home · low impact · reduced waste

my experience with homemade cleaners

*the amazon links in this post are affiliate links and I may receive a small commission if you purchase via the link. this doesn’t affect the price you pay, and I would never recommend anything I haven’t used myself*

one of the things I’ve always wanted to try, since starting my journey into a lower impact lifestyle, is homemade non-toxic cleaning products. after spending a few weeks at the end of last month kon-mari’ing my home (if you haven’t heard of the kon mari method, or the author marie kondo’s incredible work, do give her a google!) I decided that it was a good time to start. I saved a few recipes to my pinterest board, bought the ingredients needed, and got busy cleaning! here’s how I’ve fared after a month of using these cleaners:

multipurpose surface cleaner

I chose to use the vinegar version of this cleaner, then stored it in an empty spray bottle from my last lot of ecover surface cleaner and used as normal.

  • 1 cup distilled water (the best and cheapest way to get distilled water is by boiling water in the kettle and then allowing it to cool)
  • 1 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 15 drops essential oil (I used orange and peppermint)

this is a really good cleaner, and makes a good amount of product! my only issue is that it makes everything smell quite vinegary (surprise, surprise!) and I find that it makes my eyes sting if I’m doing a big clean. I think next time I may swap out half of the vinegar for lemon juice to try and mitigate this, however, once it dries the vinegar smell is gone and I’m left with just the essential oil scents which is really nice!

the verdict: I would definitely recommend this cleaner, and will make and use it again, although possibly with the addition of lemon juice as mentioned above. 7/10

floor cleaner

I stored this in a spray bottle as well, and just spritz directly onto the floor and clean with my beloved microfibre mop.

  • 2 cups warm water (I again used boiling water which I then let cool, so that I could store any unused product without worrying about mould)
  • 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 1/4 cup rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
  • 3 drops liquid dish soap
  • 5-10 drops essential oils (optional – I chose not to add any, as the washing up liquid has such a nice scent already!)

I think you could also skip the water and store this as a concentrated cleaner, diluting it as and when required. the vinegar smell in this is a lot less overpowering than the surface cleaner, although the alcohol does get into the back of your nose – if you’re mopping a large surface, I’d suggest making sure the windows are open. it’s very effective, even on sticky and long-standing stains (images below are from behind my bin, which is a very neglected area of my floor, after just a couple of sprays and a swoosh with the mop!)

before cleaning…
and after!

the verdict: an excellent cleaner, I think even better than the method floor cleaner I was using before! loses points only for the alcohol smell, but it’s a necessary ingredient. 8/10

toilet cleaner

for this recipe, I chose not to follow the last step of misting the powder with water in order to pack it into tabs, and just stored it in a jar with a plastic spoon to scoop directly into the toilet bowl.

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 2/3 cup citric acid
  • essential oils of preference (I used 30 drops each of pine and peppermint)

this cleaner has been very disappointing. it doesn’t really fizz when it goes in the water, and although it smells nice I can’t say I’ve noticed any particular cleaning properties. it’s more of a deodoriser than a cleaner, I think, and I’ve gone back to using my method and ecover toilet cleaners and am just using this for the fragrance! it does, however, work really nicely around my plug holes when sprinkled on and left to fizz for a bit, seems to keep them nice and clean and keep the drains smelling fresh.

the verdict: not super effective at cleaning, but does smell nice and the baking soda adds some scrubbing power if you need it. 5/10

glass cleaner

I didn’t have any spare spray bottles when I made this, so I just store this in an old passata bottle, and just tip it onto a microfibre cloth to use, then buff with a dry microfibre cloth to shine up.

this is probably my favourite of the cleaning products that I’ve made. it’s super effective, and it leaves a gorgeous shine on my mirrors and glass surfaces. it doesn’t have a smell (using essential oils would leave streaks), but that isn’t such an issue for me with a glass cleaner!

before cleaning…
and after!

the verdict: a fantastic cleaner. can’t fault it! 10/10!

honourable mentions

baking soda: I’ve been using baking soda on its own to deodorise my plug holes, scrub the burnt on grease off my hob top and to clean the bottom of old pans. a light dusting in the bottom of a bin helps to absorb nasty odours and it can even be used to freshen up carpets.

white vinegar: vinegar in a spray bottle is great for cleaning upholstery and carpets (always do a patch test, first, though!) and can really make stainless steel shine when followed up with a buff of olive oil. it can also be poured into the bottom of a dishwasher to help keep the pipes free from grease and clogged food.

overall, I’m really happy with my first foray into making my own, natural cleaning products and it’s definitely something I’ll be continuing! my next steps are to find a good toilet cleaner and to dip my toe in the world of homemade laundry detergent.

do you have a favourite natural cleaner? or will you be trying any of the ones above? let me know in the comments!

catch you next time,


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