Well Gal

Top 10 Reasons to Make Your Own Green Cleaning Products

Have you thought about green cleaning and making your own products, but haven’t quite made the leap yet? Maybe you think it’s too difficult? Too expensive? Takes up too much time? Isn’t effective? Whatever the reason, you’re sure to change your mind after reading these 10 compelling reasons to make your own homemade eco-friendly cleaning products.

Check them out and get started today! You’ll be glad you did.

This homemade eco-friendly cream cleanser not only smells fabulous, but is super effective at disinfecting, cutting through grease and grime, whitening, and easily removing dirt. Plus, it costs just pennies to make! Photo © Karen Peltier

This homemade eco-friendly cream cleanser not only smells fabulous, but is super effective at disinfecting, cutting through grease and grime, whitening, and removing dirt. Plus, it costs just pennies to make! Photo © Karen Peltier

1. They’re Inexpensive

Considering most cleaning products usually cost anywhere from $2 to $10 a bottle or even more in some cases, making your own for pennies really does make a difference over time. For example, instead of buying commercial soft scrub cleanser for around $1.75 – $7.50 per pound (based on the current price of Soft Scrub Lemon Total All-Purpose Kitchen and Bath Cleanser and Better Life Kitchen Sink Cleansing Scrub at Walmart), you can make several pounds of your own earth-friendly cream cleanser for around $1 – 2 per pound easily, especially when buying ingredients in bulk. Check out my recipe here.

Another great example of how cheap homemade green cleaners can be is DIY all-purpose spray cleaners, such as a vinegar-water spray. Making your own vinegar-water spray costs well under a $1 and also saves you money in that you can use it instead of buying separate products for cleaning bathroom surfaces, countertops, stainless steel, tile, and more.

2. They’re Easy to Make

Most homemade cleaners require just a couple ingredients and some can be “made” using just one. For example, baking soda is as an eco-friendly powder cleanser substitute and a great laundry booster, and vinegar is a natural fabric softener, so literally no extra time is involved to use them. But if you want to step things up a notch, you can also add to these simple ingredients and use them to make other natural cleaners. For example, mixing in some essential oils and water to vinegar makes an effective and aromatherapeutic multi-purpose cleaning spray that will practically clean your house from top to bottom. This recipe for one with cinnamon essential oil is especially great at combatting e-coli — a big plus when cleaning the kitchen or bathroom.

3. You Probably Already Have the Ingredients at Home

If you’ve got vinegar, baking soda, and some water you’re ready to get started with green cleaning! Lemons, limes, salt, vodka, and corn starch are some other ingredients that work wonders as well. And sometimes even ketchup, wine, and tea come in handy. Many green cleaning books on the market detail all their uses, but I cover many of them here on the Well Gal blog and also on GreenCleaning.About.com. Peruse the archives and check out how awesome these simple ingredients can be for cleaning your home naturally and safely.

4. They Work!

I’ve found that using natural cleaners work amazingly well and just as good as or better than conventional cleaners. For example, a baking soda-water paste is a great oven cleaner and easily remove stains and sticky messes like burnt-on cheese, sugars, and starches. No toxic oven cleaner needed. And no nasty fumes! (Tip: Make a gloppy paste and leave it on for several minutes or even overnight.)

5. They’re 100% Natural

When you make your own homemade cleaners you’re able to leave out things like synthetic colorants, artificial fragrances, non-sustainable ingredients (e.g., petroleum derived ingredients), toxic chemicals, and more.

6. You Know What’s in Them

Of course, one huge benefit of making your own green cleaners is that you control what goes in them. No guessing at ingredients. This is really helpful because a lot of companies are still not transparent about what goes in their products as they are not required by the law to do so. So, you don’t always know what you’re getting when you buy products, but making your own gives you control over what you are using in your home and consequently what you may inadvertently be breathing in or absorbing through your skin.

7. You Can Modify Them

If you love a certain fragrance, say grapefruit, it’s easy to add that to all your cleaning products by simply investing in a bottle of grapefruit essential oil for under $10 or so. It will last you for months to come. Or, if you or your loved ones have allergies and you simply want unscented products, then it’s easy to make them fragrance-free.

8. They’re Safer than Conventional Cleaning Products

Many commercial cleaning products on the market contain a medley of harmful ingredients that are carcinogens, mutagens, neurotoxins, endocrine disruptors, and more. For example, optical brighteners, which are found in laundry detergents and other products like makeup, can cause skin sensitivity, reproductive issues, and developmental effects. You can say goodbye to these issues when using eco-friendly ingredients at home for doing your laundry, such as liquid castile soap (a friendly DIY laundry detergent substitute), baking soda (a great laundry booster), and vinegar (a safe natural fabric “softener”).

