Natural family-friendly cleaning methods & products

For years, I thought that the smell of bleach and other harsh cleansers equaled cleanliness.

Today I prefer more natural methods to clean, and now my house doesn’t feel clean to me unless it smells like lemons, oranges, or honeysuckle (as you’ll understand when I discuss my favorite store bought cleaning products).

There are absolutely times when I need something that is very powerful, but I always try a natural option first before trying something stronger.  Most of the time, the non-toxic option does the job.

As far as what I use, I like to keep it simple by utilizing many items that most people already have in their homes.

 Natural family-safe cleaning methods & products from The Grass Skirt


Lemons are very acidic and great for dissolving all sorts of stains.  I use lemons when I clean by:

  • Mixing lemon juice with olive oil to make furniture polish
  • Combining lemon juice with baking soda to make a scrub
  • Heating lemon water in the microwave for 3 minutes and letting it stand for 5 minutes before wiping down the microwave
  • Running lemon peels and water through the garbage disposal to clean and freshen it up (Orange peels work too!)
  • Disinfecting a cutting board and removing stains from it by rubbing it with half a sliced lemon.

Baking soda

Baking soda is very abrasive and fights odors, so it is ideal for cleaning. You can use it in your fridge to absorb odors, and while effective, it is also gentle enough to use on pots and pans and most counter tops without scratching.

Distilled white vinegar

I use white vinegar to make an all-purpose cleaning solution.  It is great for cleaning, deodorizing, and killing bacteria, and it can be used on appliances, sinks, and shower stalls (although I do not recommend using it on granite as it can be too harsh).  All I do to make the solution is mix one part vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle.  Because I am very drawn to scents, I also like to add several drops of orange essential oil to the bottle to tone down the smell of the vinegar.

Olive Oil

I already told you that I like to mix some olive oil and lemon juice to make furniture polish, but I also started to use olive oil to clean stainless steel appliances several years ago after watching a YouTube video about it.  I was very skeptical at first, but it works unbelievably well.  I even have my mother and grandmother using olive oil on their appliances!

The best non-toxic cleaning products

Even though I make my own cleaning products, I also like to have some store bought options on hand.  Luckily, it is easy to find these cleansers in the grocery store, Target, and online.  I’m pretty familiar with all sorts of brands out there, so here are my thoughts on some of them:

Seventh Generation:  I like how these are accessible, affordable (my local newspaper often has coupons for this brand), and effective.  But since I am being honest, I don’t care for the smell of these and rarely use anything other than their disinfecting wipes (which are great to have during cold and flu season).

Method: This brand has a wide range of products (and fragrances) to choose from, and I especially like the all-purpose cleaner and granite spray.  I’m also a fan of the dishwasher tabs.  I usually purchase these from Target because they frequently tend to be on sale through the Cartwheel app.

Mrs. Meyer’s: I’ve talked these up a few times before on the blog, so you probably won’t be surprised to know that this is my very favorite brand as far as natural household cleaning products.  The way they clean, the variety, the wonderful scents… I love it all. If I had to choose my favorites from the brand, I’d choose the MultiSurface Spray, dish soap, and all-purpose cleaner (all in the honeysuckle scent). 

The Honest Company: Everything that I have ever used by this brand has been good.  I used to receive my products through their monthly subscription service, but I really like how they are more mainstream now.  Vitacost has some good deals on their laundry detergent, dishwasher packs, and floor cleanser  (my personal favorite cleaning products from The Honest Company).

I can go more into air fresheners/room deodorizers and laundry care, but I’ll save those topics for future posts. 😉

What are your favorite non-toxic cleaning methods?  

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  1. Thank you for this article! I told you I was interested in natural cleaners and you laid out the different types and ways to use them very clearly.

  2. I have an post similar to this drafted right now. You know I all for this and nodding along with you! I love the idea of adding scents like orange to your sprays too. Totally need to start doing that. I love the Honest company as my “go to” for natural products when I’m not making them myself, or Seventh Generation (dishwasher pods are my fave by them). I hope more people start looking for natural alternatives – for their health!

    • I totally agree! It is so scary to think about all of the harsh chemicals we can expose ourselves and our families to if we aren’t careful.

  3. Hey Erin! Natural cleaning products have come back into my life recently because we have a marble shower in our apartment (amazing landlord). And then I remembered that I love natural cleaning products anyway, and can’t believe I haven’t been using them. My question for you – what natural cleaning product do you use for soap scum?

    • Hi Jennifer! For soap scum, I mix 1 cup of baking soda, some of my liquid dish soap (I use Mrs. Meyer’s), and about a cup of water together. The baking soda is super abrasive and is really effective when it comes to getting it all off. I hope that helps! 🙂

  4. You have combined in one place some of the best cleaning products. I love using natural cleaners, because of their efficiency and effectiveness!


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