23 Non-Toxic Homemade Cleaners To Help You Stop Poisoning Your Family And Planet

Who would have known that when household cleaning brands where claiming that their products “kill ninety-nine percent of all” they were, as a matter of fact, talking about “all” of us?

Luckily, the filth on commercial cleaning products has begun to be dusted off over the past few years, giving way to many DIY homemade cleaners as well as healthy premade supplies.   

We’ve compiled everything you need to know to start tossing the toxins and bringing back some good into your life.


The Dangers Of Using Commercial, Chemical-Based Cleaning Products

If it’s time to clean the house again, chances are that you might end up using some of the products listed below:

2CloroxDisinfecting wipesDisinfecting wipes
21DawnDishwashing liquid soapUltra orange
27DranoClog remover gelMax
35​WindexGlass cleanerOriginal
39TideHE liquid laundry detergentFree & Gentle
42SwifferMulti-purpose floor and hardwood cleaner solutionWetJet open window fresh scent
51DownyLiquid fabric conditionerUltra april fresh
66FebrezeAir freshenerHeavy duty crisp clean
68CloroxDisinfecting bathroom cleaner 
96CloroxMulti-surface cleaner spray409

…or not!

These are a few of Amazon’s best-selling household cleaning items which, all in all, add up to 19 ingredients that are either rated as of high or highest concern by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

This is because of the harmful effects these substances have on both us, humans, and our living planet.

IngredientSafety rating
Alkyl Dimethyl Benzyl Ammonium Chloride (C14 60%, C16 30%, C12 5%, C18 5%)High concern
Alkyl Dimethyl Benzyl Ammonium Chloride (C12-16)Highest concern
Alkyl Dimethyl Ethylbenzyl Ammonium Chloride (C12-14)High concern
Alkyl Dimethyl Ethylbenzyl Ammonium Chloride (C12-18)High concern
Ammonium Hydroxide Highest concernHighest concern
ButoxydiglycolHigh concern
Cleaning Agent​Highest concern
Corrosion InhibitorsHighest concern
Disodium Diaminostilbene DisulfonateHigh concern
EthanolamineHighest concern
Fabric softenersHigh concern
FD&C Yellow 5High concern
FragranceHigh concern
Hexoxyethanol High concern
MethylisothiazolinoneHigh concern
Sodium BorateHighest concern
Sodium HydroxideHighest concern
Sodium HypochloriteHighest concern
SurfactantsHighest concern

Environmental experts have estimated that there are approximately 62 toxic chemicals lingering around the average western household, largely because (to many people’s surprise) the cleaning products industry prevails virtually unregulated in most countries.  

To dig deeper into the perils of chemical-cleaning, check out EWG’s PDF on the household cleaning products’ “Hall of Shame”, in which they have named the items that contain catastrophe within their polished packaging.  

MAJOR health concerns for you and your family

The health impacts on humans that are linked to unsafe ingredients in cleaning products vary considerably.

For example, solvent cleaning agent Butoxydiglycol listed above has been implicated in pulmonary malfunction, in addition to respiratory and eye irritation; whereas insecticide and detergent Sodium Borate has been associated with fertility problems, damage to unborn children, and the disruption of the endocrine system.

By the same token, there is also proof that substance FD&C Yellow 5 can cause cancer, behavioural changes and hyperactivity in children, and has the potential of being a neurotoxin. 

Overall, there has been a clear connection between cleaning products and asthma, cancer, reproductive and developmental toxicity, allergies, irritation, and accidents like poisoning or burning.

Experience Life has published an article on 8 of the worst chemicals that are frequently used on household cleaning products.

8 hidden toxins in cleaning products graphic

The Impact on the environment

But all the spraying, foaming, polishing, and washing with commercial products is not only adverse to our health – it‘s also detrimental to the natural world.

Surfactants and Methylisothiazolinone, for instance, are known to be toxic to aquatic life, while Ammonium Hydroxide is also considered to be extremely poisonous.

Likewise, Alkyl Dimethyl Benzyl Ammonium Chloride (C12-16) in pair with other ammonium compounds have proven to cause reproductive toxicity in animals. 

Chemicals washing into our oceans

When washed down the drain all those chemicals begin making their journey into waterways and, eventually, to our oceans.

Along with ammonia, nitrogen and phosphorus are two substances commonly found in household cleaning products that not only pose serious threats to our oceans, but to any body of water they come into contact with.

These elements have been found to be regular invaders of our waters because waste treatment plants are unable to remove them during their cleaning process. 

