January Change Challenge – Homemade and Green Cleaning

Photo by Ernst Vikne
Welcome to the Change Challenge for January – Homemade and Green Cleaning!  I hope that you are ready to get started with cleaning your homes in more natural, safe, frugal and yet still effective ways!

Making your own homemade cleaners is a great first step to take towards becoming frugally green! If you are new to this journey and just starting out this new year, this is one of those things that I think is pretty essential and foundational to being frugally green.  It’s easy and cheap and doesn’t require a ton of effort or commitment.  If you try it and don’t like it (which I can’t imagine you would) you can always use the items you bought for cooking and baking!

I challenge you to make the change to homemade and green cleaning this month!

To begin with, there are a few different levels of homemade and green cleaning, so if you are ready to accept this challenge, first figure out which step you are on. Take baby steps and start out with just one or two and once you get the hang of those, you can move onto other areas.

  • Baby Step #1 – Vinegar and Baking Soda – If you still have all commercial chemical cleaners in your home, this is the place to begin.
  • Baby Step #2 – Multipurpose Cleaners – Start making some different homemade multipurpose cleaners.
  • Baby Step #3 – Other areas of cleaning around your home

Baby Step #1 – Vinegar and Baking Soda

It doesn’t get any cheaper or easier than this! 

First, get yourself some white vinegar and some baking soda, as well as an empty spray bottle. (I bought a pack of spray bottles at Sam’s, can’t remember how much they were, but definitely cheaper than buying an individual bottle at Target or Meijer). And the next time you use up your parmesan cheese, save the container and wash it out.

Now mix vinegar and water in the spray bottle 50/50. You can add essential oils to help it smell better if you want, but I don’t bother.  Then fill up your parmesan cheese container with baking soda. You could add essentials oils to the baking soda too, but it makes it a little bit clumpy.  You’re all set to start cleaning!

Sprinkle the baking soda on any hard surface that you want to scrub – the toilet bowl, sink, bathtub, counter tops, cook tops, etc. Use a rag, microfiber cloth, or one of those green scouring pads and scrub away (or your toilet bowl brush if you’re cleaning the toilet, no need to use a rag on that! Yuck!) – no paper towels please!  You may need to get a second rag wet to wipe away the residue on the counter top or cook top, but in the bathroom you can just rinse it away.

Or start spraying your vinegar and water anywhere that needs to be wiped down – sink, bathtub, mirror, counters, tables, floors, etc. (don’t use vinegar on porous surfaces like granite or marble). And again use a rag or microfiber cloth.

It really is that easy!

Baby Step #2 – Multipurpose Cleaners

Start making some different homemade multipurpose cleaners.  Make sure you label your bottles well, so you know which one your using.  You may find that you like different cleaners for different uses.

Here’s a multipurpose cleaner that I posted previously.

And a new one that I have been using alot and loving recently: Water, Castile Soap, and Tea Tree Oil.

Fill a water bottle with warm water and add a few squirts of castille soap and a few drops of Tea Tree Oil. You don’t need much of either, they are concentrated and a little goes a long way.  Use for all types of multipurpose cleaning.

I use Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild castile soap for this, which is unscented.  I’m not sure how a scented castile soap would mix with the scent of the Tea Tree Oil.  If you try a scented castile soap with this and it smells good, let us know! You can find both Dr. Bronner’s castile soap and Tea Tree Oil at Target (the TTO is by the vitamins)!

Baby Step #3 – Other areas of cleaning around your home

Try making one of these homemade cleaners:
Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
Homemade Laundry Detergent
Homemade Spray Starch
Homemade Disinfecting Wipes

Take a baby step toward homemade and green cleaning in one of these areas this week!  And check back here over the rest of the month for more tips, tricks and how-to’s for frugally green cleaning!

Have you made the switch to using homemade and green cleaners around your home?  Do you have a favorite homemade cleaner recipe to share with the rest of us?  Any encouraging words for those just starting out with green cleaning?


I’d love to see more of you! Please consider subscribing to e-mail updates, or in a reader, to be sure you don’t miss a single post.  You can also connect with me on Twitter and Facebook!

This post is linked to:
Tackle it Tuesdays at 5 Minutes for Mom
Frugal Fridays at Life as Mom


    • Ms. Madd says

      1 cup borax
      1 cup super washing soda
      1 grated bar soap
      For the soap, I love Yardley Lemon Verbena, with its nice options for scents, and relatively simple ingredients. And while the soap scents the washing process lightly, the clothes come out oder-free. While glycerin soaps are great for people-washing, they can be hard-wearing on equipment.
      Mix up all the ingredients up in lidded container. I use a tablespoon per load, and I am averaging 40+ loads per batch.
      This mix has worked on everything from work clothes for my husband, a mechanic, and myself, a part-time farmer and artist, to the many outfits of our very messy toddler. I do spot treat as needed with Simple Green or Lestoil, but with such results, I will never go back to Tide.

  1. Kristy says

    I am on my way. I’ve been using the baking soda and vinegar methods for cleaning for a couple of months now and so happy with it. Even my hubby is on board with it and has commented on how impressed he is with how little paper towel we use now (pretty much only for guests at this point). So much money is saved in that way alone! As soon as my laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent are gone, I’m going to the homemade steps there as well. I’ve got all of the ingredients bought and ready, just have to mix it up and put it to work. I’m actually finding myself eager for the commercial products to be gone so I can move on to making and using my own. I’ve got several family members and friends curious with my new homemade cleaners and some are even considering going this route themselves – yay!

  2. Theresa says

    Your site is great! I am just starting out with green cleaning and I’ve never been so excited to clean my house. Your tips are very helpful and it is awesome to see that so many people are ahead of me on this!

  3. vanesa says

    Hello! thank you for your awesome postS!
    I would like yo know what do you use for FLOOR CLEANING!
    thank you


  1. […] We’ve been talking all about different ways to go green with your toddler at home, and I wanted to take the opportunity to dive into some of these topics a little bit more.  Last week we talked about choosing safe and natural bath products for our toddlers, and this week I wanted to cover green cleaning for your home. […]

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