Eco-friendly, Homemade Cleaning Options

Written by Urban Ecology Center
    Monday, 06 April 2020
Eco-friendly, Homemade Cleaning Options

It's spring cleaning time! Time to put harsh chemicals into the air and water as we clean the house! Wait, that sounds a bit counterintuitive. Putting harsh chemicals in the air to clean the house? Maybe we should try something new.

We asked our staff to give us some of their favorite recipes for homemade household supplies. These options are better for the environment. The ingredients are cheaper and can be bought in large quantities, making these homemade concoctions better for your budget as well.

Please note: Vinegar is not effective against COVID-19. Unless marked, these recipes are for basic cleaning and not for COVID-19 disenfecting purposes.

Common ingredients include:

Baking soda (an all-purpose wonder)

Vinegar (baking soda + vinegar= a cool science project and also a great cleaner)

Essential oils (optional. Nice for fragrance and, in some cases, a plus to the recipe's effectiveness.

Hand sanitizer*

submitted by Jeff Veglahn, Land Steward - Menomonee Valley

*Is effective against COVID-19. 

  • 3 parts 70% isopropyl alcohol
  • 1 part aloe vera gel
  • Drops of essential oils (tea tree oil is a natural disinfectant)

Another version of this recipe*

*Is effective against COVID-19. 

  • 2 parts 91% alcohol
  • 1 part aloe vera gel
kelly sikkema W1XbZLRdk8o unsplash small

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Two clear glass jars. One has a powder in it. Small wooden measuring spoon lays in front.Homemade dishwasher detergent

submitted by Gillian Spence, Corporate and Foundation Relations Manager

Find Gillian's favorite dishwasher detergent recipe here:


Photo by Jess Watters from Pixabay


Two brown spray bottlesBathtub cleaner

submitted by Davita Flowers-Shanklin, Volunteer Program Manager

  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons of Castile soap
  • Drops of essential oils (sweet orange or tea tree)

Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash


Metal drain snake with handleDrain cleaner

submitted by Carijean Buhk, Marketing Communications Coordinator

Carijean's favorite tool for hair clogs is a "drain snake", a long, plastic or metal strip with little teeth to catch the hair and pull it out of the drain. While this one isn't hommade, it is resuable and doesn't use the harsh chemicals found in store bought drain cleaners.

Photo Credit: Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash
Urban Ecology Center

Urban Ecology Center

At the Urban Ecology Center, we connect people in cities to nature and each other. Read more about us here!


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