The average household contains 62 toxic chemicals — and they hide in unexpected places, including cleaning supplies. Though it’s impossible to completely avoid toxins, you can significantly reduce your exposure by replacing harsh cleaning products with safer options. There are nontoxic brands available for purchase, but it’s easy (and more affordable) to mix up your own.
General All-Purpose Cleaner
Mix ½ cup distilled white vinegar, 3 cups distilled water, and ¼ teaspoon tea-tree essential oil in a spray bottle. Add 10 drops pine essential oil; shake. Spray on any hard surface, and then wipe with a cloth.*
Tip: Pine oil is a natural germicide.
Tip: Vinegar and tea tree oil are both antifungal and antimicrobial.
Bathroom Mildew Remover
Combine 1 cup distilled water with 1 cup vodka in a spray bottle. Add 10 drops each tea-tree, lavender, and eucalyptus essential oils; shake. Spray on mildew. Wait 30 minutes or more to allow the oils to break it down; then wipe clean with a cloth.
Tip: Vodka is a natural disinfectant.
Tip: Lavender oil is antibacterial; eucalyptus is an antiseptic.
Blend 1 cup baking soda and ¼ cup liquid Castile soap with 10 drops each lemon, lime, and wild-orange essential oils in a small bowl. Apply to stovetop or sink with a sponge, and then scrub and rinse clean.
Tip: Lemon and wild-orange oils effectively dissolve grease.
Tip: Baking soda is mildly abrasive, making it ideal for scrubbing and scouring.
Boil 1½ cups of water; steep eight black-tea bags in the water and let it cool completely. Discard the tea bags and transfer the tea to a spray bottle. Spray on your windows and dry with a cloth (crumpled newspaper also works well).
Tip: Black tea contains tannic acid, which breaks up dirt and grease.
*Test all DIY products on a small, inconspicuous surface area to ensure desired results.
For more on what’s lurking in your commercial cleaning products, see “8 Hidden Toxins: What’s Lurking in Your Cleaning Products?“