Peek into the story of how Princeton University researchers along with international scientists identified a rise in the levels of nitrogen, associated with human activities, back in 2017  in the corals of the Chinese National Park of Dongsha Atoll.

High amounts of nitrogen are capable of altering and disrupting these and similar natural ecosystems.

Nitrogen and phosphorus are also triggers for uncontrolled algal growth in bodies of water, a phenomenon that goes by the name of eutrophication.

Eutrophication often leads to low levels of oxygen in the water, which in turn results in the loss of fish, crabs, oysters, and many other aquatic creatures.

This eventually culminates in the so-called dead zones.

Modern Cleaning explains more about the topic of water pollution caused by cleaning items in its article “Water Pollution Caused by Cosmetic Chemicals, Cleaning Supplies, and Plastics”.

If your concerned about water pollution it’s not something that just affects our oceans. Have you ever considered how clean your drinking water is? If your looking for ways to filter your water, techniques to water purification is a good start. 

Toxic gases and the greenhouse effect

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are gases commonly found in household cleaning products, that have the ability to flee their liquid or solid forms, and encroach upon the surrounding air.

Because VOCs are also emitted by transportation and industrial processes, in addition to the burning of biomass, they persist in our environment while going unnoticed, as they have no colour, smell, or taste.

These gases act mostly within the lowest tropospheric ozone layer, contributing to the creation of photochemical smog or potentially damaging ground level ozone.

Take a look at the New York State site’s post on VOCs to learn more about VOCs.

Wasteful product packaging

plastics in the shape of a shark

More than 8 million tons of plastic are thrown away into our oceans each year and it is estimated that, at present, ​one million plastic bottles are being bought around the world every minute.

The severity of this situation increases when discovering that an off-putting 91% of all this plastic is not recycled!

…and due to the brass-bound properties of this human-made material, all plastic ever made still exists today.

As expected, the majority of corporations that manufacture commercial household cleaning products show no exception to this addiction to plastic that is causing negative consequences on our environment.

Even before being disposed, plastic releases toxic chemicals in the forms of Bisphenol A (BPA), Phthalates, and Brominated Flame Retardants that are hazardous to our living planet and all creatures that inhabit it.

And if that wasn’t enough, once dumped, plastic poses serious threats to wildlife who accidentally ingest plastic waste and micro-plastics or get caught up in plastic objects.   

For extra information on the plastic waste mess visit Plastic Oceans’ website.  

Environmentally Safe Cleaning Products For The Home

Fortunately, there are many alternatives to these conventional chemical cocktail cleaning “solutions”, as we are now seeing a rise in choices that are safe for you, your family, and the natural world. 

We can now either buy ready-made ethical cleaning products or, for those who would like to go all the way when it comes to conscientious cleaning, make our own products out of the vast array of DIY recipes available. 

Watch this fun, short video to know more:

DIY Natural Cleaning Products Recipes

Find formulas for all kinds of natural cleaning products that work in the following list.

Keep in mind that castile soap (basic –high on the pH scale–) and vinegar, lemons, or limes (acidic –low on the pH scale–) neutralize each other. 

Therefore, please refrain from mixing them together.

For the Bathroom


disinfectant recipe graphic

Mix 1 cup of distilled white vinegar, 1 cup of water, juice of 1 lemon, juice of one lime and a few peels. Spray on bathroom surfaces and rinse.

Hand soap

hand soap recipe graphic

Fill ¼ of a foaming soap dispenser with grated or liquid castile soap, fill the rest with water, and mix.


toilet cleaner recipe graphic

Mellow cleaning formula

Mix ½ cup of baking soda, 1 cup of distilled white vinegar, and ½ teaspoon of grapefruit, lavender, orange, or tea tree essential oil.

heavy duty toilet cleaner recipe graphic

Heavy duty cleaning formula

Mix ¾ cup of baking soda, 1 cup of white vinegar, 10 drops of lavender essential oil, and 5 drops of lemon essential oil. 

Tub and shower

tub and shower cleaner recipe graphic

Mellow cleaning formula

Spray white vinegar on the tub or shower surface, let sit for 30 minutes and rinse.

Heavy duty cleaning with baking powder formula

Mix one cup of baking soda, ½ cup of salt, ½ cup of washing soda, and add 5 drops of lemon essential oil. Sprinkle the powder mixture onto a slightly damp surface, let sit for 10 minutes, scrub, and rinse.

For the Kitchen

Cast-iron pans

cast iron cleaner recipe graphic

Mix ¼ cup of olive oil and a teaspoon of coarse salt. You can use less or more olive oil and sea salt depending on the size of the pan.  

