The Very Best Homemade Cleaning Recipes

Avoid harmful chemicals and save money with effective homemade household cleaners using this collection of simple recipes.

  • Basic ingredients such as baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice form the backbone of any DIY home cleaning arsenal.
    Photo by iStock
  • Detox your cleaning routine with the best homemade cleaners.
    Photo by Veer

We have more reasons than ever to make our own cleaning products: By choosing homemade cleaners, we can avoid bringing into our homes the many harmful chemicals found in commercial products; homemade cleaners are incredibly economical and simple to make; and many natural options work better than their chemical counterparts.

Conventional cleaning products contain harmful ingredients. In a recent study, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) tested 21 common cleaning products and identified 457 air pollutants that can be released into the air through normal product use. Comet Disinfectant Powder Cleanser emitted the most, at 146 contaminants. The study also identified 24 chemicals in cleaning products with well-established links to asthma, cancer and other health disorders—12 of the chemicals are on California’s list of chemicals linked to birth defects, reproductive problems and cancer. Many of the products we rely upon simply aren’t safe enough for daily use inside our homes.

To help you detox your home and the air you breathe, we’ve compiled a list of the most common cleaning products; the worst offending chemicals typically found in each; the best all-natural ingredients you can use in place of the chemicals; and a recipe for each product so you can make your home as healthy as possible.

All-Purpose Cleaner

Uses: Typically used to clean countertops, sinks, tiles, tubs and floors, “all-purpose” cleaners (despite the name) aren’t suitable for floors, windows, glass or mirrors.

Worst Ingredients: Butyl cellosolve—common in all-purpose, window and other types of cleaners—is a suspected carcinogen potentially damaging to bone marrow, the nervous system, the kidneys and the liver.

Best Alternative: Castile soap and hot water

4/24/2015 10:06:45 AM

Please take care using essential oils. Always, always dilute. Use gloves when added to cleaning products and use gloves when using the cleaning product itself. If using as a beauty product, do not use every day for a long period of time. Take breaks from usage. Use in a well ventilated area. If you are prone to asthma or contact dermatitis please consider using very low diluted doses.

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