diy kitchen spray

Clean Green: Kitchen Spray

I must confess, for more than a year, my friend Elizabeth has been asking me to do a post on homemade household cleaners. As a result of her prodding, I am proud to present part 1 of a series on non-toxic cleaners for your home. We’ll start off with a cleaning spray for my favorite room of the house –the kitchen!

So, first questions first. Why make your own cleaning products? Why go through the bother? To save money and protect the environment, of course! You can pay upwards of $4 for a bottle of cleaning spray or, you can easily make it yourself for less. Below are the top ten reasons for a DIY cleaning spray:

  1. Save money
  2. Keep bottles out of the landfill -use just ONE bottle over and over again
  3. Conserve fossil fuel –why pay for a product that is mostly water to be shipped from miles away?
  4. Eliminate strong synthetic fragrances –that merely mask the dirt, doing little to get rid of it
  5. Make your home a non-toxic zone
  6. Refrain from adding harmful toxins to our waterways
  7. Stop supporting companies and manufacturers that produce harmful substances
  8. Eliminate consumption of unnecessary products from multi-national corporations
  9. Customize cleaning sprays with your favorite essential oils
  10. Make your own sprays in the comfort of your own home

I have mixed my own cleaning products for more than a decade. First, I enjoy doing so! Second, I want my house to actually be clean, not smell of strong synthetic fragrances. Third, I enjoy the scent of simple cleaners made from natural products. That’s why I created the kitchen counter spray that follows.

Elana's Kitchen Cleaner
Serves: 16 ounces
  • 1 (16 ounce) spray bottle
  • 8 ounces peroxide (3%)
  • 8 ounces water
  • 5 drops tea tree oil
  • 5 drops lemon oil
  1. Pour all ingredients into spray bottle
  2. Shake well
  3. Spray on counter surfaces and wipe with a clean rag


Below you can see the price difference between making your own cleaning product and purchasing it:

DIY Spray (initial cost includes price of bottle) $3.57 for 16 ounces
DIY Spray (refill cost) $1.70 for 16 ounces ($.09 per ounce)
Fantastic All-Purpose Cleaner $4.86 for 32 ounces ($.15 per ounce)
Seventh Generation $4.19 for 32 ounces ($.13 per ounce)

Other tips: If you have an old spray bottle lying around the house use that instead of purchasing a new one; to further save money (and trees) use rags instead of paper towels to keep your kitchen spic and span.

Easy solutions are at our fingertips. We can save money and protect the planet’s precious resources in the process, creating win-win situations that show us why the words economy and ecology share a prefix!

Now go ahead, let us know your favorite eco-cleaning tip in the comments section below!

Update: Thanks to a comment from Lucas, I have modified the cleaning spray recipe above.


  1. Beverly says

    Thank you for cleaner. I like you have a chemical free home.I use thives oil and white vinigar and a spray bottle. I also use this to mop my floors. With celiac I don’t want any chemicals.

  2. Rebecca says

    Be careful if you have cats who could come in contact with the cleaned surfaces. Tea tree oil is poisonous to cats! Other than that, great advice! :)

  3. Sarah says

    I read about the dangers of cooking with aluminum. I want to find a bread pan that is 7 x 3 inches in size to make your rosemary bread. You recommend Cheftools to purchase a loaf bread approx that size. However, my concern is it is made of aluminum. Do you have any thoughts on this or do you know where I can find a glass or full metal loaf pan? Thank you.

  4. says

    Thank you for raising awareness about nontoxic cleaning. It is so important for people to understand that they can make a difference in their own homes while saving money. I’ve been using my own cleaners for many years and really appreciate the lack of chemical smells in my home. White vinegar, baking soda, and vegetable-based soap pretty much clean everything.

  5. says

    So, I know this is a forum about kitchen cleansers and all but I couldn’t help but put in a recipe of my own for those trying to go non-toxic and all.

    Any of y’all ever try not using regular shampoo and conditioner? I had tried it once before and failed miserably to adapt to the new baking soda regime to wash my hair but have since found an amazing combination that has left me sans shampoo and conditioner for almost two months now.

