chemical-free cleaning


Paleo living isn’t just about eating crap-free.  it’s about living crap-free.  that includes toiletry items like soap and shampoo [i'll cover those in a later post], as well as cleaning products to clean around the house.  some of us chose to buy cleaning products that are environmentally friendly, and that’s fine.  i’ve tried this myself, but i always found myself wishing that they worked better! finally, i decided that since i make the majority of our food, why not make my own cleaning products, too?they only take about a minute, if that, to mix up and chances are that you already have all of the ingredients hanging out in your house!  so guess what? they’re practically FREE to make!!

5 key ingredients to my cleaning products:

  1. water [duh.  why pay for someone to use water in your products when you're already paying for water at home?!]
  2. Dr. Bronner’s castile soap [i prefer the Tea Tree Oil scent]
  3. distilled white vinegar – a natural grime buster
  4. tea tree oil – a natural antiseptic and antimicrobial.  why do you think it’s in so many acne medications? ;)]
  5. baking soda

now, truth be told, these aren’t recipes that i came up with myself, so i’ve included links to their original source as well.

want to know what kind of spray bottles i use? follow me on Pinterest! [the link will take you to my "Naturally Clean" board].


All Purpose Cleaner [makes 1 quart]

  • 1/4 c Dr. Bronner’s castile soap
  • ~ 30 oz water [ a quart is 32oz, and 1/4 c is 2 oz! ;)]

pour soap into spray bottle.  fill with water, replace nozzle, and give it a good shake.  happy cleaning! if your bottle has sat for a bit, you’ll notice that the mixture seperates- just give it another good shake.

this cleaner takes the place of “409″ or any other chemical-warfare-in-a-bottle type all purpose cleaner to clean my kitchen top to bottom.  i use it with an old  damp hand towel.  just be sure to flip the towel over and use the non-soapy side to “rinse” off your surface.  this will ensure that you don’t develop that cloudy film over everything that castile soap is known for leaving behind.  this works beautifully on laminate counters as well as granite and marble.  i also use this spray to clean the shower tile and outside of my fixtures in my bathroom.  in our old apartment, i also used it to mop the bathroom floor since those were natural stone.  just be sure that if you use it to mop, that you let it dry completely and then go over it with a damp clean mop.  this will ensure that your floors don’t have a slick residue left on them.  never a good thing! ;)

[Dr. Bronner's Dilutions Cheat Sheet.  theirs also calls for optional tea tree oil extract, but you can omit that if you use the tea tree oil scent!]



Floor, Glass, Furniture Cleaner [makes 1 quart]

  • 2 Tbsp distilled white vinegar
  • ~ 31 oz water [a qt is 32oz and 2 Tbsp is 1 oz! ;)]
  • optional: a few drops of your favorite essential oil

pour vinegar into spray bottle.  fill with water, replace nozzle, and give it a good shake.  to my knowledge, this mixture doesn’t separate, but i always give it a good shake anyway. old habits are hard to break, i guess…  i use a clean dry hand towel for this one.

this actually takes the place of “windex”, “pledge”, and “pinesol” or any variations thereof! maybe this one should be called “All Purpose”?! :p this was originally just a wood floor cleaner- i found a ratio for a 1-gallon batch when we lived in our last apartment and had beautiful hardwood floors: cleaning wood floors with vinegar.  It’s a wood flooring company based out of Denver, CO… can’t get much better of a source for cleaning wood floors than a flooring company, right?! just be sure to not over-saturate your floors, since you know, the bulk of this cleaner is water, and water and wood aren’t really friends.  however, i’ve since found that the same spray works really great on the porcelain tile in my current kitchen and bathroom.  this site lists the same ratio for porcelain as the wood flooring company cleaning porcelain floors with vinegar.   The key to using this cleaner on any floor is to let it air-dry COMPLETELY before walking on it, or it’ll form a slightly greasy-feeling residue.  and don’t worry, it barely smells like vinegar at all, and by the time it air-dries, there’s no smell at all… unless you added essential oils.

i also use the same vinegar spray to clean glass and dust my furniture.  the ratio for glass is typically higher, but i find that this works just fine- even on the bathroom mirror.  the key to dusting the furniture, just like the wood floors, is to not over-saturate the surface.

***if dusting electronics: do not spray them directly.  lightly spray your towel and wipe clean.


Bathroom Scrub [no measurements.  you'll have to eyeball this one]

  • Dr. Bronner’s castile soap
  • baking soda

this takes the place of “soft scrub” or any other non-abrasive scrub in your chemical-laden cleaning arsenal.  i’m sure that there’s an actual recipe for this somewhere, but i just gave it a try one day and it worked, so i stuck with it! sprinkle your sink basin with some baking soda and add enough castile soap so that a thin paste forms when mixed.  use a clean hand towel to scrub your sink.  rinse with warm water.  the same procedure can be used to clean the bathtub and toilet bowl.  this scrub comes in particularly handy if you use castile soap to wash your hands or in the shower- we all know that thick layer of soap scum that can form  this cleaner, quite frankly, is the one thing i’ve ever been able to use to clean my tub since i switched to castile for my body wash and shampoo!

just to give you an idea, i used about 1/2 c of baking soda and maybe 1/4 c castile soap last time i cleaned my bathroom.


so what the heck do i use the actual tea tree oil for?  i use it to disinfect my sponge and green scrubby in the kitchen.  just fill a bowl with warm water, add a few drops of oil, and drop in your sponge.  give it a few good squeezes to ensure that it soaks up some of the oil.  let it hang out for about 10 min, then rise thoroughly, wring out, and let air dry.  if you’ve got a dishwasher, just run your sponges through a full cycle every few days.  if you’ve got a microwave, microwave your WET sponge on high for 2 minutes.  i currently have neither of these two appliances, so i soak mine in this solution every few days to avoid the gross bacteria that make your sponge smell funky.  of course, you should always change out your sponge often!


i’ll cover my personal care products in a future post.  just know that i’m a huge fan of castile soap for all of the things!