When you live in a tiny apartment with little to no space to grow your own veggies, raise chickens, or do any of the other projects commonly written about by hip urban homesteaders or backwoods simplicity gurus, it can seem futile to try to join in. But having an acre of land is not the only way to live naturally. Inside your home is a great place to start, and changing how you clean it can have an immense impact on how much you, those around you, and the environment is exposed to harmful chemicals. Not only that, but many of the recipes to make these simple natural cleaners are so easy to make I’m pretty sure a toddler could do it (I don’t have any toddlers handy to test this theory, but I’m pretty sure it would hold up).
There are a lot of natural cleaning recipes on the internets, but I have found that I generally need just one cleaner for 90% of household surface cleaning. I keep some other ingredients around for those instances that need a little extra umph, but other than that my All-Purpose Cleaner is pretty all-purpose. Here’s the recipe:
All-Purpose Household Cleaner
Fill the spray bottle 50% with vinegar. Fill the rest with water.
That’s it. It is actually that simple. If you want to be fancy or hate the smell of vinegar add a few drops of essential oils. Lavender and lemon are great together, and bonus — they have antibacterial properties. If you want to avoid the use of plastic, there are glass spray bottles you can buy (I’ve even seen ones that you can craft your own like this one from Crunchy Betty). Some people add a squirt of dish soap, though I’ve found it unnecessary and prefer the simpler recipe. If you have gigantic windows and are very particular about your window cleaning adding some rubbing alcohol will help, though the 50/50 formula has always worked for me without leaving streaks.
You can use this spray on anything. I use it mostly for cleaning counter tops and surfaces, but it also works wonderfully in the bathroom, on windows, and just about any place you can think of. It doesn’t leave any residue, deodorizes (and the vinegar smell goes away once it evaporates), and has disinfecting properties (due to it’s acidic nature).
So go forth and clean! Naturally!