    Take 2 TBSP Baking Soda and 2 cups of water and mix together. Pour over head slowly and make sure to work it into your scalp.
    Then take 2 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar and about 1-2 cups of water and pour over your ends only.

    Tiffany from Nature Moms Blog wrote a blog about it ( and I’ve just adapted my own above recipe. Give it a shot.. You may end up loving it.

    • Samantha says

      I have started doing that that as well. I find that I pour the ACV over my whole head, (my hair is very short) and let it set for a while. Then rinse. On the upside my drain never clogs anymore.

  6. Liza says

    Hello, very interesting! I currently use white vinegar and baking soda to wash clothes and would like to know if i can use peroxide instead, is it ok to wash cloth diapers?
    Thanks for sharing =}

    • Peter Valentine says

      Do you mean just white vinegar and baking soda? No detergent at all? Could you share volumes of each to make a combination?
      Did you wash dark-colored clothes with that mixture?

  7. jackie kay says

    on your recipe for clean green: kitchen spray, the 8 oz. of water is crossed out. Does that mean do not use the water? I suspect it does since the recipe called for using 16 oz of peroxide in a 16 oz. spray bottle.

    Just want to be sure. Thanks for the great info on your website.

    Jackie Kay

  8. Karen says

    Glad to know this works on Granite. Anyone have any knowledge if it can be used safely on marble too? If not, what CAN be used for marble.

    As a maker and user of homemade cleaning products for a couple years now, all I can say is what a relief to not be polluting our lives as much! Just knowing you can spray a counter and then put food right on it is a blessing!!

  9. Julie says

    Thanks Elana,
    I am using your recipe, but substituted lavendar oil for the tea tree and the lemon oil. (Are the tea tree and lemon oil for disinfecting)? Should I be using them instead of my substitution of lavender?

    • says

      Yes, the tea tree does help to disinfect, though I think that the lavender is probably just as good since the peroxide disinfects as well.

  10. ~M says

    Hi Elana,

    Is the water crossed out in the original recipe? I was referring a friend to this post, and was not sure.


  11. Lucas says

    Hey Elana!

    Environmentally safe bleach is just a less dilute hydrogen peroxide (95% water and 5% HP as opposed to the 97% water and 3% HP that most people buy in brown bottles at their pharmacies).

    I would therefore be inclined to omit the added water from your recipe, as the HP is already 97% dilute. Some people might want to adjust the amounts of added essential oils; try cutting those amounts in half to keep pretty much the same balance as your original recipe. I would also make sure to use an opaque spray bottle so that the potential for degradation due to light is not an issue.

    I hope that helps. Thanks for your tips, and I look forward to more of your homemade cleaning solutions.

    • ~M says

      I have been using hydrogen peroxide undiluted to clean the surfaces in my home. I don’t add essential oils or extracts (like grapefruit seed extract) because…my new technique is to keep the hydrogen peroxide in the bottle that it comes in. I simply attach a clean spray nozzle (one that’s only otherwise used for water) right onto the bottle of hydrogen peroxide and spray. It’s SO easy, already in a dark bottle, doesn’t use another bottle or space.

      Elana, it’d be great to get more household/laundry tips from you! We all have so much to learn! For example, how do you clean your produce or cutting boards?

  12. says

    Hi Lucas, funny, sometimes I use the peroxide without diluting it, and just add the essential oils, though often I do go the 50/50 route with water as per the recipe above. I go through it quite quickly and do not keep it in a bright spot in my kitchen so I haven’t worried about the light aspect that you mention. You sound very knowledgeable, what are your thoughts on this? What do you use to clean your kitchen. This has worked very well for me, maybe because I don’t think of my kitchen as a “dirty” place…I’m always open to new thoughts and ideas though!

  13. Lucas says

    I question the use of peroxide in your preparation for several reasons. Not because it is unsafe (it isn’t), but because it seems ineffective.

    First of all, you dilute the peroxide, already a highly dilute substance when you buy it in the store, with an equal amount of water; the resulting amount of peroxide seems negligible. Also, the reason Hydrogen Peroxide is sold in dark bottles is that it breaks down in the presence of light. Therefore, using a severely dilute mixture of HP and water, then exposing it to light via a nearly clear plastic bottle, seems rather pointless.

