DIY Natural Household Cleaning Product Recipes

Interested in making your own cleaning products? Not only are they safer, they are easy to make and will save you money. Below are some tips and recipes for green-friendly cleaning supplies.

Basic Ingredients for Many Natural Cleaning Product Recipes:

1. Baking Soda:  Also known bicarbonate of soda, baking soda is an effective cleaning agent that also deodorizes.  

2. White Vinegar:   White Vinegar is useful for cutting grease, dissolving mineral deposits and has antifungal and germ killing properties due to its acidity.  Make sure to buy white vinegar marked grain alcohol or neutral grain spirits to avoid buying petroleum byproducts.

3. Washing Soda:   Also known as sodium carbonate is in the same family as baking soda but is processed differently.  It cuts grease, removes wax and lipstick.  Don’t use it on fiberglass, aluminum or waxed floors—unless you want to remove the wax.  

4. Borax:  Also know as sodium borate, a natural mineral compound.  It deodorizes, removes dirt and neutralizes hard water.  It is also a  laundry booster, an antifungal and possible disinfectant.  New studies indicate it is not as safe as previously indicated so we have taken it out of many recipes.  Still waiting for more information for the final determination of safety.  

5. Liquid Castile Soap:   Castile means that the soap is vegetable oil based, not animal fat-based.  It is an all-purpose cleaner, grease-cutter and disinfectant.

6. Lemon Juice:  Works as a nontoxic bleach, grease-cutter and stain remover.  

7. Salt:  Try using kosher salt for a mild abrasive.   Also used as a weed killer.

8. Soap Flakes (laundry bar or castile soap bar):  Excellent for use in both liquid and powdered laundry soaps.  Look for a bar without artificial fragrances.  You can grate an all-natural laundry bar (Fruitful Yield) or Castile bar soap found at Fruitful Yield, Woodman’s, and discount stores.  

9. Essential Oils:   Adding all-natural essential oils can add great  fragrance to your products. Some have antibacterial and antifungal properties, while others have insect repelling properties.  Note that oils are very concentrated and may be an irritant to some.  Pregnant women should check before using.  (All of the essential oils used in these recipes are considered safe).  

10. Hydrogen Peroxide:   This works well as a non-toxic bleach and stain remover and as a disinfectant.  

Natural Liquid Laundry Soap

This works in high efficiency washers

4 cups   Water

2 cups   Soap Flakes

2 cups   Washing Soda

2 cups   Borax

30 cups    Warm water

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil.

Add the soap flakes or grated natural soap (laundry bar or castile soap) to the boiling water very slowly and dissolve over low heat.  

Find a large bucket (3-5 gallons) with a lid and pour the soap/water mixture into it.  Then stir the Washing Soda and Borax until it dissolves.

Finally, add 30 cups of warm water to the mixture and stir well. (Some suggest letting the mixture sit for 24 hours first.  Stir frequently.  The mixture will change and become gelatinous.)

Shake or stir before using.   Use 1/4 to 1/2 cup per load.  

Tips  Add 5 drops of lemon eucalyptus or geranium essential oils to dispenser cup for subtle clean scent.  Use 1/4 to 1/2 cup white vinegar in fabric softener dispenser for a fabric rinse.

Simple Washing Powder

1 cup     Baking Soda

1 cups   Washing Soda

2 cups   Grated soap flakes (laundry, castile or glycerin bar)

2-4 Tbs  Powdered Oxygenated       Bleach (Optional)

Make soap flakes by grating your favorite pure vegetable soap with a cheese grater. Mix ingredients together and store in an a glass container. Use 1 tablespoon per load (2 for heavily soiled laundry), wash in warm or cold water.

This standard recipe can be adjusted for soft water by using 2 cup soap flakes, 1/4 cup washing soda and 1 cup baking soda. For hard water, the same amount of the top 3 ingredients.

Note: This recipe can be safely used in HE washers.

Pre-Wash Stain Spray

1/2 cup  White Vinegar

1/4 cup  Baking Soda

3 cups   Water

Stir together and fill a labeled spray bottle.  Spray on soiled spots just before washing.  Always test a hidden spot first.  

Bleach/Brightener Substitute

1 cup     Hydrogen Peroxide

1/4 cup  Lemon or Grapefruit Juice

12 cups  Water

Store in a labeled  jug.  Add 2 cups per load along with detergent.

Tub, Tile and Countertop Cleaner (soft scrub)


1/2 cup  Baking Soda

Liquid Soap

5 drops  Antibacterial Essential Oil such as lavender, tea tree oil, or rosemary (optional)

Pour the baking soda in a bowl; slowly pour the liquid soap or detergent, stirring until reaches the consistency of frosting. Scoop the creamy mixture onto a sponge, wash the surface, and rinse.

Oven Cleaner


2 cups   Baking Soda

1/2 cup  Plain Salt  

2 tsp     Liquid Soap

1/4 cup  Washing soda

20 drops Essential Oil (optional)


Combine the dry ingredients with enough water make a thick paste, and spread throughout oven interior. (avoid bare metal and any openings) Let sit overnight. Remove with spatula and wipe clean. Rub gently with fine steel wool for tough spots. 

