NOTICE: This blog is no longer being updated, so medical information may no longer be accurate.

Homemade “Safe Cleanser” Recipe from the Dr. Oz Show

I while back I had the Dr. Oz Show on in the background and my ears piped up when I heard “homemade non-toxic cleanser.” I just had to try it.

I have been slowly trying to remove most chemicals from our house but have been resistant to homemade cleaners using vinegar, because I don’t want my house to smell like salad dressing! That was an incorrect assumption on my part because the vinegar aroma is only temporary, once it dries, the smell goes away. I was encouraged to try this recipe because of the peppermint oil that is added to it (added insurance for the no-vinegar smell). I love Dr. Bonners Magic Soap, especially the Peppermint scent (and the Lavender) but it is not what you would call “inexpensive.” I use it as a laundry detergent and I also mop my floors with it. It is a great “degreaser” too and has an added bonus during cold/flu season…it “opens” you up! I don’t plan on discontinuing to use it, but if I can stretch it out… all the better!

The following recipe is from Dr. Oz Show guest, Gary Ginsberg, PhD:

Dr. Ginsberg is a public health toxicologist whose research focuses on the unique susceptibilities of children to environmental toxicants. He evaluates risks and sets standards for contaminants in soil, drinking water, food, air and consumer products.  Over the years he has answered thousands of questions from the general public with this information compiled into his book with Brian Toal What’s Toxic, What’s Not (Berkley Books) and associated website He has served on 2 National Academy of Science panels, testified before Congress on toxics issues, and serves on US EPA’s Science Advisory Board. He won the Society of Toxicology’s best risk assessment paper of the year award in 2009. He teaches toxicology and risk assessment at the Yale School of Public Health and the University of Connecticut School of Community Medicine.

Primary Goal: Lets work together to make our kids toxic-free.

Safe Cleanser Recipe:

Mix together:

1 Tbs. of Borax Powder (find it in the laundry aisle of your supermarket)

3 Tbs. of White Vinegar

2 cups of Water

1 tablespoon of Dish Soap (I used Dr. Bonner’s Peppermint Scent Liquid Soap)

1 drop of Essential Oil such as peppermint for fragrance (optional) (I used Now Foods Peppermint Oil, which I buy at Whole Foods and also use in my homemade sugar scrubs).

  • Pour it into a spray bottle you bought at the hardware store, give it a shake, and you are ready to clean. For windows, use white vinegar wiped down with newspapers, and to disinfect toys and other kids’ products fill a spray bottle with non-chlorine bleach (3% hydrogen peroxide) and wipe with a paper towel.
  • I mix mine in a large bowl (I usually make a double batch) then I pour back into my empty Dr. Bonner’s bottles and into a spray bottle. I use it to clean my kitchen counters, windows, window sills and even use it to clean my furniture.

Bonus: Cleaning out harsh chemicals is not only better for your health, it’s good for the environment, because you drastically cut back on your plastic use by eliminating all those bottles of mildew cleaner, window washer, bathtub scrub, and more.

Add Borax to a bowl.

Add Distilled White Vinegar.

Add Soap.

Add Essential Oil (I used Peppermint).

Add Water.

Mix well.

Pour into squeeze bottles and/or spray bottles.

I like to re-use my empty Dr. Bonner's squeeze bottles.

It is mind boggling how much money you save just by making this! For me, this has wiped out Windex, Fantastik Kitchen Cleaner and Pledge! No harsh chemicals and it is environmentally friendly by reducing how often I buy store-bought cleaners. I am going to make up some more using the non-chlorine bleach (I have to admit, I wasn’t sure what this was until a minute ago!). I am just going to use the Hydrogen Peroxide I already have on hand and hopefully this will also wipe out future purchases of Lysol, well, at least until cold/flu season comes around again. It’s funny how the lack of harsh chemical smells make you doubt if something is actually “clean!”

Do you have any homemade cleaner recipes that you like? If so, please share! 😀

I want to tie up with some links to other sites that I think you might find useful:

Kim Bouldin, from Gluten-Free Is Life, just posted an article on her Columbus Gluten-Free Examiner page about a Starkist Recall due to undeclared wheat, check it out here. And while you’re there, subscribe to her page (even if you don’t live in Columbus, OH., Kim is ON TOP of all things like this and she is who I turn to for the most up-to-date info (which is why I affectionately refer to her as my “GF CNN!”). Kim is also a contributor for,, and Gluten Free Works. Just thinking of all she does, makes me tired! 😀 You can “follow” Kim on Twitter to stay on top of all her informative articles. I have personally met Kim and her son Jon, who also has celiac disease. She is a great person and a great warrior for the gluten-free community.

