Various recipes for green cleaning (2024)



Laundry Liquid
Makes 10 litres
You may add any essential oil of your choice to these homemade cleaners. Oils like tea tree, eucalyptus, lavender or rose are ideal but are not an essential ingredient. They are not necessary to the recipe but do not detract from the effectiveness by adding them. Use essential oil and not a fragrant oil.

1½ litres water

1 bar Sunlight or generic laundry soap or any similar pure laundry soap, grated on a cheese grater OR 1 cup of Lux flakes

½ cup washing soda – NOT baking or bicarb soda

½ cup borax


10 litre bucket
Slotted spoon or wooden spoon for mixing
Into a medium sized saucepan add 1½ litres of water and the soap. Over a medium heat, stir this until it is completely dissolved. Make sure the soap dissolves properly or the mixture will separate when cold.

Add the washing soda and borax. Stir until thickened, and remove from heat.

Pour this mixture into your 9-10 litre bucket then fill the bucket with hot water from the tap. Stir to combine all the ingredients. The laundry liquid will thicken up more as it cools. When cool, store in a plastic container. I use one of those 10 litre flat plastic box containers with a lid. Use ¼ cup of mixture per load or monitor to see what works well for you. I keep a ¼ cup measuring scoop in the box to measure the mixture into the washing machine.

This detergent will not make suds when you wash as it does not contain the chemicals that supermarket detergents add to make suds. You do not need suds to wash your clothes or for the detergent to be effective. The agitation of the washing machine does most of the washing. Additives loosen the dirt and grease. If you use the greywater from your laundry on your garden, leave out the borax.

All these washing aids are suitable for top loaders AND front loaders. I have been using them in my front loader machines for years with no ill effects.

So, lets do a costing on this first recipe of 10 litres of laundry liquid.
These prices are a bit old, I'd say today in Australia it would cost about $2

Lux Flakes - $5.50
Sunlight soap 4 pack - $2.47
Homebrand laundry soap 4 pack - $1.39
Borax 500 grams - $2.55
Washing Soda 750 grams - $1.65
I’ll use the median soap price (Sunlight) for my calculations.
1 bar of Sunlight soap = 61 cents
½ cup borax = 63 cents
½ cup washing soda = 55 cents
Total comes to $1.79 for 10 litres of laundry liquid. The equivalent amount of national brand, TV advertised detergent is currently $4.30 for a litre in a refill pack. So, $4.30 x 10 = $43.00 for the same amount.
And it works too!
There is also a powdered version of this recipe. I like the liquid because you can use it for stain removal too, but the powder is much easier to make up. I am now using the powder for my washing and the I usually have about a litre of the liquid made up for general cleaning.

CONCENTRATED LAUNDRY POWDER - this is the powder I use in my front loader
4 cups grated laundry or homemade soap or soap flakes (Lux)
2 cups borax
2 cups washing soda
Mix all the ingredients thoroughly and store in a plastic container with a lid. Use 2 tablespoons per wash. Again, this powder will not make suds and again, this is perfectly okay.

For use on worker’s greasy or dirty overalls, football and sports uniforms or fabric that has food spills.
2 cups grated Napisan soap
2 cups grated laundry or homemade soap
2 cups borax
2 cups washing soda
Mix all the ingredients thoroughly and store in a plastic container with a lid. Use two tablespoons per wash. The powder will not make suds.

For a very heavily stained load of washing or tradesperson’s clothes, if you have a top loader turn the machine off when the powder is completely dissolved. In a front loader, operate the machine to dissolve the powder and then stop the machine for an hour to soak the clothes. Leave to soak for an hour, or overnight, and then turn the machine on and continue washing as normal.

½ cup ammonia

½ cup homemade laundry liquid

½ cup water

Mix all these ingredients well, and store in marked spray bottle.
Make sure you mark all your bottles so you know what they contain. If you reuse a bottle that previously contained other cleansers, make sure the bottle is completely clean and marked before you fill it with your homemade cleanser.

¼ cup borax or washing soda

2 cups cold water

Sponge on and let dry, or soak the fabric in borax mixture before washing in soap and cold water.

¼ cup hydrogen peroxide
¼ cup water

Mix together and dab onto stain. Leave two hours and repeat if necessary. Good on white clothes.


½ cup white vinegar in final rinse

Bicarb soda is a good pre-soaker for soiled nappies. Dissolve ¼ cup of bicarb soda in a bucket of warm water, soak for at least an hour or overnight, then wash the nappies in hot water with homemade laundry liquid. Add ½ cup of vinegar to the final rinse and let them dry in the sun.


ALL-PURPOSE CLEANER #1 - do not use on aluminium
1 tablespoon ammonia

1 tablespoon liquid soap or homemade laundry detergent

2 cups hot water
Combine in a spray bottle. Pour in hot water, screw on the spray bottle top and shake until completely dissolved. This cleaner can be stored in this spray bottle, so mark it “HOMEMADE ALL PURPOSE CLEANER” with a permanent marker.
Spray the cleaner on surfaces you wish to clean. Use your terry cloth to rub on as you go. For hard to move grease or dirt, leave the cleanser on for a few minutes before wiping it off.

½ cup washing soda

2 litres warm water
Mix together and store in a sealed plastic container that is marked with the name.
Can be used as a floor cleaner – tiles, laminate or vinyl or for general cleaning of walls, counter tops or sinks.