Automatic Dishwasher Powder

1 Cup    Washing Soda

¼ Cup    Citric Acid

¼ Cup   Plain Salt

5-8 Drops     Citrus Essential Oil

Mix dry ingredients together with a whisk.  Add essential oil and mix thoroughly with whisk.  Put in sealed plastic container.

Makes 20-32 loads.   Use 1 tsp -1 Tbs per load.

All-Purpose/Glass Cleaner

This is used through the home for regular maintenance...kitchens, bathrooms, dusting of living spaces, flat mopping wood floors...polishing of glass and mirrors as well as stainless appliances. It also disinfects.  

3 3/4 cups         Distilled or Reverse  Osmosis Water

10 drops            Organic Lavender  Essential Oil

5 drops   Organic Tea Tree  Essential Oil

Mix ingredients together in a large spray bottle (32 oz).

Cleansing Powder

1/2 Cup Baking Soda

2 tsp     Cream of Tartar

2 Tbs     Borax

5 drops  Essential Oil

This is good for light colored hard surfaces such as porcelain sinks.  Rinse with white vinegar and hot water.  

One Size Fits All Cleaner

Take this recipe and modify it with different essential oils.  Make a variation for the bathroom and add cedar wood oil to fight mold and mildew, or add Geranium oil in another formulation to create a cleaner/bug repellent for the patio furniture.

1 cup     Water

1/2 cup Vinegar

10 drops   Essential Oil

Mix ingredients together in a spray bottle.  Shake before using.

Foam Pump Hand Soap

3/4 cup  Water

2-3 Tbs  Liquid Castile Soap

5-10 drops Essential Oil (Opt.)

Refill empty foam pump bottle with water, castile soap and essential oil.  Gently swirl to mix.

Natural Furniture Polish

1 cup     Linseed (flax), walnut,       olive or hemp oil

1/4 cup White Vinegar

5 drops  Lemon Essential Oil

Mix in a spray bottle and spritz on a soft cloth to use. Do not spray directly on furniture.

Amazing Air Freshener


1 cup     Water

10 drops    Essential Oil

Choose your favorite fragrance of essential oil and mix with water in spray bottle.  Can spray into air or on furniture, carpets and fabrics. Shake before using.

Natural Weed Killer

4 cups   White Vinegar

2 tsp     Liquid dish soap
1/4 cup  Salt (optional)

Mix in a spray bottle. Spray on weeds carefully as it will also kill grass and flowers.  If using salt it can build up in soil and potentially hurt other plants so it is best used on walkways and hardscaping. 

More Recipes and Cleaning Tips

Bathroom Grout:  Make a paste of baking soda and water.  Brush on and let sit for a few minutes then rinse.

Blood out of Clothing:   Soak in a small amount of hydrogen peroxide.  Rinse.

Carpet stains: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray on stain and let sit for several minutes, then clean with a brush or sponge using warm soapy water.
 For a heavy duty carpet cleaner, mix 1/4 cup each of salt, borax and vinegar. Rub paste into carpet and leave for a few hours. Vacuum.

Children's Toys:  Add 4 Tbs of baking soda with 1 quart of water and wipe off toys.

Coffee Pots:  Add 1/4 cup of salt and about 12 ice cubes, swish and let sit for 30 minutes.  Fill with cold water and rinse.

Copper:  Put a thick layer of ketchup on and let sit for a few minutes.  Scrub off and rinse.  Salt and vinegar is a great copper scrub.

Crayon on Wood Furniture:   Rub mayonnaise on mark and let sit for a few minutes.  Wipe away with a damp cloth.

Cutting Board Cleaner: Rub a slice of lemon across a chopping block to disinfect the surface. For tough stains, squeeze lemon juice onto the spot and let sit for 10 minutes, then wipe.

 Disinfecting Cleaner:    Spray surface with 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide. For extra disinfecting, first spray with white vinegar.

Unclog Drains:  Add 1/2 cup baking soda and follow with 1 cup white vinegar and close drain.  Let sit for about 15 minutes and flush with lots of hot water.

Fruit & Vegetable Cleaner:  Spray with solution of equal parts white vinegar and water.  Scrub and rinse.  Follow with a spray of 3% hydrogen peroxide spray.  Rinse again.

Microwave:  In glass cup add 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of vinegar.  Microwave for 2 minutes then let sit and steam for a few more.  Wipe out with clean cloth.

Stickers on walls:   Sponge vinegar over stickers several times, and wait 15 minutes, then rub off the stickers. This also works for price tags (stickers) on tools, etc.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Mix 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar, pour into bowl and let it set for a few minutes to overnight. Scrub with brush and rinse.


The recipes on this page are from The Chemerical Cookbook, Berkana Way,

Natural Home & Garden,,, and Clean Air Counts