Tips and Recipes for DIY and Zero Waste Cleaning



Please note: These wonderful DIY recipes come from personal experience. In order to ensure you are comfortable with the ingredients, be sure to do thorough research before applying these options in your own home. Also: Download the DIY Cleaning Cheat Sheet!


Are you tired of the kajillion cleaning bottles and supplies in your cupboard? Not to mention, the potentially toxic chemicals? You’re not alone in wanting to clean up your cleaning routine! 


Simplify your cleaning routine by using common household ingredients (with names you can pronounce) and skip the overwhelming options along the cleaning aisles at the grocery store. 


In this post, we’ll walk through a list of common household ingredients that are ideal for cleaning your home and share a few effortless recipes that even those who don’t like DIY can handle! Following that, there are a few zero waste cleaning tips. While there a lot of options below, stick to what works best for you.


Common Household Ingredients for Cleaning


Baking Soda: The ultimate cleaner! It’s great for cutting grease, deodorizing, and lifting grime. Baking soda can also whiten laundry and help remove stains on ceramics. 


Castile Soap: Available in sold or liquid form, it cuts grease and lifts grime. 


Olive Oil: Perfect for lifting grime. Yum!


White Vinegar: This powerhouse ingredient cuts grease, deodorizes and is anti-bacterial. Yasss!


Essential Oils: Super trendy, but also useful! They are ideal for cutting grease, deodorizing, lifting grime, and can be anti-bacterial. Which ones should you use? Consider trying lemon, tea tree, lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, orange or a citrus mix of essential oils!


Lemon Juice (from real lemons): Tasty in lemonade, but also disinfects when used as a cleaning ingredient!


Hydrogen Peroxide: It’s well-loved and used for its anti-bacterial properties, as well as its ability to remove stains. 


You might also like this post: Ditch the Paper Products in your Home to Save Money and Live Better (& be zero waste!)


DIY Cleaning Recipes


All-Purpose Cleaner: Equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle with 15-20 drops of essential oil. 


Perfect for: Most surfaces in your home! Do not use on marble or granite, however. 


Gunk Remover: Equal parts baking soda and olive oil. Mix into a paste and let sit for a few hours before wiping off. 


Perfect for: Removing jar labels! 


Stainless Steel Cleaner: Dab some olive oil onto a cloth, and wipe the smudges. Use the clean part of your cloth and dampen with vinegar and wipe over the same spots until clean!


Perfect for: Anything stainless steel, like appliances. Goodbye smudges!


Mold Cleaner: Mix a paste of water and baking soda. Apply to surface and let sit for a few minutes. Clean with a scrubber or old toothbrush. 


Perfect for: Cleaning grout and sink drains! 


All-Purpose Scour: 1 2/3 cups of baking soda; half a cup of liquid castile soap; and half a cup of water. Mix well and store in an airtight container like a jar.


Perfect for: The bath tub, tiles and sinks!


Cutting Board Cleaner: Use a lemon! Slice a lemon in half and use the cut-side to rub into your cutting board to clean, disinfect and deodorize. Then rinse and dry.


Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Simply use half a cup of hydrogen peroxide and let sit for 30 minutes in your toilet bowl. Scrub with a toilet bowl brush and you’re good to go!


Glass and Window Cleaner: Equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray and wipe with a reusable cloth.


Download the DIY Cleaning Cheat Sheet!


Zero Waste Cleaning Tips

  • Re-purpose old toothbrushes for cleaning

  • Use scrub brushes with biodegradable and compostable materials like wood

  • Clean with rags made from clothes you no longer wear, or buy a set of reusable cloths for cleaning

  • Scrub with abrasive but recyclable materials like copper

  • Wear natural rubber gloves

  • Avoid purchasing plastic for cleaning supplies, if possible (refillable ingredients like vinegar or hydrogen peroxide may not be available to you; if that's the case, buy the largest container size you can find in an amount you know you will use)

  • Not sure what to do with cleaning supplies you no longer want to use? Find out if friends or family will use them, or if you can donate them locally


The ultimate lesson is: keep your cleaning routine minimal and simple! Happy cleaning!

About the Founder

Hi! I'm Tara McKenna, Founder of The Zero Waste Collective. Based in Canada, I have created this community as a hub for all things zero waste! Take a look around, and join this global conversation. You can also follow my zero waste journey on Instagram at @mindfully.tara. Thanks for stopping by!

 

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