Homemade Spring Cleaning Supplies

Spring is in the air, and that means it’s time to break out the rubber gloves and face mask and send the kids away from the fumes.  Hm, if the chemicals we used to clean are so, well, clean, why do we always feel dirty and unhealthy after using them?

The artificial colors and fragrances and harsh cleansers like bleach, ammonia, sulfates, and acids in common household cleaners are a huge contributor to indoor pollution.  They off-gas toxic fumes that irritate eyes, lungs, and even skin, especially of young children and pets.  Even the antimicrobial ingredient in antibacterial cleaner is basically a pesticide!

There are simpler, healthier, and cheaper alternatives to conventional cleaning—and chances are that the ingredients are already in your kitchen pantry. 

Disinfecting cleaner

  • 3 cups water
  • 4 tbsp liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s, or Trader Joe’s Next to Godliness liquid dish soap)
  • 30 drops of tea tree oil

Mix all ingredients in an empty spray bottle and shake before use.

You don’t need bleach to ward of the H1N1 virus or clean up after preparing raw meat.  Tea tree oil is an age-old antimicrobial agent and has been proven in studies at the University of Catania to inhibit the H1N1 virus.  While the initial bottle of the stuff is a little pricey (about $8 for 3 fl oz), you’ll have enough of it for multiple batches of your disinfecting spray cleaner.

Bathroom tiles, porcelain, kitchen sinks, and windows

Is your shower getting grimy?  Dust the surfaces of the tiles with baking soda and scrub them with a moist sponge or washcloth.  If you’re working with stains and mildew, spray this concoction and scrub with a stiff brush:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup white vinegar or juice of 1 lemon

For windows, dilute this mixture with 2 more cups of water and spray onto the glass.  Scrub not with paper towels but with either microfiber or newspapers (they won’t leave streaks).


For very, very recent stains, pour club soda onto the mess and blot with a rag.  (The Daily Green says that the carbonation brings the stain to the surface and the salts keep the carpet from being permanently stained.)

For spot cleaning:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup liquid castile soap

Mix the ingredients in a spray bottle, shake, and spray on the stain.  Rinse the area with white vinegar (not red!) to get the soap and any residual stain out.

For musty carpets or old messes caused by pets, sprinkle baking soda liberally over the affected area and vacuum 30 minutes later.

Clogged drains

  • ½ cup baking soda
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • Gallon of boiling water

Pour the baking soda down the affected drain and chase it with vinegar.  Let it fizz for a few minutes, covering the drain if you can.  Once it stops fizzing, get all the residual gunk out by pouring the boiling water down the drain (remove any plastic or rubber slip-stoppers from your tub if it’s the problem drain in question).   No bleach or expensive de-cloggers needed!

Bio: Lisa Shoreland is currently a resident blogger at Go College, where recently she’s been researching federal grants for college and sharing financial aid tips for adult students. In her spare time, she enjoys creative writing, practicing martial arts, and taking weekend trips.

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  1. “Spring is in the air”? going down to near zero tonight(Fri) here in the Great Lakes region,can anyone find Al Gore and have him tell us again how the earth is burning up with a fever? I know this is off subject I just had to reply to the title of the article(LOL)sure wish I was back down in Dixie for a spell,enjoy the heat my friend and thanks for the updates!

  2. Glad this was posted, I am working on replacing all of my cleaners with something a little more human and animal friendly. I know that a lot of these cleaners that we use are just basic items anyway. Thanks for the info. Wish it was a little warmer here in the Rockies. It snowed yesterday and then rained and got cold. My flowers are a bit confused right now.

  3. I love information like this. vinegar and baking soda are wonderful cleaners and I always like the way things smell afterwards. Open the windows and let the fresh air in! But not you REB, you have to wait! LOL

  4. pamela…..ya,hopefully not too much longer, I just need(CRAVE) some sun and some heat…some compost under my nails,the smell of fresh turned earth….heck even the growl of the ole tractor under my butt….. yep,I got it bad LOL

  5. Good article. Microcloths clean extremely well with hot water without chemicals. I caution against WISE Foods. Tried it, it was awful so canceled, the “free sample” and WISE foods continued to charge me 3 charges of $99.98 for shipments of their foul tasting foods. When I called they said that I had never canceled them, but I did in writing and over the phone. They are a big RIP OFF and have dishonest business practices. BEWARE if you do business with them, you will be SORRY!

    • Hi Vanessa –

      WISE Foods is a brand and can be obtained from numerous sources. I am not sure how many samples you tried – but so far I have been impressed. One of my sponsors – http://directive21.com – is a dealer with WISE Foods and has an excellant reputation. I am not sure who you bought from but I am sure that dealer does not represent the entire network.

      By the way – I love those microcloths!!

      Take care – Rourke

  6. Vanessa,

    We are not sure why Wise Food charged your card 3 times, but they are definitely not trying to rip anyone off. Currently they are weeks behind on orders because of supply and demand, and stating they are a ripping people off is completely not true. If you had a bad experience, that is rare, and I know they would apologize.

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