    Comments? Guidance?

    Thanks for your time.

    • yoursaviorisjesus2 says

      In a Green Housekeeping book, the lady uses a dual spray system of hydrogen peroxide & vinegar but apparently if they are mixed together in the same bottle, something happens and they are not as effective. I got a plastic spray bottle from Wal-Mart (who also sells the large bottles of hydrogen peroxide for 88 cents each, which is cheaper than Costco’s 2 pack), took out the sprayer and it fits perfectly into the large round hydrogen peroxide bottle. The large round hydrogen peroxide bottles are somewhat harder to find now, it seems like everyone is switching to the square bottle, but I have found them at the Dollar Store so I pick up a few when I see them and of course, I re-fill them with the peroxide from the square bottles. Anyway, adding the spray nozzle to the peroxide bottle keeps it in the original dark container so no light deteriorates the peroxide. I also have another spray bottle with a 50/50 vinegar/water mix and I use that first, followed by the peroxide and wipe it off. The Green Housekeeping book said that the dual spray system (peroxide & vinegar) kill more germs than bleach water (they tested it on meat) so I’ve been using it ever since. I also use it to clean my bathroom :)

  14. says


    I purchase Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap by the gallon. This cuts down on consumption of plastic bottles and the initial layout of more capital saves me a great deal of money per year.

    It is likely that your soap is in an 8 ounce container which would mean that you are paying $.31 per ounce. Dr. Bronner’s by the gallon is 25% cheaper than this. Because the soap is so concentrated, I dilute it with half water, so it is actually 50% cheaper than your current option.

    I keep the Dr. Bronner’s at the sink with a pump so that it is easy for all to use.

    Hope this helps.


    • ~M says

      I love Dr. Bronner’s too, but the best price I’ve seen is $8.99 for 32 oz of Hemp-Peppermint flavor at Trader Joe’s. This works out to $0.14/oz if you dilute it 50/50 with water. How much do you pay per gallon, Elana?

      After I finish the Seventh Generation dish soap that I bought on sale, I plan on switching to Costco’s free & natural/environmentally safe soap (Kirkland brand, which is their store brand), which costs $0.06/oz (assuming you are not diluting). I haven’t tried this particular product, but, in general, I am very pleased with Kirkland products. Of course, you would need to have a Costco membership or access through a friend/family. I also like buying in bulk because it means less packaging.

      • ~M says

        I wanted to report back that the price of gallons of Dr. Bronner’s went down substantially at Whole Foods. In Chicago, Whole Foods now sells the gallon of hemp-peppermint for $28.49 ($0.22/oz or $0.11 assuming you dilute with 50% water). This is better than the Trader Joe’s deal, and better than any deal I’ve found online thus far. I placed an order for the baby mild variety, and was told the price should be the same. YAY!

        • teri says

          I’ve been using Dr. Bronner’s liquid soaps for a while now–I buy a foam pump dispenser, pour about 1 inch of Dr. Bronner into the foam pump dispenser and add about 15 drops of an essential oil (optional), then fill with tap water. The foam pump dispenser makes it go a l-o-n-g way! Better than 50/50! If you can’t find an empty dispenser, purchase a Dial foam pump dispenser, dump out the junk soap, and fill with the good stuff….

  15. Dana- Scranton PA says

    What an excellent article and comments to read through. I have been wasting way too much money on Simple Green. This is a must try.
    Does anyone have a good recipe for dish soap(or economical brand they can recommend)? Right now I am using an eco soap Full Circle that costs over 2.50- I’d love to find a cheaper way to wash dishes. Thanks!

  16. ~M says

    Hi Elana,

    We just moved to Chicago! Whew! I bought a 2-pack of hydrogen peroxide and a huge bag of baking soda at Costco to make my own cleaners. However, I realized that I don’t have a glass cleaner…do you have any recommendations? I’d love to hear my household tips!

    Let’s see if your blog likes my parents’ Internet provider…

    Take care!

