Truth be told, we’re not super DIY in our house. Still, we (aka my husband) make our own laundry detergent and we (aka both my husband and I) also make our own kitchen cleaner. It’s actually easier and cheaper to make your own DIY kitchen cleaner than it is to drive or bike to the grocery store to buy it.
Like most Americans, we used to have a house full of conventional cleaning products. I didn’t realize how toxic these were until I read Ruth Yaron’s Super Baby Food. She described a friend’s toddler finding drain cleaner the parents kept under the sink. Attracted to the brightly colored bottle, the toddler tried to drink it. Years of operations and plastic surgery weren’t able to fix the deformities.
After reading that story, my husband and I rounded up every toxic chemical we had in our home in Atlanta, Georgia. We gave them to our neighbor, a single man who had no plans to have children. Ever since, we’ve worked hard to keep educating ourselves about toxins and to keep them away from our family.
This is my husband’s recipe, which he’s perfected over the years, for DIY kitchen cleaner.
DIY Kitchen Cleaner: Easiest, Cheapest, and Best Kitchen Spray
By James di Properzio
Special to www.JenniferMargulis.net
I don’t like harsh or toxic cleaners. When my wife was pregnant with our first child, she read me a horror story of a toddler getting into some cleaners under the sink; I got up while she kept reading aloud, grabbed a bucket and filled it with every cleaning supply in the kitchen and bathroom that I would not eat and put them all out on the curb.
The next day we replaced them with vinegar, baking soda, and other food-safe cleaners, and never looked back.
“Green” kitchen cleaners often aren’t really green
I also don’t like overpriced so-called “green” cleaners, or faux-green cleaning products. When you read the ingredients in most of these products, you quickly see there is greenwashing going on. Greenwashing is a corporate trick to make consumers believe the products are eco-friendly when they’re not. Advertising is powerful. But repeating a lie doesn’t make it true. Toxic chemicals are toxic chemicals.
Finally, I especially hate running out of cleaners and having to make a special trip to the store for them. It really is easier to just mix up a new batch of DIY kitchen cleaner from the ingredients we have at home.
The way I do it now takes approximately one minute, and costs pennies per batch. You only need to buy the ingredients every six months, if that. I use only tiny amounts of most of them, and the organic vinegar I buy by the gallon, which makes about 16 batches of cleaning spray.
Ingredients for DIY kitchen cleaner
- 1 cup of organic white vinegar ((buy in a glass-bottled vinegar or make your own you want to be uber eco)
- ½ tsp citrus cleaner (I use CitraSolve)
- ½ tsp Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap (we like peppermint but there are lots to choose from)
- Essential oils of your choice. Our favorites are lavender, orange, rosemary, and tea tree
Step 1: Fill a reusable 1-quart spray bottle ¼ full of organic vinegar. Use more if you like a more concentrated spray.
Step 2: Add ¼ tsp citrus cleaner and ¼ tsp Dr. Bronner’s.
Step 3: Add 12-15 drops each of lavender, orange/lemon, rosemary and tea tree oils.
Step 4: Shake well and top up with water.
Shake before using. Then spray on the counters, the stove top, or floor to spot clean spills.
I slap a sticker on the bottle with the ingredients so I don’t have to reinvent the wheel when I refill it.
This DIY kitchen cleaner is cheap, quick, easy, and low-waste. You can use it on the counters, the tabletops, the walls, and to spot clean the floor. It works well and leaves the kitchen smelling fresh and clean, in a lightly scented non-toxic way.
Best of all, I don’t hesitate to prepare food on a surface I’ve just sprayed with it—and I never have to worry about a toddler getting poisoned by it.
Published: July 21, 2021
Last update: March 7, 2022