Combine equal parts of bicarb soda and course salt to scrub hard to move dirt and grease. This is an abrasive but it will make the sink shine. Finish off with a litre of water in the sink, add a cap full of liquid bleach and remove the plug. You’ll sanitise and clean the pipes at the same time. Wipe with a dry terry cloth.


¼ cup ammonia

2 cups of warm water

Be careful of the ammonia fumes.

Turn on the oven and leave to heat up for 5 minutes. Pour ammonia and warm water in a baking dish and leave in the warmed oven overnight. This will loosen the grime in the oven, which you can then clean with an ammonia-based cleaner or soap and water. You can also scour with a paste of bicarb soda and water.


This method works by a chemical reaction of the aluminium, salt and bicarb soda. Put the plug in the kitchen sink. Lay a piece of aluminium foil on the base of the sink and add your silverware. Pour in enough boiling water to cover the silver.
Add one teaspoon of bicarb soda and one teaspoon of salt to the water. Let it sit for about ten minutes. The tarnish will disappear without you touching it.


Simply pour about ½ cup of bicarb into a bowl, and add enough liquid soap to make a texture like very thick cream. Scoop the mixture onto a sponge, and start scrubbing. This is the perfect recipe for cleaning the bath and shower because it rinses easily and doesn’t leave grit.
Note: Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin to the mixture and store in a sealed glass jar, to keep the product moist. Otherwise just make as much as you need at a time.


¼ - ½ teaspoon liquid or grated soap

3 tablespoons vinegar

2 cups water

spray bottle
Put all the ingredients into a spray bottle, shake it up a bit, and use as you would a commercial brand. The soap in this recipe is important. It cuts the wax residue from the commercial brands you might have used in the past.


Vinegar and newspapers

Pour a little vinegar onto a sheet of newspaper and wipe windows. Remove all the grime and polish the window with a clean sheet of newspaper.


½ teaspoon olive oil

¼ cup vinegar or fresh lemon juice

Mix the ingredients in a glass jar. Dab a soft rag into the solution and wipe onto wooden surfaces. Seal in the glass jar and store indefinitely.

FLOOR CLEANER – tiles, vinyl or laminate
½ cup white vinegar plus 2 litres hot water in a bucket and a clean mop will clean up all but the worst floor. If you have a really dirty floor to deal with, add a squirt of homemade laundry liquid to this mix.

A clean mop is a necessity when cleaning floors. If you start with a dirty mop you’ll just loosen the dirt on the mop by making it wet again and then spread that on the floor. When you finished your cleaning jobs, rinse the mop out to get rid of the loose dirt then let it soak in the bucket half filled with water and a ¼ cup of bleach. Let the mop soak for 30 minutes, rinse the bleach out and dry the mop in the sun.

WOODEN FLOOR CLEANER - Ammonia will strip floor wax (one cup to a bucket of hot water)
2 tablespoons homemade vegetable soap - grated

½ cup vinegar

500 mls strong black tea

bucket warm water
Combine all the ingredients in the bucket and apply with a cotton mop.


Add a few drops of water to some bicarb and make a thick paste. Wipe over the crayon marks and scrub off with a terry cloth.

This is the recipe for another soap I use. It's a very simple soap that is nourishing and free of harmful additives. It is basically a castile soap with coconut oil added for its good lathering qualities.

Here is the recipe:

800mls of cheap olive oil - the low grade stuff is fine for this.

200mls coconut oil - you can get it from health food stores and Asian supermarkets.

130g caustic soda - from hardware stores or supermarket

400mls rain water

Make the soap up according to the instructions in the soap making tutorial post.

¼ cup Olssons cooking salt or any natural sea salt.
¼ cup bicarb soda

Make up ½ cup at a time and store it in a sealed jar. Just sprinkle some of the powder onto your toothbrush and clean your teeth in the normal way. This powder is bitter and takes a little while to get used to but it works well. I don't notice the taste now. You could add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to mask the taste.

HOMEMADE SHAMPOO - I also wash my hair with my homemade soap
This works very well. Say goodbye to all those expense hairdresser shampoos. It’s great for dandruff too.
Dissolve a tablespoon of bicarb soda in a cup of water. If you’ve got children, it might be better doing this in a squirt bottle.
Wet hair thoroughly and apply the mixture to the hair, massaging it in well.
To rinse, just run water through your hair, or you could use a splash of vinegar. The vinegar smell will go when your hair is dry.
You’ll be amazed at how good your hair feels. It will be clean and healthy.
This is an excellent shampoo for long and frizzy hair or short hair.


Add some bicarb to a shaker and use that. Dabbing a bit of bicarb under your arms is very effective as long as you wash every day.

It’s a great organisational tool and safety measure to keep a record of all the cleansers you use. If you ever have an accident with the cleansers, you’ll need to tell the doctor what the ingredients are so I recommend you keep your recipes together in a Homemaker’s Log Book. You can also keep food recipes in it as well as printed information you need in your home. I have made a Home Log from a three-ringed binder. That way I can add and remove pages when necessary. There is more about the Homemaker’s Log here.

Most of the ingredients for these recipes will be found in supermarkets in Australia. If you're in another country, I'd really appreciate you letting us know where you find your ingredients. Thank you ladies. : )

Various recipes for green cleaning (2024)


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