While there’s no replacement for good old-fashioned elbow grease, there is a substitute for harsh soaps and detergents needed for cleaning a kitchen. Just as good at clearing away grease spots and nasty spills as their chemical-laden counterparts, homemade cleaning supplies are easily made from everyday ingredients found in the home.

A bonus to using home-based cleaners is that they won’t harm the environment. Using ecologically-friendly formulas is another way you can develop a green-minded rental home, along with sustainable materials for furnishings and green building practices. Look around your apartment to find ingredients that can keep your kitchen sparkling and also reduce your family’s carbon footprint.

All-Purpose Cleanser

  • This mixture can travel from the kitchen to the bathroom to the children’s toy box to clean counters, appliances, floors and plastic playthings.
  • Combine 1 teaspoon of borax, 1/2 teaspoon of sodium carbonate (sold as washing soda for laundry), 1 teaspoon of liquid castile soap and several essential oils. For instance, 4 drops each of lemon and lavender plus 10 drops of orange. Add 2 cups of warm water that’s been boiled, pour into a spray bottle and shake well before each use.

Versatile Vinegar

  • One of the best components in many homemade cleaning supplies is vinegar. The acidic base effectively kills most molds, mildews and bacteria. In addition to its work as a degreaser, it deodorizes and disinfects surfaces.
  • Vinegar cuts through greasy build-up on appliances and countertops with a simple formula: ¼ cup of white vinegar, 2 cups of water and ½ teaspoon of non-toxic dish detergent. Mix the solution well and pour it into a spray bottle.

Disposal Fresheners

  • When a garbage disposal smells foul, the fastest cure is to cut half of a lemon into small pieces and put them down the disposal. With the water running for about 10 seconds, it generally makes short work of the nasty scent.
  • Another freshener for the disposal is baking soda. Pour 1/2 cup into the disposal, followed by 1 cup of white vinegar. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes before running the water.

Germ-Killing Oils

  • Antibacterial cleaners are all the rage, and they all have one thing in common–they kill germs. For a natural disinfectant, try adding about 30 drops of lavender or tea tree oil to 2 cups of hot water and a few drops of castile soap.
  • The mixture is a multi-purpose solution that can be used on countertops, windows, appliances and sinks.

Have we missed any of your favorites? Did we overlook a must-have eco-friendly cleaning hack? What are your favorite homemade cleaning supplies?