Making the switch to non-toxic and natural cleaning products can feel like a HUGE task. There’s figuring out how to navigate the cleaning product aisle (which is no easy feat for anyone these days). Then there’s finding natural products that actually work, and, finally, there’s swapping out the products currently in your home for safer, healthier options. Making this switch can feel overwhelming, so today, we’re going to break down 11 natural cleaning product swaps anyone can make: no intensive research, time, or expense required. These swaps are easy-to-make and will make a huge difference in reducing the toxic load from products used in your home.
Before we start, I created the Natural Cleaning Challenge to help you easily ditch toxic cleaners and start using natural cleaning products in just 5 days. This challenge is completely free and packed full of helpful information. Over 5 days, via email, I’ll walk you through what to avoid in cleaning products (even the “natural” and “green” ones can have icky ingredients so I’ll give you the tools to see through the marketing gimmicks), how to stock a natural cleaning caddy, and a few essential DIY cleaning recipes.
11 Natural Cleaning Product Swaps Anyone Can Make Today
The 11 swaps on today’s list are designed to serve as a guide for everyone making the switch to natural cleaning products, whether you’re just starting out or have already made some swaps. Why focus on making these natural product swaps? Most of the products on this list are products that many people use the home on a regular basis. Since they’re a “regular” product, this means they’re being sprayed, poured, and burned (like candles) on a daily or weekly basis.
Swap 1: Air Fresheners
Add essential oils to homemade cleaning products, add an essential oil or blend of different essential oils to an essential oil diffuser (this is my favorite), create a simmer pot on the stove-top using rosemary, cinnamon sticks, orange peels and water then simmer the mixture on a low simmer (do not leave unattended). If you’re new to essential oils, check out this podcast episode on essential oils 101.
Swap 2: Scented Candles
Make beeswax or soy candles (use this slow-cooker method, make candles on the stove-top, or make super easy taper candles) or buy 100% beeswax or soy candles that are unscented or use essential oils for a scent.
Swap 3: Fragranced Laundry Detergents
Use fragrance-free laundry soap, choose a brand that uses essential oils for scent and fully discloses ingredients (my favorite non-toxic laundry soap brands), or make your own laundry soap (try this liquid laundry soap recipe or this powder soap recipe).
Swap 4: Bleach
Use a homemade bleach alternative for whitening garments, for surfaces use an all purpose cleaner spray (I love this vinegar all purpose cleaner or this no-vinegar all purpose cleaner), and for the toilet use this homemade toilet bowl cleaner.
Swap 5: Store-Bought All Purpose Cleaner
Make your own all purpose cleaner with either castile soap or vinegar. It’s one of the easiest DIY swaps you can make to clean a variety of surfaces.
For an all purpose vinegar cleaner, combine 1 cup distilled water, 1 cup white vinegar or homemade orange vinegar, 15-20 drops essential oil of choice (if desired). Add all the ingredients to a glass spray bottle. For an all purpose cleaner without vinegar, add 2 cups distilled water to a glass spray bottle, followed by 2 tablespoons liquid castile soap or 1 teaspoon Sal Suds and 15-20 drops essential oil of choice (if desired). If you prefer the store-bought route, check out this post for my top non-toxic all purpose cleaner suggestions.
Swap 6: Windex
Use a spray made with rubbing alcohol, vinegar, and distilled water to clean windows, mirrors, and even stainless surfaces. Make a glass and mirror cleaner by combining 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol and 1/3 cup white vinegar in a 16-ounce spray bottle, then top off the bottle with distilled water. If you’d prefer to not use rubbing alcohol, skip it and use 1/2 cup of vinegar instead. Spray on a glass surface and wipe with a microfiber cloth.
Swap 7: Easy Off Oven Cleaner
Use a combo of castile soap and baking soda. Mix the ingredients together until they form a paste, then use a sponge to apply the mixture to the interior surface of the oven. Let the mixture rest for 30 minutes or a few hours, then use a wet cloth to rinse the surface and follow up by spraying the surface with vinegar and wiping clean until all residue has been removed.
Swap 8: Pledge or PineSol Floor Cleaner
Fill a bucket with water and castile soap or vinegar to wash hard floors. Here’s my favorite hard floor cleaner with vinegar and my favorite hard floor cleaner with castile soap.
Swap 9: Dawn Dish Soap
Make a Sal Suds dish soap or castile soap dish soap or use a non-toxic brand (such as Seventh Generation–> here’s a list of my favorite non-toxic dish soap and dishwasher options).
Swap 10: Cascade Dishwasher Detergent
Use a non-toxic brand (such as Ecover or Better Life–> here’s a list of my favorite non-toxic options) or make your own (I share a recipe in DIY Natural Cleaning).
Swap 11: Dryer Sheets
Use fragrance-free dryer sheets (Seventh Generation is a good option) or wool dryer balls (make dryer balls or buy dryer balls). If you have an issue with static, which is common with polyester clothing, add a safety pin to a wool dryer ball to reduce this static.
I know a lot of people also use fabric softener. Choose a fabric softener that’s fragrance free or go the homemade route by making laundry softener salts or use vinegar.
7 Cleaning Ingredients to Avoid
In the US, cleaning companies are not required to disclose all of their ingredients (only active ingredients or “ingredients of known concern”). And the US Government doesn’t test cleaning products and doesn’t mandate that companies test them either. This all leads to a lot of confusion about cleaning products. I’ve compiled a list of 7 main cleaning ingredients to avoid to help you make informed choices about cleaning products. Check out that post here: 7 Cleaning Product Ingredients to Avoid.
What about dusting spray? My mom used something with vinegar & one other ingredient. I have tried so many things to see what that second ingredient is and for the life of me can’t figure it out. My mom passed on October 12, 2020 so I can’t go to her. Thank you
Hey Kathleen, Here’s my dusting spray recipe: https://livesimply.me/homemade-dusting-spray/