Green clean: 7 natural cleaning products you can make

You don’t need to be an eco-warrior to make the switch to natural cleaning and beauty products.

With almost 80% of Australians now concerned about the environment, more consumers than ever are embracing clean, environmentally friendly products to clean their homes.

According to a survey by Nielsen, half of Australians would choose environmentally friendly products over a brand name. But we’re also becoming more discerning, and wanting to know whether a product really is as “natural” or “organic” as it says on the label.

The good news is that you don’t need to spend all your spare cash on eco-friendly products with unknown ingredients.

It’s simple to make your own cleaning and beauty supplies at home, with just a few simple ingredients that you can find in most supermarkets or order online. And with extra time at home on your hands due to COVID-19 restrictions, this weekend could be the right time to make some.

Watch your health around chemical cleaners

If you’ve ever used harsh chemical cleaning products such as oven cleaner or toilet cleaners, you’ve probably experienced firsthand their potentially harsh effects.

They can make you cough or sneeze, make your eyes water and your skin burn, and even make you feel a bit dizzy.

These common household products not only have the potential to impact our health, but they also have broader impacts when they end up in our natural environment and waterways.

Rebecca Sullivan is a sustainable living advocate, regenerative farmer, teacher, and author of several books including The Art of Natural Cleaning and The Art of Natural Beauty.

Sullivan says there are some easy, chemical-free options for cleaning and beauty care that are easy to make and use at home. With just a few ingredients, you can keep your house (and body) clean and healthy without using harsh chemicals.

In fact, the only cleaning products you really need are vinegar, coarse salt, bicarbonate of soda, lemon juice and essential oils, Sullivan says.

“The first things I’d tell people to get rid of are the oven cleaners that make you cough when you spray them, and plug-in air fresheners,” Sullivan says.

“They’re two of the most harmful things in our homes. Even if air fresheners contain essential oils, they’re synthetic oils made in a lab.”

Rebecca shares with us seven of her most popular cleaning and beauty products that we can make at home this weekend.

Make-at-home eco cleaning products

Here are some easy recipes and techniques for common household cleaning jobs.

Natural oven cleaner

What you need:

  • Bicarbonate of soda
  • Vinegar
  • Coarse salt


Instead of using oven cleaner bought at the supermarket, sprinkle bicarbonate of soda in the oven, cover with vinegar, and leave overnight. In the morning, sprinkle coarse salt in the oven and wipe with warm water.

Chopping board steriliser and scrub

What you need:

  • Coarse salt
  • Lemon


To clean chopping boards, sprinkle with coarse salt and wipe with a cut lemon. The coarse salt acts as a scourer, and the lemon is an antibacterial agent. Then rinse with hot water and leave it out in the sun to dry.

Citrus all-round cleaning spray

This easy-to-make cleaning spray will clean and sterilise all of the surfaces in your kitchen and bathroom, and leave everything smelling delicious too, Sullivan says.

What you need:

  • Peel from a citrus fruit (any citrus works); enough to fill a jar (see below)
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • A small glass jar
  • A spray bottle


Tightly pack the citrus peel into a glass jar and cover with white vinegar. Put the lid on, and let sit for two to four weeks. Strain the vinegar into a spray bottle and top with an equal amount of water. Spray directly onto surfaces and wipe with a damp cloth.

Homemade natural skin care

More consumers are demanding chemical-free beauty products, and while natural beauty products are becoming easier to buy, it’s just as easy to make your own. Here are some easy homemade natural skin care products to get you started.

If you can’t find these ingredients at the supermarket, they can be ordered online.

Coconut and orange shampoo (for normal hair)

“Coconut is the perfect moisturiser and will leave your hair silky smooth, while the orange essential oil makes you smell divine,” Sullivan says.

What you need:

  • 60ml coconut milk, canned
  • 60ml liquid Castile soap
  • 20 drops orange essential oil
  • ½ teaspoon olive or nut oil (optional, for dry hair)


Combine all ingredients in an old shampoo bottle, airtight container or screw-top jar. Shake well to mix. This is fine to store in your shower for up to a month - just remember to shake well before every use. It makes about 120ml (which is enough for about four washes, depending on the length of your hair).

Coconut conditioner

“This gorgeous conditioner will leave your hair extra smooth,” Sullivan says.

First, use pure coconut oil to moisturise and condition, then follow through with the 50:50 mixture of apple cider vinegar and water as a rinse to really clean your hair, and help with scalp problems such as dandruff. The acid removes any excess oil from your hair and increases its shine. Try using it once a week or so.

What you need (makes one application):

  • 1–2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 60ml raw apple cider vinegar
  • 60ml water
  • 10 drops essential oil: sage (for normal hair), tea tree (for oily hair), or lavender (for dandruff)


Make sure the coconut oil is liquid – place in a warm place to melt if need be. Put the vinegar, water and essential oil in an airtight container or screw-top jar. Shake well to mix. You can make a larger quantity of the vinegar rinse and keep it in your shower for up to a month – just remember to shake well before every use.

Start by rubbing the coconut oil into the ends of your hair and leave for a minute. Rinse thoroughly in warm water. Pour the vinegar mix through your hair and rinse thoroughly.

Natural deodorant

With many people concerned about the number of chemicals – including aluminium – in deodorants, many people are looking for natural alternatives. Sullivan says it’s easy to make your own – just store it in a small jar.

What you need:

  • 50g baking soda
  • 50g arrowroot powder
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 10 drops of essential oil such as tea tree, lavender, or rosemary


Mix the baking soda, arrowroot powder and essential oil of your choice. Begin to incorporate the coconut oil a little at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Store it in an airtight container to stop it from drying out. Apply to clean underarms.

The future looks green

Australian consumers are transforming the way they shop, research shows. We’re demanding sustainable food and fashion, avoiding plastic packaging, and even questioning whether we need to buy more products in the first place.

With younger generations demanding more eco-friendly products, the demand for sustainable, environmentally friendly products is only going to increase in the future.

Rebecca Sullivan is a sustainable living advocate, regenerative farmer, teacher, and author of several books including The Art of Natural Cleaning and The Art of Natural Beauty.

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