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Homemade cleaning products from the garden and kitchen

Lemon vinegar handmade cleaning product

This post is contributed by Cybele Masterman, the gorgeous, creative lady behind Blah Blah Magazine.  Not only is Cybele is a freelance writer with a background in journalism and a Masters in writing, she has also trained as a beauty therapist, make up artist, and an aromatherapist. She runs workshops, appears on podcasts and is a busy mum of two little boys.

I met Cybele a few years ago at a conference after following her work for some time.  I am thrilled to be able to share some or her gorgeous handmade cleaning products here with you.

I have been wanting to make my own cleaning products for our home for some time now and her been pestering her to give me some help.  I can now get started with these beautiful recipes from Cybele and you can too.

Three effective and easy to make natural cleaning products


It feels like everyday there is a new study proving why making our own cleaning products is one of the sanest things we can do. For me, it all started many years ago with a study showing the cleanest surface was stainless steel wiped down with vinegar and culminated in doing a big round up of my favourite homemade cleaning products.

Salt and vinegar sticks

Vinegar costs a dollar, doesn’t leave me breathing funny and I don’t have to freak out quite as much if my baby decides to lick the cabinet I just wiped down – what is with toddlers and random licking of surfaces? Maybe it’s just mine.

Choice recently ranked multi purpose cleaners and good old vinegar and bicarb came in as one of the best and that’s without adding anything to it. I suspect if you add lemon or orange oil and their d-Limonene dissolving goodness it would head out in front. Funnily enough, the top two products both use d-Limonene extracted from citrus as their active ingredients…

But essential oils are expensive and making your own is fiddly and who can be bothered with making your own? I used to think that too.

The easiest and cheapest way to boost your homemade cleaners:

All you need to do is put the dried citrus peel, flower, spice or herb into the cleaning agent and let it do the oil extraction for you. It’s so simple I laugh at the roundabout road I took to get there.

I was paying through the nose for lavender and lemon essential oils to add to cleaning products while I was picking the fruit and flowers by the arm load in my garden. I started making infused lavender oil and lemon oil, but the idea of going to that much effort for cleaning products just isn’t something I can sustain.

I stared at some infused vinegars I was making and realised I could simply add the dried lemon peel and lavender flowers to the cleaning vinegar. It worked a treat.

Of course, I then discovered on Pinterest that people have been doing this for eons. This inspired me to carry on with my experiments and has opened up so many possibilities.

Salt and spice and all things nice

Dutifully making chilli salt one day, I had the same realisation that salt absorbs oil – Ding! My other favourite cleaning agent – bicarbonate soda – is a salt. Well, hello sailor!

Shannon Lush of Spotless fame, quite rightly sings the praises of cleaning wet areas like bathrooms with clove essential oil to deter mould, but it’s quite hard to get a hold of and expensive once you do. Instead you can mix the cloves into the bicarb and let the magic happen.

Below is a list of some of my darlings of the cleaning world, but I really would encourage you to play. Have a lot of rosemary? Dried rosemary and orange peel would be a cranking mix. Sage overtaking? Dried lemon and sage would be another killer combo. An abundance of cumquats and sick of making marmalade? Most of the citrus peels contain d-Limonene and can replace lemon.

Lemon and Vinegar Spray

Lemon vinegar cleaner

Lemon has d-Limonene, anti-bacterial and insect deterring properties, making it an excellent choice for cleaning the kitchen and food preparation areas. However, vinegar is not recommended for marble.

3 ½ cups vinegar
Dried peel of one lemon
½ cup water
A couple of squirts of dish washing liquid
Spray bottle

Add dried lemon peel to vinegar, leave for 1-2 weeks and remove lemon peel.
Take the lemon-scented vinegar and mix with water and dish washing liquid in a spray bottle, label with date and ingredients.

Usage: Use with a damp cloth to clean all hard surfaces, except marble.

The Clove Cream Cleanser

Clove bicarb cleaner
Clove has anti bacterial and mould deterring properties, making it a great option for bathrooms and wet areas

¾ cup bicarbonate soda
1 tablespoon dried cloves
¼ cup liquid Castile soap or dish washing liquid
Jar with non-metallic lid

Mix bicarbonate soda and cloves together and leave for 2-4 weeks – the longer the better for the clove oil to soak in.
Remove cloves and mix in Castile soap or dish washing liquid. Store in a jar, label with date and ingredients.

Usage: Use a damp cloth or scrubbing brush to apply to tiles, grout and other hard surfaces, leave for a few minutes to penetrate and spray and scrub with vinegar or the lemon vinegar spray (recipe above) to finish and wipe clean with a damp cloth.

For marble, avoid using the vinegar and finish with water instead. 

Lavender Floor Cleaner

Lavender vinegar

3 cups vinegar
1 cup dried lavender flowers
¼ cup liquid Castile soap or dish washing liquid
½ cup water

Soak lavender flowers in vinegar for 2 weeks. Strain lavender through and sieve and discard. Mix vinegar and Castile soap or dishwashing liquid together, store in a bottle, label with ingredients and date.
Use by mixing 1 cup of the mix to a bucket of hot water and mop floor. This is not suitable for cleaning marble.

Safety Note: As with all cleaning products, use gloves when cleaning. If pregnant, check with your health care practitioner prior to using

Cybele Blah Blah Magazine

Cybele Masterman (Bele) trained as a beauty therapist, aromatherapist and journalist. After working as all of the above has found herself on a quest for a beautiful and meaningful life. You can find her at: Blah Blah Magazine

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • cinti November 16, 2015, 1:41 pm

    Thanks for this, was wondering where you recommend sourcing dry lavender from. I’m keen to use some for a project and having trouble finding it.

    • Kyrstie Barcak November 19, 2015, 8:55 am

      Try Auroma Cinti, you can order online and their products are good quality. Kyrstie

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