Do I know what’s in it? Am I ok breathing it in? Do I need all these? These are the questions to ask yourself before you can make your ‘make or buy decision’ when it comes to cleaning products. If you’ve decided to take a step back and pay better attention to the products and packaging you’re buying, answering these questions will help you out. Here we will go over what products you can scratch off your shopping list and what you can make at home instead.

First steps


Go through and organize your cupboards. This can be a very time consuming task but it feels so satisfying afterwards. This way you will know what you are actually out of and what you have multiples of. Check the ingredients as you’re going through your cleaning products and make sure you’re ok with them. Starting with organized cupboards makes it easier to stick with this new way of cleaning.


Start collecting good reusable containers. Wash out old spray bottles or dish soap containers, or buy good reusable ones. You will also want to label each bottle so there is no confusion, so a label maker always helps. Buying a couple basic essential oils like tea tree, lemon and lavender will go a long way.

What to make

There are tons of great recipes for making your own cleaners so this is a great place to start. Once you have a couple basic essential oils, baking soda, vinegar and castille soap, you’re pretty much almost there. Don’t worry too much about exact measurements just use the container as a rough guide and only use a couple drops of essential oils. Here are a couple of my go to DYI at home cleaners.

Sink cleaner

  • white vinegar
  • baking soda
  • tea tree essential oil

All purpose cleaner

  • Infuse citrus peels in white vinegar for 2 weeks, strain peels and pour into a spray bottle.

Glass cleaner

  • white vinegar
  • water
  • lemon essential oil

Dish soap

  • castile soap
  • lavender essential oil
  • tea tree essential oil

Air purifier

  • Buy a simple defuser and add a couple drops of tea tree, eucalyptus or rosemary essential oil along with water. Keep this going all through cold and flu season to ward off any bacteria and bugs floating around. Be mindful of infants, as eucalyptus can cause breathing irritation.

What to buy

This really depends on how far you’re wanting to go with making everything on your own, because you basically can. First, decide on what products you really love and cannot live without. Second, check the ingredients in that products. Maybe there is a similar product that’s better for your health? The main thing is being more aware of what you’re using and wasting. Sometimes it’s better to buy a product and spend a bit more, if you know it is not going to do damage to you or your family. There are lots of green products out there now, so if you’re not into the whole DYI thing try to steer towards a healthier product line.

Knowing the dangers of toxic cleaners is scary, especially when you’ve got little ones crawling around licking everything. Even walking down the cleaning isle can set you nose and eyes on fire, especially if you already have allergies.

What to avoid

Air fresheners and Fabric softeners

The synthetic fragrances in air fresheners can trigger asthma and allergies also, companies are not required to disclose the ingredients in these products and have not been evaluated for their safety.

Bleach and Ammonia

These cleaners produce fumes with high toxicity to the eyes, nose, throat and lungs and should not be used by people with asthma or lung issues.


Making your own products or refilling containers at a local dispensary is better for your health and the earth, so it’s a no brainer that this will solve your make or buy decision. Saying that, these products are going to be different than the ones you buy from a store so it will take some getting used to. After a while of using your own cleaners and only having a few bottles in your cleaning cupboard, there’s really no going back.