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Whole House Detox: Nontoxic Homemade Cleaning Products

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spray bottleNatural  Homemade Cleaning Products (safe enough to drink!)  No need for rubber gloves (or a gas mask!)

Many people would like to make their own nontoxic cleaning products but they don’t know how.  They’re also concerned about whether they’ll clean  as well as the store-bought variety.   After reading this post, you will have all the information you’ll need to make your own natural, effective  homemade cleaners.

I’ve been using my own homemade cleaning products for years.  They’re easy and inexpensive  to make and they’re safe to use.  Don’t wait one more day without making your own!   And don’t worry about proportions of ingredients you see on the internet.  The recipes do not need to be exact to work.  In fact, you could use straight vinegar and have all the cleaning power you need for 90% of your cleaning needs.

More good news.   One all-purpose cleaner will take the place of most of the cleaning products under your bathroom and kitchen sinks so you’ll have more empty space.  The recipe I use for my all-purpose clean is the one I describe below for cleaning glass and mirrors.

Vinegar is the secret ingredient.   Vinegar is nontoxic, inexpensive, and a workhorse when it comes to degreasing, declogging, and demineralizing toilets, showers, tubs, and sinks.  Not only is it gentle on all surfaces, but it’s also a disinfectant.  What’s not to like about vinegar?  Vinegar is the king of cleaners and baking soda is the queen.

My natural cleaner go-to person is Annie B. Bond.  She’s an authority on natural homemade cleaners and has written several books and articles on the subject.  You’ll find a lot of great information on her website.

Vinegar is the new smell of clean.  We’ve been trained to think that clean smells like chemicals.  Did you ever notice when you walk down the cleaning aisle that you sneeze or get a runny nose?  I either hold my breath on that aisle or avoid it altogether because I don’t want to inhale the toxic fumes .  When buying vinegar, Annie recommends Heinz white distilled vinegar because it is made of vegetables, not petroleum.

Conventional cleaning products no longer smell like clean to me.  They smell like what they are—chemicals masked by lemon scents.  While you’re getting used to the smell of vinegar-based cleaners, know that the smell dissipates quickly.  If the smell of vinegar bothers you, hang in there while you change your paradigm about what clean should smell like.  Again, it smells like vinegar!

At one point I thought I’d have to buy a new toilet because mine looked so disgusting and wouldn’t come clean.  Then I remembered that vinegar is the best at removing mineral deposits.

Vinegar Cleaning Recipes

Revitalize an old, mineral stained toilet,  sink, shower, or tub with virtually no effort.  Here’s how.

  • For the toilet:  Pour 1 cup of vinegar into the toilet and let sit overnight. Add a few tablespoons of baking soda for extra whitening power.  In the morning, scrub with a scrubbie or toilet brush, then flush.  What could be easier than that!   If the mineral deposits are thick, you may need to do this for a few nights, but you will be amazed that your toilet will look like new.  Vinegar naturally deodorizes and kills germs too!
  • For the sink or tub:  You can partially fill the sink or tub and add vinegar or you can soak a wash cloth in vinegar and place it over any places you want to demineralize.

Unclog the sink or tub drain:   Pour ½ cup of baking soda down a clogged drain.  Then pour ½ cup of vinegar into the drain and cover for a few minutes until the fizzing stops.  Then pour a liter or two of boiling water into the drain.  For very clogged drains, you may need to “snake” the drain and repeat the process.

Clean Mirrors or Glass (also for an all-purpose cleaner):   Combine 2 cups water, ¼ cup vinegar and ½ teaspoon of liquid dish soap in a spray bottle to make a fantastic natural window cleaner.   For a streak-free mirror or window, use a microfiber cloth.   I also use this recipe for my all-purpose cleaner. 

Disinfect Surfaces. Vinegar is your go-to natural disinfectant for use in the bathroom or kitchen. Mix 1 part vinegar with four parts water for an all-purpose cleaning solution that will disinfect anything from shower stalls to tubs to counter tops to doorknobs.