Clogged sink drain

clogged drain cleaner recipe graphic

Pour ½ cup of baking soda down the drain along with ½ cup of salt, pour some boiling water into the drain and let it sit (without using the sink) for 1 to 3 hours.

During grim-clogging situations, let the formula sit for a whole night and redo the process 1 or 2 more times until the drain is clear.  

Cutting boards

cutting board cleaner recipe graphic

For sanitizing both wooden and plastic cutting boards cut a lemon in half, rub it over all the sides of the board, let it sit for ten minutes, and rinse.

Dishwasher detergent

detergent recipe graphic

Mix 1 cup of grated or liquid castile soap, and 1 cup of water. Add this mixture into the first detergent compartment and fill the other one with white vinegar and 4 teaspoons of lemon or lime juice.

Dish soap

dish soap recipe graphic

Mix 1 cup of liquid Castile soap with ¼ cup of water and, if you want, 5 drops of your favourite essential oil.   

Homemade all-purpose cleaner countertops

countertop cleaner recipe graphic

For surfaces that are not made from marble, granite, or stone mix 1 part vinegar with 1 part water in a spray bottle.

Where as for marble, granite or stone countertops the following DIY all purpose cleaner with alcohol works best:

marble stone countertop cleaner recipe graphic

Mix ½ cup of vodka or rubbing alcohol, 1 and ½ cups of water, ½ teaspoon of grated or liquid castile soap, and 20 to 30 drops of one or two essential oils of your choice in a spray bottle. Rub gently (avoid scrubbing) with a cotton cloth.


microwave cleaner recipe graphic

Fill up ¼ of a microwavable cup with white vinegar, and mix with juice from half a lemon. Place the cup in the microwave and let it heat for 2 minutes, leaving the door closed for 5 more minutes once done. Wipe down with a cloth.  


over cleaner recipe graphic

Mellow cleaning formula

Mix baking soda and water to create a thick moist paste, pour a semi-thick layer of the mixture all around the oven, let it sit for 40 minutes, and wipe clean.     

heavy duty over cleaner recipe graphic

Heavy duty cleaning formula

Heat the oven to 125ºC, turn it off, and immediately spray a 1 part white vinegar 1 part water mixture onto the messy areas. Pour some salt or baking soda on top, let the oven cool down and, once ready, wipe off with a towel.  

Pan Degreaser

degreaser recipe graphic

Mix 1 and ¾ cups of distilled water, 2 tablespoons of grated or liquid castile soap, and 10 drops of orange essential oil. Spray on pans, let it sit for 10 minutes, scrub, and rinse.

Refrigerator cleaner

fridge cleaner recipe graphic

Mix ½ cup of baking soda in a medium bucket of warm water. Clean all of the refrigerator’s surfaces using a cloth.

‘Rest of the house

All-purpose furniture polish

furniture polish recipe graphic

Mix ¼ cup of vinegar and ¾ cup of olive oil and apply it gently around the furniture using a cotton cloth.

This vinegar cleaning recipe (all purpose) works best for all kinds of materials with the exception of wood. To find a suitable recipe for wooden furniture polish please read below!  

Carpet stains

carpet stain remover recipe graphic

Mix 1 part white vinegar with 1 part warm water in a spray bottle, and spray thoroughly on the stain. Let it sit for 10 minutes and rub off the stain using a soft brush and a little bit of liquid castile soap. Rinse off using a cloth or rag with warm water.


Mix 1 ½ cups of white vinegar with 1 gallon of warm water in a bucket and mop the floor. To clean up tough stains mix 1 part white vinegar with 2 parts warm water, pour on the stains and scrub.  

For wooden floors please read below!    

Rust remover

rust rid recipe graphic

Mix 1 teaspoon of salt with lime juice to create a thick paste. Apply the mixture onto the rusty surface and let it sit for 3 hours, then scrub off any residue.  


wall cleaner recipe graphic

Mix ¼ cup of white vinegar, 1 tablespoon of baking soda, and 5 cups of warm water. Scrub the walls with a soft brush and rinse using water and a rag.

Windows and Mirrors

windows mirror cleaner recipe graphic

Mix 1 part of white vinegar, 5 parts water, squeeze in juice from half a lemon, and put the leftover peel in a spray bottle. Apply the mixture to the window or mirror, and wipe off with a cotton cloth or sponge.

Wood cleaner

wood cleaner recipe graphic

Mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, and 4 cups of warm water in a spray bottle. Apply the mixture to the wooden surface and gently wipe with a cotton cloth.

Wooden furniture polish

wood furniture polish recipe graphic

Mix ¼ cup of lemon or lime juice with ½ cup of olive oil and apply it gently to the furniture using a cotton cloth.

