How to Make All-Natural DIY Cleaning Solutions — and Save Money

Skip chemical cleaners in favor of organic versions that you can make on a shoestring.
By: Lisa Frederick
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The Solution to Chemical-Free Solutions

Between mold, soap scum, toilet rings and grout stains, bathrooms can be notoriously tough to clean (ever wonder why so much of the cleaning aisle is devoted to bathroom products?). But the thought of dousing tubs and tile with chemicals makes some people uneasy about the potential effects on their household health. The solution? Take a page from your grandmother’s book and raid your pantry and medicine cabinet for basic staples that get the job done without toxic fumes or harsh compounds. Bonus: You’ll save money by going the natural route.

Mirrors and Glass

Toss that bottle of bright blue cleaner and wipe mirrors and glass surfaces down with a solution of one part white vinegar to one part water instead. Use a microfiber cloth or even a sheet of newspaper (really!) to avoid streaks and residue. This works to keep faucets and fixtures shining clean as well. Don’t worry about the vinegar smell; it will fade quickly.

Tub, Sink and Shower

Just a few simple ingredients and five minutes’ effort, and you’ll have your own custom batch of spray-on cleaner. Combine 1-1/2 cups white vinegar, 1-1/2 cups water and 3/4 cup hydrogen peroxide. If you want to scent the mixture, add the essential oil of your choice: lemon, lavender, eucalyptus or another aroma. To combat tenacious soap scum, stir together equal parts white vinegar and dish soap, then spray on and allow to soak for a few minutes before scrubbing and rinsing.


If your tile needs only a light cleaning, simply rub on baking soda with a damp sponge and rinse with water. For grungier jobs, try this homemade scrub: Mix a generous 3/4 cup baking soda with 1/4 cup dish soap or castile soap (usually available at organic markets) to make a paste. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water, just enough to reach pouring consistency. Apply with a damp sponge and rinse thoroughly. If you like, add a few drops of tea tree oil, which has antibacterial properties that can prevent mold and mildew growth.


Blend two parts borax powder with one part lemon juice and add the mixture to your toilet bowl. Scrub after a few minutes to remove stubborn stains. You can also dump in a cup of borax powder, let stand overnight and scrub in the morning.

Grout and Caulk

To treat mildew, thoroughly spray the affected areas with a solution of one part hydrogen peroxide to two parts water. Allow to sit at least one hour before scrubbing (a toothbrush works well) and rinsing. If your grout is old or chipping, you may want to do a patch test to guard against damage before you treat your entire surface.


If the thought of clog-eating chemicals gives you pause, try this remedy for a sluggish drain: Pour in 1 cup baking soda, then follow with two cups white vinegar. The fizzing and bubbling should help loosen the blockage. Let stand for 15 to 20 minutes before flushing with warm water. This is also a good way to deodorize a smelly drain.

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