Making Greener Cleaners

I’d like to thank The Accidental Hippy for inviting me to post today.  Life can get pretty crazy and I love the concept of slowing down, casting off unnecessary ‘stuff’ and living a life mindful of our impact on others as well as the planet.  There have been some inspiring posts right here on this blog that have prompted me to look more closely at my family’s consumption of the unnecessary. Today I hope to add to the Accidental Hippy message by talking about home made cleaners.

Vinegar and bicarbonate of soda have shot to the top of the popularity ladder of all DIY household cleaning jobs.  Both are inexpensive and easy to obtain.  However, natural cleaning products that you can make at home can utilize many other ingredients as well as, or instead of, just vinegar and bicarb.

If you are like me and you like to make cordials or other recipes that require a lot of citrus fruit. There is always so much peel left over that it seems such a waste to just throw them away.  After you have used one or two lemon halves to degrease your stove top (everyone does that, don’t they?) there are still a dozen more lying around.  Nothing is easier than to peel off the zest with a potato peeler, throw it all in a glass jar and cover it all with vinegar.  Let it sit for 2 weeks, shaking it anytime you walk past it.  After the two weeks, strain out the liquid and discard the solids into your compost.  What you have there is a fabulously fragrant citrus cleaner & disinfectant that you can dilute with water to make a spray cleaner or use as a concentrate whenever you need it.

A more herbal alternative allows you to use up the herbs left on those giant bunches from the supermarket that always seem to go to waste, or when you have excess supply from your garden. To a non reactive saucepan (non aluminium) add one handful of sage leaves and stems, as well as 300ml of water. Cover and bring to the boil.  Reduce heat and leave on a gentle simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove from the heat and leave to cool.  Once cool, strain through a fine sieve, pour liquid into a bottle and add 2 tablespoons of baking soda, 8 drops of lemon juice and shake well. Store this handy kitchen & bathroom cleaner in the fridge for 1 week.   If you don’t have sage handy, you can also use one handful of rosemary or 2 handfuls of thyme sprigs.

To make an easy herbal window cleaner, add 1 handful of lemon balm leaves (or peppermint leaves) to 250ml of water, bring to the boil in a non-reactive saucepan.  Reduce heat and gently simmer for 10 minutes.  Take off the heat and leave to cool. Once cool, strain and bottle the liquid and discard any solids. Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and 3 or 4 drops of liquid soap. Seal and shake well.

There is no limit to the combination of herbs you can use to make your own cleaning products.  Marjoram or lavender added to a hom emade furniture polish leave a lovely fragrance wafting through your home.  Since it does not lather like mad, the root of soapwort makes for an excellent upholstery shampoo.

Of course it’s not only house cleaners you can make.  You can make body lotions, skin washes, toners and shampoos for the whole family.  When I say family I include the four legged members and wholeheartedly recommend making natural pet shampoo, insect deterrents and air fresheners as well.


Anke Bialas is owner and content editor of She is known for her practical, everyday approach to herbal health which led to the creation of her books,  Herbology At Home guides to herbs and natural health. Visit Anke Bialas at: &   For permission to reprint this article please contact


5 Responses to Making Greener Cleaners

  1. Anke says:

    Good morning, Renée 🙂
    Thank you for being the 2nd stop on my “Homemade Health” virtual book tour. What a fabulous way to start off the tour.
    Hope your readers enjoy and try the recipes I put up. All part of preening and greening your home 🙂

  2. Blue says:

    Loving it! I cant wait to try some of these ideas and not just for the cleaning sake..but to have my house smelling amazing instead of like a hospital. Thanks for the fabulous and practical ideas!



    • Anke says:

      Hello Blue,

      You are absolutely right! The smell is fabulous and works as great aromatherapy while you are at it.
      Very happy you popped by 🙂

  3. What amazing cleaning recipes!! I can not wait to try the sage cleaner or the window cleaning recipes. Both I have never made! I needed a good window cleaning recipe. Thank you for sharing!! xx

  4. Debs Cook says:

    Lovely article and I echo the ideas and tips you’ve given wholeheartedly 🙂 Don’t forget that you can use lemon balm leaves as they are to polish wood Anke, one of my favourite uses, smells absolutely amazing as well!

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