It’s fall! And for us, being in a post home renovation disaster zone, that means some serious cleaning. Not only is there the leftover dust from the renovation, there is gunk from extra traffic going in and out as well as a good layer of neglect coating all surfaces due to me not being home much during this time. I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to outline my entire home cleaning routine for a quick and DIY one stop shop. I am into DIY, saving time and money, and keeping my home toxin free. I don’t do things poorly, but I also don’t make them extra complex when they don’t need to be. I’m a busy mom with a 19 month old running around, and I’m lucky enough to even get a chance to clean. You won’t find me measuring out my cleaning recipes perfectly, nor making cute little labels describing what is in each container. However, if that’s your thing–you go girl! I’ll include some links at the bottom for you recipe lovers!
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I clean my home with these simple ingredients:
Baking Soda– Baking soda is an abrasive base, which makes it an excellent choice to work in conjunction with soaps as you scrub hard messes.
Castile soap– Castile soap is a saponified, vegetable based soap that is multi useful especially when it works together with baking soda. You can buy it unscented or scented with essential oils.
Essential Oils* -Many essential oils are naturally anti-microbial, as well as offer a cover smell for vinegar. (Read this article by a certified aromatherapist about the best essential oils to choose for cleaning.)
White Vinegar- An excellent, mild acid that works well for disinfecting.
Hydrogen peroxide- For serious clean-ups and biohazards, vinegar may not quite cut it and a hydrogen peroxide disinfectant boost is a good choice.
Natural Dish Soap– An optional (and less harsh) alternative to castile soap that won’t leave a film.
All Purpose Cleaner
I make my all-purpose cleaner for most of my home cleaning, including the kitchen, bathroom, and all other rooms in the house. I fill up a big spray bottle (32 oz) with half white vinegar, half boiled or distilled water, a few squirts of natural dish soap, and 40+ drops of essential oil*.
Why don’t I use castile soap? Our hard water reacts with the soap and leaves a film, which can be removed with a vinegar spray. I take the easy route, however, and just use dish soap. It’s best to use glass, as essential oils can degrade plastic, but in all honesty I sometimes use safe plastic for cleaning products (never for DIY body care.)
Needed: All-purpose cleaner, baking soda, castile soap, toilet brush, wet rag, sponge
I start with the countertops (if you have granite, do not use vinegar) and spray them down with all purpose cleaner, let it sit for a few minutes, and wipe it up with a clean, wet rag. Because I’m not a cleaning lover, I use the same cleaner to wipe down the mirror, but if you are very particular about a clear mirror, use this recipe.
I pour baking soda in the sink and squirt a little castile soap on it; I use a sponge to scrub it clean, rinse it off, spritz with cleaner and rinse it off again.
For the floor, I vacuum up any dirt, spray it down with cleaner, and wipe it up with a wet rag or wet mop.
The outside of the toilet I clean mostly with cleaner, spraying it down, letting it sit, and wiping it up with a wet rag. Inside the toilet bowl, I pour baking soda and castile soap, and use the toilet brush to scrub it down. I flush that and then spray it down with the cleaner. If you have an especially gross toilet or a recent sickness, you may want to add another layer of hydrogen peroxide disinfectant (one fourth hydrogen peroxide, three fourths water, and disinfectant essential oils).
For the shower, I start with baking soda and castile soap on the tub and any walls that are covered in soap scum, then scrub scrub scrub with a sponge! If you put some elbow grease into it, it will break through the scum and make your shower shine. After that, I rinse it away and give it a spray down with cleaner, letting that sit and then rinsing it off.
So, there’s that—clean bathroom!
Needed: All-purpose cleaner, baking soda, castile soap, wet rag, sponge, lemon, hydrogen peroxide
Same story with the countertops (unless granite) spray down, let sit, wipe up. I wipe all appliances and gadgets in the kitchen with my cleaner and rag. For the sink, I pour in the baking soda and castile soap, scrub with the scrub brush, rinse, and spray down with cleaner and rinse.
For the garbage disposal, I put a couple ice cubes in, turn it on without water for a few seconds, then add a half a lemon and water and let it run. I then drop in a few drops of essential oils. Every once in a while, you may want to spray down the sink with hydrogen peroxide disinfectant (one fourth hydrogen peroxide, three fourths water, and disinfectant essential oils). I clean my wooden cutting boards with hydrogen peroxide every few months, and then oil them with avocado oil.
If the stovetop is extra gross, I use the same baking soda castile soap solution and scrub with a sponge to clean off the dirty bits, followed by a good spritz with cleaner and rinse.
Needed: Baking soda, spice shaker, essential oils
If vacuuming carpet, I mix a small amount of baking soda with essential oils in a sprinkle jar, sprinkle the carpet, and vacuum it up. If I’m in a hurry, I just drop essential oils right in the vacuum brushes; it smells amazing!
In all honesty, we have brand new oil finished hardwood upstairs in our house, and I’ve been using the manufacturers cleaning solution only because they won’t list the ingredients so I can’t make a DIY version. I don’t know what’s safe to use on it or not! If you have something like laminate or tile, you can make your own solution. Read this post about DIY floor cleaners!
Needed: Spray bottle, essential oils, vinegar, distilled or boiled water, hydrogen peroxide (optional)
For regular old disinfecting, I am fine with my all-purpose cleaning solution for toys, surfaces, etc. However, if I feel we need extra killing power, I will throw together a solution of one fourth hydrogen peroxide, three fourths water, and disinfectant essential oils. (I often use cinnamon, tea tree, and lemon).
Although safe and non-toxic, baking soda, vinegar, and essential oils are still technically chemicals. Therefore, it is wise to allow proper ventilation when cleaning a room!
Don’t mix baking soda and vinegar. Although nothing bad will happen, we have to remember that baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid. Base + Acid = Salt and Water. Water won’t give you a good clean! Keep baking soda with castile soap and vinegar with oils and water.
Castile soap may leave a film behind when combined with hard water, as it reacts with the minerals. If you find this happening, you can cut it afterwards with your all-purpose vinegar spray.
Don’t use vinegar based cleaners on granite; opt for an alternative disinfecting agent such as hydrogen peroxide or essential oils*.
*As with any essential oil, educate yourself. Do your research on the company you have chosen; call them and ask questions, research their farms, distillation processes, GC/MS reports, organic practices, and other data. Essential oils are powerful and must be treated as such. Please, keep them in a locked cabinet far away from children. If you want to know what essential oils I use, please contact me. I’d love to chat about it!
Disclaimer–I do keep a gallon of bleach in my house, high up and far away from kids. I use it sparingly, maybe twice a year, for desperate situations. Bleach will literally kill any bad bugs around, but it is usually too harsh for day to day cleaning.
More Recipes from My Fellow Bloggers:
Do you DIY clean? Tell me, what’s your favorite recipe?
For more natural living tips, check out my Ten Easy Steps to Natural, Non-Toxic Living!