Updates / DIY cleaning

  • The best essential oils for cleaning

    The best essential oils for cleaning

    When I set out to bring more frugal home keeping practices into my life, little did I know how intimate I'd become with knowledge of all things essential oils. I started creating my own cleaning formulas and detergents and began to wonder... were their certain essential oils that were better for cleaning? The answer, I soon learned, was definitely.

    Below, I've listed my favorite essential oils for cleaning your home, why it works, and how you can find it. 

    1. Peppermint

    It seems like every time I type a new natural alternative question into Google, I find out that Peppermint is the go-to. Did you know you could use peppermint to repel mice? I hate the idea of bating mice just to bring them to their untimely death; however, I don't care for the little things inside my home either. I was looking for something that would keep them at bay with minimal risk to my pets and the environment. You can take peppermint essential oil-soaked cotton balls or small rags and place them where you think mice are entering your home. Change them out every couple of weeks. 

    You can buy it here on Amazon Prime.

    2. Tea tree oil

    File this one away as the oil of all oils. Tea tree oil isn't just great for disinfecting your home, but has general antibacterial properties that can help with cuts, sores, and bug bites. Once you dilute the oil with water (1tsp for every cup of water) in a spray bottle you can use it in the bathroom to clean sinks and toilets, in showers to keep mold at bay, and kitchen counters that see a lot of food prep. 

    You can buy it here on Amazon Prime.

    3. Lemon

    This is a scent that I just can't quit. There's something so refreshing about citrus, isn't there? I love to use lemon essential oils when making my own detergents (laundry and dish) as it naturally cuts grease. It's a great one to add to homemade hand soap due to its natural antiviral qualities. 

    You can buy it here on Amazon Prime.

    4. Thyme

    Not a fan of the strong tea tree oil scent? Thyme works the same way and has a more earthy scent. 

    You can buy it here on Amazon Prime.


    How much to use?

    You'll want to make sure that you use at least 20 drops of oil per 2 cups of water in order for the cleaning properties to shine through. If you're not a fan of one of the above oils' scent, you can add other scents on top of the 20 drops to balance things out. 

    Just starting your natural, homemade, or zero-waste cleaning routine? Check out my post on what products you'll want to get your hands on first. I also share a few DIY recipes for cleaners and sprays.



    Continue reading
  • How to go zero waste with your cleaning routine

    How to go zero waste with your cleaning routine

    It might not even be on your radar, but your cleaning routine is contributing a ton of trash. I don't know about you, but I got fed up spending a ton of money on short-lived supplies - especially when I couldn't recognize a single thing on the ingredients list. As time went on, I started feeling guilty about the amount of plastic and paper towels I was pitching in the trash. I needed to find a better way to tidy up my home.

    After a lot of research and trial and error, I found some of the best items out there that are sustainable, natural, non-toxic and easy to get your hands on. Below are my top products (some are even DIY!) to get you started with a zero waste cleaning regimen. 


    Investing in zero waste or eco-friendly cleaning tools is one of the most satisfying things I did throughout my journey. I was no longer tossing broken scrubber brushes or sponges after a few uses. Everything I'm recommending below can be purchased on Amazon and I've included things that I myself personally use.

    Lola brand re-useable sponges

    For sponges, I've recently started using Twist brand. They're made from plants, they're hand sewn, and you can toss them into your dishwasher to disinfect and re-use. They're also incredibly inexpensive - just $10 for 6 reusable sponges. When you think about how much those little green sponges are that you toss after one encounter with a greasy pot or pan, it's quite shocking!

    One item that I have always undervalued was a good bristle brush. I had a hard time finding one that didn't scratch my pots and pans or just simply fall apart mid wash. I've invested in two of these Lola natural bristle brushes - one for cleaning dishes and one for scrubbing sinks and bathtubs. Best part? This cleaning powerhouse lasts 5 years! For just under $10, I'd say that's a pretty wise investment.

    Lola natural brush

    There's little I enjoy less than cleaning toilets. I'm sure most of you out there feel the same way. Do yourself a favor and get this Tampico bristle toilet brush. Stash it in a simple metal pail in a closet and forget all about it.

    If you're like me, you might be slightly obsessed with keeping things organized around the house. I just ordered this metal caddy which houses all my brushes (minus the toilet brush!) and cleaning products - and I love it.

    Sprays and Soaps

    I tend to consider frugality a daily challenge - sort of like a video game. Since becoming more mindful of my household's impact on the environment and what certain products can do to our health, I've also become more aware of how much I spend on a regular basis. Anytime I can find a healthier and cheaper alternative, I'm in. You're probably thinking you don't have time to make your own cleaning products because you're super busy, but it literally takes minutes and sets you up for success for days, weeks, and months if you want.

    All-purpose cleaning spray

    I use this stuff on kitchen counters, bathroom sinks, and tubs, and pretty much anything that needs a good wipe-down. 

    Invest in a few glass spray bottles and take a piece of masking tape to label the contents.

    Basic cleanup spray

    1 cup of water

    2 Tbs. liquid Castille soap

    Essential oils of choice (I love this lemon from Now Foods)

    Mix everything together and you're all set!

    Another favorite of mine is taking orange peels (or any citrus for that matter) and soaking them in a mason jar full of vinegar for a week or two and pouring that along with one part water into a spray bottle. 

    Need extra scrubbing power? When we moved into our 200-year-old house there were more than a few rust stains on porcelain sinks and tubs. This is a bigger project than Castille and vinegar can tackle. Create a paste with baking soda and water (should be about the consistency of toothpaste) and leave on your tough spot for about an hour. Come back with your new Lola scrubber and you should be able to see results with a little elbow grease.

    Last but not least - glass cleaner! This recipe seemed a bit strange to me, but honestly, it works just as good as your typical name brand cleaner. Use old newspapers to wipe it clean and your windows and mirrors will sparkle!

    1/4 cup white vinegar

    1/4 cup rubbing alcohol

    1 Tbsp. corn starch

    2 C warm water 

    1Tbs. liquid Castille soap

    Mix this together in one of your new spray bottles and it will last you at least a few rounds of cleaning.

    I go through the little effort to make my own cleaning products because it's minimally invasive on the environment and costs pennies to make. 

    I hope you found some useful information in this roundup of tools and homemade cleaners. Please share your own recipes and product must-haves in the comments below!



    Continue reading