Non-toxic Cleaners? We've Got 3 for You

Keeping a clean home might not be my highest priority, but making it sparkle with non-toxic cleaners is. Along the way, I've found a few common household cleaners, when combined, make fantastic replacements for their toxic alternatives.

I've got three recipes in heavy rotation in my house and among family and friends, and I share them here.

1. Countertop Cleaner

I love using hydrogen peroxide on my countertops, and not so much on my skin. That's why I always have a large bottle of it around. I particularly like this cleaner after I've prepared poultry. A spritz or nine on my cutting boards, and I just let it soak a little bit. As a side benefit, the hydrogen peroxide acts like bleach, so it whitens my cutting boards as it disinfects. I've also been known to dump a bit in my CamelBak packs' bladders to freshen them up.



2 c. water
1 c. hydrogen peroxide
1/4 c. lemon juice
a few drops of your favorite essential oil, if you like (I like!)

Using a funnel, combine all the ingredients above in your spray bottle. Spritz away!

Pro tip: Make sure your squirt bottle is at least 26 ounces.

I tend to forgo paper towels on my countertops, preferring kitchen towels, which I wash and dry later. I can get a few uses out of a kitchen towel or even get a final use out of it after drying dishes. I tried, a few years ago, to make the switch entirely to microfiber towels. Not for me - I prefer the feeling of cotton in my hand over microfiber. To each his own, right?

2. Glass Cleaner

Yea, it's spring so I really need to tackle the windows. I never look forward to that task, but this solution does work for the job. Today, I prefer to focus on the doors my dog's nose is most fond of.

Homemade Cleaner


1 c. isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol
1 c. water
1 tablespoon white vinegar

Using a funnel, combine all the above liquids in a squirt bottle. I find it's helpful to clean the windows with paper towels (try as I might to use them sparingly) and this cleaner, of course, followed by a polish with newspaper.

Pro tip: Label your cleaner on the bottle ... as well as the simple recipe so you never have to hunt it down again.

I like that recipe, but my most favorite use of isopropyl alcohol is the DIY ice pack. It's always a fun science lesson with kids, not to mention super handy to have around for injuries or beer. Isopropyl alcohol is pretty rad, really. Keep some in a spray bottle and use it to polish chrome fixtures in your bathroom and kitchen. Use a microfiber cloth to polish it up. Or, if you're a northerner, use that same spray bottle to melt the ice off your windshield. Ink on your shirt? (Hahaha! Like you use an old fashioned ink pen!) Soak the shirt in isopropyl alcohol and hope for the best. You just might get it.

3. Battery Cleaner

Honestly, even the most car-free people in America must know this tip. It's ubiquitous with car care in my family, and probably yours, too. Maybe it isn't. In any case, it's helpful to have this formula in mind.

Sometimes the corrosion that forms on your car's battery impedes performance. It's a good idea to stay on top of that corrosion and keep start issues at bay. This is a very simple thing to do.


a few tablespoons of white vinegar
a couple tablespoons of baking soda

Some prefer to use this cleaner with rubber gloves because it involves being near a car battery. I'm one of them; if you are, too, you should consider grabbing them before you start mixing.

Combine the vinegar and the baking soda in equal-ish parts in a small bowl. You want a paste consistency. Using an old toothbrush, smooth the paste over the battery's posts. It will foam up, and you can scrub it lightly, but it's never actually necessary in my experience. Grab a few cups of water and rinse the battery's posts.

Pro tip: Pull your car out of the garage for this task so you can avoid making a mess that might be harmful to house pets on your garage floor. It'll be easy to hose down the driveway real quick. 

So how about it? Have you used these kinds of cleaners yourself? Any special family recipes you'd like to pass on? Do so in the comments!
posted by
Juliette Rule
Juliette Rule is a former social media and public relations manager for Sierra Trading Post. She loves riding her mountain bike or road bike - in every Colorado season. Juliette lives in Fort Collins, Colo., with her rescued Australian cattle dog, Maszlo.
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