If you’re wondering whether it’s possible to have a spotless kitchen using eco friendly cleaning techniques, the answer is, yes! Many of these cleaning products can be whipped up using items found in your pantry. Try some or all of these tips to make your kitchen clean and green!
Table of Contents
- Getting Started
- Glass Surfaces
- Wood Surfaces
- Stone Surfaces
- Oven and Stovetop
- Coffee Maker
- Tea Kettle
- Spice or Coffee Grinder
- Slow Cooker
- Brass Pots and Pans
- Cast Iron Pans and Griddles
- Enameled Pots
- Copper Pots
- Eco Friendly Cleaning of Hardened Food
- Glass Bakeware
- Chopping Boards
- Stained Mugs and Cups
- Reusable Water Bottles
- Still Looking for Things to Do? Odds and Ends
Eco Friendly Cleaning Products
Cleaning products filled with chemicals can be toxic for you, your family, pets, and the environment. Fortunately, you can have a clean kitchen by using many of the items found in your pantry. Here’s your eco friendly cleaning products supply list:
- Water! Whether it’s wiping kitchen counters, giving sinks a spray down, or soaking dirty pots and pans, water is an inexpensive solution to many cleaning jobs.
- Soap. You can actually get a thorough, deep clean using just soap and water. In fact, studies show that soap and water can be a more potent weapon against infectious diseases (including coronavirus) than bleach. Try an all-purpose liquid soap, made from natural ingredients. Dr. Bronner’s castile brand is an excellent choice. Note: Don’t mix castile soap with vinegar! You’ll end up with a gloppy mess. Instead use a natural dish soap, like Seventh Generation.
- Baking Soda. Aside from being a natural deodorizer, baking soda is an effective scouring agent for even the toughest cleaning jobs.
- White Vinegar cuts through the grease and grime. Fill a spray bottle with equal parts water and vinegar and you’re ready to clean!
- Lemon is an amazingly versatile cleaning agent and deodorizer.
- Essential oils are a natural, non-toxic addition to enhance the cleaning power of most DIY solutions. DoTERRA’s On Guard Cleaner Concentrate is an excellent multi-purpose cleaner. With scents like lemon, lime, and lavender, essential oils also act as a natural air freshener: fill a spray bottle with 3-4 drops per one ounce of distilled water. Try doTERRA’s Purify Cleansing Blend to refresh your home.
- Eco friendly commercial cleaning products. How do you know which cleaning products are safe and effective? Read my post on green cleaning products for information, guides, and product picks.
Eco Friendly Cleaning Supplies and Tools
- Sponges. My favorite brand is Twist Euro Sponge Cloths. They’re reusable, plant-based, and dye-free and can be washed in the dishwasher when dirty. Another good brand is Skoy cloths, which come in assorted colors and are 100% biodegradable.
- Microfiber Cloths are absorbent, reusable, and will last for years. A good choice: Evriholder Bamboo Naturals Greenery towels.
- Rags. Rip or cut up those old towels, napkins, sheets and reuse for everyday cleaning.
- Spray bottle. Cleaning Essentials’ spray bottle conveniently prints cleaning recipes conveniently right on the bottle.
- Fill a spray bottle with 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and 2 cups warm water. Shake the bottle well to incorporate all ingredients. Spray and wipe.
- Another method: Fill a spray bottle with equal parts distilled water and vinegar. For a natural scent, add a few drops of an essential oil.
Commercial products: Greenshield certified Organic Glass Cleaner.
- To clean: Combine 3 tablespoons of vinegar for every 1 cup of water. Wipe down surfaces with a cloth.
- To polish: Combine equal parts olive oil and vinegar and give it a good shake before using it as polish. For a natural scent, add a few drops of lemon oil.
- Ecos Furniture Polish and Cleaner is a good, natural choice.
- I’ve also read that Truce Wood Cleaner, with its refill (to reduce packaging), is excellent.
Homemade: Mix in a 16 oz spray bottle, 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol with 3 drops of dish soap and 5-7 drops of essential oil (for a fresh scent). Fill the bottle to the top with water.
- All-purpose cleaner: Combine 1 cup white vinegar with 2 cups water (and a few drops of essential oils, if desired) in a spray bottle.
- Stainless steel exterior: Combine 2/3 parts white vinegar, 1/3 parts water, and 1-2 drops of dish soap in a spray bottle.
Oven and Stovetop
- Oven. First, check your oven’s cleaning instructions. Most have a high heat cleaning feature that doesn’t require any cleaning products. For a natural clean, make a thin paste of baking soda and warm water. Coat the inside of the oven with the paste and leave it overnight before rubbing off the paste. Still dirty? Spray the baking soda paste with vinegar before you rub it off.
- Oven racks. Fill a tub with enough hot water to fully submerge the racks. Dissolve
1-3 cups of baking soda. Soak the racks for at least 8 hours before scrubbing and rinsing.
- Stovetop burner grates. Mix a few tablespoons baking soda with water to form a thick paste and apply it to the burners. Leave for 30 minutes, then scrub off with warm water.
- Glass Stovetop. Mix 1 teaspoon baking soda with liquid dish soap to form a paste. Gently, but firmly apply to the stovetop. Rinse and dry off with a soft cloth.
