09 April 2012

Must-have nontoxic cleaners made from scratch

Lemon juice is a powerful cleaner, no toxic
ingredients included. (image courtesy rodale.com)
Around the Freeman household, we try to use basic, simple, and traditional alternatives to toxic cleaners and other household chemicals.

We've covered several materials that can be used in this manner in our Store Less, Accomplish More (SLAM) series.

However, there are more cleansers, etc. that can be made by mixing some basic household ingredients.

For instance, we use vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, mixed in equal parts, as a cleaner and disinfectant. This works great as a food-safe cleaner for your kitchen, and doesn't have nearly as bad a smell as some cleaners. Adding a little pure lemon juice will give it a citrusy smell.

We've also covered a bunch of other uses for vinegar as part of the SLAM series, but we didn't cover using it as a fabric softener. The simplest way is to use a cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle of your washing machine. Incidentally, you can add a small amount of essential oil (10-30 drops per gallon, depending on which oil) to make your softener scented.

Alternatively, you can soak a small sponge with vinegar and put it in the dryer with your clothes to help soften them (thanks to SurvivorJane on the #PrepperTalk Twitter chat for this alternative tip!).

In addition, we recently came across the article 8 Must-Haves for a Nontoxic Cleaning Kit, which sums up these eight nontoxic cleaners:
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Lemon juice
  • Cream of tartar
  • Castile soap
  • Washing soda
  • Borax
  • Pure essential oils
The article also goes on to provide specific recipes for several nontoxic household cleansers:
  • Simple All-Purpose Cleaner
  • Super-Easy Automatic Dishwasher Powder
  • Minty-Fresh Fabric Softener (same as vinegar and essential softener above)
  • Tough Dirt & Grease Formula
Do you have a good made-from-scratch cleaner that we've missed? Please share yours below!


  1. you can take vinegar and orange peelings and put them in a sealed canning jar for 10 days and drain it into a spray bottle and it becomes an all purpose cleaner.

    1. Sorry for the delayed response, but thanks for commenting with this tip!

      It sounds a little similar to our vinegar/hydrogen peroxide/lemon mixture above, just focused more on "cleaning" instead of "cleaning and disinfecting."