Everything You Need to Know About DIYing Natural Kitchen Cleaners
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Everything You Need to Know About DIYing Natural Kitchen Cleaners

Keeping your kitchen clean and sparkly doesn’t have to involve harsh chemicals. You’ve dabbled with natural skin care and started your own soap making venture, so you already know the benefits of using non-toxic ingredients. But in case you’ve forgotten the best way to polish stainless steel or scrub your oven, we’ve compiled a can’t-fail guide for getting your kitchen looking clean and smelling fantastic. Just remember to always test new cleaning products on a small area first to ensure it won’t damage your specific materials or appliances.

Basics to Keep on Hand

— Baking soda (cleaner, deodorizer, mild abrasive)

— Distilled white vinegar (acidic, disinfectant, stain remover)

— Lemons and a juicer (acidic, deodorizer, brightener)

— Liquid Castile soap (a 100% plant-based soap, biodegradable, adds suds)

— Organic essential oils (we’ll go into the details at the bottom)

— Olive oil

— Spray bottle

— Clean cloths

— Scrubbing sponge

(photo via Granger Ave/Witt Construction)

To Clean Your Coffee Maker

— Castile soap

— Water

— Vinegar

Coffee leaves an oily residue inside the machine, and hard water can leave spots on your pot. It’s a good idea to hand wash your pot with warm, soapy water after every brew. Once a month, thoroughly clean your machine with vinegar to help disinfect and remove hard water spots. Start with a clean pot and pour equal amounts of vinegar and water into the water reservoir and brew as usual. Let the hot vinegar water sit for up to an hour. Empty the pot and brew another pot with just plain water to rinse. Repeat if necessary.

 

To Clean Your Microwave

— Castile soap

— Water

— Lemon juice or vinegar

Microwaves easily trap smells, and spilled foods can be difficult to remove. Start by removing and hand washing any hardware, like the rotating tray. For caked-on grime, fill a microwave-safe bowl with 1 cup of water and the juice of one whole lemon. Microwave on high for 3 – 5 minutes until the water is boiling, then let the bowl sit inside with the door closed for another 5 minutes. Carefully remove the bowl and use a cloth to wipe off the interior. The steam helps remove stuck-on gunk and the lemon removes odors. If you don’t have a lemon, substitute it with equal parts water and white vinegar.

 

To Clean Your Refrigerator

— Castile soap

— Water

— Vinegar

— Essential oils

Cleaning the inside of your fridge is important to your health. Regularly tossing out spoiled food and wiping up spills will create a safer environment for your foods. Remove contents one shelf at a time and hand wash any removable shelves or compartments. Use a food-safe cleaning spray (15 oz. water, 1 oz. vinegar, 20-40 drops of your favorite essential oils) to wipe down all surfaces, including the rubber door seals. Use a vacuum to remove the small crumbs and coffee beans from your freezer. When you put everything back, be sure you label expiration dates and store leftovers in clear containers.

 

To Clean Your Dishwasher

— Vinegar

— Baking soda

Put vinegar on a dry cloth and wipe down the rubber seals around the dishwasher and use this same cloth to remove any stuck on food particles. Every other month, clean out the dishwasher’s internal filter system (if it has one), wash it and put it back. Once you’ve washed the filter, run a full cycle using a vinegar rinse. To do this, empty your dishwasher of dishes and pour a cup of vinegar and ¼ cup baking soda into the bottom of the dishwasher (don’t add detergent). The vinegar will help clean and disinfect and the baking soda will help deodorize. In between cycles, you can reduce odors by sprinkling baking soda inside the machine.

 

To Clean Your Countertops

— Water

— Castile soap

— Baking soda

If your countertops are cultured, porous stone like marble or quartz, do not use an acidic cleaner like vinegar or lemon juice. For general cleaning, first start with plain water and a cloth to remove dust, crumbs and stuck-on food. If you need more cleansing power, try a scrubbing paste mixture: ¾ cup baking soda, ¼ cup Castile soap, 1 tablespoon water. Apply with a cloth or sponge and rinse with plain water.

