Recipe(s) for Clean

by Erin

  • Explore someplace new
  • Be inspired
  • Read a classic
  • Try a new recipe (theme 3 of 6)
  • (Re)connect
  • Get selfishly creative

I have been slowly transitioning our household cleaners to “green” options over the years. I was relatively happy buying Seventh Generation brand but over the past year I attempted to go further…”greener” and “safer” using stuff from around the house.

I started this year with a shower spray I loved, an all purpose cleaner that I felt good about, and floors cleaned with straight up vinegar. I also found a recipe for weed killer that worked pretty well, too (and I felt apple cider vinegar worked better than pickling vinegar). There was a dishwasher detergent that had been banned from our dishwasher after all the glassware turned out to be super cloudy and took forever to get back to normal. But overall, my changes had worked well. I was ready for more.

With a little vacation time in early January, I decided to blow through the remainder of my list replacing other cleaners and trying other recipes. I have learned two things so far:

1. I like the new Container Store that opened near my house way too much.

2. If you buy a boatload of vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide, virtually all your cleaning needs are met…assuming these recipes work.


With post-its, tape, markers, containers, and measuring tools in hand I began mixing concoctions. I made sure to write the recipes directly on the bottles so I wouldn’t have to go searching for them again when it was time to refill. So here is what I have made so far:

Glass and Toilet Cleaner (via Desiring Virtue) – Just a bottle of hydrogen peroxide with a reminder that baking soda can be added for stubborn toilet stains. Verdict: Initially the mirrors seems streaky, but it goes away as the liquid dries. I am still finishing some store-bought toilet cleaner so I will have to get back to you on that. Other notes: I have and would continue to use vinegar and newspaper for mirrors and windows. I have also read (but not tried) 1 c. of baking soda left for an hour works for toilets.

All Purpose Cleaner (also via Desiring Virtue) – 4 Tbs. of vinegar and 3 c. water. I also added about 1/4 tsp. of sweet orange essential oil for a cleaning and smelling boost. Verdict: I might like this one better than what I have been using. It also seems to get through counter gunk better, especially if you let it sit for 10-15 minutes.

Carpet Cleaner (also via Desiring Virtue) – This one was a biggie for me because we had/will have baby pee and poop all over the floors for a few years. And I’m a klutz. But I severely wanted to end our reliance on our OxyClean.  So the alternative is rubbing alcohol, pure and simple. It’s in its own container so that I remember what to use it for. Verdict: I got rid of gray paint on a beige carpet. I think I’m keeping this!

Wood Duster (via Desiring Virtue or Down to Earth) – Next to the carpet cleaner, the other cleaner I really wanted to replace was our Pledge. I honestly forgot which of the following two alternatives I made. I put both recipes on the bottle because they seemed exactly opposite each other. So you could either do 1 c. olive oil and 1/2 c. lemon juice or 1/2 tsp. olive oil and 1/4 c. lemon juice. Verdict: Whatever I used seems to do the job. I do have to dust more often, but I don’t get headaches after doing it.


Next up: Laundry soap. But I still have a large container to work through so I bought ingredients, but held off making it. If I remember, I will try to update this later.


What have you used? What works for you?



  1. We are using the second All Purpose Cleaner you mentioned & really like it. The Hydrogen Peroxide for the sinks & toilets is a cinch & the smell doesn’t gross the kids out since that is one of their chores now that I don’t have to worry about chemicals splattering everywhere. I am looking forward to making the shower spray, just need to get some essential oils. The only one I can find around here is lavendar and I am allergic to that. We have also tried the alcohol carpet cleaner and it works so well that we took the cap off and exchanged it for a flip top squirt lid to make application easier. My next search is for an allergy/pet carpet cleaner…

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    but your sites really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later.
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