Whether you consider it strangely relaxing, a borderline obsession, or dreadful (maybe in denial until minutes before company arrives?), cleaning is essential to the upkeep of your home. Plus, it makes your space look a whole lot bigger, brighter, and more beautiful!

Even if the end result’s pretty, the process can be unpleasant. Have you ever started choking on fumes or felt your skin burning while cleaning? Not so fun.

Swapping chemicals with the likes of lemon or baking soda, green cleaning uses natural ingredients to cut grease and leave surfaces sparkling throughout your home. Green polishes, cleaners, and degreasers not only make for safer scrubbing, but they also could be more effective than their chemical counterparts.

Consider whipping up these 4 no-fuss natural substitutes before your next clean sweep.

1. Glass cleaner

The go-to: Windex®

While it’s the common solution for cleaning your windows, Windex contains ammonium hydroxide (ammonia), a chemical that can irritate your eyes. Even worse, it can be harmful to your throat and lungs if you inhale it.

The green cleaning solution: vinegar and water

Cleaning your windows and glass surfaces with this mixture of natural ingredients will result in that same streak-free shine of Windex fame — without the ammonia!

Make it at home

Simply mix 1/4 cup of vinegar into 1 quart of warm water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle, spray on windows and glass surfaces, and wipe glass clean with a piece of cloth or newspaper.

2. Wood polish

The go-to: Pledge®

Furniture polish typically contains hydrocarbons that, if accidentally ingested, may cause dizziness, labored breathing, stomachache, and other severe symptoms that could land you in the hospital.

The green cleaning solution: dish soap, lemon oil, and water

Reveal the glow of your wood furniture without using potentially poisonous polish. Instead, count on this chemical-free concoction to bring out the luster of your wood tables.

Make it at home

Combine 1 tablespoon of dish soap (bonus points for the all-natural variety), 15 drops of essential oil (lemon has that Pledge-y smell), and 2 cups of water into a spray bottle. Shake the ingredients well. Using a cloth, rub the polish in a circular motion on wood furniture to bring out its natural shine.

3. Tub scrub

The go-to: Comet®

The Environmental Working Group reports that Comet contains over 100 chemical ingredients in its powder formula. Among those not listed on the label are highly toxic formaldehyde and chloroform, which have both been linked to cancer.

The green cleaning solution: baking soda, vinegar, and liquid soap

Combine baking soda, vinegar, and soap to create a carcinogen-free scrub sure to cut through tough soap scum and grime.

Make it at home

Pour 1 2/3 cups of baking soda into a bowl. Then, mix in 1/2 cup of liquid soap, 1/2 cup of water, and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar. To sweeten the mixture’s scent, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil (like orange or patchouli). Store the solution in a spray bottle, and use it to clean your tub, shower, and bathroom tile.

4. Laminate and tile floor cleaner

The go-to: Pine-Sol®

Most of us are so familiar with Pine-Sol, we recognize it the second we walk into a freshly mopped room. But despite its popularity, Pine-Sol isn’t an ideal cleaning agent since it contains a chemical called 2-butoxyethanol. This chemical solvent commonly used in household cleaners is very potent and can irritate your eyes, nose, and throat if inhaled.

The green cleaning solution: alcohol, vinegar, water, and soap

While vinegar, water, and soap deliver a mean clean to your floor, the alcohol helps the solution dry quickly so it’ll have a perfectly streak-free shine.

Make it at home

Mix 1 cup of vinegar, 1 cup of water, and 1 cup of rubbing alcohol. Add 2 to 3 drops of dish soap. And again, you can add essential oils for aroma. Keep the mixture in a large spray bottle. Spray on laminate and tile floors to get that deep-down clean.

These 4 green cleaning solutions are just a few of many alternatives that keep your home spick-and-span without exposing yourself and your loved ones to harmful chemicals.

When all else fails, count on baking soda to clean just about anything. Check out these 10 amazing uses for baking soda, and get even more tips boosting your curb appeal and keeping your home dust-free.

DIY hacks


about Emily Rose

During her time at Esurance, when Emily was not giving the nitty gritty details of insurance a much needed makeover, she enjoyed scouring thrift shops for cool vintage finds and taking her role as a proud Pom mom much too seriously.