 

To Clean Your Sink

— Water

— Castile soap

— Baking soda

Sinks can easily look dirty when water spots dry on stainless steel or food particles stick onto a white basin. Regardless of the type of sink you have, you can start your daily cleaning by using warm water, a bit of Castile soap and a sturdy cloth. If you need more scrubbing power, make a paste of ¾ cup baking soda, ¼ cup Castile soap, and 1 tablespoon water. Add 10-20 drops of essential oil for increased cleansing.

 

To Clean Your Oven

— Castile soap

— Baking soda

— Vinegar

The best way to keep your oven clean is to wipe up spills immediately and not letting them become baked over and over again. But when you are faced with some blackened food, you can use a powerful homemade scrub. Make a paste using 1 tablespoon Castile soap, 1 ½ cup baking soda and ¼ cup vinegar. Apply the thick paste with a cloth or sponge inside the oven and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Dip an abrasive sponge or cloth in water and start scrubbing. You may have to really use some elbow grease, but the grime should lift. Give the inside a final wipe with clean water to rinse.  (photo via Suncadia/Hyde Evans Design)

 

To Clean Stainless Steel

— Vinegar

— Olive oil

It’s easy to clean your stainless steel appliances and temporarily protect it from fingerprints. Pour vinegar onto a dry cloth and rub the stainless steel to remove fingerprints, grease or stuck-on foods. When this dries, take another dry cloth and pour olive oil on it. Wipe the stainless steel with the olive oil in the direction of the grain – this will remove streaking and protect the stainless steel from future fingerprints. Be sure you use a clean, dry cloth to buff the stainless steel and remove any residual oils.

All-purpose spray cleaner

— Water

— Vinegar

— Essential oils

You can use this spray cleaner for cleaning the inside of your refrigerator, cabinets or countertops. Because it is acidic, it’s not recommended to use this on porous materials like unfinished wood, marble or stone. Fill a spray bottle with 15 oz. water, 1 oz. vinegar and 20-40 drops of your favorite essential oils like lemon, sweet orange, peppermint or Tea Tree. Shake and spray.

A special note about using essential oils

Although their lovely scent is reason alone to use essential oils, the best reason to use them in your non-toxic cleaning recipes is that they actually have cleaning powers. Always purchase organic oils from a reputable distributor (our personal favorite is Rose Mountain Herbs) and feel free to experiment with different scent combinations. For those who are sensitive to fragrances, keep in mind that some sensitivities are actually due to chemical scents, not plant-based scents. But make sure you are aware of any plant-related allergies or sensitivities before using. Avoid the eyes and don’t use these oils directly on surface (or your skin) without diluting. (photo via Modern on the Inside/Adam Gibson Design)

Here are some great cleaning oils:

Tea Tree: Known as a powerful cleaning agent, studies have shown Tea Tree oil can kill bacteria and was used in WWII to treat soldiers’ woundss. (antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, deodorant, fungicidal, insecticide)

Rosemary: Traditionally used in medicines, rosemary has many health benefits. It is an uplifting scent and used to treat headaches. (antibacterial, antiseptic, fungicidal)

Peppermint: Peppermint is stimulating and can increase alertness. (antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiseptic, insecticide)

Sweet Orange: Contains 90% limonene, which is in many household cleaners. It is a naturally uplifting scent. (antiseptic, bactericidal, fungicidal)

Lemon: Lemon is a traditional scent in cleaning and has a powerful mood-lifting ability. It also cuts grease and grime. (antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiseptic)

Lavender: Traditionally used in skin products, lavender has great cleaning power and works as a calming stress-reducer. (antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic, deodorant, insecticide)

Have any recipes for natural cleaners of your own? We would love to hear in the comment section below!