5 Simple Homemade Cleaners with just 3 Ingredients

5 Recipes for Green Cleaners with 3 Ingredients

I originally put this post together for Kidspot, but I thought most of you probably wouldn’t see it over there and it might be helpful, so I’m reposting it here. I might share a few of my other Kidspot posts in the coming weeks.

In the last year we’ve drastically reduced our use of commercial cleaning products. The only ready made products that we regularly use now are oxy action laundry soaker (which we add to the laundry when we wash our white sheets and white towels), bleach and dishwashing liquid. Just about everything else I make. When I first began making my own cleaners I thought it was going to be time consuming and was concerned about how effective homemade products would be, but I soon realised there was no need to worry. All of the cleaners I use can be whipped up in moments, with just a few ingredients, and they work a treat! Every bit as effective as store bought products, without the expense, chemical nasties and wasteful packaging. It makes me so happy that we’ve been able to replace some of the toxic products in our home with more natural, more safe and more environmentally friendly alternatives.

So here are five of the simplest homemade cleaners that I use. All of them have just three ingredients and can be thrown together in minutes!

All Purpose Spray

1 Cup Vinegar
1 Cup Warm Water
1/4 Tsp Tea Tree Oil

Combine the ingredients in a clean spray bottle and shake well. To use, spray on surface and wipe with a clean cloth.

Glass Cleaner

2 Cups Warm Water
1/4 Cup White Vinegar
1 Tbsp Cornstarch

Combine the ingredients in a clean spray bottle and shake well. To use, spray on glass and wipe with a lint free cloth, paper towel or a sheet of newspaper.

Toilet Cleaner

1 Cup White Vinegar
1/2 Cup Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Tea Tree Oil

Combine the vinegar and tea tree oil in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray mixture all over toilet, including inside the bowl. Allow vinegar mixture to sit for five minutes, then sprinkle baking soda all over the inside of the toilet bowl. Scrub inside of bowl with a toilet brush, then flush. Use a clean dry cloth to wipe vinegar solution off exterior.

Drain Cleaner

Boiling Water
1/2 cup Vinegar
1/4 Cup Baking Soda

Pour the baking soda down your drain (if the drain holes are small you may need to sift the baking soda first). Pour the vinegar down the drain. The mixture will froth up, so pop a plug in to stop it from bubbling into your sink. Leave the mixture to sit for 5-10 minutes, then flush with boiling water.

Laundy Powder

4 Cups Soap Flakes
2 cups Borax
2 cups Washing Soda (not to be confused with Baking Soda!)

Mix all the ingredients well and store the powder in and airtight container. Use 2 tablespoons of powder for each wash.

Happy cleaning!

Katie x

PS I’ve been using these recipes for while now so (unfortunately) can’t remember where they all came from, but the laundry powder is from Down to Earth. You can find more of Rhonda’s recipes here.

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About Katie

Katie is a tea drinking, jewellery making, op-shopping daydreamer. Katie likes vintage dresses, Pictionary, doilies and colourful tights.


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17 Responses to “5 Simple Homemade Cleaners with just 3 Ingredients”

  1. Gina June 3, 2014 at 8:44 am #

    I love this! I’ve been using baking soda (bi-carb) and white vinegar for years. White vinegar
    also deodorizes. My husband will mop the bathroom floor and the outside of the toilet with
    vinegar and the bathroom smells absolutely fresh. One thing I would add to the drain cleaner recipe (per my mom’s experience). Pour some boiling water down the drain FIRST to loosen things up. Then continue with the recipe. I find this makes a difference. I like the idea of mixing Tea Tree Oil in the other recipes. I’m going to copy those down! Lemon juice is great to clean windows, too. What’s so wonderful about all these recipes is that one’s house smells fresh and clean, no chemical or unnatural “perfumey” smell.
    We use Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap for many jobs, too. Don’t know if that is in other countries. (We’re in the US.) It has essential oils including tea tree and hemp oils.

    Vinegar and baking soda work well to clean ovens, too. You have to do more scrubbing than with the strong chemical oven cleaners, but it’s much safer.

    Thanks so much, Katie, for sharing these.


    • Katie
      Katie June 3, 2014 at 10:58 am #

      Pouring boiling water down the drain to loosen things up before the other ingredients is a good idea! I’ve heard so much about Dr Bronners but I’ve never seen it in a store so I’ve never tried it, though it looks like you can buy it online in Australia. I might just do that! I have also heard this method for cleaning an oven is really effective, though I haven’t tried it yet. Thanks for sharing!! 🙂

  2. Rita June 3, 2014 at 8:53 am #

    And here is where I will reveal my ignorance and complete newness to this aspect of simple living: At what kind of store can I find tea tree oil? And borax? I’m hoping the stores in your part of the world are not so different from ours!

