5 Inexpensive And Homemade Natural Cleaning Products

We live in a toxic world, but we can choose to step out of that world and create our own natural cleaning products that work just as well. Going completely chemical-free has been a goal of mine for a while now.

Going Chemical-free

I moved into an apartment (insert your sympathetic groan here). I’m working hard to establish my potted plants in my patio garden and implement my chemical-free lifestyle as quickly as possible in the transition.

Commercial products

There is a lot to like about chemical-free cleaning products on the market, but holy-moly, that stuff is expensive. Did you hear the whole, “I had to move into an apartment,” thing? I’m not exactly raking in the dough.

D.I.Y. cleaning products

Instead of spending hundreds of dollars to get every single chemical-free cleaning product on the market, I decided to find natural recipes for making them myself, or developing my own recipes.

Adding therapeutic-grade essential oils (EOs) in my cleaning supplies gives an extra-boost of bacteria-killing and cleaning-oomph to my cleaners.

Essential Oils for cleaning products

Before we get to the recipes, let’s talk about how EOs add to the power of cleaning supplies without the chemical yuck.

EOs are distilled from plants (woo, natural). Think of it as “plant blood”—they oxygenate and move nutrients through the plant, so it can grow and flourish.

When EOs enter your body through inhalation, absorption, or digestion, the essential oils oxygenate your blood and move nutrients through your body. The oils improve your immunity and help support every system in your body, from muscular to endocrine.

They keep our families and ourselves healthy!

Chemical Cleaning Supply Hazards

We know the dangers of inhaling bleach.

We have heard the horror stories of harsh chemicals that get splashed and irritate or burn the skin or cause rashes.

You probably have the local poison control number posted on your refrigerator. It’s in case you know someone who accidentally ingests poison in the form of laundry detergent or all-purpose cleaner.

Typical cleaning supplies …

… like bleach or laundry detergent, contain chemicals that fall into three categories:

  • carcinogens
  • endocrine disruptors
  • neurotoxins

Look at the label to see if the cleaning product has a warning.

If the label says:

  1. Protective clothing should be worn while using this product
  2. Says “proprietary blend of” anything as an ingredient, but doesn’t list the actual ingredients in that blend
  3. Warnings against major skin irritation
  4. Contact poison control in any occasion of use other than the intended use

The product probably has a nasty chemical that may be shown to cause cancer, mimic human hormones in the body, or disrupt brain activity.

Let’s stay away from those.

Stick with natural cleaning supplies that are cheap, easy-to-make, easy-to-use, and reasonably inexpensive.

Benefits of Natural Cleaning Supplies

With EOs, you get cleaning power and peace-of-mind, without having poison control on speed dial.

Not all EOs are created equally. Most essential oils on the market fall into one of three categories:

  • Aromatic
  • Perfume
  • Food Grade

Only the pure form of essential oil—the only one without chemical fillers or carrier oils added—is Therapeutic Grade.

How can you tell that an essential oil company sells only therapeutic grade essential oils?

Find out if the company owns and operates their own farm and has a promise of purity. If their standards are high, they grow their own plants, build their own distilleries, and are open about their processes and systems, you can bet that they are honest about the purity of their essential oils.

Using Essential Oils

I use essential oils in my cleaning supplies, but also in my food, in my fitness supplements, and in my personal care products. A lot of the same oils blend across the board, so cleaning with the same substances that I put on my skin is not a problem.

I won’t break out in hives from a laundry detergent I made with lemon, citronella, rosemary, and lavender essential oils. When I make my all-purpose surface cleaner with cinnamon, clove, lemon, eucalyptus, and rosemary essential oils, I know my skin isn’t going to burn when I touch residue left behind from cleaning the counters.

5 Inexpensive and natural cleaning products

Here are my recipes, equipment, and methods for making and using chemical-free cleaning supplies!

Chemical-free, Laundry detergent

Supplies: Glass Jar, Food Processor or Cheese Grater, Measuring Cups, Mixing Utensil

  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup Washing soda
  • 1 Natural Bar Soap (Dr. Bronner’s, Lavender is great), grated into fine shavings
  • 15 drops EO, 3-4 drops each of Lemon, Citronella, Rosemary, and Lavender (whatever smells best to you will work!)

How to make and use:

  1. Grate the natural bar soap of your choice (bonus points if you make your own!) with a cheese grater or food processor.
  2. Stir in Borax and Washing Soda.
  3. As you stir, add drops of EOs to distribute the oil in the mixture evenly. Store in an air-tight glass jar. A large canning jar works great.
  4. Add 1 TBSP of the mixture to your laundry. Use warm or hot water—especially if you don’t grate the bar soap small enough. If the soap pieces are too big, cold water doesn’t dissolve the soap very well. Also, add a couple of drops of EOs directly to your laundry for added freshness (Extra drops of lavender when you wash bedding is heavenly).

Note: I’ve had great results using Lemon EO for stain remover in the laundry. Apply a couple of drops and rub it into a stain (common stains like dirty knee stains from garden) before washing it with the laundry detergent above.

