11 DIY natural cleaners that actually get the job done

by Justina Huddleston
Sep 1, 2016 at 6:30 a.m. ET
Baking Soda
Image: JPC-PROD/Getty Images

There's something that just feels weird about using poisonous chemicals to clean the kitchen, considering that it's where we prepare all our food. Luckily, you don't have to rely on the cleaning aisle at the store for all of your cleaning needs.

These DIY cleaners use gentler chemicals, like baking soda and vinegar, to get the job done — and they won't leave your counters coated in toxic substances and your lungs full of poisonous fumes. Even better? They actually work, so you can spend less time cleaning and more time having fun.

1 /11: Dishes, stovetop and oven cleaner

Baking soda + water
Image: Geo-grafika/Getty Images

1/11 :Dishes, stovetop and oven cleaner

A paste of baking soda and water can do wonders in the kitchen. Add baking soda to a bowl and drizzle in some water until it reaches a moist, spreadable consistency. For dishes with burned-on food or hard-to-clean stains, spread the paste on, then let it sit 10 minutes to an hour and wash as usual. For burned-on food on the stovetop or in the oven, smear it on stains, then let sit one hour. Spritz with a water bottle filled with one part distilled white vinegar and two parts water, then wipe off the stains.

2 /11: All-purpose surface cleaner

Vinegar + essential oil + water
Image: Geo-grafika/Getty Images

2/11 :All-purpose surface cleaner

You can make a general surface cleaner easily with just a few ingredients. Add equal parts vinegar and water to a spray bottle along with six drops of your favorite essential oil. Lemon, eucalyptus, tea tree, grapefruit or lavender all work well. Spray on surfaces you want to clean, then wipe off.

3 /11: Drain cleaner

Baking soda + vinegar + water
Image: ThamKC/Getty Images

3/11 :Drain cleaner

For a stopped-up drain, try this remedy. Pour a quarter to half a cup of baking soda down your drain. Add an equal amount of vinegar, then stop up the drain and let the cleaner do its work for about 10 minutes. Then, pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain to rinse away the cleaner and any debris.

4 /11: Another all-purpose cleaner

Baking soda + dish soap + vinegar + water
Image: Paul Bradbury/Getty Images

4/11 :Another all-purpose cleaner

Add two parts baking soda, one part dish soap, and 12 parts vinegar to a spray bottle. Let the baking soda dissolve for a minute, then add warm water to fill the bottle and shake. Use the cleaner on any surfaces.

5 /11: Dish soap

5/11 :Dish soap

Add a half cup castile soap, an eighth cup water, four drops of your favorite essential oil and a teaspoon of vinegar to a bottle. Use it to clean your dishes as usual.

6 /11: Dishwasher detergent

6/11 :Dishwasher detergent

Mix together a cup of salt, two cups of borax, two cups of baking soda and a cup of Lemi-Shine. To run a load of dishes, add two tablespoons of the mixture to your dishwasher's detergent compartment, then fill the rinse compartment with distilled white vinegar.

7 /11: Dishwasher cleaner

7/11 :Dishwasher cleaner

Fill the detergent compartment of your dishwasher with citric acid and run through the sanitize cycle for a sparkling-clean machine.

8 /11: Citrus all-purpose cleaner

Orange peels + salt + vinegar + water + essential oil
Image: ElenaGaak/Getty Images

8/11 :Citrus all-purpose cleaner

Add orange peels and one tablespoon of salt to a glass jar. Let it sit 20 to 30 minutes. Fill the jar halfway with distilled white vinegar and warm water, then let sit for two weeks. When ready to use, strain it into a glass spray bottle, then add 5 to 10 drops of your favorite essential oils.

9 /11: Disinfecting cloths

9/11 :Disinfecting cloths

These reusable disinfecting cloths are a great alternative to wasteful bleach wipes. Either roll your rags and place them in a recycled kitchen wipes container, or fold them and put them in a recycled baby wipes container. Mix the cleaner ingredients in a bowl, then pour the mixture over the rags. Use one every time you want to wipe something down. You can wash the rags and make a new batch of cleaning solution.

10 /11: Floor cleaner

Vinegar + water
Image: Westend61/Getty Images

10/11 :Floor cleaner

Add a cup of vinegar to one gallon of hot water, then mop.

11 /11: Tile and grout cleaner

Baking soda + hydrogen peroxide
Image: Alex Wilson/Getty Images

11/11 :Tile and grout cleaner

Sprinkle tile and grout with baking soda, then spray with hydrogen peroxide. Let it sit for five minutes, then wipe.