DIY Cleaning Supplies

About six years ago I happened upon a DIY counter spray on Pinterest that sparked my curiosity. The idea of creating my own cleaning products tailored to my specific needs and scent preferences that would also be non toxic and kid/environment safe seemed kinda awesome. But would they really work? Would they take too much time to make? Would they last me long enough or would I be making new batches every week?

Well, after that first batch of counter spray I became a DIY cleaning product believer and have never looked back. I even went as far as to make my own liquid and powdered laundry detergents, dishwasher detergent and even explored DIY body products making my own deodorant and body cream. I’ve since given up the homemade deodorant and body cream but I’ve continued to make my counter spray, glass cleaner and laundry detergent with great success! So if I’ve sparked your curiosity and you wanna try your hand at making your own cleaning products here my favorite recipes and scent combinations! Hopefully they’ll work just as great for you and give you the same peace of mind they did me!

I keep a basket of essential oils on hand so I can get creative with my blends. Though I love all the Dr Bronner Castile soap scents, in recent months I’ve started sticking with his unscented option which keeps my essential oils the star of the scent show! Oh, and I realize I’m coming off a bit like Wonder Woman in these pics. Wearing my baby while making my own cleaning products. The truth is, Joshua Jr. quickly became disenchanted with being in his front carrier and started pinching, clawing and crying while I was trying to measure out my ingredients. That’s the picture you don’t see!

For the winter months I love to use clove and orange oil in my counter spray. It reminds me of the many Christmas seasons that my mother had my sister and I stick whole cloves into clementines (took hours people, though my mother would deny that!) She would then pile them into a festive bowl and put it on the dining room table for the holidays. The clove oil has a strong scent that lingers after cleanup for a good while which I love! For Spring I usually switch to geranium oil and for summer I love the combination of citrus scents like lemon, orange or grapefruit. I also use eucalyptus oil quite a bit in my cleaning supplies for it’s wonderful anti-microbial properties and again it’s got a strong scent to it that lingers once the cleaning is done.

Live Simply is my favorite blog for information and recipes for homemade cleaning supplies. She has two versions of counter spray but my favorite is the Castile soap version. I only use 2 tbsp of the soap so that my counters don’t end up left with a streaky residue. Her fantastic glass cleaner recipe also works great on all the stainless steel in my kitchen (note to self, do not pick stainless steel pulls for drawers if planning to have children. You will be constantly wiping tiny sticky finger prints off of them!)

I make a batch of each for spray bottles and for wipes. For the wipes I just pour the cleaner over a stack of inexpensive bar cloths I’ve put in an OXO container  and pull one out to wipe down all the counters after dinner is cleaned up and put away each night. I rinse the cloth out with hot water and then drape it over the sink for future use. It retains some of the cleaner albeit a diluted version of it but it’s perfect for light clean ups the next morning. Once it’s out of juice I toss it into a pretty basket I keep under my island to be washed the end of the week.

I finally had to ditch the crying baby so I could complete my task. He’s actually on the floor by my feet on his tummy time mat. I guess I’m gonna have to wait a little longer for him to be a proper assistant!

As for laundry detergent. I’ve forgone the complicated recipes that made me feel like I was in chemistry class and have discovered that 1/4 cup of Castile soap in the detergent compartment for large loads and 1/8th cup for smaller loads along with white vinegar in both the softener and bleach compartments, beautifully cleans my delicates and lightly soiled items. I use this combo for wools as well, but be absolutely sure yours are washable before trying! I’ve had a couple of felting mishaps with handmade items that makes me want to cry just thinking about it! Also for awhile I was overusing the Castile soap and my bathroom towels ended up being left with a greasy like film that made them take far too long to dry after a shower and not nearly as absorbent as they should be. I had to do a baking soda and vinegar cycle twice to get the film off, so be careful how much of the Castile you use!

For more heavily soiled items like gym cloths or jeans that you’ve worn one day too many I add 1/2 cup of borax to the tub before I throw the clothes in. For the kids clothes I throw in an OxiClean laundry pod. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find an easy and natural homemade option for their kind of stains! I often add lavender, tea tree, or lemon essential oil to the load by dropping it directly into the vinegar in the bleach and softener compartment. About 20 drops will lightly scent the clothes.

My Favorite Scent Combos

I like a strong scent, but if you prefer yours lighter use less drops.

