Anita's is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Green Cleaning 101: The Basics of Environment-Friendly Cleaning

Natural green detergent bottles and containers.

It’s crucial to clean your house to make a happy home, but you’re not doing yourself any favors if you choose harsh chemicals to tackle the mess.

Despite their effectiveness at cleaning and sanitizing surfaces, cleaning agents like bleach, ammonia, formaldehyde, and chlorine can contribute to long-term health defects. If you want to keep your space fresh and your family safe, it’s time to ditch the chemicals and take up green cleaning.

Green cleaning refers to the use of toxin-free and often all-natural cleaning products that are safe for humans and the environment.

You can purchase many green home cleaning products at the store, but you can also make plenty of DIY cleaners with household ingredients. Below, we’ll help you get started with green cleaning by showing you what cleaners use and how to use them.

The Best Green Cleaning Products

Green cleaning lacks a specific and agreed-upon definition, so some products may not be as eco-friendly or safe as they sound. It’s important to research brands and read product labels to ensure there are no chemical additives like phosphates, phthalates, or volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

If you want a shortcut to quality green cleaning brands, check out some of these popular products online and in stores:

  • Clean Living cleaners
  • Seventh Generation disinfectant sprays
  • Homethings cleaning solution tablets
  • PUR Home laundry detergent
  • ECOS pet cleaners
  • Common Good essential oil cleaners
  • Mrs. Meyer’s everyday cleaners
  • Method floor cleaners
  • Eco-Egg laundry eggs
  • Thrive household cleaners

There are new niche green house cleaning products hitting the market every day, giving you a safer alternative for any surface. The EPA offers comprehensive resources through their Safer Choice program aimed at helping consumers find products that use non-toxic ingredients.

Homemade Solutions for DIY Green Cleaning

For the handy homeowner, there are plenty of items around the house that can be turned into powerful cleaning solutions. The following green cleaning staples can be used in clever combinations to tackle the whole house:

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Castile soap
  • Dish liquid
  • Olive oil
  • Club soda
  • Lemon

In small quantities, Borax can be a powerful cleaning agent, but there’s a strong debate around its eco-friendliness. If you want to play it safe, you won’t miss it too much if you leave it off the list.

Essential oils are another popular green option that can supply a wide range of fragrances. Beyond that, they also boast anti-microbial properties to help keep illness at bay.

Although they can be an effective cleaning additive, essential oils are best used sparingly. They are often poisonous even in small amounts, and they can easily cause skin or eye irritation and allergic reactions.

Using Green House Cleaning Solutions

Along with your cleaning materials, you’ll need a few tools to complete your green cleaning collection. You should have some empty spray bottles, microfiber cloths or sponges, and a pair of gloves to keep your hands from getting worn out by your cleaners.

All-Purpose and Disinfecting Cleaner

An all-purpose cleaner and a disinfecting cleaner are the perfect starting points for combating grime on surfaces throughout the house. You can use them for removing or killing germs on countertops, appliances, sinks, tubs, and other hard surfaces throughout the house.

For a quality all-purpose cleaner that helps remove dirt and grime, mix 1 cup of distilled or boiled water with 2 tablespoons of liquid castile soap. To spruce up the scent, add at least five drops of your favorite essential oils.

If you want the power of a disinfectant, mixing 2 parts water to 1 part vinegar will give you a sprayable bacteria and mildew killer.

For a more powerful solution that can help kill viruses, bacteria, and other microbes, mix 4 parts alcohol with 1 part distilled water and a dash of hydrogen peroxide. Feel free to add essential oils for scent, but you should vent the room to help with the alcohol fumes. Spot test the solution in an inconspicuous area, as it can be harmful to varnished surfaces.

In the Bathroom

The all-purpose and disinfecting cleaners can handle most bathroom surfaces, including your sink, toilet, and tub.

For mirrors and glass shower doors, mix warmed vinegar and dish liquid, such as blue Dawn, in equal amounts. Let the mixture sit on the glass for 30 minutes to power through soap scum before rinsing it off with a sponge and warm water. For more details on green cleaning your shower track and doors, check out this post.

Hard water spots can be tough to remove, but letting them soak in your all-purpose cleaning solution can allow you to scrub them clean with an old toothbrush. You can also use baking powder and water to make a paste to softly scrub away the stains.

Tile and grout don’t take well to vinegar, so you should make a special cleaner with 2 parts baking soda, 1 part hydrogen peroxide, and a few drops of dish liquid. Let the mixture work for a few minutes on the surface, and wipe clean with a sponge and water. Wear gloves while working to prevent the hydrogen peroxide from stinging any open cuts.

In the Kitchen

The grout cleaner, window cleaner, and surface sprays all work in the kitchen as well. One place you’ll need some extra help is the oven.

A simple green home cleaning solution for loosening up burnt-on grime is a thick baking soda and water paste. Spread the paste on your oven’s floor and walls, and let the solution sit for several hours or overnight. The next day, it should be easy to scrub off.

In the Living Room

Baking soda and cornmeal are great dry solutions for absorbing moisture and neutralizing odors in the living room carpet. But with a little modification, you can also use your all-purpose spray to combat soiled areas as well. Add one teaspoon of salt per cup of water and a few drops of colorless essential oils to fight stains and foul aromas.

Your all-purpose cleaner should be safe for most living room wood surfaces, but if you want a nice shine, a touch of olive oil on a microfiber cloth is all you need.

In the Laundry

Pets and kids are hard on laundry, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t DIY green options to combat stains.

Mixing 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide with 1/8 cup baking soda will give you a stain removing mix to replace Shout. Spray it on, wait a few minutes, and scrub it with a soft brush before tossing it in the washing machine.

Make the Change to Green Cleaning

Green cleaning products supply all of the sparkle and shine you deserve without the harsh chemicals that leave you nauseous and uncomfortable. With these simple green tips, you have a convenient way to keep your home clean, healthy, and happy.

We know that you value a clean home, but between work and handling the kids, it’s hard to find enough hours in the day to make it happen. When you’re struggling to find the time, our cleaning experts at Anita’s Housekeeping can help you fill in the gaps. Contact us today to find the best green cleaning services in your area.


Anita's Housekeeping Editors