out.

Cleaning supplies were where I drew the line though. Think about it. Cleaning supplies are substances that end up in our food, in our lungs, on our clothes and furniture and in our water supply. Take a look at a few of your household cleaning supplies. Honestly if you can’t ingest it, you shouldn’t be cleaning with it because you do ingest it in multiple ways.

We’ve been convinced through savvy marketing that we need a different cleaner for every area of our home – stove top cleaner, refrigerator cleaner, toilet cleaner, tub cleaner, cleaning wipes, window cleaner and of course a multi-purpose cleaner. The truth of the matter is that you really only need a “multi-purpose” cleaner. If you are like me, you may want to try out different cleaning aromas in different areas of your home but really you only need one ingredient in your household cleaning arena. You can add boosting ingredients, stain removers and other specialty ingredients but you could keep your house clean with one multi-purpose cleaner.

You want this multi-purpose cleaner to work, to get rid of mold, mildew, dirt, grime and leave your home clean without toxic chemicals lingering on your counters. The cleaning product that you need is so simple that it is really unbelievable. Well, believe it because it works and will save you a ton of money on cleaning supplies.


Distilled White Vinegar



All Purpose Household


Dried Citrus Peels, Flowers and Herbs – My favorite boost for cleaning supplies are dried orange, lemon or lime peels. I use oranges often in my juicer so I always have orange peels around for various household uses. To dry out citrus peels, simply lay the peel or the zest out on paper towels or a drying rack until the peel is completely dry and brittle. Place the peels into your bottle of vinegar for 1-2 weeks to infuse, then drain. Rosemary and peppermint make great infusions as well. Be aware that infused vinegar can stain fabrics so keep your infused vinegar away from carpet and fabrics.

Essential Oils - I use my fabric softener blend which has Eucalyptus essential oil as a bathroom cleaner. I also like to add a little essential oil to my infused vinegar. For instance, when I infuse vinegar with oranges, I add a little orange EO to the bottle. Citrus essential oils are simply oils pressed from the peels so really I am simply adding more of the same thing when I infuse with peels then add essential oil. Citrus oils are great for cutting grease and grime and also smell better than plain vinegar.


Spray a few squirts anywhere you would use typical cleaners. Vinegar has a strong odor that some people don’t like, but that odor evaporates quickly. Vinegar is quite potent by itself so it’s perfectly fine to use a 50/50 dilution of half water/half vinegar. The catch with a diluted solution is that water will eventually grow bacteria so I like to keep a spray bottle of water handy and spray some water along with my vinegar solution as I’m cleaning.



  • Floor cleaner – Vinegar mixed with warm water makes a great hardwood floor cleaner that leaves no residue.
  • Counter and appliance cleaner and disinfectant
  • Toilet and shower cleaner – Vinegar easily cuts grime and dirt. You can also spray a diluted vinegar in your shower or toilet and just leave it.
  • Coffee maker cleaner - Simply add a cup of vinegar to your coffee water and run it through the machine. Then follow up with a few batches of water run through the coffee maker until the vinegar smell is no longer noticeable.
  • Rinsing agent for dishes - Vinegar works wonders in the dishwasher as a rinsing agent. It removes hard water stains and buildup on glass and also cleans out your dishwasher.
  • Bleach replacement – Reach for the vinegar anytime you would have typically reached for bleach. It works the same, if not better and it’s not toxic. NEVER mix vinegar with chlorine bleach because you end up with a potentially deadly compound.
  • Dog and cat pee neutralizer – Vinegar gets rid of the odor of dog/cat pee, particularly if you have an animal that continuously marks its territory. Clean the pee up (cornstarch works great to lift pee on carpet), then spray the area well with vinegar. Let the vinegar sit a few minutes then wipe the area well. If you still smell an odor, spray with vinegar again. Not only will the smell be gone, but the animal won’t re-mark its territory.
  • Fabric softener – Check out my post explaining how to use vinegar as a fantastic fabric softener.
  • Washing machine cleaner – Not only do I use vinegar as a fabric softener, but I also use it in my washing machine. I spray vinegar into the ring in my HE washer after each use and wipe it down with a washcloth. I also add a half cup of vinegar and run the washing machine empty about once every couple of weeks. It’s really a necessity with an HE washing machine.
  • Glass and mirror cleaner – Warm water mixed with vinegar makes the best glass cleaner. To avoid residue, use newspaper, coffee filters or a micro-fiber towel to clean glass. If you are using traditional detergents and fabric softeners, don’t use your towels or washcloths to clean glass because you will leave behind residue.