  • Clove + Orange : 20 drops each
  • Bergamot + Grapefruit : 20 drops grapefruit, 10 drops bergamot
  • Eucalyptus + Grapefruit: 10 drops eucalyptus, 20 drops grapefruit
  • Lavender + Rosemary : 20 drops lavender, 10 drops rosemary
  • Lemon + Geranium : 20 drops of one, 10 of the other. You decide which you want to be more prevalent.

P.S. If you don’t feel like counting each drop as it falls, 20 drops is about 1 tsp.

Happy cleaning! Well…that’s kinda an oxymoron but you know what I mean. XOXO, KT

P.S. Speaking of happy cleaning YOU MUST listen to Carol Channing do a bit called “Cleaning” on the album Free To Be You And Me you won’t be disappointed!

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  • Love TL Hayden

    I have to try this!! I’ve made my own bath salts, sugar scrubs, and lip gloss before but with a 9 month old who is all over the place and always on the floor, touching everything, and then putting his fingers in his mouth… this would be perfect. Thank You!

    August 11, 2017 at 10:43 am Reply
  • Mon

    what a good idea ! Can you introduce it to the washing machine? My youngest son has skin so sensitive that when he was a baby I had to wash everything with neutral soap .. sorry for my lousy english ja! kisses from Argentina

    August 11, 2017 at 11:02 am Reply
  • Sandra Oranje

    Hi Katherine. I just bought spray bottles and rubbing alcohol and oils and what not . You are just in time with these because I was planning on looking for a glass spray. I chose to do this because the regular cleaning products do not have the scent that I really like. I have two favorites, citrus and flowers, like sweet pea. But the clove /orange combination I would love to try. Maybe I like it, who knows?! ooh and maybe Joshua cried because he couldn’t see what you were doing. As a babbysitter I know they can be nosy and love to know and see what is happening. Thanks for the ideas and I will look up the glass spray now. Big hug from the Netherlands xoxox ❤

    August 11, 2017 at 11:45 am Reply
  • Erin strauss

    Hi mrs. Heigl.
    If you use doterra essential oils, purify, is a great one for adding to the laundry. It’s one for any cleaning. Love your blog!! Love that you use essential oils! They are so amazing for so many reasons. Your new little one is so precious, go momma! Love from Dallas tx.

    August 11, 2017 at 1:17 pm Reply

    Hi Katherine, Making diy cleaning products just makes you feel that you are doing something good for your family, Right? I also have been reading the blog Live Simply for a few years now ……it is a great Blog!!! And as far as natural deodorant goes have you tried the brand “Schmidts” ? I have tried many natural products and for me Schmidts is simply perfect. give it a try! Have a great day!

    August 11, 2017 at 1:50 pm Reply
  • Syuzanna

    Dearest Katherine,
    With each new post, you keep inspiring me more and more! Your posts feel almost as if they were crafted just for me ( of course I am aware that they are addressed to all of your fans) as your writing style is free of famosity frames and is soul baring! Thank you again for sharing your neatest secrets!
    Your posts are my favorite read early in the morning! Going to try your DIY cleaning recipes! Oh, and cloves in tangerines are going to be this year’s Christmas deco! I also love using cloves in orange peel in teas and chai teas!
    With love

    August 11, 2017 at 1:56 pm Reply
  • Caroline

    I am always so happy when I see other people making their own products. There are SO many chemicals in our every day products – for the home and for ourselves! I started making my own lotions, scrubs and soaps since I had so many allergic reactions to everyday products…I hope more people start to read labels 🙂

    August 11, 2017 at 2:00 pm Reply
  • Ebony

    Thank you for sharing! I have a bottle of unscented Dr. Bronners that has been sitting in my closet for almost 7months ( use: homemade shaving cream. Neverhappened). I’ll give the laundry detergent a try, I too, love strong refreshing scents.
    Will try other DIY tips mentioned as well.

    August 11, 2017 at 8:57 pm Reply
  • Courtney

    I have a solitution for your stains! Buncha Farmers Stain Stick. It is a natural soap stick. Boil 8 oz water, dissolve stick. Split into 2 16oz spray bottles. Fill with water. Spray stains as you see them. Even if they are headed straight into the washer! It gets everything out!!! 3 kids including one that plays lacrosse, I mean EVERYTHING! Keep on bottle in laundry room and one with cleaning supplies. You can use on upholstery (my couch looks brand new), floors, sticky stains, etc.

    PS I’m not a rep or anything just a devoted customer 🙂

    Hope this helps!