Also, when you make your own cleaning products, you’ll have the benefit of contributing to healthier indoor air — an important consideration for not only your health, but that of your family and pets as well. In An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) points out how Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) found in many products, such as cleaning products and paint, make indoor air much more polluted than outdoor air. So when making your own products this is definitely something you can have control over.

9. They’re Eco-Friendly

When you make your own green cleaning products, you can be sure to include ingredients that are not only safe, but earth friendly. The basic ingredients used in most homemade green cleaning products (e.g., vinegar, baking soda, lemons) are easily biodegradable and don’t negatively impact ecosystems, wildlife, or aquatic life. This, unfortunately, is often not the case when you buy conventional cleaning products as they’re often made with unsustainable ingredients (e.g., petroleum based ingredients) and with those that have dire environmental effects.

10. They Can Make Cleaning Easier

How (you might skeptically be thinking)? Well, when you make your own cleaning products, you’ll discover that often you just need a couple to tackle a range of cleaning jobs. So, instead of carting around a bin full of conventional cleaners, you just need two or three of your homemade cleaners — max. For example, with a simple DIY vinegar-water spray, you can tackle mold and mildew, windows, stove tops, floors, grease, counter tops (that aren’t marble), and more.

So what do you think?

Are you currently using simple ingredients for green cleaning or making your own eco-friendly products at home? If so, what is your motivation for doing so? If not, might you try making your own DIY green cleaning products now? Why or why not?

Copyright © Karen Peltier and Well Gal, 2012-2015. All rights reserved.
Photo © Karen Peltier.

12 thoughts on “Top 10 Reasons to Make Your Own Green Cleaning Products

  1. Miranda Swanson

    Green cleaning is very easy. My sister started using homemade detergent. It is cheaper and you could choose the scent. There are a lot of people who are using homemade cleaners. They are not dangerous! Thank you for paying attention to this way of cleaning. Greetings!

    1. Well Gal Post author

      Hello Sylvia.

      You’ve asked a very good question that truly deserves an entire blog post to answer it properly. So, I’ll try to give more tips on how to naturally clean marble and stone in an upcoming blog post. But, as I’m sure you may need to know something now, I’ll give you the short answer:

      Because they are natural stones that can be dulled and etched by acidic (e.g., vinegar, lemon juice) and chemical cleaners (e.g., bleach), most stone manufacturers recommend using a cloth dampened with water to clean them. Instead of regular tap water, though, distilled water may be your best option. (It is after all fantastic for thoroughly cleaning produce as I explain in Which of These 10 Methods is the Best Way to Wash Your Produce?) Of course, there are times when you may need to use a cleaning agent, in which case I’d use something alkaline on it, like baking soda or an organic gentle soap mixed with water. Whatever you do, stay away from acidic or hardcore multi-purpose cleaners.

      I hope that helps.

      Karen

  2. William Earl Amis Jr III

    I love this and will make sure to learn all I can. Then, share it with all my contacts.

    The awareness of this has been around for ever. It is just the last two generations of people. Are so fast and want instant gratitude in everything. They, would not have the attention span to sit and mix the required things. So, they say they are all about it, yet not.

    However, I have been using earth friendly products all the time. The one company has been around longer than most readers. This company has only been expanding products that are good for us and our environment. Yet, Amway is under used to most of the younger people.

    Doing this method of creating it yourself is good and wise. I will try it for a while and it it works. Then, stand by it and share it will all my friends.

    Hey, sorry for mentioning that company. I do not sell any product and do not get paid for sharing something like this. Thank you if you allow this comment to post. Jut making a supportive statement.

  3. Mark

    What an awesome article Karen!

    You’ve really made the case with your ten extremely excellent reasons for
    making your own green cleaning products!

    I’m really impressed with all the practical cleaning applications for vinegar!

    Who knew?LOL! Thanks for opening my eyes to it’s many practical applications!

  4. donna merrill

    Hi Karen,

    You bet I make as much home made cleaning products as I can! Apple Cider vinegar and White vinegar are the main things I use for cleaning sometimes.

    Other times, I purchase eco-friendly cleaners. When you think of all the toxins that are in “regular” cleaners, it is amazing what it can do to our health. I have been going green for a long time.

    These things work just as well, and even better than the norm.

    -Donna

  5. Yorinda Wanner

    Hi Karen,
    you provided great reasons for making your own green cleaning products.

    The reason I explored natural ways to clean with was my health.
    I am what the call a ‘human canary’, very sensitive to chemicals, even walking past someone with strong perfume.

    It is so good to see you raising the awareness around this.

    To Well Being!
    Yorinda
    Yorinda Wanner recently posted…Empathy versus SympathyMy Profile

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