How to go Chemical Free at Home – 5 DIY Swaps for Household Cleaning

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Deciding to go chemical free at home can be a real no-brainer some days. This can be especially true when you have chronic health issues and you are actively trying to reduce the toxic load in your body. Unfortunately, many household cleaning products are not helping you out in the long term. You may have a product that helps you get rid of dirt, grime, mold and mildew but maybe you didn’t realize that these same products can give you a headache and damage your liver.

While there are many wonderful products on the market for taking care of every household need, and many new products continue coming to the market which prove to be less toxic than some of their predecessors, the truth is with a little elbow grease you can make your own household cleaning products.

Do-it-yourself cleaning products do not have to be confusing, though the DIY approach can take some experimenting to find the right formula for your need. Before we get into the recipes, let’s explore what the research shows about toxins at home.

Will Going Chemical Free at Home Make Your Health Issues Disappear?

It’s a good question. According to the EPA indoor air pollution can be caused by many different sources ranging from asbestos to radon to volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are fumes that commonly found in most household cleaners and permeate throughout your home, impacting your air quality.

What are the impacts from these VOCs in our homes? Here is a list of common symptoms:

  • Irritated eyes, nose and throat
  • Headaches and nausea
  • Loss of coordination
  • Damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system
  • Some organics can cause cancer in animals, some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.
  • Hypoxia

The EPA further states that while duration of exposure can play a role in experiencing symptoms and the severity of symptoms, many people report headaches, nausea, and discomforts immediately upon exposure.

Knowing that products taking up space under your sink, in your basement of in a connected garage can cause such devastating symptoms and can play a role in your chronic health issues might make you cringe.

You spend your hard earned cash on many of these products expecting help for your dirt, grime and germ problems and may not have expected the adverse side effects.

This is the reason why you may be turning to do-it-yourself household cleaners in order to be chemical free at home.

chemical free at home

What are the products needed for DIY household cleaning?

In order to make your own household cleaning products and go chemical free at home, finally, there are a baseline list of the most common products you will need to get started.

Having these on hand in quantity will make your life easy. When you use these as your go-to cleaner it’s so much easier to make a big batch and have it on hand for the year. Yes, these DIY household cleaner formulations can last awhile and that means you save TIME AND MONEY. That’s a win win for your fighting your chronic illness. You need the easy button sometimes! 🙂

Here’s your baseline list of needed items to get your DIY self all situated:

Distilled Vinegar:

Yes, it’s gotta be distilled. And yes, it can conquer E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans because it contains antimicrobial properties. Vinegar can be homemade from fruit like apples but that’s another step deeper into diy for another day. For now, know that vinegar is a baseline product for making your homemade cleaning products.

Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate)

chemical free at home

I wish I can say I had a healthy appreciation for baking soda my whole like about how cool this everyday product is, but it took awhile for my understanding to deepen. I do have a memory of being stung by a bee after kindergarten let out for the day and my mom rubbed some damp baking soda on the sting to help remove the stinger.

Baking soda is cheap and plentiful. Sure it’s used in baking, but it is also antimicrobial making it a powerful tool in your household cleaning arsenal. Baking soda disrupts and kills bacteria with short, frequent exposure.

Castile Soap

Castile soap is effective in operating room environments for eliminating and reducing bacteria. It’s also an effective cleaner for your chemical free at home mindset. It’s an excellent base for many cleaning solutions.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice helps in diy cleaning products because it is a known disinfectant. In fact, it has been used as a biocide disinfectant in water and has many health benefits when taken internally as well. Plus it’s really great as a streak-free window cleaner.

Olive Oil

Olive oil provides numerous uses in household cleaning. Think of it as a cleaning side-kick because it enhances many cleaning related projects. It can help with polishing kitchenware such as cast iron pans, it can help remove sticky labels from jars and it helps polish your non-toxic wooden utensils.

Essential Oils

Each essential oil has different properties that make it excellent for special tasks. For household cleaning I favor tea tree oil and clove oil for their disinfecting properties. Lemon oil like lemon juice is also a disinfectant and smells nice and sweet orange brings an uplifting scent. I really recommend this starter essential oil set or this 16 piece essential oil set to cover all of your bases. Essential oils provide a wonderful plant based scent that helps with staying “bad” chemical free at home.

Aren’t sure what else to do with essential oils? Check out my favorite essential oils for endometriosis and hormone balance.

Borax (hydrated borate of sodium or sodium tetraborate)

chemical free at home

Borax is a white alkaline powder that can be used in all sorts of at home cleaning recipes and it can be safe with some exceptions. The powder can cause irritation and it can be toxic to children and pets when ingested in certain doses. It can be a great solvent but the dust can travel in the air and cause irritation and it can cause fertility and birth defects. Not something I dismiss lightly when recommending it. If you decide to use it, clean up the area if it spills and use a well ventilated space for storing the powder.

I keep in in my chemical free at home stash though as recommended I use it only occasionally.

Washing Soda (“soda ash”/sodium carbonate)

chemical free at home

Washing soda also called soda ash is used in many household cleaning products and is not known to be an irritation to the skin or have other side effects. It’s a natural ingredient commonly found in plant ash. Its role is primarily in laundry washing as it’s known to break down dirt and grime. As with Borax, be careful and don’t inhale or ingest this powder and treat it as any other chemical (albeit a less toxic). Being chemical free at home still requires prudence!

