5 Life-Changing DIY Cleaning Solutions from Fern Green’s ‘Natural Home Cleaning’

Natural Home Cleaning Dishwasher Tablets

In our household, we’ve been slowly transitioning to more natural and sustainable cleaning methods. We buy eco-friendly brands, rely on baking soda and vinegar to unclog drains, avoid using bleach. But there’s definitely more to be done—which is why I was so excited when I came across Fern Green’s book, Natural Home Cleaning. Easy to use, it details simple DIY cleaning methods and solutions for every room.  You’ll find directions for a linen spray, a rust remover, and a granite cleaner among the 100-plus eco-friendly recipes she shares in the book. Below, I’ve selected five that I plan to make for my own home.

Excerpted with permission from Natural Home Cleaning by Fern Green, published by Hardie Grant Books; photography by Deirdre Rooney.

Natural Home Cleaning by Fern Green
Above: The Natural Home Cleaning: Over 100 Ways to Clean Your Home Naturally is $19.99 on Amazon.

1. Lemon Dishwasher Detergent Tablets

NaHCO3 (Bicarbonate of Soda) + Na2B4O7·10H2O (Borax) + CH3COOH (Vinegar) = Scrubs, Cleans & Shines


  • 480 g (1 lb 1 oz) bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 480 g (1 lb 1 oz) borax
  • 120 ml (4 fl oz/ ½ cup) white vinegar
  • 10 drops lemon essential oil
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil


PREPARATION 10 minutes, plus overnight | EXTRA KIT ice-cube trays | STORAGE TIME up to 2 months | STORAGE CONTAINER plastic or glass airtight container

Combine the bicarbonate of soda and borax in a large bowl. Slowly add the vinegar and essential oils and stir to combine. The vinegar will create a fizzing action. When combined, measure a rounded tablespoon and add to an ice-cube tray, pressing down to form a tablet. Allow to dry out and harden overnight. The next day, carefully turn the tray over on to a clean surface. The tablets should fall out. Do not twist or bang as this can cause breakages. Place a tablet in the dish detergent compartment and run as usual.

2. Chopping Board Cleaner

L (Lemon) + NaCl (Salt) = Kills Bacteria


  • 1 fresh lemon
  • coarse sea salt


PREPARATION 5 minutes | STORAGE TIME one-time product, no need for storage | STORAGE CONTAINER none

Cut the lemon in half. Sprinkle coarse sea salt all over the chopping board and run a lemon half over the salt, pressing hard to extract as much of the lemon juice as you can. Leave for 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water. Can be used on wooden or plastic chopping boards.

3. Stainless Steel Polish

CH3COOH (Vinegar) + C (Coconut Oil) = Cleans & Shines


  • vinegar in a spray bottle (can use a scented vinegar here)
  • 50 ml (1 ¾  fl oz/3 tablespoons) coconut oil


PREPARATION 5 minutes | STORAGE TIME one-time product, no storage necessary | STORAGE CONTAINER none

Do a preliminary clean of the stainless steel by spraying the surface with vinegar. Using paper towels or a soft cloth, wipe the vinegar in the direction of the grain. Using a separate clean cloth, apply a small amount of coconut oil directly to the steel and work the oil into the surface. Do this until streaks and stains disappear, then give a last wipe down with an oil-free cloth.

4. Carpet Cleaner Powder

NaHCO3 (Bicarbonate of Soda) + Na2B4O7·10H2O (Borax) + EO (essential oils) =Disinfects, Repels Bugs & Freshens


  • 250 g (9 oz) bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 125 g (4 oz) borax
  • 6 drops lavender essential oil
  • 6 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 6 drops peppermint essential oil


PREPARATION 20 minutes | STORAGE TIME up to 2 months | STORAGE CONTAINER glass jar

In a glass jar, mix the bicarbonate of soda and borax thoroughly. Drip the essential oils into the mix, shake to combine and sprinkle over your carpet. Leave for 15–20 minutes before vacuuming it all up.

5. Shower Head Cleaner

CH3COOH (Vinegar) = Removes Hard Water Residue


  • white vinegar


PREPARATION 5 minutes | EXTRA KIT heavy-duty plastic bag; elastic (rubber) band | STORAGE TIME 3 months | STORAGE CONTAINER none

Fill a heavy-duty plastic bag large enough to hold your shower head with white vinegar. Use an elastic (rubber) band to tie it around the head, making sure all parts of the shower head are submerged in the vinegar. Leave the bag in place for about 10 hours to get rid of any hard-to-reach residue stuck in or on your shower head.

For more on eco-friendly cleaning ideas, see:

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