In an ideal world, our homes would be 100% natural and totally free of any nasty chemicals. Nothing artificial would ever touch our child’s skin, and no foul-smelling dangerous cleaning products would ever cross our threshold. Guess what? We do live in that ideal world, and it’s not only possible but actually easy to eliminate harmful chemicals from your life, especially if you follow these easy life hacks for a more natural home.
Why now is the best time to go all natural
It’s funny if you think about it. Up until about a century ago, just about everything was naturally natural! What does that mean? Watch an episode of Little House on the Prairie. Did you see them using bleach to wash their bathrooms or disinfectant spray to kill germs? Okay, so they didn’t really have indoor bathrooms, but if they did, they would be using a natural cleaner because that’s all they had.
This whole theory that we need to douse everything (including ourselves) with chemical cleaners is a fairly new notion. It’s also an idea that is past its prime. With more and more people becoming aware of the dangers of chemical ingredients, finding natural solutions is getting easier every day. The best part? While you can buy 100% natural cleaners and bath products in a store, it’s even easier (and cheaper) to just make them yourself! Read on for 10 super simple life hacks that will help you cut out chemicals and live a more natural life.
Life Hacks for a More Natural Home
Create a more natural home inside and out with these cleaning tips, health & beauty ideas, and even a few tips for outside your home!
1. Pull out the “oldies but goodies.”
There’s a reason why just about every list of tips for natural cleaning products talks about lemons, baking soda, and vinegar. This powerful trio can clean just about anything, either on their own or by working together. Use them to clean everything from your kitchen sink to your bathroom shower. A few examples of how to use them to make your own cleaning products include:
- Vinegar + baking soda + hot water = drain unclogger
- Baking soda + lemon = stain remover (test on an inconspicuous spot first)
- Straight vinegar = all-purpose household cleaner (use where you would use window cleaner, surface cleaners, etc.)
Or you can try out this super easy natural bathroom cleaner recipe:
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 10 drops of your favorite essential oil (optional)
- In a spray bottle, combine the distilled white vinegar and water. Shake well to mix.
- Sprinkle the baking soda over the surfaces you want to clean in the bathroom, such as the sink, bathtub, or toilet.
- Spray the vinegar and water mixture onto the baking soda-covered surfaces. It will fizz, which helps to loosen dirt and grime.
- Use a cloth to scrub the surfaces thoroughly.
- Rinse with water and wipe dry with a clean cloth.
This natural bathroom cleaner is effective for removing soap scum, mineral deposits, and dirt from various bathroom surfaces. However, since vinegar is acidic it may not be safe for certain types of surfaces like marble or granite. Test it on a small, out-of-sight area first.
2. Lose the furniture polish spray
Furniture polish may make your favorite antique desk shine like new, but at what cost? The ingredients are so toxic that Medline Plus has an entire page dedicated to dealing with furniture polish poisoning. Just a few potential effects include blindness, skin burns, collapsed lungs, seizures, coma, and death.
Yep, the same thing that makes your furniture all bright and shiny can actually kill you, your pet, or your child. You don’t have to sacrifice pretty furniture to stay safe, though. Just make your own polish out of beeswax and jojoba oil.
Another even easier option is to just use olive oil and lemon juice. Don’t worry about splurging on the fancy EVO, cheap olive oil works just as well.
3. Make your own safer fabric softener
Those fabric softener sheets that you toss into the dryer may be convenient, but they’re actually quite nasty. Did you know that they leave behind a residue on all of your clothing? Even fabric softener that you add to the wash leaves your clothes less clean than you might think. That residue can wreak complete havoc on sensitive skin (especially on kids with eczema). It’s also bad for the environment!
The good news is there are SO many natural ways to soften your fabric. The simplest method: buy some wool dryer balls. They do a great job of softening and shortening the drying time. If you want something a little stronger, make your own out of vinegar and essential oil. Just add it to your washer’s softener dispenser or make dryer sheets by soaking strips of fabric in the mixture. Don’t worry, your clothes won’t smell like vinegar!
4. Skip the suds for healthier hair
Let’s head into the bathroom for some natural health & beauty hacks, starting with your hair. Somewhere along the last few decades, shampoo companies conditioned us (no pun intended) to believe that we needed suds to get really clean hair. The truth? Suds have little to nothing to do with it. Even worse: the sulfates used to make the suds can actually do more harm than good to your hair.
Look for all-natural sulfate-free shampoos on shelves in your favorite store, or just make your own using coconut oil, liquid castile soap, and essential oils. Here are some of the best essential oils for hair to help you come up with the perfect shampoo recipe for your needs:
- Rosemary: Stimulates hair growth, improves scalp circulation, and helps relieve dandruff and dryness.
- Lavender: It has calming properties and can help reduce stress and soothes your scalp (not to mention soothes YOU, too).
- Peppermint: The cooling sensation may improve blood circulation to the scalp, which can stimulate hair growth. It also feels amazing, especially when you have a headache!
- Tea Tree: Known for its antimicrobial properties, making it effective in combating scalp conditions like dandruff, dryness, and fungal infections. It helps to cleanse the scalp and promote a healthy environment for hair growth.
- Cedarwood: This oil has a balancing effect on your scalp’s oil production, making it great for both dry and oily scalps.
- Clary Sage: It’s great for oily scalps because it regulates sebum production. It also adds shine.
5. DIY your kids’ bath products
Forget the cute character bubble baths found in stores, they’re full of harsh ingredients like artificial fragrances and impossible-to-pronounce chemicals. For kids with sensitive skin, they’re an absolute no-no.
