Thursday, March 21, 2013

Recipes For A Toxin-Free Home

Welcome to the March 2013 Natural Living Blog Carnival: Naturally Spring Cleaning.
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Natural Living Blog Carnival hosted by Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project through the Green Moms Network. This month our carnival participants have written posts about how they keep their homes clean - naturally.

Keeping a chemical-free home is important to me, and label reading is something that I do not take lightly. I do not like to ingest unnecessary and harmful toxins, nor do I like to clean with them! Even some products that are labeled as "natural" or "safe" still include phthalates, perchloroethylene, triclosan, quarternary ammonium compounds, 2-butoxyethanol, ammonia, chlorine, and/or sodium hydroxide.

Luckily, mother nature DOES provide some bacteria fighting and deep cleaning ingredients to help keep your family healthy and safe. Essential oils like tea tree, clove, and eucalyptus kill germs, bacteria, and fungus naturally! By pairing these oils with vinegar, you can combat nasty viruses get ready to say goodbye to the Lysol!

All of my recipes below are easy to make and require very little time and effort. Most of the ingredients can be found locally, if not, you can purchase them online. Vitacost is one of my favorites because of their large selection and they offer large, you can get store credit for referring your friends! Who doesn't like free stuff?
Where I purchase my essential oils, castile soap, and more - FREE shipping over $49.00

And now for the recipes!

Homemade All-Purpose Citrus Vinegar Cleaner & Dishwasher Rinse Aid

What you will need...

* 8 oranges (or 6 grapefruits or a dozen lemons, limes, or a mixture of all!)
* 2-3 cups of distilled white vinegar
* large mason jar & lid (make sure that it is clean!)

Squeeze the juice from your oranges (or citrus fruits of choice), or if you are lucky enough to own a juicer, simply peel the oranges and juice the fruit. Place all rinds in the mason jar. Be sure to "smoosh" them down so that they all fit. Boil the 2-3 cups of vinegar and pour over the rinds in the jar, leaving about 1/4 inch of air at the top. If you would like a strong citrusy scent, you can also add some drops of orange or grapefruit essential oil to the mix. Cap the jar tightly, using oven mitts to protect your hands.

Your orange cleaner will be ready in 2 weeks, but in the mean time, enjoy some freshly squeezed orange juice!

After 2 weeks, remove rinds, strain liquid, and mix orange vinegar solution with equal parts distilled water. To use as a rinse aid, store in an airtight container, undiluted.

I cannot begin to tell you how much I LOVE this cleaner, and it leaves my bath tubs sparkling, far better than any conventional cleaner and minus the smell! I use it on counters, windows, sinks, mirrors, floor...just about anywhere!

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

What you will need...

* 1 cup washing soda
* 1/4 cup citric acid
* 1/4 cup coarse salt
* 10-15 drops of any citrus (orange, grapefruit, lemon...)essential oil of your choosing
* Homemade All-Purpose Citrus Vinegar Cleaner (recipe above)or distilled white vinegar as a rinse aid

Mix the first 3 ingredients, add essential oils, and stir again. Store in an airtight container. Stir before each use. I find it easiest to keep the detergent in a mason jar so that I can shake it.

Use 1/2 to 1 tbs of detergent for each load and 1 tbs of vinegar or citrus vinegar cleaner in rinse aid compartment

Homemade Liquid Dish Soap

What you will need...

* 1 cup of hot water
* 1/2 cup liquid castile soap
* 1 tablespoon of washing soda (used to thicken the soap)
* 12 drops of tea tree oil (unless you chose to use scented castile soap)

Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and then pour in 1 1/2 cup of very hot water. Be sure to whisk/stir this mixture until all ingredients are thoroughly blended (and the bar soap is melted). Allow mixture to cool completely on the counter. Stirring occasionally. Store in any dish soap dispensing bottle and use as you would the commercial brands.
Note: You may choose to naturally increase the anti-bacterial qualities of the soap by adding 1/4 tsp. of lavender or eucalyptus essential oils.

Homemade Foaming Hand Soap

What you will need...

