Green Cleaning

photo of green cleaner bottle

Make your own green cleaners

Most cleaners on the market are toxic and must be disposed of as household hazardous waste. But you can make your own cleaners at home for a third of the cost of the eco-friendly versions. The recipes at right include non-harmful ingredients you can find at the grocery store.

Use a sponge or old rags instead of paper towels and a mop with a washable cleaning pad instead of disposable floor wipes. When you are finished cleaning, the washing machine can finish the job!

Notes about essential oils*:

A 15 mL (half ounce) bottle of essential oil contains about 350 drops. You can find essential oils online, in the natural foods section of grocery stores and at stores that sell vitamins and supplements.

Tea tree oil is naturally antibacterial and antifungal—very effective for killing germs. We like to use it in our kitchens and bathrooms.

A few scent combinations to try:

  • Lavender and rose
  • Grapefruit and basil
  • Lemon and orange
*Essential oils like tea tree oil can provide added cleaning benefits. Be sure to follow instructions as it can be a skin irritant to some and is considered toxic if consumed or inhaled by humans or pets.

Recipes adapted from

Clean House, Clean Planet by Karen Logan

All-Purpose Cleaner

Great for hard surfaces like countertops

1 tsp borax
3 ¾ cups warm water (filtered or boiled first)
2 T white vinegar
¼ cup liquid castile soap (Dr. Bronner’s)
8–10 drops essential oils (for fragrance)
32 oz. spray bottle

  1. Add borax and most of the warm water to spray bottle.
  2. Shake to dissolve the borax.
  3. Add vinegar, liquid soap and essential oils.
  4. Top with the rest of the water.

Soft Scrub

Great for tubs and sinks. This recipe makes enough for a few uses.

To keep it from drying out, store it in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. You can also add a few drops of pure vegetable glycerin to the mixture.

½ cup baking soda
3 tbsp liquid castile soap
Up to 10 drops of essential oil optional
(try 5 drops lavender + 5 drops tea tree)

  1. Place the baking soda in a bowl.
  2. Slowly pour in liquid soap, stirring constantly, until the consistency resembles frosting.
  3. Add the essential oils.
  4. Scoop the mixture onto a sponge, scrub the surface and rinse.

Disinfectant & Antibacterial Spray

3 tbsp liquid castile soap
20-30 drops of tea tree oil
distilled water
16 oz. spray bottle

  1. Fill the bottle almost full with distilled water.
  2. Add the soap and tea tree oil. 
  3. Shake to mix.
  4. Spray on and around toilets, bathtubs, door handles, etc. 
  5. Leave on to dry or wipe away with a damp rag. 

Source: Green Cleaning Kit Recipes