How to Clean Your House without Harsh Chemicals

I kicked all our chemical cleaners to the curb a few years ago and never looked back.  The reason being, I realized that most of what I was cleaning didn’t merit the use of harsh chemicals.  Why would I use a product that was more dangerous then the problem I was trying to solve?  While I may use bleach to kill mold, I don’t use it for my laundry.

Here’s how I clean my whole house without chemicals:

All-Purpose Cleaner – Most surfaces can be cleaned simply with a bucket of warm water and a squirt of vinegar or non-toxic dish soap.  This solution will work perfectly for walls, cabinets, inside the refrigerator or anywhere that needs a simple wipe down.

Homemade Scrub – This is the recipe I like to use to clean soap scum, sinks, and the stove top:

  • 3/4 cup baking soda (a bit heaped)
  • 1/4 cup liquid Castile soap (I buy it from
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar

Mix the baking soda, Castile soap and water in a bowl or container.  Stir.  Add the vinegar last, once the other ingredients are mixed.  The mixture will fizz a little.  Stir to make a nice soft, paste-like, consistency.  (It’s important to add the vinegar last if you want a creamy paste and not sludge.) Make this in small batches as it can dry out when stored.  The recipes makes enough for 2-4 uses.

Floors – I fill a bucket with enough vinegar to cover the bottom of the bucket, then top it up with warm water and a few drops of essential oil.  Usually I wash the floors with a rag on my hands and knees, but occasionally I’ll use a mop.

Windows and mirrors – I have a spray bottle with one part vinegar and one part water.

Toilets– I like to fill a spray bottle with this homemade all-purpose cleaner for the toilets:

  • 2 tsp Borax natural detergent – Find this at your local grocery store in the laundry aisle
  • 3 Tbsp Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Soap – I’m using the lavender scented one I picked up from
  • 4 Tbsp White Vinegar – a natural disinfectant!  I always buy the club size because I like to have it on hand for its many uses.
  • Distilled Water (or boiled water)

Mix the borax, white vinegar and a little bit of hot water. (Must be hot water to incorporate the borax.) Add the castile soap, then swirl the bottle to incorporate.  Once it’s all mixed, add the rest of the water to fill up to 16oz.  It will be slightly white and opaque.

Mattresses and upholstered furniture – To freshen up your mattresses and upholstered furniture, put some baking soda with a few drops of essential oil into a shaker (spice jar, a mason jar with holes poked in the lid)  Sprinkle the mixture all over your mattress or furniture and leave it for an hour before vacuuming it up.

Drains – Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain, then pour 1 cup of vinegar over top.  Once the bubbling has settled down, pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain.

Oven – Sprinkle baking soda all over the oven and inside the oven door.  Splash some vinegar all over to create the bubbles.  Finally, scrub with a bit of elbow grease and a scrubby sponge to remove the gunk.

Microwave – Put 1 cup of vinegar in a glass microwaveable bowl and microwave it on high until it’s boiling and has covered the walls of the microwave in condensation (about 5 minutes).  Let it sit for a few minutes. Carefully remove the bowl of vinegar, then with a cloth, wipe the microwave clean.

Laundry – I haven’t tried my hand at making my own laundry detergent yet, so I’m currently using Nellie’s laundry soda which I’ve found available online at Costco.

Fabric Softener – I pour plain old vinegar into the fabric softener dispenser in my washing machine.

Jet-Dry – Again, I pour straight vinegar into the Jet-Dry dispenser.

Disinfectant:  Tea tree oil has antibacterial qualities.  So if I feel the need to disinfect something, I place a small amount into a spray bottle filled with water.  Keep in mind that tea tree oil is toxic when swallowed. While I consider it reasonably safe to use around the house, you do want to keep it away from curious little hands!

I love knowing that the products I use are safe and environmentally friendly and that the air we breathe is clear of any harsh chemicals!  


  1. Thanks for this! I currently make some cleaners myself, use Norwex and I’ve just started making my own laundry degerent using this recipe, and have been very impressed with the results so far. And cheap! It’s about $0.05/load!

  2. Best cleaner on the PLANET!! Citrus peels & Vinegar.

    I filled a mason jar with lemon peels, then filled the jar with vinegar. I put the jar under my sink for about 5 days.

    At the end of the week I used it to clean my embarassingly greasy range hood… and HOLY CRAP! This stuff cut through the grease like a hot knife through butter! Not even exaggerating. Seriously give it a try! Found this one the blog One Good Jillee.

  3. the earth can’t afford chemicals as much as I can’t afford Norwex!

  4. we still have some chemicals to work through but i use vinegar to white our socks, clean all the countertops and appliances. It is the best cleaner for stainless steel too! I agree if you can go chemical free it is the best!

  5. Using non-toxic cleaning products is great for our health and pocketbook! I just have not convinced my husband completely, so we still use some commercial cleaners.

    I thought you may be interested to know that you can purchase Melaleuca oil (tea tree oil) from Young Living Essential Oils which would be non-toxic and safe to use on and around children and pets. If you want to look them up their website is

    Have a good day and Happy Cleaning!

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