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diy zero waste cleaning supplies

The weather here in St. Louis might be completely confused as to what season it’s supposed to be, but I am not. It is spring time, and that means one thing:

Time for spring cleaning.

I much prefer to use natural products around the house, both because they are cheaper and because they are healthier for my toddler and infant sons to be around since they are all over every surface.

It’s also very nice that these recipes contain various combinations of a few basic ingredients, most of which are already in my pantry. I love knowing exactly what I’m introducing into the environment around my babies.

Most common ingredients in almost every homemade cleaner:

white vinegar

essential oils   (Related: Why I Left my MLM for Plant Therapy Essential Oils)

castile soap

baking soda

Related: 5 Eco-Friendly (and cheap!) Paper Towel Alternatives


All Purpose Cleaner

diy all purpose cleaner

photo credit and recipe from The Bold Abode

Dean is crawling all around now, and sticking everything in his mouth. To protect his little system and keep him safe, we really like this natural all-purpose cleaner.

Adding extras like lemon essential oils give the cleaner a “classic clean” scent, as well as add the benefits of the essential oil’s cleansing properties.

If you choose to add citrus essential oils to your cleaner, be sure to either use a glass spray bottle or a plastic bottle specifically designed to hold essential oils. Otherwise, the citrus oils can eat through the bottle, and then you would have more things to clean up.

Tub Scrub

homemade shower cleaner

photo credit and recipe from One Essential Community

This shower cleaner mixes together in about a minute, and lasts for a long time. It leaves the shower soap scum-free.

We don’t currently have hard water, but this spray would still be just as effective as if we did have hard water.

I love how cheap this shower spray is to create and use. Paired with a scrub brush from the dollar store, this is super affordable and it just works.

Window Cleaner

homemade window cleaner

photo credit and recipe from Farm Girl Inspirations

When I was little, my grandma taught me to use plain vinegar in a spray bottle and wipe down the mirrors and windows with a crumpled up page of newspaper. It leaves the glass with a streak-free shine, but also leaves the room smelling like vinegar.

This version doesn’t smell as harsh, especially if you add a few drops of essential oils to the mix.

I’ve still not found anything better than a crumpled up piece of newspaper when cleaning glass though. I imagine something like a Swedish dish cloth would be the best reusable option that won’t leave behind pesky tiny fibers all over your clean surface.

We have two Swedish dish cloths and I absolutely love them. They are so incredibly absorbent (one dish cloth recently soaked up 4 ounces of orange juice with ease!), strong, and even dishwasher-safe.

Air Freshener

homemade air freshener

photo credit and recipe from Bren Did

Story time: When I was in college, my lab partner and I stayed at school late so we could spend more time on our dissection. However, we had a social function after that, and we smelled strongly like formaldehyde. So we drove to Walmart and bought a bottle of Febreze and sprayed ourselves heavily with it, like a preteen boy who has just bought his first can of Axe.

This was obviously before I became the crunchy hippie I am today.

That story makes me horrified at my younger self.

Now we use a homemade air freshener, and we can create our own scent blends for pennies on the dollar.

This is also good for spraying in shoes, gym bags, and other stinky things.

Wood Polish

homemade furniture polish non-toxic

photo credit and recipe from Mom 4 Real

Did you know that homemade wood polish not only smells great and is a very effective dusting spray, but also that it helps buff out scratches?

It’s true!

During the packing process from our Iowa-to-Nevada move, we scratched up the floor to our living room in one. long. scratch. down the center of the room.

After I spent over 20 minutes trying to color it in with 4 different colors of crayons, I remembered that olive oil on polished hardwood blends scratches in like normal. And voila, 2 minutes later, the whole room looked brand new.

Toilet discs

diy toilet cleaning tabs

photo credit and recipe from One Good Thing By Jillee

If there’s one chore I hate, it’s cleaning the toilet. Thankfully, my saint of a husband doesn’t mind, so he cleans them for me. One thing we agree on though is the use of toilet discs. The fizziness helps clean the toilet with minimal effort, without adding all sorts of harsher chemicals to the air.

I like this recipe especially because you don’t even need a mold for the tabs, you can just dry them on parchment paper. Super simple and super cheap.

Stain remover

diy stain remover

photo credit and recipe from My Frugal Adventures 

Can we please take a moment of silence for all the adorable baby clothes and accessories that have been sacrificed to baby poop or pureed broccoli spit-up?

So many cute clothes and bibs. Why they even make white baby pants and onesies is completely beyond my comprehension.

This recipe contains Dawn dish soap, so it’s not completely “all natural,” but it is a simple and effective stain remover for sure.

Keep it in a squeeze bottle (old ketchup or mustard bottles work) and apply to stains before washing. Don’t forget to air-dry stained clothes until maximum stain removal is complete, as heat will set in the stains.

Related: How to do laundry when you don’t have hookups

Zero Waste Cleaning Supplies

Don’t forget about your other cleaning supplies! Paper towels are truly harmful to the environment and honestly an unnecessary expense. I much prefer washable options like old socks (awesome for dusting!) or old work t-shirts cut into rag size.

I love this idea of using old towels to make reusable swiffer pads from Natural Nesters!

diy swiffer pads

I always hated the wastefulness and expense of single-use mop pads, so this option is much better for the environment and your pocketbook. The instructions require very minimal sewing, so anyone can do it, even if you don’t have a sewing machine.

If you just really hate sewing, I’ve also gotten away with tucking long rectangles of old t-shirts into the tuck spaces of swiffer dusters. It works very well, requires new sewing, and unhemmed jersey knit still holds up well to repeat washings.

While I haven’t ever personally used Norwex cloths, I’ve heard from multiple friends that they are awesome. I like the idea especially since you just use water and then can wash them. I’m all about washable options.

Be sure to check out this post for more ideas on paper towel replacements and other zero waste cleaning supplies options.

I love to find ways to make our lifestyle more eco-friendly, zero waste, and healthy. By making our own cleaning supplies we can limit the trash created by the repeated purchase of plastic bottles and containers, limit the exposure of our children’s systems to the harsh chemicals of standard cleaning products, and still ensure a clean living environment for our family.

And when a box of baking soda is $0.62, it’s also a crazy-cheap way to live, which I’m all about.

Not enough DIY cleaning solutions recipes for you? Check out my friend Christina’s blog post with her favorite recipes at Little Sprouts Learning.

Do you make your own cleaning supplies? Drop a comment with your favorite recipe!

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diy zero waste cleaning supplies

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