6 Greener Cleaners, Disinfectants, and Deodorizers

posted on April 11, 2013 by  |  posted under Cleaning  |  35 Comments

According to the Centers for Disease Control, bacteria double every 20 minutes.  Yet, recent studies have shown that 40% of cleansers and disinfectants sold in stores are ineffective against certain types of germs and bacteria!  In addition, the harsh chemicals in store bought solutions can be hazardous to our health, not to mention expensive.  Perhaps you’ve heard of using natural cleaners, but weren’t quite sure how to get started.

In honor of earth month, here are some easy ways you can begin using non-toxic, “Greener Cleaners” that are better for you and the environment.

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The photo above includes (clockwise from left): vinegar, lemon, baking soda, essential oils, hydrogen peroxide, and club soda.  Continue reading to learn how to use these elements alone, or combined, for a “Super-Natural” cleaning experience!

Let’s go room by room, shall we?

The Bathroom

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 To shine and clean chrome, windows, and mirrors, try Missy & Jennifer’s natural recipe below:

1 cup white vinegar

1 cup water

8 drops citrus essential oil – optional

(Consider using an old glass bottle, such as the kind that apple cider vinegar comes bottled in if you are going to add oils to your mixture, since the oils can degrade the plastic over time).

Use a squeegee to wipe windows & mirrors clean, or lint-free cloth, or old newspaper (newspaper deposits less lint than paper towels and doesn’t leave streaks).

Or, try using Club Soda in a spray bottle!

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I was surprised to discover that even professional cleaners use club soda, straight-up, for cleaning.  Why?  Because the sodium citrate in club soda softens the water and provides streak-free cleaning.  Who knew?!

* Tip: Two great products to put spray nozzles directly onto are Club Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide, since they have SO many uses.   Prepared this way, they are always ready to go!

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Hydrogen Peroxide can be used to spray toilet surfaces and wipe clean, or pour a half cup into toilet bowl, let stand approx. 20 min., then scrub clean.  For another great toilet bowl cleaning tip, check out Missy & Jennifer’s recipe for making a “Toilet Bomb“.

What more can be done with peroxide?

Spray the interior of the shower (including shower curtains) to kill bacteria and viruses.

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Soak toothbrushes in peroxide to keep them clean, especially during cold and flu season.

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Finally, soak or spritz tub toys, other plastic toys, and teething rings.  Rinse after they have soaked (for 10 min.) or have been spritzed.

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Now let’s move into…

The Kitchen

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Spray hydrogen peroxide onto cutting boards to disinfect them.  You can also clean your counter top with it!  Let bubble for a few minutes, then rinse and wipe clean.  Since it’s non-toxic, it’s great for cleaning other places that come into contact with food, such as the inside of the refrigerator.  Also, soak kitchen rags and sponges in a shallow bowl or dish with a 50/50 mix of water and peroxide.  Let soak for at least 10 minutes.  It’s such an easy way to keep everything fresh and clean!

For the garbage disposal, just pop a few slices of fresh lemon down the hatch while running the disposal and water.

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Or, pour a cup of vinegar down with the lemons under running water.

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Finally, you can try pouring 1 cup baking soda down the drain, or 1 cup vinegar, followed by 3 cups boiling water to disinfect and deodorize.


The Laundry Room

This next tip comes from Real Simple magazine.  For the washer, skip the bleach and add 1/4 to 1/2 cup lemon juice to the wash cycle for brightening dull whites.  Chlorine bleach contains the chemical sodium hypochlorite which is not good for us or the environment.

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 Two  additional non-toxic alternatives to bleach (that even Dr. Oz recommends) are…  White vinegar and peroxide. Good thing they’re on our list!  Just be sure to use them separately  for cleaning.  You can clean a surface with one, then rinse, then use the other on the same surface, but never mix hydrogen peroxide and vinegar together.  A potentially harmful chemical can be created if you accidentally create too strong
a concentration.

For the dryer, replace chemical -laden dryer sheets with 10-15 drops of essential oil applied onto a small towel, and toss into the dryer during the cool down cycle.

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Any Room ~ DIY Deodorizer

Make your own non-toxic room deodorizer (below) simply and inexpensively.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

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Clockwise from upper left:  Baking soda, a small glass jar, scrap fabric squares, essential oil, and a rubber band (optional).

