I love organizing, but I hate cleaning. I genuinely think it's fun to organize everything from my closet to my refrigerator, and it bothers me when things are out of place. But some dust on the bookshelf? Some fuzz on the floor? As long as things are organized, I can procrastinate actually cleaning my apartment for quite a while.
One thing that makes cleaning better, though? Knowing that I'm using all-natural cleaning products. My cleaning routine doesn't leach toxic residue into the water supply or my body, and it's mostly low-waste, so I use less paper and plastic. Plus it saves money! And, of course, it also helps to live in a tiny studio apartment like I do--there's way less to clean!
Here's a look at what I've been using lately to clean my apartment, including a "recipe" for my tea tree oil all-purpose cleaner!
My All-Natural Cleaning Routine:
All-Purpose Tea Tree Oil Spray
I make my own castile soap/tea tree oil spray in this reusable glass spray bottle. You can use this on counters, the stove, the sink, the bathtub, the toilet--anywhere that needs to be disinfected or wiped clean. Tea tree oil is a strong antimicrobial, and will kill germs just as effectively as any of the harsh chemicals out there.
Fill a spray bottle with water, leaving room for castile soap and tea tree essential oil
Add 2 tbsp any scent castile soap (I usually go for the lavender!)
Add 10-20 drops of tea tree oil
Shake it up and you're ready to spray!
You'll need some castile soap to make the tea tree oil spray, but it's also helpful in its own right. Castile soap is heavily concentrated, and can be diluted for different purposes, including shampoo, body wash, dish washing liquid, hand soap, laundry detergent, and more, so it's good to have on hand. Usually, I'll pour a dollop of this on whatever needs a heavier cleaning, whether that be the bathtub, the sink, or a pot that needs scrubbing. I bought this in a plastic bottle, but I just found out that you a store near me sells castile soap in bulk. When this runs out, I'll be headed there to fill up a glass jar with the next batch.
The ultimate scrubber! Baking soda is gritty and helps take off stains without damaging your counter, tub, pots and pans, etc. I usually use a combo of the tea tree oil spray and baking soda to clean my sinks and bathtub. Baking soda can also be used as toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, a gentle facial exfoliant, and a treatment for rashes, not to mention as a baking ingredient, so it's always good to have on hand.
If the baking soda and tea tree oil spray isn't cutting it, I'll add in some vinegar to take things to the next level. When you put baking soda and vinegar together, they create a foamy reaction, and are really effective cleaners, especially in drains, the toilet, or the bathtub. This bottle is unfortunately plastic but I hope to replace it with vinegar in a glass bottle when it runs out.
This is a new addition to my cleaning routine. Bon Ami is a mix of minerals that I use on the absolute toughest stains, like soap scum on the side of the bathtub, pots or pans with baked-on food residue, etc. I think of it as a tougher version of baking soda. As you can see, I topped it with some parchment paper and a rubber band to keep it from spilling out the shaker on top.
Paper Towel Alternatives
I have three Swedish dishcloths--one to use on counters/the stove/the sink in the kitchen, one to use on the bathtub and sink in the bathroom, and one to use on the toilet. Yes, the toilet. The nice thing about Swedish dishcloths is that you can throw them in the washing machine or the dishwasher (not like I have a dishwasher in my tiny apartment, but, you know, if you do, then you can!) and keep on reusing them. They're made out of plant fiber, and are somewhat like a sponge in that they become flexible when you get them wet. You could also use a rag or a natural-fiber sponge instead, but the Swedish dishcloths are better at scrubbing, in my opinion.
I also use a classic wood and plant-fiber scrub brush in the bathtub to get at those tough stains. I honestly don't miss paper towels. I haven't bought them in years, and I've found that reusable alternatives clean much better without leaving behind little chunks of paper like paper towels sometimes do.
To top it all off, I store my cleaning products in a stainless steel bucket. I'll also use it to pour water through the bathtub when cleaning it, or to mop the floors. No plastic bucket necessary! And I love the old-fashioned look.
What about you--which natural cleaning products do you use? Let me know in the comments!