19 Natural Cleaning Tips

Green Your Clean: Toxic Household Cleaners and Non-Toxic Alternatives

EcoKaren: Vinegar or Chlorine? What’s better for cleaning?

How to Clean House Without Toxic Bleach

Non-Toxic Cleaners You Can Make at Home

Back to the Basics: Frugal, Non-Toxic Green Cleaning

Daily Sparkly Shower Spray

Homemade All-Purpose Cleaning Spray with Infused Vinegar


How about you? Do you make your own household cleaner? Let me know in the comments any tips or special ingredients you use in your homemade cleaning supplies!

Household Cleaning

* All information is for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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DIY Ridiculously Easy Eco-Friendly Fabric Softener


One of the easiest small steps to start getting rid of toxic chemicals in your home is to get rid of mainstream laundry detergent and fabric softener. Think about it – your clothes are in constant contact with your body. You lay on your sheets at night breathing in all the chemicals that are in your bedding. Your children are even more susceptible to all the toxic chemicals in detergents. Here are just a couple of posts explaining the toxins in store-bought fabric softeners.

The Toxic Danger of Fabric Softener and Dryer Sheets

8 Toxins Lurking in Your Fabric Softener

Check out this easy recipe for laundry detergent. Once you have gotten that batch made, it’s time to start thinking about changing up your fabric softener.

This recipe is so easy that it almost seems silly to write it down, but it is also so effective that I just can’t help but share. First of all, this recipe came straight from Crunchy Betty’s post, Ditch the Dryer Sheets. I have tried several different fabric softener options, but this one works the best for me. I have tried using vinegar in the rinse cycle of the washing machine, but this method works a little better to prevent static cling. By spraying the clothes, you use very little but still ensure that your vinegar reaches the whole load of clothes.


Glass Spray Bottle – If you are going to use essential oils in your homemade products, you need to store them in glass containers. The good news is that it is super easy to re-use bottles. My favorite glass bottles to re-purpose are Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar bottles ( Bragg Organic Vinegar Apple Cider, 32 Ounce (3 Pack)).

I bought a few spray bottles at the local dollar store and tossed the plastic bottles but use the spray tops. The glass Bragg  bottles hold 4 cups, but you can easily make a smaller portion.


4 cups Distilled White Vinegar

White vinegar is the number one item that I use in every room of my house. I used it as my primary cleaner everywhere! I just buy the cheap, large jugs of white vinegar for household cleaners. Not only is white vinegar antibacterial, but it is also an excellent fabric softener.

Vinegar is great for getting any remaining dirt and residue off clothes, softening material and preventing static cling. You can actually do this softener with nothing other than vinegar.


2 tbsp Eucalyptus Essential Oil (Optional)

Eucalyptus essential oil is antiviral and antibacterial so it is a nice addition to vinegar. I like it more than other essential oils as an addition in cleaning. I have also used tea tree oil in my softener, but I liked the eucalyptus better.




Add essential oil to vinegar and shake well. It’s really that easy!

Squirt approximately 10 times onto clothes that you have just placed in the dryer. Be sure to dry clothes completely to get rid of the vinegar smell. Your clothes will come out of the dryer smelling fresh without static.



If you have made the mistake of using liquid fabric softener in an HE washing machine, you’ll appreciate this new method. If you own an HE washing machine, hopefully you already know about the need to clean out the front of the machine often. Here’s a post that explains that well.

I had no clue when I moved into my condo that I needed to be cleaning out the HE washing machine after each use. Once my laundry closet started to smell like something died in there, I realized what was going on with the sludge in my washer door. If you have an HE washer and use liquid fabric softener, you will end up with softener gathered in the door area – gross! I use my new “fabric softener” to spray out and clean my HE washer door area.



How to Make Felted Wool Dryer Balls - I haven’t made these yet, but they sound awesome!

8 Natural Alternatives to Fabric Softener & Dryer Sheets

Apartment Therapy – 5 Homemade Natural Fabric Softeners

Are Soft Clothes Really Worth It?

Greener Laundry – Fabric Softener vs Dryer Sheets


How about you? Do you make your own fabric softener? Let me know in the comments any tips or special ingredients you use in your homemade fabric softener!

Fabric Softener

* All information is for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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DIY Simple Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent


There are about a million different laundry detergent recipes out there so this should be nothing new if you are a forager of inexpensive DIY household recipes. This is my version, and I just made 3 batches this morning because it’s laundry day. It’s super easy, eco-friendly and inexpensive. You can even order the ingredients online and create the mix in less than an hour and get on with your life!


