8 Non Toxic Cleaners | Best DIY Home Cleaning Products

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Looking for DIY options for cleaners? I’m sharing my list of best DIY home cleaning products for eco-friendly and non-toxic cleaning. The recipes here are perfect for when you’re short on funds, can’t get hold of commercial products or just want an all-natural solution.

Updated to include approved cleaners for use against the new virus causing the 2020 pandemic.

best DIY home cleaning products, non toxic cleaners
Some of the best DIY home cleaners are non toxic

Best home cleaning products against new virus

Only certain cleaning agents have been confirmed as useful against the new virus and included in these are the following four household products…

#1. Alcohol 60-70%

Alcohol of isopropyl strength is a cleaning agent recommended for use against the new 2020 virus. If you can’t purchase alcohol-based sanitizers or wipes you can try making your own with this strength alcohol.

Alcohol such as rubbing alcohol aka isopropyl is recommended.

Methylated spirits (denatured alcohol) will fall into this category but it’s not recommended for hands as it’s very drying. Tip: Avoid applying it to a timber surface unless you don’t mind it destroying the timber’s appeal.

#2. Bleach

Household chlorine bleach or hypochlorous acid is another ingredient recommended for use against the new 2020 virus.

It’s advised that you wear gloves when using this product. You need to dilute this according to the instructions…

Source: COVID-19 Aust Gov Dept of Health

#3. Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide can be used in place of household chlorine bleach. It is one of the cleaning agents recommended to fight against the new virus (refer to info sources).

Choice recommends 0.5% hydrogen peroxide and the EPA requires five minutes of the surface being wet with the liquid for effective use against the 2020 virus.

Hydrogen peroxide is H2O2 and simply breaks down into water and oxygen, compared to chlorine bleach which forms more toxic by-products, such as dioxins and furans.

Because the H2O2 breaks down into water and oxygen, the trick is to only mix the product with water immediately before you want to use it, so you don’t lose its benefit. This is no different to using normal chlorine bleach.

Sodium percarbonate powder is another eco-friendly product to use in place of household chlorine bleach. This is a powder form of hydrogen peroxide in a compound with sodium carbonate. The powder rapidly dissolves in water to release the hydrogen peroxide.

In Australia? Check out the eco-friendly cleaner, oxygen bleach from Biome Eco Store. This store has a lot of eco-friendly options.

#4. Soap and liquid soap/detergent

Good old fashioned soap and liquid detergent are also recommended for use against the new 2020 virus. Soap works to deactivate the virus as it breaks down lipids (aka fats and grease) and the virus’ outer layer is made up of lipids.

Best DIY home cleaning products from pantry staples and more

I rarely buy commercial cleaning products. Instead, I use lemons, bicarb soda, salt, vinegar, eucalyptus oil, hydrogen peroxide, and clove oil, among others.

You’ll find the best cleaning solutions in your pantry for non toxic cleaners.

#1. Vinegar as an all-purpose natural cleaner

Vinegar is acidic. It’s a cleaner and sanitiser.

If you’re using cider vinegar avoid use on white items including tiles or laminated goods as it can discolour them.

Use only white vinegar on white surfaces.

Use in a spray bottle for surfaces.

#2. Lemon as a natural disinfectant

Lemons are great for cleaning stainless steel sinks and making them sparkle. I also use lemon to clean and remove stains from my kitchen laminated bench rather than bleach.

Lemon is also a good deodoriser.

Add a cup of lemon juice to your dishwasher and run the rinse cycle to clean and freshen your appliance. You can put the juice in a coffee cup or any vessel that’s safe on the bottom rack of the dishwasher.

Lemon oil is an insect deterrent and it’s great for keeping cobwebs away also.

#3. Baking soda is a deodoriser, cleaner, de-greaser and desiccant

Baking soda or bicarbonate is an all-rounder. It’s great for absorbing odours in the refrigerator or bathroom and so is not only a cleaner but a deodorizer and desiccant.

Baking soda as a deodoriser

How to deodorize your fridge: Place about half a cup (up to a full cup) of bicarb in a container and leave in the refrigerator to absorb odours.

How to deodorize your garbage bins: Sprinkle some bicarb to line the bottom of your garbage bin.

No more smelly shoes: Put bicarb in the toes of old socks, secure the end and place in shoes, runners and boots to deodorize them.

Cat litter: Reduce the odours coming off a kitty litter by sprinkling bicarb over it and mixing it in. This will absorb the moisture and help with the smell.

non toxic cleaners, best diy home cleaning products
Bicarbonate soda is an all rounder that you can use as a paste

Baking soda as a cleaning paste

Mix it into a paste with water for a homemade cleaning solution in the kitchen and bathroom. 

For limescale, I make up a paste of bicarb soda with 3% hydrogen peroxide and apply to taps (faucets) and this will remove stubborn water stains.

