Knocking down the cobwebs off the overhangs is just the first step when you’re ready to get started with spring cleaning. After tidying up the winter clothes and gear that seems to have nested in various spots and airing out bedrooms sealed against the chill, it’s time to get down and dirty with some cleaning tools. Whether you’re a DIY pro or just finished your first attempt at DIY vegan toothpaste, these simple recipes can keep you from reaching for the harmful chemicals when bringing the sparkle back to your home.
All-Purpose Spray Cleaner (for Hard Surfaces)
- 1 cup warm water
- ½ cup distilled white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons non-toxic organic dishwashing soap
Pour the ingredients into a spray bottle, seal and shake gently for about 20 seconds. This spray cleaner easily breaks down grease, grime, and even dirty puppy footprints from almost any hard surface in your home. The formula is vegan and pet-friendly. Take care to ensure that your dishwashing soap features a cruelty-free logo, as even supposedly organic products, may have been used for animal testing.
Streak-Free Window Spray
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- ½ cup rubbing alcohol
As with the spray cleaner, combine all ingredients in a single bottle and shake vigorously. Make sure to label each spray bottle individually and rinse thoroughly as the solution runs out. Both of these sprays can last up to one month when stored in a cool, dark place.
Concentrated Tile and Toilet Cleaner
- 1-quart jug
- 2 cups lemon peels
- 2 cups distilled white vinegar
This one takes some preparation time, but it is well worth it for an additional eco-friendly and chemical-free method for tackling hard-to-clean surfaces. Place the lemon peels from your earlier juicing in the jug, and add the white vinegar to cover the peels. Seal the mixture with a lid and allow it to sit for up to two weeks in a cool, dark place. The white vinegar extracts the cleaning citrus agents from the peels during this time and eliminates the sticky texture that fresh peels can leave on surfaces. Strain the mixture into a bucket or bottle and apply as needed to stains and surfaces before scrubbing.
Scented Floor Cleaner
- 1-gallon hot water
- ½ cup distilled white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon essential oils (orange and lemon or florals)
One of the simplest recipes on your DIY cleaning list, simply combine the ingredients and use them to mop up any spills or messes on hardwood floors without the use of harsh chemicals. Choose your favorite essential oils to give your kitchen or entryway a fresh and inviting scent. This solution, along with the tile and toilet cleaner, offers an excellent way to reuse or upcycle old glass jars.
Simple Fabric Softener
- 1 quart distilled white vinegar
- A few drops of essential oils
The last of the handy white vinegar recipes stands on its own. Add a quart of distilled white vinegar to the rinse cycle of your laundry to help restore natural resiliency to the fibers of the cloth and leave it feeling smooth and soft to the touch. Just a couple drops of your favorite oils can impart a wonderful, fresh-from-the-dryer aroma when you’re done with the laundry.
Easy Laundry Brightener
- ½ cup lemon juice
Avoid bleach and other caustic agents by adding a ½ cup of lemon juice at the start of your laundry cycle. Combine this technique with the simple fabric softener for clothes that look and feel great. Lemon juice is also color-safe for use on most clothing.
Baking Soda Power Cleaner
- Cruelty-free baking soda
For perhaps the simplest recipe of all, use baking soda instead of caustic cleaning agents. Like laundry detergent, not all brands are cruelty-free, so you’ll have to double check. Powdered bleach is a go-to tool for many less eco-conscious cleaners, but simply applying baking soda to an area, adding water, and mixing the two to a paste creates a powerful cleaning agent that can scrub sticky foods off tough cast-iron pans or remove stains from bedding and linens. For items that absorb moisture, just apply the paste, scrub and let dry. Vacuum away the baking soda and any impurities once the moisture evaporates.