    • Corinn says

      Hi, you dont even need a cleaner for your windows. I use the Microfiber clothes. I keep one for drying and one for wetting and it works great with nothing floating around in the air! You can re-use them over and over again,they wash up nice and do not leave streak marks. Give this a try.. I swear by them.

  17. Steve says

    Thanks for your help Diane. What acidity should the Distilled White Vinegar be? 5% Acidity?
    Does anybody know Which One Kills Germs and Bacteria Better? Hydrogen Peroxide or Distilled White Vinegar? Should You Clean Your kitchen counter with the Vinegar every night after dinner or just once a week? I don’t trust these multi-national companies. Most of the cleaning products don’t even list all of the ingredients in them, especially powerful chemicals like chlorine bleach or ammonia. Several popular multi-surface, antibacterial cleaners even use Sodium Hydroxide and claim that its totally safe for cleaning a countertop. Sodium Hydroxide is the chemical name for Lye. Its used in oven cleaners. Its very toxic stuff. Yes it will definitely kill germs and bacteria, and I might dilute it in water to clean a tile floor, but I have serious concerns about putting something that toxic on my kitchen countertop. Even if you rinse the counter with water, some of it is bound to end up in your food. I don’t want to allow something as toxic as Lye to end up in my ham sandwich. I went to a grocery store yesterday and bought a bottle of a popular liquid cleaner to clean my tile floors, that uses Sodium Hydroxide. The cashier was a grand mom about 60 years old who raised 5 kids. I asked her what she used her whole life, to clean her kitchen counters. You’re not going to believe what she told me. Distilled White Vinegar. I thought Distilled White Vinegar was used for salad dressing. I had no idea it could kill germs and bacteria.

  18. Diane says

    I can answer a couple of your questions:
    1. Yes, simple hydrogen peroxide – I saw it somewhere a while ago in a big bottle (2 l or so) but haven’t seen it again.
    2. I use full strength distilled white vinegar on my cloth to clean my kitchen countertops. They are ribbed laminate and the vinegar takes all the fingerprints, dulling dirt etc out of the ribs and they look like new. I do rinse with clear water on a cloth and then dry.
    3. Do not use baking soda on a laminate countertop – it will leave a “rubbed” mark. I use baking soda and water in my bathroom sinks and it acts as a cleanser and a scrubber – like a charm.
    Have fun!

    • ~M says

      Costco carries big bottles of peroxide…and it comes in a two-pack. Peroxide is also great for taking out organic, water-based stains in carpet, along with a Dr. Bronner’s solution diluted with water in a spray bottle. Yeah…I spilled unsweetened cranberry juice but everything came right out with no chemicals and is SUPER soft.

      Baking soda + water makes a Soft Scrub type of paste that is great for bathrooms or the kitchen sink!

  19. Steve says

    Hi Everybody, This is Steve. I’m a single guy so I really need your cleaning help. I read your info – I’ve got 4 questions. 1 – The Countertop Cleaner – I saw the peroxide formula – is that just simple hydrogen peroxide like you can buy at Safeway? 2 – Also someone else said they use distilled white vinegar instead of peroxide for a Countertop cleaner – the site says mix 1 part vinegar with 4 parts water – another website I went to says use undiluted full-strength white distilled vinegar for Countertops? Which is correct? 3 – Do you have to use baking soda with the vinegar to clean Countertops? What are people using the baking soda for? 4 – After you use the peroxide or vinegar solution to clean a Countertop – do you have to take a separate clean rag and rinse the counter off with pure water or is it safe to leave the peroxide or vinegar on the counter.
    Thanks – Steve

  20. says

    Diane -I use any and all essential oils, I love to play with the different scents. Tea tree, lemon, rosemary and lavender tend to have what I think of as extra disinfectant properties. In terms of your other question, I actually do use a mixture of peroxide and water to get rid of the mildew on the shower grout and it works quite well.

    Joy -For clogged drains I use 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup vinegar, let them sit for 5 minutes then pour in 1 cup of boiling water. That might work if you give it a try. Per your hair, I have a friend who has similar hair to you and she swims daily for exercise. She greases her hair with olive oil, then puts a swim cap over it which seems to do the trick!

