Do it yourself: Cleaning products

As a college student, it may seem easier sometimes to go to the store and buy Tide laundry detergent or Lysol to clean the nasty surfaces of our living spaces, but when was the last time you tried pronouncing the ingredients on the labels of some of your most commonly used toiletries and cleaning supplies?

The truth is, if we aren’t judicious in our purchases, our closets and bathrooms can easily be filled with toxins such as sulfates, artificial fragrances and other chemicals linked to cancer.

One way to be sure of what is in every product you use is taking time for some DIY.

Here are a few easy, toxin-free recipes for making your own hygiene and cleaning products:

Laundry soap:

You’ll want some bar soap, preferably coconut-oil based (Dr. Bronners is a great brand of bar soap and is available in local health food stores or the natural section of most grocery stores). You’re going to grate one bar of soap or cut it up and put it in a food processor or blender.

Next, add one cup of washing soda (also called Soda Ash) to the processor or blender. Some choose to also add a cup of Borax, but additional washing soda can be added in place of Borax. You can also add essential oils for scent (lemon or lime are popular), but this is optional. If adding oils, about 20 drops should do the trick.

One to two tablespoons per load should be plenty.

General household cleaning:

You can use distilled white vinegar to clean just about anything – floors

(except hardwood or natural stone tile), kitchens, bathrooms, countertops (except granite or marble), windows, dishes, etc. Distilled white vinegar prevents the growth of mold, mildew and some bacteria (and is very affordable). When using, dilute with water.

The vinegar scent usually dissipates quickly, but if you can’t tolerate the smell, add essential oils. Lavender or lemon oils are popular for cleaning. Proportions of the vinegar, water and oil vary depending on what item or how much you’re cleaning.


Coconut oil can nearly do anything, but one of its many popular uses is tooth decay prevention, which makes it a perfect toothpaste ingredient. Melt a half cup of coconut oil; add two to three tablespoons of baking soda and about 20 drops of essential oils. Peppermint oil is a popular choice, but cinnamon or orange oil work well if you’re not a fan of mint. Stir and let sit until semi-solid, and then brush away!



Conventional deodorants and antiperspirants contain artificial fragrances and aluminum (of which many people try to avoid or limit exposure).

For a natural alternative, start by mixing a quarter cup of baking soda with a quarter cup of arrowroot (cornstarch works, too) in a bowl. Mash in six tablespoons of coconut oil until it is well mixed. Add essential oils for scents (optional) and transfer the mixture into a glass jar or an old deodorant container for easier use.

Taylor Provost, News Editor

Leave a Reply