Greasy Kitchen Surfaces:  Dip a sponge in vinegar and wipe down the greasy surfaces (stove, countertop, pots and pans, and fan covers).

Be sure to label your spray bottles of homemade cleaning solutions.  I always think I’ll remember what’s in the bottle, but I never do.

So have I sold you on the idea that vinegar is one of the very best cleaners around?  If you’re eager to read more, here’s an article about the top 10 uses for vinegar.

Learn to love the smell of vinegar in your home – it says clean and disinfected!  Clear out the toxic cleaners under your bathroom and kitchen sinks and make way for one or two  spray bottles of cleaners–so safe you can drink them!

Please Comment:  Do you make natural cleaners?  What are your recipes and cleaning secrets?



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  1. Diane says:

    Cheryl, Thanks for all that great information.

    I had no idea that vinegar was a petroleum derivative! I plan to buy vinegar made from vegetables or fruit from now on!

    Can apple cider vinegar be used for more than cooking?

  2. Charlene says:

    Cheryl, I love that we are renewing our relationship with the plain and simple. Mom taught me over 70 years ago to use vinegar (apple cider vinegar that is the tan color not white) would be a great cleaning solution. She taught that wiping the windows after cleaning with a cloth wrung out of vinegar and warm water (1:4) would stay clean longer if wiped dry with old newspaper (the daily type not the shiny type). Today I use a cloth that does not need any cleaning solution but water. It is called Streak Free Microfiber cloth and can be ordered from the website The cloth can be washed and even bleached but not dried in the drier. Love your help.

  3. Cheryl Miller says:

    Hi Diane – yes you can use apple cider vinegar. In fact an article about the top 10 uses of apple cider vinegar:

    Hi Charlene – what a treat to hear from you! You’re always on to the next best thing with the streak free microfiber cloth. I love microfiber cloths. I don’t know if they’re all created equal, but mine do a good job. I’ll check out the link you shared. What’s going on in your life? I free-tired and am loving it. Gives me a lot more time to work on The Ville.

  4. Diane says:

    It is interesting to look at the vinegar ingredients on the bottles. Some say it is made from grain, others say corn.
    The store brand of apple cider vinegar is just apple flavored.
    The Heinz apple cider vinegar is made from apples.

  5. Cheryl Miller says:

    Hi Diane – it’s interesting. Fascinating looking at ingredients. One bottle just says vinegar and water and doesn’t say what the vinegar is made from.

  6. annie says:

    Awesome info on cleaning with vinegar. I have been intuitively moving in this direction on my own because I follow my nose alot. I move towards what smells good and away from what doesn’t. I find the smell of cleaning products repulsive also.
    Vinegar on windows is where I begin, and now I’m going to expand its use in my cleaning repetoire. thank you Cheryl.

  7. Hi Annie – nice to hear from you. Vinegar is the King of cleaners. I hope more people move in this direction and away from cleaning chemicals.

  8. Paul Sandburg says:

    Hi Cheryl,

    These are great tips! We recently started using vinegar to clean in our house and I can’t believe how well it works. I will make sure we are using the Heinz brand. I must admit I am not a fan of the vinegar smell …yet :) I have read that adding a bit of natural lemon juice can help neutralize the smell. Have you heard this or tried it before? Thank you!
    – Paul

  9. Morgan Silva says:

    Drains, especially those in bathroom and kitchen sinks, can become smelly with day-to-day use. This is because bits of food, toothpaste and other gunk gets stuck to the sides of the pipes, clinging to them as they rot. Cleaning smells from a drain is simple and doesn’t require any commercial drain-clearing products. The easiest way to clean a smelly drain is to use vinegar and baking soda. Both vinegar and baking soda are natural deodorizers, and the reaction between the two knocks clingy messes off of the pipes. If this treatment doesn’t work, try a solution of bleach and water to kill the bacteria that is causing the smell.


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