    • ~M says

      Hi Joy,

      Applying conditioner to hair before swimming would also help because hair only can soak up so much…so if it becomes saturated with conditioner, it can’t soak up as much water with chlorine.

      Also, my new stylist strongly encourages everyone, but especially us curlies with dry hair, to avoid sls in shampoo. She recommends Deva No-Poo (but since that contains gluten), I am going to try her other alternative, Kinky Curly, which is organic and available at some Whole Foods. It is also helpful to not wash hair every day.

  21. Joy says

    Hi Everyone,
    I’m so glad to have found so many people who are exploring alternatives! I have responses and questions to several of the comments here~

    1) I’ve used either baking soda or vinegar for various cleaning projects with success, but never mixed together.

    2) Does anyone know of a safe way to unclog a slowly draining sink? I tried baking soda and vinegar mixed together, as suggested by, with no success. It just foams.

    3) Although this is a little off-topic, it does involve another use for baking soda and vinegar. NPR reported about a de-skunking concoction a few years back. I fortunately have not had the opportunity to try it, but NPR claimed that it worked. Mix 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide with 1/4 cup of baking soda, and 1 teaspoon of liquid soap. Apply and let stand 10 minutes then rinse off with tapwater. Mix immediately before use and don’t store it. It gives off oxygen gas and will burst a closed container.

    4) Lastly, does anyone know of something to reduce the drying effects of chlorinated water on my hair? Like ~M, my hair is wildly curly and dry. Swimming in a pool makes it crispy, even when I wear a cap.

    Many thanks!

  22. Diane says

    Hi Elana;
    Thanks for the great recipe. I will definitely be making my first mixture. Have you tried using any other essential oils such as rosemary, or does the lemon add to the disinfecting/cleansing properties?
    I have been using baking soda as a scrub in my bathroom for a while now and it works really well (seems to keep the drains clear as well). I am still wrestling, however, with finding a natural cleaner for the grout in the shower. I hate using the commercial cleaners that leave me gasping for air, but nothing else seems to get rid of the “mildew” discoloration on my colored grout. Any ideas? I hesitate to try hydrogen peroxide as it is a bleaching agent. Look forward to hearing from anyone who has a solution!

  23. says

    Hi Erika -I can speak from experience; I use it on the granite countertops in my kitchen and it works very well –no abrading :-)

  24. says

    Thanks for the great tips! Does anyone know if the peroxide is safe for granite countertops? I know I’ve read several places not to use vinegar or citric acids like lemon juice because granite is so porous, but I don’t know the verdict on peroxide. Can anyone speak from experience?

    ~ Erika

  25. says

    Jessica- I keep a separate laundry basket in my little laundry closet for the clothing made of synthetic fabrics, do them on gentle and hang them to dry.

    Even though mine aren’t 2 years old anymore, I’m still easily distracted –I totally get it!


  26. Jessica says

    It serves as a fabric softener – still use reg detergent. In the dryer I make sure to take out anything polyester after a few minutes and that insures no static cling. The drawback in what I do is that if I forget I have to add an extra rinse cycle and that wastes water. With a two year old running around I’m easily distracted. Gizmar’s technique may be the solution to that issue.

    My husband does all kinds of vinegar shots – I am not that hard core – I add a couple tsp ACV and some agave sweetner to water and sip. Yum!

    • Cathy says

      I hear you on hubbies that are slow to accept new things. Don’t give up, though! My hubbie is ***SLOWLY*** coming around on many things, including finally using rags instead of paper towels. He is still addicted to Windex’s Multi-Purpose kitchen spray, though. I actually have “his” bottle and my bottle of vinegar and water both under the sink! I am excited to try Elana’s recipe for kitchen spray, but a little concerned that if I get the spray on my clothes it will bleach them.
      Its interesting when it comes to people’s attitudes on food. My husband and I used to get into huge fights over food and him not being willing to try new things until one day we sat down and really starting communicating on why we felt the way we did. I found out that he looked at food as something that he expected to be familiar and safe, and it was actually stressful to him when things were not what he expected. (I look at food as an adventure, constantly wanting to try new recipes, so no wonder we had conflict in this area!) We came to a compromise that I would only try something “new” once a week and would give him the heads up before hand so he wouldn’t be surprised. This works well for us. The cool thing is that he is slowly starting to like more types of foods, too, but not being pushed or guilted into it by me. Additionally, I have to say that when he is out of town for work, I go crazy and try lots of new recipes!

