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Various supplies used to make cleaning solutions, including soap, citrus, and essential oils.

The average household contains 62 toxic chemicals — and they hide in unexpected places, including cleaning supplies. Though it’s impossible to completely avoid toxins, you can significantly reduce your exposure by replacing harsh cleaning products with safer options. There are nontoxic brands available for purchase, but it’s easy (and more affordable) to mix up your own.

General All-Purpose Cleaner

a bottle of vinegar, spray bottle and pyrex bowl filled with water
  • Mix 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar, 3 cups distilled water, and 1/4 teaspoon tea-tree essential oil in a spray bottle.
  • Add 10 drops pine essential oil; shake.
  • Spray on any hard surface, and then wipe with a cloth.*

Tip: Pine oil is a natural germicide.

Tip: Vinegar and tea tree oil are both antifungal and antimicrobial.

Bathroom Mildew Remover

a bottle of vodka, pyrex with water, spray bottle and botanicals
  • Combine 1 cup distilled water with 1 cup vodka in a spray bottle.
  • Add 10 drops each tea-tree, lavender, and eucalyptus essential oils; shake.
  • Spray on mildew. Wait 30 minutes or more to allow the oils to break it down; then wipe clean with a cloth.

Tip: Vodka is a natural disinfectant.

Tip: Lavender oil is antibacterial; eucalyptus is an antiseptic.

Surface Scrub 

a bottle of castille, citrus fruit, and oils
  • Blend 1 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup liquid Castile soap with 10 drops each lemon, lime, and wild-orange essential oils in a small bowl.
  • Apply to stovetop or sink with a sponge, and then scrub and rinse clean.

Tip: Lemon and wild-orange oils effectively dissolve grease.

Tip: Baking soda is mildly abrasive, making it ideal for scrubbing and scouring.

Window Cleaner

a pot with tea bags and a spray bottle
  • Boil 1 1/2 cups of water; steep eight black-tea bags in the water and let it cool completely. Discard the tea bags and transfer the tea to a spray bottle.
  • Spray on your windows and dry with a cloth (crumpled newspaper also works well).

Tip: Black tea contains tannic acid, which breaks up dirt and grease.

*Test all DIY products on a small, inconspicuous surface area to ensure desired results.

For more on what’s lurking in your commercial cleaning products, see “8 Hidden Toxins: What’s Lurking in Your Cleaning Products?

Photography by: John Mowers
Kaelyn
Kaelyn Riley

Kaelyn Riley is an Experience Life senior editor.

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