For hard-to-remove grime on pots and pans, a paste of bicarb and water with a bit of elbow grease works amazingly. Put a layer of bicarb over the burnt on food with a little water and leave for a few hours or overnight. Then scrape off with a spatula (best to use a non-metal one to avoid scratching your pan).

Rust: Mix bicarb and vinegar into a paste and apply with a pot scourer. It should remove light surface rust.

Desiccant and de-greaser

Use bicarb to draw up oil by layering it over fresh grease and oil spills. Leave for a time and then wipe or scrape up the lot and dispose of it.

Use bicarb in musty areas of cupboards or rooms to draw up the moisture and remove the musty odour. An alternative is to use school chalk tied together with an attractive piece of ribbon or cloth.

Carpet spills

I also use it for absorbing spills on the carpet. I use an old towel first to soak up most of the moisture. Then I sprinkle a good coating of baking soda (bicarb) over the spill and let it dry. It soaks up the stains. When dry, just vacuum.

This method works also on animal and human urine when those accidents happen.

To revitalise carpets, mix 1 part bicarb, 3 parts vinegar and 5 parts water in a spray bottle. You can add some essential oil for aroma. Lightly spray the carpet with the mixture and then sweep it using a clean old T-shirt over a broom.

#4. Coconut oil as a cleaner

Great for cleaning showers including the glass and tiles. To remove grime on your shower screens try rubbing it off with some coconut oil on a damp cloth.

You can use coconut oil for cleaning away residue left from labels or stick-ons. You can try it on chewing gum as well.

Coconut oil can be used as a furniture polish. Use it to revitalise your cutting boards also.

You can try using it to remove rust on utensils by letting them soak in the coconut oil for a couple of hours and then scrub them to remove the rust.

One of the best tips I was given on using coconut oil is to use it on kitchen splashbacks. Just add it with some water and then wipe the splashback to clean away the grease. These are places where grease often accumulates and a solution like this should keep that glass looking shiny without too much trouble.

#5. Beeswax is a natural timber polish

Beeswax makes a natural timber polish and sealer. The recipe I use is 1 part beeswax to 4 parts virgin olive oil.

You can make a beeswax cleaning cloth for polished timber by getting a clean piece of cloth for cleaning and adding it with a drop each of lavender and lemon oil and a teaspoon of beeswax into a microwavable dish. Melt the beeswax in the microwave on short 10-sec bursts and then you have a beeswax cloth ready for use. When not in use, store the beeswax cloth in a ziplock plastic bag for next time. This tip is from Shannon Lush in her book Speed Cleaning.

Tip: You can also use beeswax to make reusable food covers to replace single-use and toxic plastic wrap. I wrote an article on how I make these as well as other ways of making beeswax wraps.

#6. Salt is a germ and mould inhibitor

salt one of many natural cleaning products
Salt is a natural germ inhibitor

Salt is another natural germ inhibitor. It’s abrasive and so helps remove build up grime. It also inhibits mould.

Salt is good for cleaning wooden cutting boards in the kitchen. Then seal your board with a light oiling, such as with grapeseed oil.

You can use table salt, coarse cooking salt or swimming pool salt for cleaning. The non-iodised table salt will save you extra cents.

#7. Sunshine is a natural sanitizer

Ultraviolet rays from the sun kill bacteria and other germs. This is the reason why the air-drying of clothes outside in the sunshine has added benefits along with airing rugs and other home soft furnishings outdoors in the sunlight.

#8. Olive oil for buffing

You can use olive oil for buffing and protecting stainless steel and brass surfaces. Add some to a soft cloth and use on stainless steel appliances, cookware (avoid the base to prevent blackening it when you cook next).

Other natural cleaning products

The following are natural ingredients but I’ve excluded them from the non toxic cleaners set above as these natural cleaning products can be toxic if ingested in sufficient quantities. Always read the label of products including that of essential oils. Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it is non toxic.

#9. Eucalyptus oil is a natural disinfectant

Eucalyptus is considered an all natural disinfectant. It is a product distilled from certain species of Eucalyptus trees that grow in Australia.

It works wonders in removing ink marks or sticky residue from labels. I use it for cleaning around door handles and light switches also. It is a natural antimicrobial.

#10. Clove oil is a natural mould inhibitor

Clove oil is a product you can buy at the pharmacy. It’s not only useful for soothing toothache but it also helps deter silverfish and mould. The oil is a product of dried flower buds of the clove tree.

A spray of a few drops of clove oil in water is all you need to use as a deterrent to mould.  Clove oil spray is also useful for killing mould, but you’ll need to wait for the mould to fall away with this all-natural cleaner. I quite like its spicy earth smell as well. You can get more tips like this one from Shannon Lush, who has a ton of cleaning tips including homemade cleaner recipes.

