Recipes for DIY cleaning products that can help you clean better and save money

Herbalist Jan Berry, soap maker and author of “The Big Book of Homemade Products,” shares the following natural cleaning recipes that have been tested and proven to work well, clean better and help you save money. (h/t

Prepare your ingredients

You’ll likely have most of these ingredients in your kitchen or pantry. You can easily find them in your local grocery or health food stores.

Baking soda – A natural deodorizer, baking soda is gently abrasive and works well as a scrubbing agent. Another name for baking soda is bicarbonate of soda.

Castile soap – This natural liquid soap cuts through grime and dirt and gently cleans surfaces without harsh detergents. You could use liquid dish soap in its place.

Essential oils – Derived from plants, essential oils provide an all-natural scent for your cleaning recipes. Citrus essential oils are also useful for cutting grease. Lavender essential oil is calming, while tea tree oil has a clean disinfecting aroma.

Vinegar – This kitchen staple dissolves dirt, soap scum and some stains. Don’t use vinegar on granite, marble or aluminum surfaces. Common white vinegar is normally used for cleaning, but apple cider vinegar (ACV) is fine too. Vinegar also makes an effective fabric softener.

Vodka or rubbing alcohol – Alcohol disinfects and adds shine to windows and mirrors.

Spray bottles – You need these to spray your cleaning solutions on surfaces.

Dish towels, old rags, socks or t-shirts – Cut these into manageable sizes to make eco-friendly cleaning and dusting cloths. Make sure the material is absorbent and use light colors or white t-shirts/socks to avoid leaving noticeable lint on surfaces. (Related: Natural, non-toxic DIY cleaning products you can make on a budget.)


Pour ingredients into a spray bottle and shake to mix. Shake well before each use.

Air freshener spray with essential oils – Use your favorite essential oil to freshen up a room. Shelf life is several weeks.

  • 2 tablespoon vodka
  • 2 tablespoon water
  • 6 to 8 drops of essential oil

All-purpose citrus cleaning spray – This solution is useful for counters, walls and more. Make small batches and use them the same day.

  • 1 tablespoon liquid castile soap
  • 1 cup water
  • 10 to 15 drops of citrus essential oil

Counter spray – This all-purpose cleaner is great to use on bathroom and kitchen counters. Use within one to two days after making.

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoon liquid castile soap
  • 3 tablespoon vodka (or rubbing alcohol)

Natural window cleaner – This glass cleaner spray can make your mirrors and windows naturally shine. Use within one to two days.

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 pinch cornstarch
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon vodka/alcohol

Tea tree bathroom cleaner – This spray has an invigorating clean fragrance and is perfect for bathroom counters, toilets, sinks and walls. It removes surface dirt while leaving a pleasing scent behind. Mix up small batches and use them within the same day.

  • 1/4 teaspoon tea tree essential oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon peppermint essential oil
  • 1 tablespoon liquid castile soap
  • 1 cup water

Wood furniture spray – This combination of oil and vinegar can gently clean wooden furniture. Spot test first to make sure it’s okay to use on your furniture. This homemade furniture polish can be used to restore old or antique pieces of grimy furniture. Shelf life is around one month.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 drops of lemon essential oil
  • 4 tablespoon white vinegar

Dusting cloths

Mix the oils then add hot water and mix well. Swish your cloths in the mixture then squeeze out and hang dry. Hand-rinse your used cloths and line dry. Oil-soaked rags can be flammable so keep them away from open flame. Do NOT run them through a dryer.

Bookshelves and furniture dusting cloth – This is a non-toxic way to wipe the dust off of your bookshelves and furniture.

  • 1 cup water
  • 5 tablespoon jojoba (or olive) oil
  • 20 drops lemon essential oil
  • Old t-shirt or dishcloth cut into squares

Scouring powders and scrubs

Mix well, scrub over surfaces with a wet sponge, rag or toilet brush, depending on the area you’re cleaning. Rinse thoroughly.

Easy soft-like scrub – Quick to mix up when your tub or sink needs a good scrubbing.

  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 tablespoon liquid castile soap
  • Water, to slightly thin the mix

Scouring powder #1 with citrus zest – You can mix up dry scouring powders in advance, then use a wet sponge or rag to activate them.

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon or orange
  • 4 to 5 drops of lemon (or orange) essential oil

Scouring powder #2 with washing soda or borax – Mix in advance, then sprinkle a small amount over dirty surfaces. Scrub and rinse with a wet sponge or rag. You can also use this as a toilet bowl cleaner.

  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup washing soda or borax
  • 5 drops of citrus essential oil

Kitchen cabinet grime remover– A classic combination for removing grime from your kitchen cabinets. Use freshly mixed and discard any leftovers after one day.

  • 1 part coconut oil
  • 2 parts baking soda

Mix the ingredients in a small bowl and apply the mixture to your cabinets using a sponge, cloth or your hands. Use a toothbrush to spread the mixture over hard-to-reach grooves. Wash down the cabinets with a damp cloth.

Kitchen Floor Cleaner – A gentle, non-toxic cleaner to swipe over sticky floors. Mix well and use while the water is still warm.

  • 1 gallon hot water
  • 2 tablespoon liquid castile soap
  • 15 to 20 drops of lemon essential oil

Shelf life of homemade cleaning products

Because they don’t contain chemical preservatives, DIY cleaning products have a pretty short shelf life. The recipes above are small-sized so they can be mixed on an as-needed basis.

The sprays containing water should be used up within a day or two. An exception is the air freshener spray – it will last several weeks because it’s made of 50 percent alcohol. Storing in the fridge between uses will also help.

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Watch the following video to learn how to make DIY natural cleaning products.

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