Grater – I set aside a cheap grater that I just keep in my laundry closet and only use for this purpose. You are only going to be grating soap with it though, so you can even just use your regular kitchen grater and rinse the soap off well when you are done!

Gloves – (Optional) I grated part of my fingernail into my laundry detergent this morning. Luckily it wasn’t part of my finger so gloves are a good idea if you are uncoordinated like me!

Container – An old laundry box would be a good re-purposed container. I use the larger plastic container in the photo to create my detergent and put a smaller amount  in the white container pictured (an old Oxy-clean container) on top of my washer for easy access.


1 Cup Washing Soda (sodium carbonate)

Washing soda works as a water softener, grease and stain remover. Apparently you can make your own from baking soda if you are having trouble finding it in stores.


1 Cup Borax (sodium borate)

Borax is a mineral similar to baking soda but stronger, with a higher pH. It’s antifungal, antibacterial, can dissolve dirt and remove odors.


1 Bar of Castile Soap

Castile soap is a mild soap made from plant oils.

Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint is my personal favorite because it’s eco-friendly and also smells great.


*Large Batches – I like to make large batches of this all at once using all the soap I have on hand. For instance, today I had 3 bars of soap so I grated all three bars of soap and added 3 cups of Washing Soda and 3 cups of Borax.


** Finding Ingredients – You can usually find all these ingredients near the laundry section. I was in Walmart a few days ago, and I found Washing Soda and Borax on the same isle as fabric softener and in the same area as baking soda, Oxy-clean and other laundry additives. The castile soap was in the bath/beauty section of the store. They did have a laundry soap – Zote, in the laundry section, but I was looking for a more eco-friendly option.


Grate the soap as finely as possible and add in the Borax and Washing Soda. Mix well. The soap will sink to the bottom of your container so just shake up the container before using.

Use 1 TBSP of laundry detergent per load. This detergent works great on baby clothes, gentle clothes, and is just fine for HE washers!



This detergent is low suds so it works great in high efficiency washing machines. I have actually noticed less build-up in my HE washing machine since switching to non-commercial detergent.



This detergent is extremely mild, and you could even use the unscented Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap to keep this even more mild. The nice thing about this detergent is that it actually works for the whole family so there is no need for separate detergents.


COST: Approximately $.20 load ($42.37 FOR 6 BATCHES)

I like to figure out cost based on all the ingredients you have to buy even if you don’t use up all of them since it’s not like you can order half a box of Borax. So, I’ll use Amazon’s prices for simplicity.

If you purchase through the links above on Amazon, you get 6 bars of Dr. Bronner’s soap, 55 oz of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda and 76 oz of Borax for $42.37. This qualifies for free shipping so be sure to choose that option because Amazon will automatically choose standard shipping for you. Just click the free Super Saver Shipping option (5-8 days).

I love Amazon because for supplies like this because it’s no more expensive than going to the local super-store, and typically you’ll receive the items in less than a week. I’m not crazy about supporting big businesses, but for my laundry detergent I’d be buying those ingredients at Walmart otherwise so I prefer Amazon and not wasting half a day in Wally-world.

These ingredients will give you enough to make 6 batches of laundry detergent. You’ll have Borax left over (which you can use for a multitude of household recipes!) I would just go ahead and use the entire box of Washing Soda (close to 7 cups) and all 6 bars of soap, and just measure out 6 cups of Borax.

There are 16 tablespoons in 1 cup. Each batch of laundry detergent yields 2.5-3 cups so six batches will give you 15 cups conservatively. Six batches = 240 loads (15cups X 16TBPS per cup) That comes out to $.18 per load, and I just rounded up to $.20.



Buy the ingredients on Amazon in less than 5 minutes. Grating soap and mixing ingredients takes about 30 minutes. I grated 3 bars of soap and mixed up 3 batches of detergent this morning in about 20 minutes but if you ordered enough for 6 batches, you’d probably spend close to an hour including order time, grating time and mixing up the ingredients.


The Easiest, Most Economical, Most Eco-friendly 1 Ingredient Detergent – Soapnuts

Wellness Mama’s Homemade Natural Laundry Detergent

Crunchy Betty’s Laundry Detergent Recipe

Eco-nuts - Great eco-friendly laundry detergent if you don’t want to make your own.


How about you? Do you make your own laundry detergent? Let me know in the comments any tips or special ingredients you use in your homemade laundry detergent!

 Laundry Detergent 2

* All information is for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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