Another featured contributor on Gluten Free Works is Jennifer Harris. She recently posted an article about a Celiac Disease Study that is actively seeking participants. Jennifer is also known as “Jennifer Gluten Free in Georgia” and is a Gluten Free Product Specialist for Return 2 Eden, a natural food store in the Atlanta area. Jennifer is also a Gluten-Free Examiner, and is also the Program Chair for the Atlanta Metro Celiacs! Another fine example of someone who makes me tired just by reading about all they do for the gluten-free community! If you have a Twitter account, I recommend following Jennifer too for great up-to-date information!

Sandra Robins, a.k.a. “Maryland Celiac” on Twitter and the author of “Gluten Free Optimist,” made a post on a “Fantastic Article About Celiac Disease,” an absolute must-read whether you have been “officially” diagnosed with celiac disease or not. I also encourage Doctors, Teachers, Family and Friends of people with celiac disease to read this article on

Sandra also posted a video with Kids Talking About Celiac Disease and Eating Out Tips. A great video to share with your celiac child, Sam really enjoyed seeing other kids like him. One other very good article (there are many!) that Sandra posted is called 10 Important Facts About Celiac Disease and a Gluten-Free Diet.

There is such a wonderful online celiac and gluten-free community and these women are just a few of the very special people working to make a difference in our community. Thank you Kim, Jennifer and Sandra!


  1. Thanks for the lovely mention! Your blog is also great, and I enjoy following you on Twitter! I am so glad your son enjoyed the video. Keep up the great work!

  2. Shirley@gfe says

    Borax and vinegar both are amazing cleaners. Thanks for this recipe, Heidi! I'll skip the peppermint oil because I don't mind the vinegar smell at all. I'm amazed you can use this on your furniture. Do you just barely dampen a cloth with it?

    BTW, I use Borax and baking soda as my dishwasher detergent. Works wonderfully. You use about 2 tsp of each in each fill area. A box of Borax will last a very long time, but I go through vinegar quickly. I even use it in place of fabric softener, diluted with some water, of course.

    Thanks for all the great links! You have some of my favorite people listed there. 🙂 Yes, we do have an awesome gf community!


    • Shirley,

      As far as the furniture is concerned, I really don't know if it is "recommended" to use it on your furniture but I have been (small quantities) and it has been working so far, no damage. That doesn't mean I won't have regrets down the road though! 🙂 Think I will be looking for a homemade furniture polish!

      Thanks for pointing that out… I don't want to be responsible for anything bad happening to other folks furniture! 🙂 I guess it would be pertinent to point out that most of my furniture is not solid wood, but wood with a wood veneer! 🙂

      I have been wanting to try the Borax/Baking Soda for dishwasher detergent, but all the "recipes" I have found say to add vinegar to the rinse cycle… I would never remember to do that! You don't add the vinegar though and it still turns out okay? I will try it!

      Does the vinegar act like a fabric softener? That is way cool! I don't like regular liquid fab. softener because it is so messy… I must try the vinegar! Do you have a rough ratio of vinegar to water that you use?

      I love it, this is so much fun!! 🙂

  3. Love this post Heidi – right up my alley! I use Dr Bonner's soap too. I find it is awesome with soap scum! It surprises me every time I clean. You can replace your lysol in cold season with my solution since it has a natural disinfectant in it (oregano oil). Here's the link for you –
    I like Shirley's dishwasher suggestion too! So much information for me – how are we supposed to remember it all?

  4. wooohooo! Thanks Heidi for the cleaner "recipe" lol and the dishwasher detergent too. I just love being able to actually "do" something about making my home more family friendly and it's cheaper!! lovelovelove it! Kelly

  5. Maggie,

    Dr. Bonner's "Magic" soap! I was reading on their website that some people even use it as a toothpaste! Not sure I would take well to that one, but I do use it as a body wash!

    I am soooo gonna make your homemade Lysol replacement! Thank you for sharing the link!

    It's funny, prior to blogging and reading so many "frugal" websites (they are GREAT for finding "copycat" recipes of mainstream packaged foods), the words "Frugal" and "Heidi" never appeared in the same sentence! 😉

    Once I actually started to "see" the financial benefits of making my own cleaners (and body scrubs, I need to get those recipes up too!) I have quickly taken to all these little "make your own" non-food recipes!

    It FEELS GOOD to know I am making a difference (albeit small) for our environment, and reducing all the synthetic chemicals that my kids and pets are exposed to.

    My hubby is over the moon with all the money I am saving (he is a financial advisor afterall) so he has been buying me new kitchen gadget gifts with the money I have been saving as an added incentive to keep going, LOL!

    I just got an AWESOME Breville Electric Citrus Juicer (I have been making homemade juice concentrates, like HFCS!) and now I have my sights set on a Vitamix (that Amy over at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, I tell ya! 😉 )

    I have to admit, It's fun kickin' it "old school!"

    We should all collaborate on these recipes for non-toxic household products! Maybe another type of blog carnival??

  6. tastyeatsathome says

    Definitely going to try this!

  7. Dr Bronners soap do not mix with vinegar. Vinegar kills the soap:)