  27. says

    Claire -You are very welcome; glad you are finding my blog helpful. I really like your comments especially the one about baking soda getting rid of the chlorine; when we go to the pool in the summer, the boys and I smell of chlorine for days, it’s yucky. I am going to make up a shower gel with baking soda (probably use Dr. Bronner’s for the base). Thanks for the great tips!

    Shari -Thanks for the vinegar info –wow that is amazing that you may make your own. If you do, please stop back over and let us know how it turns out! Thanks also for the last sentence of your comment, gave me goose bumps –is so nice to be “gotten.” xo Elana

    Gizmar -Kudos to you for your household-wide vinegar and water campaign. Also, nice tip on DIY dryer sheets that are completely reusable!

    Moi -I think peroxide is safe –I use it to gargle when I have a canker sore and I also bathe in it when I have a cold coming on…That’s my take. This very alternative site even goes as far as suggesting it is beneficial to take intravenously –not that I’ll be doing that any time soon!

    Courtney -Thanks for another stirring and beautiful comment! We will have our own “mini-retreat” (in a commercial kitchen) here in Boulder on Saturday, June 28th 3-6 pm. I really am looking forward to meeting you in person! xo Elana

    Jessica -Great tips. I am going to purchase the Better Basics Book. When you use the white vinegar in the laundry do you use it in place of detergent? Or as a “fabric softener?” I am a big lover of the Bragg’s cider vinegar; I have friends who drink it straight on a daily basis –I like it in my salad dressings and in some other dishes as well. Thanks for the great tps :-)

  28. ~M says

    Thanks, Courtney!! It’s so nice to see someone be able to use a tip to their benefit! Sometimes, my mom wonders whether I’ve gone off the deep end in my commitment to be frugal and green, but it’s sort of a game I play with myself. :) For people who use rags (whether T-shirts or otherwise) as cloths, I’ve heard it can be helpful to toss the dirty ones into a basket or bin that is kept in the cabinet under the kitchen sink; when the bin is full, do laundry! My apartment is small enough that I just put them in a delicates bag (for easy sorting), which I store in my laundry basket. And your comment about our retreat had me laughing out loud, which is not allowed while studying for the bar! :)

    Moi, I’m curious what you think could be potentially unsafe regarding peroxide…this is the same type of peroxide that is used on open cuts and scrapes and that can be gargled with (when mixed with water).

    Does anyone know whether vinegar is drying to hair? I have super dry, curly hair that grows like a weed (both down and out) and soaks up tons of conditioner.

  29. Jessica says

    Hi Elana –

    Thank you for the recipe – I’m going to try it!

    I’ve learned most of my chemical free ways (household, beauty, pest control) from a book called Better Basics for the Home by Annie Berthold-Bond. It’s worth it’s weight in gold.

    I like white distilled vinegar for kitchen and laundry use (I add 1/2 C during the rinse cycle and don’t need dryer sheets) and apple cider vinegar for a hair rinse (diluted – a few TB in about 12 oz H2O). I stopped using conditioner on my hair b/c it leaves it so soft. Try it!

    Apple cider vinegar has a lot of health benefits too – you can check out the Bragg website if you’re interested. It’s slightly kooky.

  30. says

    Hello everyone. As I am reading your posts, I can only imagine what it would be like if we were all to attend an “Elana’s Pantry Retreat”. I imagine Elana in the kitchen demonstrating her all time favorites… ~M sitting with us all in the family room giving us random tips and all of us in our lab coats diving in to our next concoction! I can tell you what I would be doing… taking notes like crazy. Many of you are brilliant! Some of these ideas are so simple I am wondering why I didn’t think of that. Just yesterday I cut up the clean T-Shirts my husband no longer wears and put them in a container where the paper towels usually set. Thanks for this tip, ~M. It took a minute or two to get used to, but this paper and money saving tip proved to be no problem. I decided from there to conquer the evening. I made this kitchen spray and then I made an elegant asparagus soup. Boy am I learning some new things about my husband! I am trying to get us to enjoy dinners together and he is NOT a fan of creamy soup. He prefers substance… I learned my lesson :). Just stick to what has proven to work for right now.

