DIY: Spring Clean With What You’ve Got

The first step to spring cleaning is having the right supplies. Yet the cleaning products in the average American home can contain hazardous, toxic materials, synthetic and petroleum-based ingredients, and even pesticides.

Just take a look at this short list of the common toxic ingredients commonly found in household cleaning products. Go the organic route instead and avoid indoor air pollution, harsh and harmful chemicals, and use what you already have!

While there are products out there to get the job done, it takes some careful examination of ingredients to make sure there are no toxic chemicals and fragrances, and an awareness of what is actually healthy, safe, organic cleaning and what is just marketing the term “green” and “natural.” You can save money and have peace of mind knowing these common household items and foods can double as cleaning products.

Try the following recipes to start off on a DIY kick in two highly-used areas of your home—the kitchen and bathroom!

DIY Surface Cleaning Recipes for the Kitchen

Tip: Allow the mixtures to sit for 1-3 minutes or more before wiping off.


Marble, granite, or stone:

You will need: rubbing alcohol or vodka, water, spray bottle.

–        Mix equal parts rubbing alcohol or vodka with water in spray bottle

–        Spray on surface, let sit for a minute, then wipe off!

Because it is not acidic, this mixture is great for disinfecting and cleaning these stone surfaces.

For a multi-surface/all-purpose cleaner to use throughout the house:

  1. Soap and essential oil method

You will need: castile soap, water, tea tree and/or lavender essential oil, spray bottle.

–        Mix a few drops of castile soap with 2 cups of water

–        Add 30 drops of essential oil (15 drops of each, or 30 drops of one)

–        Shake up in spray bottle, and go for it!

Safe for all surfaces (cutting boards, counters, toilets, walls), though it will streak glass.

  1. Vinegar method

You will need: white vinegar, water, spray bottle

–        Mix equal parts vinegar and water in spray bottle

–        Spray and wipe off

Vinegar is a natural and powerful disinfectant, deodorizer, kills bacteria, and cuts grease!

Cutting Boards

Wood and plastic:

You will need: fresh lemon.

–        Cut the lemon in half

–        Rub across surface and let juice sit for 10 minutes

–        Rinse off

The acidity and antibacterial properties of lemon will sanitize your surface, and leave a fresh scent.

Wood only:

You will need: coconut oil.

–        Rub a decent amount of coconut oil on the wooden cutting board whenever the wood looks dry.

Coconut oil will hydrate, clean, sanitize, and condition the wood. See this great resource for more on the practical and health uses of coconut oil from Dr. Mercola.

DIY Cleaning Recipes for the Bathroom


For extra-thorough toilet cleaning:

You will need: baking soda, tea tree essential oil, vinegar.

–        Pour ½ cup of baking soda and 10 drops of tea tree essential oil into toilet bowl

–        Add ¼ cup vinegar into toilet bowl

–        Scrub away with a toilet brush while the mixture fizzes

This mixture will deodorize while it cleans. Tea tree has anti-bacterial properties.

For daily cleaning and sanitizing:

You will need: white vinegar, tea tree or lemon essential oil, spray bottle.

–        Combine 1 cup of vinegar with a few drops of essential oil in spray bottle

–        Spray on toilet seats, let sit for a few minutes, and wipe clean

Bathtubs and Showers

For mildew:

You will need: white vinegar, spray bottle.

–        Spray vinegar straight onto mildew and let sit for 30 minutes

–        Scrub off with sponge if needed and rinse with warm water

For heavy-duty grime or soap scum:

You will need: white vinegar, coconut oil, cloth.

–        Put a small scoop of coconut oil on a damp cloth and wipe area

–        Spray area with vinegar and wipe dry

Non-toxic homemade cleaning products are healthy, safe alternative, will create less waste, and will not contribute to toxic waste and chemical contamination of your home, your family, your pets or the environment!

Bonus – use recycled cleaning tools: old toothbrushes for scrubbing small spaces and cotton rags made from old clothes for wiping surfaces.

Common foods, cooking ingredients and household items that will help you clean: lemons (lemon juice), cabbage leaves, potatoes, apple peels, white vinegar, salt, baking soda, mayonnaise, olive oil, coconut oil, ketchup, vodka, natural castile soap and essential oils.