    August 11, 2017 at 10:29 pm Reply
  • Alyson

    I got a tip from a workman once – to use baby oil for cleaning stainless steel. I use it on my stovetop. Use paper towel to apply the baby oil then wipe off with a clean dry paper towel. Shiny and clean!

    August 11, 2017 at 11:54 pm Reply
  • Sherry

    Oxy spray works wonders on stains. I use homemade detergent and the spray as needed. Love using homemadr detergent and will have to rethink homemade cleaning supplies.

    August 12, 2017 at 12:48 am Reply
  • Emily

    Wanted to share an awesome scientific experiment I discovered about a year ago, the results totally changed the products I use to clean with. I used to use white distilled vinegar for almost everything, but after reading through this mama (who is also a scientist) study and the proof she had, I tend to use hydrogen peroxide a lot to “de-germ”. I wish someone had shared this with me along time ago, so I figured I’d pass it along! I still make my own cleaners when not cleaning super germy places tho 🙂 here’s the study:

    August 13, 2017 at 1:15 am Reply
  • Loura Parker

    Hello Mrs. Heigl, I love your movies and your blogs 🙂 you always have such ideas that inspire one to go out and try them. You really seem down to earth and make us feel comfortable like a friend 🙂 As a friend, I would suggest you look into Young Living Essential Oils!!! They are soooooo awesome and pure!. I love Young Living. I use the oils and products and i’m a distributor for them as well. The purity of your essential oils do make a HUGE difference in your cleaning diy! Happy DIY 🙂 I have found myself also replacing the toxic things in my home with DIY or natural products and oils. It has been a fun, exciting, and experimental DIY for me and I love it!! Have a great weekend 🙂
    -Loura Parker (Happy Momma of 4 and avid oil user)

    August 13, 2017 at 3:25 am Reply
  • Amanda

    I love this idea! I have been using diy solutions this summer and have really enjoyed the benefits. I use baking soda a lot for cleaning, but I definitely want to try the essential oil solutions.

    August 15, 2017 at 3:27 am Reply
  • Frances

    Have you used the soap nuts? I used them on my baby’s clothes and never had a problem with stains… I have since moved on from them and use homemade laundry mix, but your post reminded me of them.

    August 16, 2017 at 10:07 pm Reply
  • Kristin Marr

    Wow, thank you so much for the mention! I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying the natural cleaning recipes. Such cute photos! Great work, Mama!

    August 17, 2017 at 5:47 pm Reply
  • Josefin

    So impressed and inspired. You are beautiful and smart and a super mama making us other lazy ladies look really lazy What carrier do you use?

    August 23, 2017 at 6:56 am Reply
  • Anna

    I have to give some home made cleaners a try! Usually use gallsoap on stains from/by the toddler, that stuff gets most things out (blood, grease, chocolate, blueberries etc), before I put it in the machine.
    Thank you for the smell combos – I’ll also give it a try.

    August 28, 2017 at 7:08 pm Reply
  • Krystal Cain

    I have been making my own cleaners for awhile as well, but never seen the wipes dine before. I am defiantly going to start making those for my house!

    September 21, 2017 at 6:30 am Reply
  • Stephanie

    I have been making DIY cleaning and beauty products for a while now but I never had the idea of making wipes ! I was wondering how long one batch lasted ? I’m also afraid that after a while in the cleaner the wipes will start smelling or getting bad… I have seen some people leave them soak for a few hours and then take them out but then I’m afraid they will dry up too fast ? And finally, what kind of cloths would you recommend? Here in France I can find microfiber, coton or bamboo. Thank you so much

    September 23, 2017 at 7:47 am Reply
  • Renee

    Can’t wait to try this out. Thanks for the inspiration. With a baby on the way I really am looking for a non toxic way to clean.

    February 28, 2018 at 7:40 pm Reply
  • Angela Vale

    I LOVE essential oils!! I use them for everything!! I am a wellness advocate for DoTerra and I love how Frankincense has completely taken me off of anti-depressants and anxiety medications. It’s been 3 years now and I am feeling so so much better without the chemical intervention!! Lavender is my favorite oil for sleep and for bug bites!! Takes the sting out of bug bites in like 3.9 seconds I swear!! I clean with lemon oil and vinegar, and it is amazing!! Katherine, I am such a big fan of yours!! I’m so thankful I found this blog

    July 31, 2018 at 5:17 pm Reply
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