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.
1. Lemon Dishwasher Detergent Tablets
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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: