DIY Recipes

So you’re ready to join the world of DIY greening, or as we like to call it open source cleaning. Like all open source things, bear in mind that this is a conglomeration of a lot of people’s wisdom. If you’re unsure about any recipe or need direction for a specific surface, contact us before you try it. If you have a great recipe you want to share with the world, share it with us and we’ll add it to our pool of knowledge!

Be Mindful: With anything abrasive, do a small test area before diving in. With anything highly acidic, remember to NEVER use on natural stones except for granite.

Essential Oils

You find that nearly all natural solutions have either no fragrance or they smell of straight vinegar. Essential oils to the rescue! Not just to make your home smell lovely, to make you feel lovely also. You can add essential oils to any and all ingredients/ mixes to make them smell AND work better. Depending on what effects you’re looking for, these are some combination’s we suggest.

  • MIND CLEARING: Peppermint (antiviral/septic) and Eucalyptus (antiseptic)
  • ANTIDEPRESSANT 1: Lemongrass (antibacterial/microbial) and Patchouli (fungicidal)
  • ANTIDEPRESSANT 2: Sweet Orange, Patchouli (fungicidal), Ylang Ylang
  • ENERGIZING 1: Thyme (antibacterial/microbial), Lemon (microbial), Ginger
  • ENERGIZING 2: Tea Tree (antibacterial/microbial) and Lavender*
  • UPLIFTING: Lavender (antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral and fungicidal), Lime and Bergamot
  • BALANCING/CALMING 1: Basil, Lavender* and Peppermint (antiviral/septic)
  • BALANCING/CALMING 2: Ylang Ylang, Lavender* and Cypress (antibacterial)



  • Coffee-maker: Fill the coffee maker’s water reservoir with undiluted vinegar and run the brewing cycle. Removes mineral deposits and de-odorizes. Run again with only water to rinse.
  • Dishwasher: Add ½ cup undiluted vinegar to an empty dishwasher. Then run full cycle.
  • Garbage disposal: 1 ) Pour 1 cup white vinegar into an ice tray, top off with water, then freeze the mixture. 2) Put cubes + a lemon slice or rind into garbage disposal, run, then flush with cold water.
  • Microwave: put a slice of lemon (1 T juice) in a small ball of water. Microwave on high for 30 secs. Wipe down the inside with a dry cloth.
  • Oven Sprinkle enough baking soda that the bottom is completely white, and the spray water on top. Re-moisten several times. Let sit overnight. Simply wiping with a cloth should get the worst of it off. Repeat if necessary.
  • Toaster oven. To avoid messy clean up, you can line the bottom with aluminum foil and change out weekly. Remember to recycle the aluminum when replacing it. To clean, use oven method (above).

Cutting Boards
Glass and plastic ones can just go in the dishwasher. Wooden ones should be washed with castille soap and dried. Once dry: pick one

  • Spray with undiluted vinegar just before going to bed and let the vinegar evaporate overnight.
  • Hydrogen peroxide also works, but spray, let sit (at least 10 mins) and then wipe dry.
  • Cut a lemon in half. Rub straight onto cutting board. This will remove onion or garlic smell.

Dishwasher Detergent
Borax (1 T) + washing soda (1T) in soap compartment. Distilled white vinegar in compartment for rinsing agent.

Drain Opener do NOT use any of these if a commercial drain cleaner has already been used.

  • Prevention: use a trap to catch hair and/or food before it goes down the drain at all!
  • Maintain: boil a kettle full of water, pour down drain.
  • Slow Drain: Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain. Add 1/2 cup white vinegar and cover the drain if possible. Let set for a few minutes, then pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain to flush it.
  • Really Slow Drain: Dissolve 1 lb washing soda in 3 gal boiling water and pour down drain. This is great for hair clogs.
  • Clogged: Use a plumber’s snake or call a plumber. Once unclogged try to prevent in future.

Fruit and Veggie Wash

Mix either recipe in a spray bottle. Let sit 10-15 mins. Rinse thoroughly.

  • Mix 1 T lemon juice with 2 T baking soda in 1 cup of water –> spray bottle.
  • Vinegar + water (1:1 ratio) + 2 tablespoons of salt.

Insect Repellent

  • Ants: Ants won’t cross chalk lines. Draw line around windows, doors, water lines.
  • Fruit flies: Put apple cider in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and use a rubber band to secure. Poke holes in top with toothpick. The flies will get trapped. Leave out until all flies caught.
  • Roaches: Mix equal parts borax and powdered sugar. Sprinkle along walls and under cabinets. Keep away from children and animals. Also works for ants.
  • Spiders: No webs= no spiders. Clear them away from corners, window & door frames. At least seasonally, open windows and vac out inside.

Silver Cleaning

  • Put aluminum foil in a glass or ceramic container, pour in very hot water and washing soda (or salt and baking soda).
  • Dip silver pieces into this “bath” to clean them, letting the silver rest on the aluminium foil.
  • Last, rinse the silver in water and let air dry.

Stainless Steel

  • To disinfect: apply rubbing alcohol to a clean, soft cloth and rub surface in the direction of the grain. Allow the alcohol to evaporate.
  • To polish: apply olive oil with a dry cloth in the same manner.


