DIY Cleaning & Organizing

30 Spring Cleaning Tasks You Can Tackle With Natural Ingredients

These cleaning solutions are safer for kids, pets, and the environment, and they'll leave your home sparkling and beautiful.
Caitlin Castelaz Avatar
Woman using baking soda and brush to clean sink, with lemons on the counter next to her.
Photo: istockphoto.com

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Spring is finally here, which means it’s that time of year again when you pull out all of your cleaning tools and products and start deep cleaning your entire space. Before you reach for cleaning supplies that contain unpronounceable chemicals, consider this: Did you know you can achieve a sparkling clean home using natural cleaning ingredients? In fact, research shows that using natural products to clean the home may reduce the risk of respiratory health issues associated with conventional products. What’s more, they’re better for the environment. Before you grab a bottle of disinfectant, browse through the list below for some of our favorite ways to spring clean your home naturally.

1. Wash Windows

Person cleaning window with orange microfiber towel and spray bottle.
Photo: istockphoto.com

Save yourself the time and expense of trying every “streak-free” window cleaner on the market. Instead, mix one part vinegar to two parts water in a spray bottle. After spraying the windows, wipe them off using black-and-white newspaper or a lint-free towel.

2. Spruce Up Stainless Steel

Yellow gloved hands cleaning steel stove.
Photo: istockphoto.com

Natural cleaners are best for stainless steel because caustic bleaches and cleansers can damage the finish. Treat tough stains with a baking soda-and-water paste. Keep your surfaces streak-free by polishing them with olive oil.

3. Polish Metal Fixtures

Hand using blue microfiber towel to clean bathroom fixture.
Photo: istockphoto.com

Make metal shine by treating it with a paste of salt and lemon juice. Apply the paste to copper, brass, or steel with an old toothbrush, and you’ll remove tarnish and rust in no time. It also works on food-stained plastic dishes!

4. Scrub the Oven

Hands using green microfiber towel to clean oven.
Photo: istockphoto.com

Remove fresh grease stains in the oven by sprinkling them with a handful of table salt. When the oven cools, wipe it clean with a cloth.

5. Refresh Wood Furniture

Hand oiling wood surface.
Photo: istockphoto.com

Give an antique dresser a makeover with a couple of cooking staples: two parts olive oil and one part lemon on a clean microfiber cloth will make it gleam.

6. Polish the Silver

Woman polishing large silver object with microfiber.
Photo: istockphoto.com

Can’t stomach silver polish’s stinky fumes? The natural solution for cleaning silver is super simple: Make a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water, rub the paste onto the silver with a microfiber cloth, then rinse and dry the item.

7. Clean Exterior Concrete

Backyard pavers being cleaned by pressure washer.
Photo: istockphoto.com

Outdoor concrete can often be cleaned with nothing more than water and a pressure washer. To remove stubborn concrete stains, try spraying a bit of hydrogen peroxide on the stain. Let it sit for 10 minutes or so before spraying it away with the pressure washer.

8. Wash Vinyl Siding

Using hose to wash vinyl siding.
Photo: istockphoto.com

Vinyl siding doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, but snow, rain, and wind can soil its surface. To keep your siding free of grime and dirt, wash it with a solution of 70 percent water and 30 percent vinegar, then rinse it clean.

9. Grow a Fly Repellent

Herbs growing in window garden box.
Photo: istockphoto.com

Basil is a natural fly repellant. Grow it in pots, window planters, and near doorways to keep flies away in the summer months.

10. Freshen the Kitchen Drain

Fresh lemons next to silver kitchen sink.
Photo: istockphoto.com

Run lemon rinds through the garbage disposal to make your sink’s drain less stinky. Lemons can also have a bleaching effect on stained sinks. Add a pinch of salt to a sliced lemon and rub the affected area, then rinse the sink with warm water.

11. Clean the Carpets

Long end of vacuum cleaner on white carpet.
Photo: istockphoto.com

Baking soda is a super effective—and cheap—way to clean and deodorize carpets. (Folks with pets should always keep it on hand!) To freshen your floors, sprinkle some soda on your carpets and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before vacuuming. You can also use cornstarch, which soaks up oils on the carpet, the same way.

12. Sanitize the Grout

Gloved hands using spray cleaner and sponge on bathroom grout.
Photo: istockphoto.com

Cleaning grout isn’t a cakewalk, but using baking soda is a trusted way to keep grout stain-free. Make a paste of baking soda and water, and spread it between tiles and around your tub. Spray vinegar on the paste to create a foaming natural cleanser, then scrub and rinse the area.

13.Get Rid of Bathtub Grime

Rear view of woman scrubbing grime in bathtub.
Photo: istockphoto.com

Banish hard water stains from the bathtub by laying vinegar-soaked paper towels over the stains. Leave the paper towels be for up to 2 hours. Scrub the stains with a baking soda paste, spray the paste with a vinegar-and-water solution, and rinse.

14.Wipe Away Water Rings

Two water ring stains on wooden table.
Photo: istockphoto.com

If your guests forget to use a coaster, remove water rings they leave behind with a mix of salt and olive oil. Rub the mixture gently onto the table with a soft cloth, and wipe it clean.

15. Unclog a Drain

Gloved hand pouring baking soda from glass in ktichen drain.
Photo: istockphoto.com

If you keep just one thing in your natural cleanser arsenal, it should probably be vinegar. To fix a clogged drain, try pouring 1/2 cup of baking soda, followed by 1 cup of vinegar. The chemical reaction between the two will cause a cleansing foam. Once the fizzing stops, flush the drain with hot water. Wait 5 minutes and flush the drain again with cold water.