  31. Moi says

    I have been contemplating for a while on making my own cleansing formula. But I dont know what works best. This is the first time I’ve seen someone use a peroxide base. What’s your take on vinegar and baking soda? I’m not too crazy about Vinegar or baking soda, but peroxide is right up the alley for me. Seems like it would do a more intense job of cleaning and killing germs. But is it really safe for kitchens? Hmm…

    By the way I second microfiber cloth for cleaning.

  32. says

    A couple of things – I have vinegar and water with me everywhere in the house.
    Instead of disposable dryer sheets, I dip a jcloth into liquid softener, squeeze and throw it into the dryer with the clothes – I reuse it until it’s shredded.

  33. Shari N. Leyshon says

    Elana Hi!

    … for hardwood floors, distilled white vinegar in warm water refreshes beautifully while preserving wood’s glow.

    Vinegar produces so many lovely outcomes, I wanted to learn much more about this lovely material..which inspires more doing..
    hence I googled .. vinegar and cleaning..and up came a site that is an ode to vinegar and it’s sweet and current uses…here it is!

    Since it very doable .. i’m dreaming of making vinegar from our good local harvests . I’ve taken the step to google “how to make vinegar” . …including dandelion and clover vinegar :O)

    here is a sweet resource on vinegar making

    I love your site Elana! And all the ways you inspire us to engage with each other, to create, to give.



  34. Claire Adams says

    Hi Elana, my mother in law is a devotee of baking soda and vinegar or lemon juice as a kitchen / bathroom ‘scrub’ for stubborn stuff, and vinegar and newspaper for sparkly windows. And vinegar as a final rinse for your hair which is amazing, squeeky clean, very shiny and no smell once it’s dry. Baking soda is also great added to your shower gel if you swim a lot as it gets rid of chlorine smell quicker.

    Your blog is really inspiring, thank you so much :o) xx

  35. says

    ~M -I do not think the oils are necessary, just very fun; tea tree oil is known as a disinfectant, however the peroxide will work on its own just as well, I think. Thanks for sharing your Swiffer use with us!
    zebe -Thanks for the great tip and yes, works without the oils :-)
    mama4I think the oils would be ok on a formica counter (it is 10 drops of oil –less than 1/8 teaspoon in 2 whole cups of water, not very oily, just good smelling) though works fine sans the oils…

  36. mama4ever says

    This is great! Now again, like some of the others have asked, do you need the oils? I don’t have a wood counter top so I don’t know if the oils would work on a formica counter very well. Your thoughts?

    • Nina says

      Homemade cleaners with oils work fine on formica counters. I have been making my own cleaners too but they additionally include water and vinegar. I mix all the ingredients except the scented oil (hydrogen peroxide, water, vinegar, tea tree oil) and split the mix between 2 bottles, one for the bathroom and one for the kitchen. Then I add the final oil to each, so I can do a floral in the bathroom and lemon or orange in the kitchen.

  37. says

    For people who use dryer sheets, you can reuse them a couple of times, and then once they get pretty worn out, they can be used to scrub the counter. They provide a little bit of abrasion to remove sticky spots.

    I’ve never tried using peroxide and have always done the vinegar or baking soda based cleaners. I am sensitive to fragrance, so I’m assuming this would work just as well without the essential oils, no?

  38. ~M says

    Awesome post! I can’t wait to hear about your laundry tips!

    How essential to the cleaning are the lemon and tea tree oils? Would it work just to mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water in a spray bottle?

    We use my fiancé’s old, stained undershirts here as rags (we wash them first). They are also great for polishing silver. Another tip is that we use a (reusable) microfiber cloth in a Swiffer to clean our wood floors, instead of wasting money and many of the other reasons you so eloquently stated above with Swiffer cloths.

    Take care, Elana!

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