    And I really like your new blog design–very clean and simple. Though I loved the old one, too. 🙂

    • Katie
      Katie June 3, 2014 at 10:49 am #

      We had trouble finding borax. Apparently some supermarkets/grocery stores have it, but none of the ones near us do. In the end we got it from a hardware store. Tea tree oil is very common in Australia (I forgot that tea tree is native to Australia so might be harder to source overseas!) I just buy it at the supermarket or chemist (drug store). I love it for cleaning because it is antiseptic, antifungal and antibacterial. 🙂

  3. Cari June 3, 2014 at 9:38 am #

    I really like the idea of this!
    Do you think it would change anything if you were to add peppermint essence or anything smelly to them? Not they they need to smell, but I am trying to get rid of mice and I have heard they hate mint!

    • Katie
      Katie June 3, 2014 at 10:43 am #

      I would add a few drops of peppermint essential oil, rather than essence. I have heard that peppermint oil is a pest deterrent so if you’re fighting mice, it can’t hurt! I am bit obsessed with tea tree oil (I love the smell, plus it’s antimicrobial!) so I tend to put a few drops of that in everything. 🙂

  4. Gem June 3, 2014 at 9:50 am #

    Jackie French has a lot of good cleaner/cosmetic recipes as well. I can personally swear by her oven cleaner (although for most jobs, we get by with soapy water or bicarb!)

    • Katie
      Katie June 3, 2014 at 10:32 am #

      I haven’t seen Jackie French’s recipes – I’ll have to look them up! I have heard this method for cleaning an oven is really good though too. 🙂

  5. Claire June 3, 2014 at 6:17 pm #

    Thanks Katie, I already use some of these, but toilet cleaner is next on my list (how sad!!) hehehe 🙂

    • Katie
      Katie June 3, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

      Haha! My pleasure Claire! 😉

  6. Lee June 3, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

    With reference to Gem’s comment, I have an Australian Woman’s Weekly magazine-book by Jackie French called “Natural Solutions” which I bought in 1999 (I was ahead of my time for a 21 year old! – joke). It’s really great. If you can locate it on the net, definitely buy it (it’s cheap). I was able to buy another copy last year on “Books for Cooks” website, but they no longer have it. I think it’s difficult to find.
    Anyway, another thing I use Bi-Carb soda for is as a mattress and carpet freshener. I put it in a sprinkle (?) jar (bought from Woolworths) and put a whole heap of Bergamot oil, or some other nice essential oil, and sprinkle it over the carpet and my mattress, leave it for 10 minutes, and then vacuum it off. It’s nice. Not sure if it does anything, but it makes me feel good about doing the crappy housework! Lee xx

    • Katie
      Katie June 3, 2014 at 8:19 pm #

      I will definitely look out for that book, thanks for the tip! And seriously, is there anything bi-carb soda can’t do?! Such good stuff! It’s an excellent deodoriser so it makes sense that it would be good for freshening carpets and mattresses. Great idea! xx

    • Sarah @ Chantille Fleur June 4, 2014 at 7:49 pm #

      Bi-carb is good for cleaning the stove too. I’m a bit of a messy cook so when I’m finished I spray the stove with a vinegar/water mix, sprinkle bi-carb onto any cooked on food bits and leave it for a few minutes. It comes off so easily then! Works well on baking trays too 🙂

  7. chelsea June 4, 2014 at 5:30 am #

    I want to try these for sure!

  8. Sarah @ Chantille Fleur June 4, 2014 at 7:46 pm #

    I love using peppermint essence/oil in our kitchen spray – it makes the kitchen smell so yummy! I just mix vinegar, a little water and a few drops of peppermint in a spray bottle for the kitchen. When it’s citrus season we also keep a jar of vinegar on the bench and add all the orange/mandarin peel to it. After a few weeks it also makes a really good kitchen spray and smells so fresh!

    Sarah x

    • Katie
      Katie June 5, 2014 at 8:24 pm #

      That citrus peel and vinegar mixture is a brilliant idea! I am definitely going to borrow that one. Thanks for sharing Sarah! xx

  9. The Life of Clare June 8, 2014 at 5:33 am #

    Love these! Thanks so much for sharing them. I use Rhona’s washing detergent but don’t have the others, thanks.

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