Homemade cleaning solutions are enjoying a bit of a resurgence of late: super-cheap to make, effective and versatile, natural cleaning products are also great eco-friendly alternatives to standard shop-bought sprays, with no hidden toxins and far less waste. Did you know, for example, that the bulk of what you’re buying in cleaning sprays is just water, which results in a huge carbon footprint for shipping out something you can get from your tap?


In my latest book, The New Mindful Home (Laurence King Publishing) I not only extol the many virtues of greening up your clean, but I also share a number of ‘recipes’ for making your own too, all designed to use on as many everyday household items and surfaces as possible.

Why use natural cleaning products?

Photo by Wendy Graham of Moral Fibres

Cleaning and mindfulness might at first seem like odd bedfellows, but as I discuss in my Clean Living chapter of The New Mindful Home, it can be rewarding for our own personal wellbeing (as well as that of the planet) to take a more mindful approach to the different scents and chemicals we bring into our home, and by putting in the effort to make your own natural cleaning sprays with your favourite scents. It could even help cleaning up feel a little more rewarding!

For my full list of recipes, do check out my book, though here are some basics to get you started...

How to make natural cleaning products

Natural all-purpose cleaning spray recipe

Good old vinegar and water have been used for cleaning for aeons, and for good reason: it really works! But to avoid your house smelling like a chip shop, you’ll want to include some scent, too. There are two methods to create your all-purpose cleaner, both of which require an equal mix of white vinegar and water.

- Instant: combine the white vinegar and water in a spray bottle, then add in 10-30 (depending on bottle size) drops of essential oil (oils with antimicrobial or antibacterial properties work well here, such as peppermint, lavender and grapefruit)

- Fermented: add some citrus fruit rind and herb cuttings like rosemary or thyme to a glass jar and fill with white vinegar. Place in a dark cupboard (lid on) for a couple of weeks, strain, then add to a spray bottle with an equal amount of water

Natural surfaces cleaner recipe

Vinegar erodes porous materials so if you need to clean surfaces such as marble, granite or limestone, dilute a tablespoon of liquid castile soap with two cups of warm water, then transfer to a spray bottle. Castile is a natural, non-toxic vegetable-based soap that can be used for many natural cleaning recipes – find it online or in natural health stores.

Natural deodorising powder recipe

Carpets or upholstery getting a bit whiffy? Mix together a cup of bicarbonate of soda with 20-30 drops of essential oil (or a teaspoon of dried herbs or dried citrus peel), add to a glass jar then leave overnight. Sprinkle over carpets and rugs (a sieve or flour shaker works well), leave in place for a day then hoover up for a fresh scent

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Natural all-surface floor cleaner recipe

Combine one cup of white vinegar with a tablespoon of liquid castile soap, then add 15-20 drops of essential oil and store in a bottle. When cleaning floors, add a slosh to your bucket of hot water (the heat will also amplify the smell of the essential oils)

Natural air freshener spray recipe

Some shop-bought fresheners can contain lots of synthetic fragrances, but it’s simple to make your own all-natural bespoke blend – and by using essential oils, they could even help enhance your mood, too, depending on what you pick. Add two tablespoons of witch hazel or vodka to 3⁄4 cup of water, then add 20 drops of essential oil (this could be a mix of several scents, if you like). Transfer to a spray bottle, then shake and spray!”

For more advice on living, cleaning and decorating mindfully, follow Joanna’s journey on Instagram or to see her full range of books, visit her website. Happy cleaning!


Photos are by Wendy Graham of Moral Fibres. Moral Fibres is a budget and style conscious eco blog covering all aspects of sustainable living - from ethical fashion, to eating seasonally, saving energy and everything inbetween


Joanna Thornhill is an interior stylist, writer, trend forecaster, author and creative consultant, with over fifteen years experience creating styled shoots and written content for brands and magazines.