Last week when I shared a spring cleaning game plan and checklist, I promised a follow-up post on tools and natural cleaners to get the job done. We gave or threw away all of our chemical cleaners a few years ago and have used natural cleaners ever since.
Turns out, you don’t need that many items in your cleaning arsenal. No overflowing cabinets or closets–one bucket is enough to accommodate all your supplies. For weekly cleaning tasks, I use these basic supplies. That’s it!
For a deep spring cleaning, you might need to add a few more items to your arsenal, but not many. (And they aren’t expensive!) Here are some items to consider:
1. Lemon juice
Lemon juice disinfects by raising the acidity of bacteria beyond what they can handle. Lemon juice is usually interchangeable with white vinegar–and it smells much better! Here are some ways to use lemon juice:
- Squeeze fresh lemon juice into a jar; dip toothbrush in and scrub tile grout.
- Mix 1 cup of water with a few tablespoons of lemon juice in a small glass bowl. Heat liquid to boiling in the microwave. Turn the microwave off and wait 10 minutes for the steam to loosen gunk and stuck-on food. Wipe the microwave down thoroughly.
- Run a lemon peel through the garbage disposal to take away odors.
- Use plain lemon juice and a microfiber cloth to polish chrome faucets.
2. White vinegar
White vinegar is another acidic disinfectant, and is cheaper than lemon juice. The vinegar smell will evaporate, but if you don’t like it you can add a few drops of essential oils. I mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle and use the solution to clean the toilet, bathtub, counter tops, linoleum or tile floors, and the inside and outside of the refrigerator.
Check out this post for more ways to use white vinegar.
3. Baking soda
Baking soda is an alkaline, non-abrasive cleaner that’s perfect for when you need a little scrubbing action. Here are some ways to use baking soda:
- Keep baking soda in an old Real Salt shaker or spice jar. Sprinkle on bathroom counters, tub, inside of toilet bowl, and kitchen sink. Scrub and wipe surfaces clean with a sponge.
- Spray the inside of a (cool!) oven with water; sprinkle with baking soda. Wait at least half an hour, then scrape out baking soda and loosened food particles with a nylon pan scraper.
- Clean sink and bathtub drains by pouring a kettle of boiling water down the drain. Dump 1/2 cup of baking soda into the drain; follow with 1/2 cup white vinegar. Plug the drain and let the mixture foam for 10 minutes. Flush drain with another kettle full of boiling water.
Hydrogen peroxide kills bacteria and can be used as a safe bleach alternative. Try it on carpet stains (but test a small area first to make sure it doesn’t discolour the carpet!). Mix 3 parts hydrogen peroxide with 7 parts water. Pour it on the stain and let sit for a few minutes, then blot up with a rag or old T-shirt. You can also use hydrogen peroxide to clean the inside of toilet bowls.
5. Dish soap
I use mild (non anti-bacterial) dish soap for cleaning my porcelain enamel kitchen sink. Smear a paste of baking soda and dish soap in the sink. Let sit a few minutes, then scrub down with a microfiber sponge; rinse with hot water. You can also use diluted dish soap to clean counters, linoleum and tile floors, kitchen appliances, and ceiling fans.
6. Liquid castile soap
Castile soap is a mild, plant-based soap that can be used as an all-purpose cleaner. It’s very concentrated, so dilute it with water first. I purchase Dr. Bronner’s castile soap online from Grove Collaborative.
7. Essential oils
EOs are popular for natural cleaning because they smell good and work hard (I love the way lemon essential oil powers through grease!) Here’s a starter guide to using essential oils in your cleaning. Beauty in the Mess also has a great post on cleaning with essential oils.
Rather than buying the refill cloths, I wrap a damp microfiber cloth around the Swiffer and clean the floors with a vinegar-water solution or all-purpose cleaner.
Where the vacuum and Swiffer can’t reach, a broom can! We also use it to sweep the balcony.
4. Microfiber cloths
I love my E-cloths! They’re good quality, but less expensive than Norwex. I use the general purpose cloths for dusting and for damp-cleaning the floors. The glass and polishing cloths are great for windows and bathroom mirrors. You can also find E-cloths at a discount online from Grove Collaborative!
This sponge is perfect for cleaning the tub, sink, and counters.
An old toothbrush is a must for scrubbing tile grout and the edges of sinks, faucets, and counters. Just run the toothbrush through the dishwasher between uses.
These pan scrapers came with my Pampered Chef stoneware, but I use one for scraping off counters and stuck-on gunk in the fridge, counters, and in the oven.
A clean house is a great canvas for simplifying! Check out my book, Your Simple Home Handbook, for tips on cleaning out your wardrobe, bathroom counters, linen closet, and more! For more homemaking tips and tools, follow my Homemaking board on Pinterest!
Want to try some fun natural cleaning recipes like Pink Lemonade Dish Detergent and Citrus Splash All-Purpose Cleaner? Check out DIY Non-Toxic Cleaning Recipes!
Where to buy natural cleaning supplies on the cheap
Instead of buying my cleaning supplies in a big-box store, I now purchase them at a discount online! Grove Collaborative is my source for microfiber cloths, kitchen sponges, spray bottles, and natural brands like Dr. Bronner’s and Seventh Generation. If you’re new to Grove Collaborative, you can get a FREE Mrs. Meyer’s handsoap + $10.00 store credit when you click through this link.