Fill the glass jar about 1/4 – 1/3 full of baking soda.  Add 10-15 drops of essential oil and cover the top of the jar with a permeable layer such as a fabric square.  You can secure it with a rubber band before popping the outer metal ring back on the jar, or just leave the fabric square with the rubber band and no metal ring (tie a ribbon to cover the rubber band if you like to make it prettier, rather than replacing the metal ring).  Keep your favorite fragrance of essential oil nearby to freshen up the scent as needed.

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Essential oils such as lavender, thyme, or tea-tree are antiseptic and anti-bacterial while citrus oils are great inhibitors of microbial growth.  Orange oil is a pleasant and cheerful scent while lemon oil is a fragrance we often associate with clean and fresh.

These DIY jars can be placed in any area that can use deodorizing such as the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, and clothing or linen closets.  Finally, this same mixture can be sprinkled onto mattresses when little ones have an accident  or, you can sprinkle baking soda on the mattress by itself.  Sprinkle a liberal amount onto the affected area and vacuum after a couple of hours.  Apply the same approach to the rest of the mattresses in your home on occasion to keep them smelling fresh too!


Has this post encouraged you to give natural cleaners a try?  Do you use any natural cleaners, or have a great natural cleaning tip or recipe you’d care to share? Let us know in the comments below!

To Your “Greener Cleaning” Adventures,


    1. April 11th, 2013 at 8:00 pm
      Missy says:
      I am loving my switch to all natural. Vinegar and essential oils have become my new best friends. :) I haven't tried club soda and peroxide - now on my list!
      I thought natural wouldn't work as well - but they actually clean better! These are some great tips to add to my routine! Thanks!
      • April 15th, 2013 at 1:26 pm
        Stephanie says:
        I'm really pleased about making the switch too! Just had to use the "matress tip" for toddler accidents recently with my daughter's bed and am relieved to not be using chemicals to clean her matress anymore.
    2. April 11th, 2013 at 8:56 pm
      Shelley says:
      Love this post. I was just talking to Missy about cleaning recipes. Thanks for sharing yours!
      • April 15th, 2013 at 1:31 pm
        Stephanie says:
        My pleasure! Here's a great PDF guide to using some of these products with extra helpful tips like how long the product should have contact with a surface to fully clean it, along with how often to clean depending on if there are kids under 5 in the household, pets, eldery or immune compromised persons in the home, etc... : http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/kitchen-sanitize.pdf
        • April 15th, 2013 at 1:35 pm
          Stephanie says:
          P.S. You might have to copy and paste the link into the browser in order for the pdf to open.
    3. April 14th, 2013 at 2:47 pm
      Nicolette says:
      I have never thought about using essential oils on a towel in the dryer...brilliant! I will definitely be trying that and the essential oil deodorizers. Thanks!
      • April 17th, 2013 at 2:30 pm
        Stephanie says:
        It sure gives you a wider range of fragrances to choose from!
    4. April 16th, 2013 at 8:19 pm
      ashley G says:
      Love all these ideas. Especially cleaning the tooth brushes. Thanks so much.
    5. April 17th, 2013 at 7:13 am
      Pam@behealthybehappywellness says:
      Great ideas! I did a post last week on natural cleaners - and there are a few others on the list: http://behealthybehappywellness.com/2013/04/how-to-make-your-own-cleaning-products/
      • April 17th, 2013 at 2:33 pm
        Stephanie says:
        I popped over to your site and checked it out. I'll definitely be using the salt scrubber recipe - gotta love sharing ideas for non-toxic cleaning!
    6. April 17th, 2013 at 8:19 am
      brittany says:
      Love these. Very helpful and I'm excited to try these cleaners out.
      • July 16th, 2013 at 9:44 pm
        Stephanie says:
        Glad to hear it!
    7. April 17th, 2013 at 8:19 am
      brittany says:
      Love these. Very helpful and I'm excited to try these cleaners out.
    8. April 17th, 2013 at 8:22 am
      Mary says:
      such wonderful ideas! I can't wait to put them to use. thank you!
      • July 16th, 2013 at 9:45 pm
        Stephanie says:
        You're welcome, Mary!
    9. April 17th, 2013 at 8:26 am
      AMBER says:
      I really wish you had a print option so I could print just some of it. If you do, I don't see it. Great article!
      • April 30th, 2013 at 4:10 pm
        Stephanie says:
        Thanks, Amber! While there's no print option, if you just copy and paste the cleaning recipes into a word document you should be set!
    10. April 17th, 2013 at 9:09 am
      shirley tener says:
      I have used these before but have gotten out of the habit, with the cost of cleaning supplies I will go shopping today. I would like to see more on oils, brands and such. I am having a hard time finding them.
      • April 30th, 2013 at 4:25 pm
        Stephanie says:
        Thanks for letting us know what you would like to learn more about. I'll be happy to do a future post that goes more in depth.
    11. April 17th, 2013 at 12:45 pm
      CJ says:
      We've been wanting to use chemical-free cleaning products for quite a while but didn't know how and what.

