My household cleaning ritual has been a rollercoaster ride over the last decade. When my kids were babies, rolling and crawling all over the floor, I was constantly mopping in order to keep the floors as sanitary as possible. As they grew, wiping down everything from countertops to door handles was a daily occurrence.
I wanted to use nontoxic products so that babies touching surfaces, then putting their fingers in their mouths, wouldn’t come in contact with hazardous chemicals.
Yet I found it was really difficult to find “healthy and green” household cleaners that stood up to the power of good ol’ Lysol.
In fact, sometimes I’d resort to sanitizing the floor or counters with harsh-yet-effective products. Then mop or wipe the entire house again with warm dish soap water to try to remove the chemical residue.
I’m pretty sure my kids don’t appreciate me enough. Ha.
One day, a friend I met at church told me her granny and mother always cleaned everything from floors to ceiling with white vinegar, and she had been doing the same for years.
After a little research, I discovered that vinegar really does offer great cleaning power, and kills a variety of germs, though not as many as standard household disinfectants. The initial odor of vinegar all over the house is a little off-putting, but when it dries, the odor eventually go away.
I tried mopping my floors and wiping my countertops with plain vinegar for a couple months, yet was always still concerned about food related bacteria in the kitchen. E. Coli is nasty business after all.
That is when I discovered essential oils.
Long before I used them for medicinal purposes, essential oils came into my house for cleaning. Living in hippy-dippy Asheville, North Carolina made it very easy to track down bacteria-fighting oils at health food stores, and to also find people who knew way more about them than I did to help me along the way.
Not only do many essential oils hold powerful antibacterial properties, killing and guarding against dangerous bacteria and fungi, they smell wonderful as well.
In fact, by adding them to homemade vinegar cleaner, you can mask the aroma of the vinegar, disinfect your floors and countertops, and feel like you get the same kind of scrub down that you do with traditional cleaners—without harsh chemicals.
Plus, homemade all-natural cleaner is easy to make! Ready to get started?
How to Make All-Natural Kitchen Cleaner
Start by rinsing out an old milk jug or cleaner spray bottle. Fill the bottle halfway with white vinegar.
Then fill the bottle almost to the top with water.
Finally, drop antibacterial essential oils into the mixture. Screw the lid on tight and shake to combine. Use 15 drops per 25 ounces. Make sure to always shake the bottle to work the oils back into the cleaner before using.
What germ killing essential oils should you use? Well that is entirely up to you.
These essential oils are know best for their antibacterial properties:
- cinnamon bark
- melaleuca (tea tree)
Cinnamon, oregano, and thyme are thought to be the strongest antibacterial essential oils. Yet using any of these oils, or a combination of 2-3 oils, will create a fabulous cleaner that leaves a lasting fresh aroma.
I like to combine:
- lemongrass -lavender
- lemongrass -thyme (obviously, I like the smell of lemongrass)
But really, you can use any single oil, or combination you like!
Where can you find essential oils?
Essential oils are becoming easier to find every year. There are a few well-known online companies like Young Living and doTERRA that are thought to have very high-quality oils. But you can find them around town at all-natural markets and health food stores.
Just make sure to buy oils that are 100% pure, with no fillers or added scents, so they are as strong as possible.
Making personalized all-natural cleaner is a great way to eliminate yucky chemicals from your home. It makes wonderful gifts for new parents, and can be customized for specific purposes.
Hardwood Floor CleanerUse 2 parts water, 1 part vinegar, 10 drops of lemon oil per bucket, plus whatever antibacterial essential oil you like best.
Glass Cleaner1 part vinegar, 1 part rubbing alcohol, 4 parts water, 5-10 drops essential oil
Bathroom/Grout CleanerUse the Kitchen Cleaner formula above and sprinkle baking soda over the grout before spraying down the area.
Do you use an all-natural cleaning solution at home? Share it in the comments below!
Sommer Collier is a wife and mother who is always looking for ways to make life just a little more interesting. She developed a love for cooking by standing on a wooden chair, watching her mother and grandmother cook as a little girl. Then later her eyes were opened to the vast possibilities in the culinary world through a series of international mission trips and travel experiences as a teenager. After breathing in the spicy air in the open markets of Africa, India and China, she knew her life would never be the same. She started her blog after teaching cooking classes for several years with the intention of helping the average spatula owner to feel a bit more comfortable in their kitchen. Nowadays she shares easy-to-make recipes, with a touch of moxie, as well as travel content with the hope of encouraging her readers to break out of their comfort zone and taste the world around them. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina with her husband lovingly known as Lieutenant Dan (for no other reason than she met him right when the movie Forest Gump came out), two scrappy kids with highly developed taste buds, and her golden retriever Kona---because (she believes) all animals should be named after places you’d like to live. She travels with her family as often as possible, always looking for new ways to experience this delicious life.