* Foaming soap dispenser
* 1/4 cup castille soap (scented or unscented)
* 3/4 cup distilled water
* 2-3 drops tea tree essential oil (for disinfecting)

Mix soap, water, and tea tree oil. Pour into a foaming soap dispenser.

Homemade Re-Usable Disinfecting Wipes

What you will need :

* Baby wipes container or container with a seal-able lid
* 1 cup distilled water
* 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
* 3-4 drops tea tree oil (found at a health food store, but cheapest at Wal-Mart or Target in the supplements section)
* 3-4 drops lavender oil
* some of your hubby’s old cotton T-shirts (hurray for recycling!)

Cut up old (but clean!) T-shirts into squares or rectangles. Place cloth into wipes container
Mix water, vinegar, tea tree oil, and lavender. Pour liquid mixture over cloth.

Be sure to also check out my laundry detergent & cloth diaper laundry detergent recipes...both borax-free!

What are your some of your favorite eco-friendly cleaning supplies? Feel free to share below!


Visit Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project to learn more about participating in next month’s Natural Living Blog Carnival!

Please take some time to enjoy the posts our other carnival participants have contributed:


  1. What great recipes! Thanks so much for sharing. I'll be pinning this to reference again. (I'm visiting today from the Natural Living Blog Carnival.)

  2. Lots of great recipes here! Thanks for sharing.

  3. That's it: I'm making that citrus vinegar cleaner TODAY. Thanks for the recipe and the inspiration!

    To keep on top of bathroom mold, I hung a string on the shower rod, that we hook behind the shower head when we're done: that way the curtain hangs loose, away from the side of the tub, and can dry quickly. Should mold appear anyway, I use a watery solution of borax with a few drops of either Thieves or tea tree oil: treat the tub with that, and soak the curtain in it before washing.

    1. The oranges help mask up the smell of vinegar pretty well and since I love homemade orange juice, this stuff is always on hand :-)

  4. Love the recipe for the all purpose cleaner. I think I will make it with lemons and limes, I add the juice to my selzter. I cannot wait to try this!

  5. Thanks so much for sharing. I have made some of my own cleaners, but sometimes get lazy. You've inspired me with recipes for cleaners I haven't tried yet. And I love Citrus anything!

  6. Thank you so much for these recipes! I definitely plan to make a few of these!

  7. Thanks for this post as I have been wanting to learn more about natural cleaners and so I will bookmark this to come back to.

  8. Thanks for all of the great recipes! The orange peels in vinegar is next on my list. I have a ton of oranges that need to be used so I think that's next on my list!

    I see instructions for mixing vinegar or citrus with castile soap often. Be careful with that - it's not recommended:

  9. Great recipes! I bet the orange one smells wonderful! We love shopping at Vitacost too.

  10. Love these recipes, thanks for sharing! I love making my own cleaning supplies, but have yet to use oranges (or thought to honestly!) I will be trying these out for sure!

  11. Wow, Thank you for all this helpful information. I can't wait to try and make some of these for my house

  12. Thank you so much for sharing these! It is nice to have them all in one place. I keep saying I am going try some of these, but haven't taken the time to search out the recipes. With three kids running around, I want to try to be as toxin free as possible!

  13. Awesome! Can't wait to try these!

  14. Great info, I like the recipe for the orange cleaner. The info I read on a Pinterest just said save orange peels and cover with vinegar. I think your directions make more sense to boil the vinegar first - preventing any strange bacterial/mold collection (kind of like canning).

  15. I'm going to try these recipes . I like knowing exactly whats in my cleaning products and that theres nothing harmful.

  16. In the liquid dish soap recipe directions you say to add the hot water and stir until the bar soap is melted, but in the recipe there is no mention of bar soap. is the recipe missing an ingredient or are the directions wrong?

  17. You know, I see a lot of DIY laundry detergent recipes, but this is the first time I've seen one for the dishwasher! I'm going to have to try that one.

  18. Pinning this post, great tips! I am going to try the disinfecting wipes first.

  19. These are great (and frugal) tips! Pinning them as well. I've been buying the expensive green/safe products so these recipes will really help me save money:)


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