Chemical-free, All-purpose cleaner

Supplies: Amber Glass Spray Bottle, Measuring Cups, Funnel

  • 1 cup Distilled water
  • 1 cup Hydrogen peroxide
  • 15 Drops of EO, 3 drops each of Cinnamon, Clove, Lemon, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary

How to make and use:

  1. Use a funnel to pour all ingredients into an amber or brown glass spray bottle.
  2. Shake gently to combine.
  3. Spray to clean counters, appliances, and other surfaces. Wipe down with a rag.

Degreaser Variation

Add extra-lemon EO and a little lemon juice to the all-purpose cleaner above.

Window and Glass Cleaner Variation

Use less EO, and cut the Hydrogen peroxide amount in half for window or glass cleaner. Try white vinegar as another window and glass cleaner alternative.

Chemical Free, EO Dishwasher Detergent

The ingredient amounts are in “parts,” so you can make large batches. It’s easier to measure the ingredients into a large container in general amounts.

Supplies: Glass Container, Funnel

  • 2 parts Borax
  • 2 parts Washing soda
  • 1 part Kosher salt
  • 20 drops or so Lemon EO

How to make and use:

  1. Fill the container with equal parts Borax and Washing soda.
  2. Add half of that amount of Kosher Salt.
  3. Add the EO, so it smells the way you want it to. It will depend on how much detergent you make.
  4. Combine all dry ingredients in a large canning jar. Stir while adding drops of the EO to distribute it equally.
  5. Scoop 1 TBSP of this mixture into the soap chamber of your dishwasher, and add 1 tsp of Citric Acid to each load. (I use LemiShine, but you can find citric acid at natural grocery stores in bulk, or on Amazon).

Note: For hard water, add more citric acid in each load and increase the Lemon EO amount in the recipe.

These are just a few of the natural cleaning products that you can make for your healthy home.

Do you make your own cleaning products? Share your ideas below.


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This post was written by The Grow Network


  • David says:

    Wow! Those are great ideas! My wife has been thinking to make our own natural cleaning products since our little one has sensitive skin. Those ideas look great! We will give it a try! Thank you!

  • Ruby says:

    Hello and thanks,
    I am wondering if liquid bronner’s soap can be used instead of a grating a solid bar of soap which would be difficult for me and probably a lot of other people, especially elders. And if so, how much???? I have seen a recipe in the past in the past using liquid soap. I would use one with liquid soap much often.

  • Deborah from Texas says:

    I use equal parts of blue Dawn, and vinegar for general cleaning. If you have some grease that has been there for a while, spray it with this combination and let sit a few minutes. Then wipe off. It may take more than one application, but it will work.

  • Cheryl says:

    I have been making my own laundry detergent for years. I use the same proportions as you, but melt my grated soap in about a gallon of water on the stove until I am sure it is melted. Be cautious as if too hot it will severely bubble over. I add all the ingredients together in a five gallon bucket except the essential oil. I then fill up the bucket with cool water and add the fragrance. My husband uses an agitator he made for his electric drill when it begins to coagulate. I also use my immersion blender (it’s soap!). Then I fill my old laundry soap bottles and use the cap as a measure. Not as smooth as store bought, but I think works better! Hope this helps.

  • Barbara says:

    Thank you for the input! Where an I find Washing soda? Do you have a recipe for dish soap? I do not use a dishwasher and would love a recipe for washing dishes. I grew up using vinegar and water to clean glass and bathrooms and we all use that still at home to clean.

  • Jen says:

    What do you mean by parts? How is it measure?

  • Ray says:

    A huge thank you for the natural cleaning products information. I have a skin problem that doesn’t allow me to use most store brought soaps, and all this information I will certainly use.
    Thank you so much,

  • Carol says:

    Thank you! I use Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap (lavender flavor) for laundry detergent. For the dishwashing detergent, the reason the citric acid can’t be mixed with the other ingredients is that it makes the mixture rock hard. However, if, when you mix everything, including the citric acid, you then divide the detergent into portions in an ice-cube tray, you’ll have convenient cubes of dishwashing detergent.

  • Gertrude Albright-Sweeny says:

    For a window cleaner I have been using newspaper for a long time. Wet for washing and dry for polishing. It leaves them beautiful clear and shining. Its the printers ink apparently that does it.

  • Mike Madsen says:

    Be carful of hydrogen peroxide, the 3 % stuff has manganese in it and it can absorb into skin, it can cause permanent nerve damage if you get an overdose of it, vitamin manufacturers and fertilizer companies are going crazy about the amount they are adding to there products and the results could damage peripheral nerves.

  • Leah Brown says:

    Borax is not so good

  • Leah Brown says:

    Newspaper ink is also not good for you

  • Leah Brown says:

    Carol, I love Dr. Bronner’s. How much do you use for laundry?

  • Mary Mapes says:

    To do our laundry, I only use vinegar and salt in the washer and nothing in the dryer. Clothes come out very clean and we have no static cling! Recipe: Large load-1 cup vinegar, 1 tsp salt; Medium load-1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt; Small load-1/4 cup vinegar, 1/4 tsp salt. You can also add a few drops of essential oil in the rinse cycle if you would like.

    1. Meme Grant says:

      Thank you, I cannot get DR Bronners here in the Azores, I will do what you do…

  • sapphire.blue.eyes2 says:

    We have hard water which eventually gives the whites a ‘reddish’ cast. Does the laundry detergent work on that? I used vinegar in the fabric softener holder.

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