Homemade and eco-friendly cleaning tips for a natural home

A person wiping down a bench that has a jar of bicarb soda and a cut lemon on it

Nicola Dowse

Posted July 22, 2022

Make your home sparkle and shine without harming the Earth with these natural, homemade cleaning hacks and homemade eco-friendly cleaning products. 

Before shelling out for that ‘enhanced’ new cleaning product at the supermarket, take a look in your cupboards. 

Many common household products are not only great for cleaning, they’re eco-friendly too.

Chelsea Smith, founder of The Organizing Platform, says that while “we have all had bad experiences where those natural products just don’t work,” using natural cleaning products correctly is worth persisting with and can save you money, while produce a sparklingly-clean home. 

Eco-friendly cleaning with Chelsea Smith | RACV

What is eco-friendly cleaning? 

It’s important to note that everything – from the water we drink to the air we breathe – is made up of chemicals.  

When talking about ‘eco-friendly’, ‘green’, or ‘natural’ cleaning, however, it generally refers to using cleaning products that contain few or no artificial chemicals.  

There are financial, environmental, and medical reasons that someone might prefer using natural cleaning products. You can also buy the ingredients for eco-friendly cleaners in bulk at a price cheaper than individual retail products, and use these ingredients for multiple cleaning purposes.  

Homemade, eco-friendly cleaning products often produce less waste than off-the-shelf cleaners, as you can mix them up at home in reusable bottles or jars.  

Finally, while non-natural cleaning products are safe to use if you follow the directions, some people may be more sensitive to the chemicals in them – these include chlorine (found in bleach), artificial fragrances, and disinfectants. They might also have small children or pets and feel more comfortable using natural cleaning products. 

Common eco-friendly cleaning ingredients 


Vinegar isn’t just a tasty flavouring for chips. It’s also great for cleaning as it’s a type of acetic acid – meaning it can help dissolve mineral build up, remove grease and deodorise. 

Bicarbonate of soda  

Bicarb soda (also known as baking soda) is a common baking ingredient. It’s pure sodium bicarbonate, which is an alkaline chemical compound that is well known for fizzing when combined with an acid, like vinegar or lemon juice.  

Lemon juice 

Lemon juice has been used as a folk remedy for lightening hair for ages. The reason for that is because it’s a mild bleach, it’s also good for light bleaching around the home. It also smells great! 

Essential oils 

These oils capture the aroma of plants, including orange, lemon, eucalyptus and tea tree. They’re used to deodorise or provide a scent to a homemade cleaning product, though some people can have allergic reaction to them. Citrus oils are also effective at removing grease from stoves and range hoods.  


Create a multi-purpose kitchen spray using vinegar, water and just a dash of an essential oil. Photo: Matt Harvey.
All you need to scrub your shower walls clean is a lemon and some salt. Photo: Matt Harvey.
Smith recommends cleaning your glass with a mixture of dishwashing liquid and water. Photo: Matt Harvey.

Homemade eco-cleaning products 

Here are some of Smith’s favourite homemade cleaning remedies: 

Multipurpose kitchen spray 

  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar 

  • 1 cup water 

  • 4 drops tea tree oil 

  • Microfibre cloth 

Combine water and vinegar in a spray bottle, then add your tea tree oil (you can use another essential oil if you prefer). Shake to combine. 

Bathroom Scrub 

  • 1 lemon 

  • Salt 

  • Microfibre cloth 

Pour salt onto a plate or bowl. Cut the lemon in half and dip each half, cut side down, in the salt. Use the salt-covered lemon halves to scrub your bathroom’s shower doors, basins and taps. Reapply salt to the lemon or best results. Rinse off residue with water and wipe dry with the microfibre cloth. 

Glass cleaner  

  • 500ml hot water  

  • 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid 

  • Microfibre cloth 

Combine water and dishwashing liquid in a bucket or spray bottle. Spray or apply the mixture to the glass surface and wipe down with a microfibre cloth. 

Grout cleaner 

  • Baking soda / bicarb soda 

  • Water  

  • Vinegar 

  • Old toothbrush 

  • Rag 

Combine equal amounts of baking soda and water to form a paste. Apply this paste to grout lines around your home. Pour vinegar into a spray bottle and spray into onto the paste-covered grout lines. Once the paste stops fizzing, scrub with the rag or toothbrush. Rinse with water and wipe clean with the rag.  

Don’t forget! 

Some people like to mix store-bought and homemade ingredients together, but this should be done with caution. 

For example, mixing bleach and vinegar might seem like a good way to get your bathroom sparkling, but combining these ingredients will create poisonous chlorine gas. 

Always check the label and follow all manufacturer’s directions.  

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