Wooden floors

wooden floor cleaner recipe graphic

Mix 1 teaspoon of washing soda with 1 gallon of warm water and mop the floor.

For a post-cleaning polish you can mix 1 part olive or a vegetable oil of your choice with 1 part white vinegar. Apply a few drops in each area and rub it well until it creates a thin coat.

For more natural recipes, why not check out our great articles on homemade mosquito repellent, or homemade febreze!

The Dark Truth About “Green” Ingredient Borax

Do a Google search on some green/natural/healthy/safe household cleaning recipes and there is a good chance you’ll come across the ingredient Borax.  

Borax –a.k.a. sodium borate, boric acid, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate– is, indeed, toxic.

It is a pesticide that is generally used to annihilate weeds, fungus, as well as insects and that, in spite of its killing properties, is used on personal care products, cleaning products, and even some children’s gooey toys such as those offered by Play Doh.

Health concerns include its potential to cause skin and eyes irritation, and to act as a hormone disruptor in the human body.

We are assuming that by now, you are already shocked to know what toxic chemicals exist in your own home. Are you an environmentally conscious individual? You may also be interested to browse our article on The Environmental Impact Of Meat – the shocking truth awaits…

Not The DIY Type? Here Are 3 Premade Non-Toxic Household Cleaners

Whenever you don’t have the time to make your own recipes, there are always companies and brands that can offer you safe and reliable cleaning supplies.

The next three have some of the best natural cleaning products reviews and consequently, may be worth trying:

  • Good old Bon Ami: This general use scouring powder is definitely the workhorse of the house! It is a product useful for cleaning just about anything around your home and has the perk of coming in a recyclable aluminium container.  
  • Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner: This product works well as a multi-purpose cleaner and even as laundry soap!
  • Biokleen: The third favourite all-purpose cleaner!  

Remember to beware of the common corporate practice of greenwashing.

That is all the companies that label their products as “eco-friendly” or “green”, but in reality are far from being so.

Make sure to always check the list of ingredients or to do some online research before setting out to buy a new brand and cleaning item.      

For more options check out EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning.  

Key Habits For Safer And Less Cleaning

Opening up to safe (and less!) cleaning will immediately place you on a life path in which there is more time and better health for you and your family.

A key habit to achieving these goals is to fit both the preparation of your healthy cleaning formulas and the actual cleaning comfortably within your weekly schedule.

Set apart 1 or 2 hours max per day for doing these two things. Also, if you happen to have kids or live with several other family members, try saving the heavy-duty cleaning for when they are around.

Divide tasks amongst each member according to their capabilities and leave everything sparkling clean… and, don’t forget to make it fun for the kids (so they stop associating a clean house with tediousness).

Finally, bear in mind that a clean person doesn’t necessarily clean all the time.

A clean person is, instead, someone who keeps things neat and tidy so there isn’t much left to do at the end of the day.

Take a look at A Mess Free Life’s post on 12 Habits of People Who Always Have a Clean Home for more tips.  

Bonus: 3 Homemade Natural Air Fresheners… That Will Have Your House Smell Fantastic!

The final touch to a naturally clean house is a fresh smell!

Here are three handpicked DIY air freshener recipes for your house to smell just as good it looks.

natural air freshener recipe graphic orange cinnamon scent

Orange cinnamon scent

Mix ½ an orange, two cinnamon sticks, and 1 teaspoon of cloves with hot water in a small bowl or glass container (avoid plastic).

natural air freshener recipe graphic lemon vanilla scent

Lemon vanilla scent

Mix 1 sliced lemon, a few rosemary leaves, and 3 to 5 drops of vanilla essential oil with hot water in a small bowl or glass container (avoid plastic).

natural air freshener recipe graphic minted lime scent

Minted lime scent

Mix 1 sliced lime, a few mint leaves, and 3 to 5 drops of vanilla essential oil with hot water in a small bowl or glass container (avoid plastic).

If you want to prepare these in advance, you can put them in the fridge or freezer once they have cooled down to room temperature. They will last 1 to 2 weeks if kept in the fridge and a month if kept in the freezer.

To make these air fresheners release their smell, simply place them over a tea light burner. 

If you want other tips on how to keep your home clean and smelling great, watch this video below:

The Bottom Line

Does it make any sense to live in a venomous house when there are tons of harmless and effective DIY cleaning recipes (or premade products) suitable for every kind of mess?

Of course not…  

So, if you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends and feel free to speak out your thoughts or doubts on the comments below.

Homemade Cleaner

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