  • Electric: Fill sink with 1 cup washing soda & enough hot water to cover the drip pans. Let soak while you do rest of the house. For best results, soak the pans overnight. Do NOT add any plastic pieces (like knobs). They will corrode.
  • Glass cook-top: Spray down with an all purpose surface cleaner to disinfect. Let sit 5-10 mins. Scrub with abrasive sponge. For baked on grime, use a straight razor to scrape off. Rinse with clean sponge. Polish with dry cloth.
  • Gas: Same as electric stove, but you can also add other metal pieces, like grates, to soak.


Grout Cleaner

  • Spray 3% hydrogen peroxide straight onto grout. Let sit 30 mins. Scrub with grout brush. Rinse thoroughly.
  • For tougher mildew make a paste of liquid castille soap and washing soda. Apply with brush to mildew area. Let set at least 30 mins. Attack with grout brush.Rinse thoroughly.

Stone Cleaner

  • Use castille soap and warm water. Rinse. Buff dry. Anything acidic can damage the finish.

Mineral Deposits

  • Cut a lemon in half, rub over the surface to be cleaned. For a more abrasive cleaner, dip the cut lemon into some baking soda or salt.

Soap Scum

  • A used dryer sheets on a dry surface cuts through soap scum OR a lemon half + baking soda.

Sinks, tubs and tile

  • Combine ½-cup of baking soda with liquid soap to make a paste of frosting-like consistency. Use a sponge to apply the mixture to the surface OR sprinkle baking soda on surface and apply soap directly to sponge.
  • Won’t scratch. Make sure to rinse thoroughly or it will leave a bit of the baking soda behind.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

  • Castille soap + washing soda for the inside. Swirl around. Let sit at least 20 mins.
  • OR Use drop in two tablets of alka-selter. Let sit 20 mins. Flush!
  • For really bad stains, drain water from bowl. Dip a lemon half in borax. Scrub bowl. Let 30 mins then flush away.


Carpets & Rugs

  • Deodorizing: Sprinkle rugs with baking soda, rub it into the rug with a broom, let sit for 20 mins, then vacuum up the residue.
  • Red wine spill: pour liberal amount of salt on spill immediately. You’ll see the salt turning pink. Let dry. Vac up. Should be as good as new!


  • Always thoroughly vac (or sweep) before wet-cleaning any floor.
  • Use clean rags or mop. Change out water, when cold or getting dirty, as often as needed.
  • Remember that you can water plants with used mop water: it’s non-toxic!

Wood Floors

  • ¼ cup white vinegar per gallon of hot water.
  • Black tea (1 tea bag per quart of water), cooled, also works great!
  • 1 oz of citra-solv concentrate per half gallon of hot water

Vinyl Floors

  • For tough spots, scrub first with a lemon half. To wash the rest, dissolve 1 T borax into a bucket of hot water.

Slate Floors

  • Mostly hot water. Use either surface spray to mist large sections of floor at a time and then wash with hot water.

Marble Floors

  • Hot water ONLY! A couple of times a year, add some soap to the water. Rinse thoroughly. NEVER leave water sitting on marble or it will absorb and stain.

Ceramic Tile Floors

  • Mostly hot water. Use either surface spray to mist large sections of floor at a time and then wash with hot water.

Living Spaces

Air Quality

  • All plants take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, which improves air quality for breathing. These plants actually eliminate toxins.
  • Regular vacuuming of upholstery, especially in homes with pets, will increase your air quality also.


  • Always use a clean, soft cloth, whether microfiber or other. Slightly moisten with a surface spray (citrus one is nice).
  • An overly moist rag will push dust around, not pick it up. Change out rag when dirty or overly moist.


  • If walls are VERY dirty/ dusty, first vac or dust mop walls.
  • Then, fill a bucket with hot water. Add 1 oz of citrasolv concentrate per ½ gallon of water.
  • Use clean rags. Change out water as it gets dirty or walls will become smeared.
  • A gum eraser can get rid of scuff marks.
  • Rubbing alcohol will remove a lot of marks. Careful: will also remove some paints!

Window/ Glass Cleaner

  • Mix white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. (1:1 for dirty windows, 1:3 for maintenance)
  • Spray on one pane or section of glass/ mirror at a time. Buff with dry cloth.
  • If streaking: Apply rubbing alcohol to remove possible residue from commercial cleaners. Then repeat spray cleaner where needed.

Wood Cleaner and Polish

  • To clean: use window vinegar and water mix.
  • To polish: use a 1:2 mixture of an oil (we suggest olive) plus an acid (lemon juice or vinegar) If vinegar: white for light woods, cider for dark. Apply with dry, soft cloth in direction of wood grain.
  • For stubborn drink rings: Mix vinegar and olive oil (1:1) and rub with the grain of the wood to remove the stain.



  • The 3 most common ingredients: Grated bar soap + Borax + washing soda.
  • Make sure to pick a bar soap that is non-toxic. A number of recipes call for Fels-Naptha or Octagon soap, which have synthetic ingredients. We recommend bar castille soap.
  • There are a number of variations on how to combine the basic ingredients

Fabric Softener

  • Add 1/2 cup (125 ml) of white vinegar to fabric softener resevoir and then top off with water.



  • Use baking soda to melt ice!
  • A solution of 3 parts vinegar to 1 part water can be used to “coat” the windows of your car to keep them from freezing in the winter.

Spring/ Summer

  • Use undiluted vinegar to kill unwanted grass and weeds.