4 eco-friendly cleaning products you can make yourself

Eco-friendly natural cleaners. Vinegar, baking soda, salt, lemon and essential oil. Homemade green cleaning on white background.

Spring cleaning is probably on your to-do list right now, so heading to the store and picking up a few new cleaning products most likely is, too. The problem with using store-bought cleaners, however, is two-fold. First of all, you can never really know what the complicated ingredients on the label will actually do to your home, or how they may affect you. Second of all, with Earth Day right around the corner, you need to consider how harsh chemicals (and the production of them) affect the environment. Store-bought cleaners are almost always worse for the environment compared to all-natural, DIY cleaners you make with stuff you probably already have in your kitchen cabinet. Here are four you can use to oust grime and bacteria without harming Mother Earth:

  1. Hardwood-floor cleaner [RealSimple]. Cleaning hardwood floors can be tricky because they can’t withstand just any cleaner. The perk of using natural products, however, is that they’ll help maintain the integrity of your floors because they’re free of the harsh chemicals that could damage them. Plus, you don’t have to worry about kids or dogs walking on them when they’re still wet (except for the pawprints, of course). Follow this recipe from RealSimple, which requires only white vinegar, lemon essential oil, and warm water, to whip up a cleanser for your hardwood.
  2. Homemade glass cleaner [Good Housekeeping]. If you think that streak-free shine is impossible to attain without Windex, think again. This DIY glass cleaner by Good Housekeeping should do the trick, and without any of those icky chemicals. Instead, mix together two cups of water, half a cup of white or cider vinegar, a quarter-cup of rubbing alcohol, and, if you want, a drop or two of orange essential oil for a sweet scent. Spritz it on your bathroom mirror or windows, and simply wipe away the grime. It should lift easily and without streaking.
  3. All-purpose cleaner [Rodale’s Organic Life]. If you want to make a cleaning product that can tackle everything from the kitchen counters to the toilet, try this all-purpose cleaner recipe from Rodale’s. It’s so painfully simple that you really only need one ingredient: white vinegar. Just blend one part white vinegar with nine parts water to create a powerful spray that, with the help of vinegar’s natural acid, can cut right through almost any mess. If you have a super-germy surface to take care of, skip the water and use undiluted vinegar, then follow up with hydrogen peroxide.
  4. Bathtub cleaner [Apartment Therapy]. No mixing (or essential oils) required for this uber-easy bathtub cleaner. The experts at Apartment Therapy managed to boil down the entire recipe to a single piece of fruit—grapefruit, to be exact—plus salt. Cut the grapefruit in half and coat the flat surface with a good amount of salt. Then use the half of the grapefruit as a scrubber to get tough grime off of your shower, aided by the acidic juices from the grapefruit and the scrubbing power of the salt. Just one grapefruit should be enough to clean the entire tub and shower.