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 washing 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

Recipes adapted from
Clean House, Clean Planet by Karen Logan

All-Purpose Cleaner

Great for hard surfaces like countertops

1 tsp Borax
2 tbsp white vinegar
3½ cups warm water (filtered or boiled first)
¼ cup liquid castile soap (Dr. Bronner’s)
8–10 drops essential oils (for fragrance)
32 oz. spray bottle

  1. Pour Borax and vinegar into spray bottle.
  2. Add ½ cup warm water and swirl until the Borax is dissolved.
  3. Add the liquid soap and the remaining
    3 cups of water
  4. Add 8–10 drops of essential oils.

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.