Homemade non toxic cleaners room by room

Using ingredients from your pantry helps when you’re short on funds or can’t get those commercial products.

Here are some DIY cleaning hacks room by room, that are simple to follow. 

Bathroom DIY cleaning mixtures

This recipe makes cleaning easy and shower screens sparkle: Mix equal parts white vinegar and gentle dishwashing detergent.

One of many DIY cleaning hacks in Shannon Lush, author of Spotless A-Z, is to use pantyhose as a cleaning cloth and I find it is one of the best.

For limescale, I make up a paste of bicarb soda with 3% hydrogen peroxide and apply to taps (faucets) and this will remove stubborn water stains.

Floors DIY cleaning solutions

You can use a mixture of half water and half vinegar in a microfiber spray mop, similar to this one at Amazon – See details

It’s a convenient and simple way of doing your floors. If you want to use a normal microfiber mop, just add the vinegar mixture to a spray bottle and spray the floor in sections before you mop.

Laundry DIY green ideas

To keep towels soft, just add vinegar to the final rinse. So not only is it an all natural cleaner, but vinegar is also a softener.

Not only is it a green option, but also a much cheaper version than using commercial fabric softeners. It is also a safer option for you and the environment.

It is also a safer option for you and the environment.

Windows DIY for sparkling clean

Use a dash of denatured alcohol (methylated spirits) diluted in half a bucket of warm water. You may use it direct but it will evaporate if the weather is hot. Apply to glass windows with (you guessed it) old pantyhose or similar cleaning material. Wipe away the residue with an old towel for streak-free results. I find this works exceptionally, especially after all the window cleaners I’ve tried, that just doesn’t work. About 90% of methylated spirits is ethanol.

A word of caution about methylated spirits: It contains additives to deter people from drinking it. These are mostly 10% methanol, which is highly toxic, but there are also others, like isopropyl alcohol, acetone, methyl ethyl ketone or other substances. So this is not entirely non toxic, however, it is a great economical cleaning product and considered a green homemade cleaning solution.

Everyday home cleaners contain chemical additives that potentially affect our health and the environment.

No doubt, you wouldn’t consciously expose yourself to harmful chemicals. But, that’s what you do when you use everyday cleaning products. The good news is that there are other options.

If you want more ideas like this, you should check out Shannon Lush and Jennifer Fleming for their cost-saving and also safer and healthier options.

Nasty chemicals vs natural cleaning products

Why choose simple, natural cleaning products? Natural is better for you and the environment most times. The results of decades of research tell us we should seriously think about what we use and spray around in our homes. We should rethink and use what nature provides us in the way of sanitizing and removing grime.

You can call these ‘chemical free’ cleaning products, much better than the nasty cocktail types. But, don’t forget not all chemicals are bad. There are chemicals that make us happy.

Important cleaning tip: Take the usual necessary precautions, like wearing gloves and washing hands afterwards. They are meant for cleaning surfaces and though these ingredients are natural and considered safe cleaning products, they may still harm your skin, e.g. through dryness or allergic reaction.

These are some of the best cleaning products because they are simple ingredients. Not only do they save your health, but they save you dollars as well. What non toxic or all natural cleaning products do you have in your cleaning products list?

Harsh chemicals to avoid

Evidence from decades of research that avoiding products with ‘nasty’ chemicals will not only benefit us but will also save us dollars.

eco living, eco lifestyle, eco friendly products, nasty chemicals, sustainable living, everyday products

As well as what we spread in our surrounds – if we want to keep this planet great – we need to seriously rethink what we ingest and apply.

There are a number of chemicals that are added to everyday products including in cleaning products. The David Suzuki Foundation names the twelve to watch as triclosan, parabens, formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, parfum, BHA and BHT, dibutyl phthalate, coal tar dyes, PEG compounds, petrolatum, sodium laureth sulfate, siloxanes, and DEA-related ingredients. 

David Suzuki Foundation cites a swathe of supporting studies and regulations (see their reference list ).

Final thoughts

You can replace expensive products with everyday household ingredients. Here’s my list of ingredients that make up the best DIY home cleaning products.

  1. Vinegar
  2. Lemon
  3. Bicarbonate soda (baking soda)
  4. Eucalyptus oil
  5. Coconut oil
  6. Beeswax
  7. Hydrogen peroxide
  8. Clove oil
  9. Salt
  10. Sunshine

A note upfront — Lemon, salt, vinegar and others can be drying to the skin. So when cleaning, take the usual necessary precautions, like wearing gloves and washing hands afterwards.

More DIY ideas for the home saver

Info sources

Speed Cleaning by Shannon Lush | Cleaning & Disinfecting Principles For COVID-19 | US EPA Disinfectant List Against Sars-Cov-2 |HERA: Sodium Percarbonate | Maria Costantino: Living Green

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