Chemical Free at Home – What are 5 DIY Swaps for your Household Cleaning Products?

chemical free at home

As I’ve just outlined there are several baseline ingredients you need that will enable you to make your own household cleaners in the comfort of your own home. Occasionally, you might find that you need another one so make sure to keep a running list of your supplies.

Chemical Free at Home Swap #1: Laundry Detergent

I am really happy using this laundry soap. It makes quite a large quantity and the price isn’t bad at all. Plus, it cleans clothing really well without leaving any residue on my clothes or in the laundry machine. This is a pretty easy win for going chemical free at home with laundry detergent.

You will need:

  • 5 gallon bucket
  • Castile Soap (or Fels Naptha, though it does have some toxins)
  • Essential Oils
  • Washing Soda
  • Borax

To start:

  1. Shred your bar of soap and add to 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Stir as the soap melts over medium heat. If you choose to use liquid castile soap, skip this step.
  2. Fill a 5 gallon bucket half of the way with water. (warm water will help the ingredients mix more easily).
  3. Add 1/2 cup of washing soda to the water.
  4. Add 1 cup of Borax powder.
  5. Add in the melted bar soap or 1 cup of liquid castile soap.
  6. Add in 20 drops of essential oils (your choice here).
  7. Let the mixture sit overnight with a lid on.
  8. In the morning, stir the mixture. You may need to use a paint drill or immersion blender to mix the ingredients together as they may have separated.
  9. Use 1/2 cup for all loads in cold or warm water. This recipe is safe for HE wash machines.

Chemical Free at Home Swap #2: Dishwasher Soap

I’m going to tell it to you straight: finding an acceptable diy dishwasher soap recipe has proven to be a bit of a challenge. I’ve used three now that sounded great on paper but were substantive failures in the cleaning department. I don’t know what’s worse, putting time and energy into a bad recipe or wasting materials on a product that makes my life full of more work. Opening up a dishwasher to streaky or filmy glassware can be a a letdown.

All were powdered recipes and all of them let me down even after modifications. Maybe it’s just me.

Then I found one that I wanted to share for its simplicity and high regard. This is the only one I have yet to try, so let me know how it goes, ok? Credit goes to Huff Post for this one.

You will need:

  • Dirty dishes
  • Salt
  • Baking Soda
  • Liquid dish soap

To start:

  1. Add 3 drops of liquid dish soap
  2. Fill up most of the way with baking soda (2/3 of the way)
  3. Fill the rest with salt

I hear the result is clean, sparkly dishes. Can’t wait to try this super easy diy recipe to live chemical free at home.

Chemical Free at Home Swap #3: Surface Cleaner

This surface cleaner is so simple to make and it leaves my counters looking and smelling clean. I always have some on hand and have extra bottles in the ‘loo, too. This recipe is one you’re gonna fall back on time and time again as your go chemical free at home.

You will need:

  • water
  • distilled vinegar
  • essential oils
  • spray bottle

To start:

  1. Mix a solution with equal parts water and vinegar. For example, 1 cup of vinegar + 1 cup of water goes into a spray bottle.
  2. Add in 15 drops of your choice of essential oils. (Some of the best at disinfecting include tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, rosemary oil, and clove oil.)
  3. Give the bottle a good share before you use it. Spray your surface of choice.

Chemical Free at Home Swap #4: Toilet Bowl Cleaner

You will need:

  • Spray cleaner from swap #3
  • baking soda or borax
  • Toilet bowl brush

To start:

  1. Spray cleaner into your toilet bowl and around.
  2. For serious stains, distribute 1/4 cup of baking soda or borax into the bowl. Wait 5-10 minute and use the toilet brush to scrub grime away.
  3. Flush.
  4. For easy maintenance, spray your toilet with the diy surface cleaner once or week or as needed.

Chemical Free at Home Swap #5: Poo Deodorizer Spray

Ever head of the hilariously well marketed Poo Pourie? Well, I’ve used it a time or two and found the idea to simply work. As I was experimenting with diy recipes for household cleaners, I came upon a recipe which I modified here and there. I wanted a spray where I knew all of the ingredients were clean and natural.

You will need:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Essential oils
  • Castile Soap
  • Water
  • 4oz spray bottle (or spray bottle size of your choice)

To start:

  1. Add these ingredients into your spray bottle:
  2. 1/2 teaspoon rubbing alcohol
  3. 1 tsp castile soap
  4. 30 drops essential oils (I like lemon, lavender and orange or eucalyptus)
  5. Fill the rest of the spray bottle with water. Shake well.
  6. Add a pretty label to your bottle and leave in the ‘loo.

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Going chemical free at home can be exciting (and easy on your budget over time) as you embark on a journey that begins with a single step. These formulas are easy to make and the products are easy to find right now. Careful, you might become a pro soon.

Without chronic illness and health woes, I probably wouldn’t have dabbled in all of this chemical free at home business. I probably would have continued buying whatever products I bought and that would have been the end of it. But life has a ways of going in unexpected directions. Going chemical free at home has instilled in me a spirit of creativity and curiosity. Maybe it will for you, too. Stay curious. Get creative.

I’d love to hear how the recipes worked for you! Let me know how you are going chemical free at home and what your fav parts have been so far in the comments section!

Thanks for stopping by!

Author’s Note: Thanks for reading! I personally use and support the products featured above. Occasionally, I recommend products I genuinely love and will earn commissions as an Amazon Affiliate if you decide to make a purchase through the links at no cost to you. Posts like these allow me to keep A Pain in the Endo’s content free.

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