General Cleaning Alternatives

Homemade Furniture Polish

Commercial Furniture polishes usually contain petroleum products and actually leave a heavy buildup on your furniture and smell funky.  I don’t care how much lemon scent they add, they still have a petroleum kind of smell that can’t be good for you.  This homemade furniture polish will remove any wax or petroleum buildup, moisturize your wood leaving it shining and happy, and it will also smell great, too!are numerous recipes online for homemade furniture polish.  Many will call for more oil than vinegar.  I prefer the following as you can adjust the oil to your preference, but the ones with more oil tend to leave too much oil on the furniture.

  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar*
  • 1-2 teaspoon  olive oil**
  • 10 or so drops of your favorite essential oil (I use orange)
  • Spray bottle (I get these at the dollar store or reuse old commercial spray bottles)

In a spray bottle, add vinegar, olive oil and essential oil, and shake vigorously to mix.  Spray on a soft cloth and polish furniture.  DO NOT SPRAY DIRECTLY ON WOOD SURFACE.  A little goes a long way and spraying the cloth will give you plenty.  Also shake bottle well before each use to ensure the products get mixed well.

The vinegar will remove any residue or buildup from previous commercial polishes and the oil will leave the wood moisturized and refreshed.  Your furniture will also smell wonderful!  If there is still too much oil left on the furniture you can use another clean soft cloth and polish again to remove excess and bring furniture to a beautiful luster.  I use a microfiber cloth, but flannel works really well, too.  You can use terry cloth, but I find it leaves lint behind and sometimes can hold small sandy particles that can scratch your wood.

I don’t suggest making large batches of this with olive oil, as it will go rancid after a while.  Make in small batches and it will always be fresh.

*you can also substitute lemon juice for the vinegar and omit the essential oil for scent.  It won’t be as strong smelling, but will smell fresh and clean.

**you can also use liquid j0joba wax (available at most health food stores) although it is more expensive, it will never spoil.  Olive oil is the best everyday choice as it has a very long shelf life and a little goes a long way.  Not to mention if you cook at all, you probably keep it on hand all the time.

Homemade Fabric and Air Freshener

If you use Fabreeze and like it, you will love this and you can pick your own scent from the multitude of essential oils available.  I use my old Fabreeze spray bottles and mark them with the scents, so I can change it up whenever I want.  Because of my allergies, I cannot use floral fragrances, so I stick to citrus, fruit and food fragrances.  My favorites are Orange, Tangerine, Lemon, Lime,  Apple, Raspberry, Cucumber, Melon, Cinnamon, Vanilla.  Combining fragrances makes for some yummy smelling stuff.  Apple and Cinnamon smell like fresh baked apple pie.  Experiment with different oils and combinations, it’s fun and your house will smell great.

Note:  If you do a search online you will again find numerous recipes for homemade fabric fresheners.  Most call for fabric softener, which I do not want to use, as I am trying to avoid commercial chemical products.  The recipe I have chosen is a bit of combination of several I have found.

This recipe calls for vodka, which doesn’t have a scent and because of it’s alcohol content evaporates quickly.  You can substitute rubbing alcohol for the vodka, it will smell like alcohol when first sprayed but the alcohol scent will go away when it evaporates and you will just be left with the scent of the essential oil that you choose to use.  I am going to try to substitute witch hazel in the next batch, as it does not have an alcohol smell and evaporates quickly.

  • 1/2 cup CHEAP 100 proof Vodka
  • 1/2 teaspoon essential oil of your choice or combination of oils
  • Water
  • Spray Bottle (16 oz)

Pour the vodka into the spray bottle and add the essential oil.  Replace the top and shake vigorously until well blended.  Add water to spray bottle to fill, leaving a small space at the top.  Replace sprayer and shake vigorously to mix.  Spray on fabrics, curtains,  carpets, and into the air to freshen.  Can be used on pet beds and bedding safely.  If you are unsure of colorfastness of fabric, spray an inconspicuous area and wait until dry to test first.

You can use distilled white vinegar or rubbing alcohol in place of the vodka, however you will smell it until it evaporates, the vodka has no initial alcohol smell.

Homemade Multi-purpose Cleaner


One Response to “General Cleaning Alternatives”

  1. My ongoing quest to be green… « Off the Grid & Countryfried Says:

    […] Homemade Furniture Polish and Homemade Fabric Refresher […]

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