Germs Gone Wild: 4 Natural Cleaning Recipes To Drive Away Dirty

Natural cleaning recipes

Many store-bought cleaning products contain numerous toxins, such as synthetic fragrances, propylene glycol, and Ammonium Hydroxide. Making your own cleaning products is an easy way to save money and reduce toxins in the home.

To minimize packaging waste, save your spray bottles and jars to store your homemade cleaning potions to minimize packaging waste. With just a few basic ingredients, you can make a variety of products. These staple ingredients include baking soda, borax, washing soda, lemon juice, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, Castile soap, and essential oils. If you have children, this can even be a fun family project.

Here are four simple, natural cleaning recipes that will have you saying goodbye germs in no time.

Natural Disinfectant


  • Fill a dark spray bottle with 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • Fill a separate bottle with white vinegar

To disinfect surfaces, such as counters, door knobs, tabletops, sinks, cutting boards, and even the toilet, spray a few times from each bottle (the order doesn’t matter) and then wipe. This system can be used on produce, but rinse with water before eating. Note, the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide shouldn’t be mixed together in the same bottle before applying, as it causes the hydrogen peroxide to break down.

Research from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University shows this simple system is highly effective at killing a variety of germs, including E. coli and Salmonella. Although vinegar and hydrogen peroxide are both strong disinfectants on their own, they are particularly potent when they team up.  Don’t have time to create this recipe? Check out our natural cleaning products available in the Earth911 Shop.

Powdered Laundry Detergent


  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 bar of soap (Fels-Naptha or Castile bar soap are popular options)
  • Several drops essential oil (optional)

Finely grate 1 bar of soap by hand with a box grater or in a food processor. If you want an unscented laundry detergent, use unscented bar soap.

Add the bar soap, washing soda, borax, and essential oil (if desired) into a mixing bowl and stir. Put the mixture into a sealed container. Use 1 to 2 tablespoons per load of laundry as the water is filling the washing machine.

* Note: This detergent can be used in both standard and HE washing machines.

Laundry Stain Remover


  • 2 parts hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 part liquid dish soap (Dawn is often recommended)

Dish soap is good at breaking down oil, while hydrogen peroxide allows stains to fade or disappear. Shake the bottle before applying and beware that hydrogen peroxide can have a lightening effect, so use with caution on colored items.

Mix the two ingredients together and add to a dark bottle or store in a dark place, as peroxide breaks down in light. Apply the mixture an hour or two before laundering.

Powdered Dishwasher Detergent


  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1/4 cup citric acid
  • optional: several drops of essential oil

Mix together ingredients and store in a sealed jar. Use 2 tablespoons per load and pour in a couple tablespoons of vinegar in the rinse compartment to help remove sediment.

Disinfecting or cleaning your home doesn’t have to done with products be laden with chemicals.  These easy to create recipes are made with all natural, safe ingredients.  Add to that reduced waste, and you have a recipe for a clean, eco friendly home.

Feature image courtesy of Andrés Þór

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Sarah Lozanova
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Sarah Lozanova

Sarah Lozanova is a renewable energy and sustainability journalist and communications professional with an MBA in sustainable management. She is a regular contributor to environmental and energy publications and websites, including Mother Earth Living, Earth911, Home Power, Triple Pundit, CleanTechnica, The Ecologist, GreenBiz, Renewable Energy World and Windpower Engineering. Lozanova also works with several corporate clients as a public relations writer to gain visibility for renewable energy and sustainability achievements.
Sarah Lozanova
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