      Are all the items that you described in this article free of toxic chemical? For example the Baking soda, Hydrogen Peroxide, the essential oil? i believe they contain chemicals of their own?
      • April 30th, 2013 at 4:23 pm
        Stephanie says:
        Hi CJ - great questions! The idea of using the green cleaners is that they are naturally occuring substances. There are different brands of baking soda which create the "natural process" within a lab, while others are mined directly from the earth. The benefit of choosing natural cleaners is that you are not interacting with a plethora of man-made chemicals which have been proven harmful to human health as lung, eye, nose, and throat irritants, to name a few. I hope this answers your question!
    12. April 18th, 2013 at 11:20 am
      Nicole Stone says:
      I'm planning on making some of those room freshners...what a fantastic idea!
      • April 18th, 2013 at 3:16 pm
        Stephanie says:
        They're a great alternative to commercial air fresheners that sometimes contain carcinogenic chemicals! And in a pinch, they come in handy to open and sprinkle on the mattress after a toddler accident (if you happen to have a homemade deodorizer nearby and have that issue) :-) .
    13. June 10th, 2013 at 11:35 pm
      Lindsey W. Overturf says:
      There are so many disinfectants and deodorizers available in the market that it makes it so hard to choose the best one, one more thing is you are not even sure about it's effectiveness. Most of the products out there may even have adverse reactions to our health that is why it would be best to try natural alternatives such as vinegar and lemon.
      • July 16th, 2013 at 9:46 pm
        Stephanie says:
        I agree, wholeheartedly!
    14. July 19th, 2013 at 9:41 pm
      Angela A. Lewis says:
      It is important that we disinfect our homes every once in a while to make sure all dust and germs are rid of. We can find a lot of disinfectants in supermarkets and we can even make our own natural products just like the ones featured in this post. Vinegar and lemon really work. It is a great disinfectant and cleaner.
      • September 24th, 2013 at 6:58 pm
        Stephanie says:
        Thanks for providing a testimonial on the powers of lemon and vinegar, Angela! They really do work wonders!
    15. July 19th, 2013 at 11:24 pm
      Emma Mercer says:
      It's a good thing i have a lot of empty bottles i've kept at home. I'm going to try some of these cleaners and disinfectants. I've been using a lot of disinfectants, cleaners and deodorizers i bought in supermarkets. I would like to try the one without using the bleach.
      • September 24th, 2013 at 6:59 pm
        Stephanie says:
        Good for you, Emma, for making the move towards healthier cleaners! Best of luck!
    16. August 6th, 2013 at 2:47 am
      Frances G. Morelock says:
      Disinfecting our homes is important if we care for our loved ones. It is all about being safe and protecting our loved ones from sickness and diseases. it's a good thing i have kept all those jars and containers all these time so i can keep all those cleaners and deodorizers that i can make.
      • September 24th, 2013 at 7:01 pm
        Stephanie says:
        Great reminder, Frances, about taking care of ourselves and others by disinfecting regularly.
    17. August 6th, 2013 at 7:45 pm
      Teresa D. Tibbetts says:
      This is going to be an addition to some of the tips i know about making homemade cleaners. I have a collection of tips on how to make all naturl disinfectants, although i've been buying commercial cleaning products. I have a lot of empty containers at home and i could use them for this.
      • September 24th, 2013 at 7:02 pm
        Stephanie says:
        So happy to hear it, Teresa. Best of luck!
    18. September 2nd, 2013 at 3:19 am
      Tammy C. Sunderland says:
      These are great ideas. I have tried some homemade disinfectants and deodorizers such as vinegar, lemon and baking soda. They all reall work plus they are safer. I haven't tried using essential oils though. Good thing you shared that tip, i'm going to try this.
      • September 24th, 2013 at 7:03 pm
        Stephanie says:
        Happy to hear you found a new tip to add to the "greener cleaning" you already practice - very cool!
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