16. Scrub Burnt Food on Pots and Pans

Burnt pan with baking soda next to glass of vinegar and gloves.
Photo: istockphoto.com

Crispy cheese, burnt rice, stuck-on oatmeal—no wonder some folks hate washing dishes! Loosen caked-on food first by sprinkling baking soda and spraying it with vinegar, then scrubbing the mess with steel wool or a nylon scrubber.

17. Freshen Wood Furniture

Spoonful of coconut oil from jar on wooden table.
Photo: istockphoto.com

Foodies love coconut oil for its health benefits, but it’s handy around the house as well. Polish wood furniture with coconut oil and a microfiber cloth, rubbing with the grain of the wood. Allow the oil time to soak in and dry before putting anything back on its surface.

18. Create an All-Purpose Cleanser

Glass of vinegar and half of a lemon with cleaning materials.
Photo: istockphoto.com

Lemon and vinegar are two of the best natural cleansers, so why not combine the two? It’s easy to make a DIY all-purpose cleanser by soaking lemon peels in white vinegar for 2 weeks. Once you strain out the peels, this cleanser can tackle almost any surface (don’t use it on quartz countertops, though). Orange and grapefruit peels do the trick, too.

19. Shine Vinyl Floors

Orange mop cleaning vinyl wood flooring.
Photo: istockphoto.com

Who knew? Acidic apple cider vinegar will clean vinyl floors without leaving a soapy or waxy buildup behind. Buff out stubborn scuffs on vinyl floors with jojoba oil.

20. Wipe Down the Blinds

Using special blind cleaning tool to wipe dust off blinds.
Photo: istockphoto.com

It can be tedious work, but cleaning window blinds still has to be done. Spraying a solution that’s 30 percent vinegar and 70 percent water on them can help loosen dust and grime. Use a microfiber cloth or a special blind-cleaning wand to wipe them down afterward.

21. Clean the Microwave

Person putting bowl with lemon in microwave.
Photo: istockphoto.com

Blast away baked-on splatters in the microwave by boiling 2 cups of water and the juice and peels of two lemons in a microwave-safe bowl. Keep the microwave door closed for 10 minutes afterward to allow the steam to cut through the grease. Wipe away the loosened grime with a paper towel or sponge.

22. Deep Clean the Dishwasher

Empty dishwasher.
Photo: istockphoto.com

If your dishwasher smells and hasn’t been cleaned in a while, just how clean do you think your dishes are really getting? Eliminate dishwasher odors and gunk by placing a bowl of distilled white vinegar on the top rack of the appliance while it’s empty, and running it through a wash cycle. When the cycle ends, leave the door open to let it dry completely.

23. Dust Plants

Person wiping dust of plant leaves with towel.
Photo: istockphoto.com

Houseplant leaves collect a tremendous amount of dust. This isn’t just bad for your allergies, it also prevents the plant from receiving the sunlight it needs. To remove the dust and add some shine, polish the leaves with a little bit of mayonnaise.

24. Whiten White Laundry

Person putting white bed sheets in dryer.
Photo: istockphoto.com

Freshen your white bedsheets and clothing by adding 1/2 cup of baking soda to a cold-water prewash. It will make your whites look brand new.

25. Clean the Trash Can

Person putting trash bag in home trash can.
Photo: istockphoto.com

Do you have a smelly garbage can? Scrub it down with a natural all-purpose cleaner (like the citrus-and-vinegar spray mentioned above) and wipe it dry. Once the can is completely dry, sprinkle baking soda into the bottom; the powder will neutralize odors.

26. Scrub the Stove

Person scrubbing stove burners with sponge.
Photo: istockphoto.com

Use half a lemon and a bit of baking soda to clean messy stove burners. Rub the lemon slice over the stovetop, sprinkle baking soda on top, and then gently scrub the baked-on food away with a sponge or nylon scrubber.

27. Tackle the Toilet

Woman scooping a baking soda-based DIY toilet bowl cleaner into the toilet.
Photo: Tom Fenenga for Bob Vila

You don’t need strong chemicals to clean the toilet—a DIY toilet bowl cleaner that contains a mix of baking soda and essential oils will do the trick nicely. Drop a spoonful of the mixture into the toilet bowl and sprinkle some under the rim. Next, pour 2 cups of distilled vinegar over the baking soda mixture. Let the concoction fizz, and then scrub stains away with a toilet brush. Allow the cleaner to sit in the bowl for another 15 minutes, and then flush.

28. Spray Away Ants

Ants crawling along tile.
Photo: istockphoto.com

Keep ants out of the kitchen—and the rest of your house—without chemicals: All you have to do is mix 10 drops of tea tree oil and water in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture indoors and out to prevent ants from coming inside.

29. Tidy Up the Garden Tools

Hands cleaning and assembling garden scissors.
Photo: istockphoto.com

If you didn’t clean your garden tools before putting them away last fall, you’ll want to get them spic and span for the start of the new growing season. Use olive oil and a clean cloth to remove caked-on dirt and condition the wood handles.

30. Wipe Down Counters

Person with yellow gloves wiping down counter.
Photo: istockphoto.com

Do you have some liquor left over from your last bash? Splash a shot of vodka onto your stone countertops—it’s a nontoxic cleaner and a natural disinfectant.