Besides, it’s a piece of cake to make your own bath products using simple ingredients like Epsom salt, gentle essential oils, and baking soda. Check out this easy tutorial for DIY detox bath bombs, or this one for soothing cold-relief salts. You can even make fun play dough soap for your kids.
6. Save money & your skin with this beauty hack
Here’s a secret that will save you money and your skin: unless you have a serious condition and your dermatologist says otherwise, you do not need an expensive cleanser to remove makeup. In fact, you don’t need face cleansers at all. Instead, turn to your fridge and pantry to make natural skin care products for pennies.
Most skin types react well to oils like sweet almond, jojoba, and even just olive oil. Use them as a facial cleanser before you go to bed at night. If you’re worried that using oily will make your skin greasy, don’t. These oils actually draw out the oils in your skin, leaving it both cleaner and suppler.
7. Repel pests naturally
Of all the chemicals that we bring into our homes, I think that pest-repellent traps and sprays have to be among the worse. In many cases, the danger is right in the name. Rat poison isn’t just deadly to rats, it can be fatal to children and pets. It’s typically made from warfarin, a chemical also used to thin the blood in patients at risk for stroke. Even low doses can cause serious complications.
Rather than rely on deadly toxins, try using humane traps first. These include brands like Havaheart and Safeguard. For natural insect repellent, try peppermint essential oil, lemon eucalyptus, cinnamon, or even vinegar.
8. Start a compost bin
Save money on your garbage bill, make your own natural fertilizer, and help the environment with a simple compost heap. Instead of throwing your fruit peels and veggie waste into the garbage, toss it in the heap. You can buy composters on Amazon or home improvement stores or make your own with inexpensive supplies. When it’s ready, use it in the garden in place of expensive fertilizers.
9. Kill weeds without harming the environment or your family
Like pest control products, many commercial weed killers are dangerous to both your pets and the environment. Fortunately, making your own weed killer is super simple. Check out this recipe that uses vinegar, salt, and dish soap. Try replacing the harsher dish soap with gentler castile soap.
10. Save your coffee grounds
Coffee drinkers, this natural hack is for you! When you’re done brewing your coffee, don’t toss those grounds. Save them to use around your house! Coffee grounds can help scrub stubborn stains in your shower, toilet, and more.
Coffee grounds are also great for your garden. Use them as mulch to keep snails, slugs, and other nasty pests away. You can even use them as a natural body scrub. Just mix them with coconut oil or sweet almond oil and use it in the shower. Be careful, though, it’ll make the tub slippery.
11. Tongs + a cloth are all you need to clean blinds
When it comes to cleaning your blinds, you can easily skip all of those chemical-laden household cleaners. All you really need is an old pair of tongs and a soft cleaning cloth. Just wrap the cloth around the tongs and secure them with a string or rubber band. Then run them over your blinds. Voila! No more dust! If those blinds are REALLY dirty, you can add a step and dip a cloth in vinegar to clean them, then use the dry cloth to wipe them.
12. Make your own natural potpourri
Making your own potpourri is as simple as tossing some orange peels and cinnamon into a small pot and letting it simmer on your stove. I use this hack to make my house smell like fall all year long! You can try other ingredients, too. For example, lemon peels, orange peels, and a bit of ginger smell so delightful together in the summer. Basically, you just toss whatever spices and peels you have on hand into a small pot with water, then put it on your stove on low. You can also simmer them in a crock-pot if you prefer.
13. Or make your own room spray
Stop using questionable aerosol room sprays or overpriced store-bought stuff. Make your own instead! Here’s how to do it:
- Grab a 4oz spray bottle
- Fill it with 2oz of witch hazel (it doesn’t have to be exact, just about halfway full)
- Add 25 drops of your favorite essential oil (roughly 1/4 teaspoon, if that’s easier for you)
- Fill it almost to the top with distilled water. Leave just a tiny bit of room.
- Shake it up, then spritz and sniff. If it’s not strong enough, add more essential oils, about 5 drops at a time.
I’ve seen similar recipes on other sites where they recommend using 50 drops of essential oil. I always start with far less and work my way up, especially if I’m using strong scents like eucalyptus, mint, or lavender.
14. Invest in a big bottle of raw honey
When it comes to hacks for a more natural home, honey can replace a TON of store-bought health and beauty products. Among its many uses, honey works great as a burn salve, wound dressing, and psoriasis remedy. I also use raw honey for coughs and colds instead of potentially dangerous cold medicines. If you have hard water from a well, adding honey to your bath water can help soften it, too!
15. Use these plants to purify your air the natural way
Why spend a fortune on fancy gadgets that end up costing you even more money on your electric bill when nature already gave us so many ways to clean the air in our homes? Just grab a few natural air-purifying plants like aloe vera, spider plant, or peace lily. There’s a catch, though. You’ll need more than one plant.
As Live Science explains, “While a single spider plant won’t purify the air, a green wall covered in plants just might, found scientists in a study published in 2020 in the Journal of Environmental Management. The scientists concluded that a green wall filled with suitable plant species ‘can be used to create a horticulturally sustainable internal green wall, and improve the health index in the building interior environments.'”
I think that sounds beautiful, though, don’t you? If you’re not sure how to make a green wall with plants, check out the video below:
16. Use this hack to find out how safe the ingredients really are
This last hack works for everything that you put in your home and on your body. Before you buy a single bath or beauty products, household cleaner, or gardening helper, check the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Database.
This incredibly massive database contains over 70,000 products and assigns an overall safety rating for the product as well as a breakdown of the safeness of each ingredient. This hack alone can help you maintain a healthier and natural home with very little work on your part.
Follow these hacks and you’ll have no problem creating and maintaining a healthier and more natural home!