- Range hood filter. Submerge the filter in a tub of warm water and baking soda.
Mix 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on the highest setting for 3-4 minutes. Wipe down the surfaces with a cloth. For stubborn stains, wipe the interior using a paste of water, baking soda, and a few drops of dish soap.
Try this simple 3-step process:
- Check the filter and drain for excess food and debris. Remove the debris and scrub down with a toothbrush and dish soap.
- Place 1 cup of vinegar in the top rack of an empty dishwasher. Run on the hottest and longest setting.
- After this cycle is complete, remove the cup and then sprinkle the inside of the dishwasher with about 1 cup of baking soda. Run the dishwasher again on the hottest setting.
Fill the reservoir with equal parts of water and white vinegar and then run a brew cycle. Follow up with a few cycles of water to flush out the vinegar taste.
Fill the kettle with water and 1/2 cup white vinegar. Boil for at least five minutes and then wash thoroughly with water and dish soap.
Spice or Coffee Grinder
Place stale bread or uncooked white rice kernels in the spice or coffee grinder, and grind away! To eliminate odors, grind one tablespoon of baking soda.
Instead of doing it yourself, have your slow cooker do this eco friendly cleaning job! Instructions, thanks to The Kitchn:
- Add water: Fill the slow cooker with water until it’s just above the leftover food line.
- And vinegar: Add 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar for a 3-quart slow cooker, or 1 cup for a 6-quart slow cooker.
- And baking soda: Slowly pour in 1/2 cup of baking soda for a 3-quart slow cooker, or 1 cup for a 6-quart slow cooker. Allow bubbles to die down and then add a little bit more.
- Cover: Cover and set your slow cooker to LOW for one hour or up to four.
- Cool and wash: Allow the slow cooker insert to cool and wash it in the sink with warm, soapy water. Set it on the counter to dry.
Brass Pots and Pans
Make a paste out of the juice of 1/2 lemon with 1 teaspoon baking soda. Rub the paste with a soft cloth. Rinse and dry.
Cast Iron Pans and Griddles
When it comes to eco friendly cleaning of cast iron, there are apparently two camps: the no-soap! and yes-soap! cleaners. I’m in the no-soap camp and douse the pan with a 1/4 cup of kosher salt, giving it a good scrub with hot water. If you’d prefer to use (natural) soap, The Kitchn provides a good rundown of what to do.
Bring a pot of water to boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add two tablespoons of baking soda and stir until the food flakes off.
Combine baking soda and vinegar (or the juice of one lemon or lime) into a runny paste, and apply to the copper. Use a soft cloth (or half a lemon or lime) to scrub. Rinse and dry with a soft cloth. Ketchup is also an effective tarnish buster. Spread it over the copper, give it a good rub, then rinse and dry.
Once it’s completely clean, keep copper shiny by rubbing a thin layer of mineral oil on it.
Eco Friendly Cleaning of Hardened Food
- Add some vinegar to coat the bottom of the pan or pot, warm it up on the stove, scraping and stirring, until the food starts to flake off.
- For more stubborn gunk, make a runny paste with a few drops of liquid soap, water, and equal parts cream of tartar and baking soda. Cover the bottom of the pot or pan with the paste, heat it up (don’t boil!) and then let sit for a few minutes before wiping away the food.
- Fill the pan with soapy warm water and soak. Scour remaining gunk with a crumpled up ball of aluminum foil.
- For more stubborn stains, make a paste of baking soda and dish soap. Smear the bottom with the paste and fill the pan with hot water. Let soak and then scrub.
- For daily cleaning, soap and water will do. Wipe with a soft cloth and stand up the board to air dry on both sides.
- For deep cleaning, combine equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle, spray the board and scrub vigorously. Give it a good rinse and air dry.
- To remove meat contamination, after washing with hot water and soap, spread a generous amount of coarse salt on the board and scrub, using 1/2 a lemon. Rinse and dry.
- To remove stains and odors, rub a paste of baking soda, lemon juice and salt on the surface. Rinse and dry.
- To make your wooden boards last for years, condition them with mineral oil, like J.K. Adams Mineral Oil.
Stained Mugs and Cups
In the bottom of the mug, mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1-2 drops dish soap and 1 drop of vinegar. Fill the mug halfway with warm water and let sit for a few minutes before giving it a good scrub.
Reusable Water Bottles
As much as we love our reusable bottles, they can get grimy and even moldy. To prevent mold buildup, keep bottle tops separated from the bottles when storing. This will allow the bottle (and top) to stay dry. It’s also worth investing in a bottle cleaning brush to ensure a thorough scrubbing of all interior surfaces.
To clean stainless steel bottles and caps, scrub down with a paste of baking soda, water, and 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar. Wash and rinse thoroughly. I’ve also used bottle cleaning tablets, like Bottle Bright.
Still Looking for Things to Do? Odds and Ends
The list goes on and on (please chime in, if I’ve forgotten anything), but here’s a start:
- Wipe down walls, cabinets, baseboards.
- Dust the tops of cabinets, refrigerators, and freezers
- Clean and, where necessary, replace sponges and rags.
- Defrost the freezer.
- Inventory your pantry, fridge, and freezer, throwing out old and expired items.
- Take everything out of the cabinets and drawers and wipe them down.