Natural Cleaning Recipes

bowl of lemons and cleaning supplies

This season, do your deep housecleaning without the chemical toxins by using the following recipes from Annie Berthold-Bond's book, Clean & Green. For any of these natural cleaning recipes, you can create your own scent by adding a few drops of an essential oil or a few drops of one of Dr. Bronner's scented pure castile soaps.

General all-purpose fantastic cleaner

  • 1 teaspoon borax 
  • 1/2 teaspoon washing soda (a mineral, sodium carbonate, also known as soda ash and sal soda, which should be found in a grocery store's laundry section. A very effective cleanser of grease, oil, dirt and many petroleum products) 
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice 
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon vegetable-oil-based liquid soap 
  • 2 cups very hot tap water 
  • Spray bottle

Combine the borax, washing soda, vinegar and liquid soap in a spray bottle. Add very hot tap water, shaking the bottle gently until the minerals have dissolved. Spray onto the area to be cleaned and wipe off with a sponge, rag or cellulose sponge cloth.

All-purpose floor cleaner I

  • 1/8 cup vegetable-oil-based liquid soap (usually coconut oil-based, found in health food stores and called all-purpose or dishwashing soap) 
  • 1/2 cup vinegar 
  • 2 gallons warm water

Put soap and vinegar in the bottom of a bucket. Fill the bucket with warm water, swishing the ingredients around a bit to activate the soap. Wash the floor as you normally would.

All-purpose floor cleaner II

  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 pail water

Wash the floor as you normally would.

Overnight toilet cleaner

  • 1 cup borax

* Pour borax into the bowl before going to sleep at night. In the morning the stains will be effortlessly brushed away.

Heavy duty tile cleaner

  • 1 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

Scoop some washing soda onto a damp sponge, wash tiles, and rinse well. Washing soda has good grease-cutting ability and is an odor absorber. This recipe is recommended only for heavy cleaning jobs because the washing soda requires a lot of rinsing.

Vinegar mold killer

  • Full-strength white vinegar

Saturate a sponge with vinegar and scrub the moldy area. Rinse well.

Another mold cleaner: grapefruit seed extract

  • 10+ drops liquid Paramycocidin
  • ** 2 cups water
  • Spray bottle

You may need more or less Paramycocidin, depending on the degree of mold infestation. Don't rinse; let it stay in place and continue to do its work.

Borax disinfectant and mold killer

  • 1 teaspoon to 1/4 cup borax
  • Up to 2 cups hot tap water

Place the borax in a container and dissolve completely in hot tap water. Saturate a sponge with the mixture and wash the moldy area. If really moldy, use an even higher concentration of borax and/or leave the solution on for a few hours or overnight, then rinse well. The more borax, the more residue to rinse off, but borax really works. This can even be used to clean plaster walls that have been penetrated by mold by using an almost straight borax paste. Leave the borax on the walls for a number of days and when it is completely dry, and vacuum up the powder.

The best and effortless oven cleaner

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Squirt or two of liquid soap

Sprinkle water generously over the bottom of the oven. Cover the grime with baking soda. Sprinkle some more water on top of the baking soda. If you let it sit overnight you can effortlessly wipe up the grease the next morning. I use a mild abrasive pad such as a supermarket green pad to help loosen stubborn spills. When you have cleaned up all the mess, dab a little bit of recommended vegetable-oil-based soap on a sponge and wash the sides, top and inside of the door as well as any grease or baking soda residue on the bottom. Rinse thoroughly to remove all baking soda.

* Borax is a mineral of natural origin consisting of water, oxygen, sodium and boron. In large doses, borax is toxic if consumed orally. The lethal does for a 150-pound person is between one ounce and one pound. Borax has antiseptic, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. 

** Paramycocidin is the purest form of citrus seed extract available over the counter and is recommended in its liquid form as a mold cleaner. 

Learn more about the nutrition services provided by Bastyr Center for Natural Health, the Seattle teaching clinic of Bastyr University, or schedule your appointment today by calling (206) 834-4100.