We have a duty to do whatever we can to help our planet, and one way we can do that is by making “green” choices where our cleaning supplies are concerned. Green cleaning supplies are made from natural ingredients and are free of excess dyes and chemicals that can hurt the environment. Some cleaner brands such as Better Life, Dr. Bronner’s, Mrs. Meyer’s, eCover, and Seventh Generation boast some pretty powerful green cleaning agents, but they can also be pretty pricey. Luckily, you can make your own green household cleaners using some fairly standard ingredients for a fraction of the price.
Here are some options:
1. Clothes Detergent
This homemade liquid clothes detergent will not only contribute to greener living, but it also keeps a significant amount of “green” in your wallet. You can make 5 gallons for less than $5.
- 1 cup Super Washing Soda (Not Baking Soda)
- 5.5 oz of Zote or Fels Naptha soap (grated)
- 1 cup Borax
- Hot water
- 5-gallon bucket
- Essential oils (optional)
Melt the grated soap into four cups of hot water over the stovetop. Fill up the five-gallon bucket halfway with warm water and pour in the hot soap mixture. Mix in the washing soda, Borax, and the essential oils if you’re using them. Stir it to combine everything and then fill the bucket the rest of the way with hot water. Give it another stir and let it sit for 24 hours before using. It should be kind of gloopy in thickness and texture. You’ll use ½ cup for HE washers or 1 cup per large load for regular washers.
2. Dryer Sheets
Skip the dryer sheets altogether and get a few dryer balls. These small plastic balls have little spikes that separate the clothes and keep them soft without the chemicals and fibrous waste.
3. Air Fresheners
Indoor green plants are a completely chemical-free option for freshening up your house. Snake lips, peace lilies, spider plants, and English ivy are all easy-to-care-for plants that can freshen up your house. Alternatively, you can diffuse essential oils or boil spices with citrus over the stove to give your home a fresh scent.
4. Shower Spray
Homemade shower spray is a great way to keep grime from accumulating in your shower between deep cleans. Simply spritz your shower after each use.
- 1 cup vinegar
- 2 cups warm water
- ½ cup rubbing alcohol
- 1 tsp. dish soap
- 10-15 drops lemon or tea tree essential oils
- Spray bottle
Mix all of the ingredients together in a plastic spray bottle, and keep it in your shower so that you remember to use it.
5. Multi-Purpose Cleaners
This recipe is for a multi-purpose cleaner that is safe to use around children and pets. It’s important to note that it is a cleaner but not a disinfectant, so you’ll need to use another type of cleaner to disinfect after using raw meat or other animal products.
- 1 tsp. borax
- ½ tsp. washing soda
- 1 tsp. liquid castile soap
- combination of about 15 drops of essential oils of your choice (optional)
- 2 cups warm water
- spray bottle
Mix all of the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, and use a funnel to pour it into a spray bottle.
6. Glass Cleaners
You can make glass cleaner a couple of different ways, and if you use it in conjunction with reusable towels, you’ll be doing the environment a favor. Pour one tablespoon vinegar, one cup water, and one cup rubbing alcohol into a spray bottle. Shake to mix, and it’s ready to use.
7. Wood Cleaners
If you don’t want to use a commercial wood cleaner, you can make your own version to brighten up your wood. For light cleaning, mix one cup of vinegar, one cup of water, and one tablespoon of olive oil in a spray bottle. Shake up the solution before use, spray a small amount onto the area that you’re cleaning, and wipe up using a clean cloth. For a more intensive polish, mix one tablespoon vinegar with three tablespoons of olive oil, and use a rag to apply and buff.
8. Garbage Disposal Deodorizer
If your garbage disposal is starting to reek, give it a little bit of love. One way to clean it out is to throw some ice cubes down the disposal and run the water on cold while running the disposal. The ice helps remove lingering food and bacteria while sharpening the blades. You can also throw down some citrus rinds while running the disposal with hot water to help give your disposal a fresh scent.
9. Carpet Cleaner
There are a lot of scented carpet cleaning products out of there, but they are often so heavily perfumed that they can cause problems with people suffering from allergies or other respiratory issues. If you want a safer, greener option, just sprinkle baking soda on the carpet, let it sit for a while, and then vacuum it up. The baking soda will help deodorize without adding any additional smells to your house.
Why sully the environment while cleaning? With a few extra minutes, you can use household ingredients to make cleaners that are both effective and easy on the planet.