The best DIY cleaning solutions – professional cleaners share their secrets

Add a personal touch to your cleaning with these 5 homemade cleaning solutions loved by the pros

A glass spray bottle with a black top on a white sheet. Lemon peels and thyme in the bottle, whole lemons around the bottle
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Whether you have run out of an essential cleaning product or want more control over what you use to clean your home, making the best DIY cleaning solutions could be perfect for you.

From cleaning with vinegar to cleaning with lemon juice, these five cleaning products are simple to make and even simpler to use, often cutting out the need for harsh chemicals while saving you a bit of money.

Here, professional cleaners share their favorite DIY cleaning solution recipes and their best cleaning tips to make the most of the ingredients you have around your home.

The best DIY cleaning solutions

No matter if you are removing dust in your home, or cleaning grease in a kitchen, DIY cleaning solutions are perfect for keeping your home fresh and sanitary without the need for strong chemicals and artificial fragrances. Here is why the experts love them.

Cleaning supplies

(Image credit: Future Publishing Ltd)

1. All-purpose citrus cleaner

If you love the clean scent of fresh citrus, this all-purpose cleaning solution is ideal for you, suggests Itamar Madden, green cleaning expert at Green Life:

‘Citrus fruits are known for their natural cleaning properties, thanks to their acidity and fresh scent. This all-purpose cleaner is versatile and can tackle various cleaning tasks.

‘To make it, all you will need are some fresh citrus peels (oranges, lemons, or limes), white vinegar, and water,’ he shares. ‘Save your citrus peels after enjoying the fruit and place the peels in a clean, glass container, covering them with white vinegar.

‘Seal the container and let it sit for about two weeks before straining the liquid into a spray bottle, diluting it with an equal amount of water. You can then use it as an everyday cleaning spray to stay on top of dust and dirt around your home.’ 

2. Baking soda scrub

When you need a gentle abrasive, cleaning with baking soda should be your go-to, says Vanessa Terra Bossart, processional cleaner and CEO of Sparkling Clean Pro

‘Baking soda is a versatile cleaner that's excellent for removing stubborn stains,’ she says. ‘Mix it with water to create a paste and scrub away stains on sinks, ovens, and grout. It's a gentle abrasive that won't harm surfaces.’

Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda, 2 lb | $9.50 at Walmart

Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda, 2 lb | $9.50 at Walmart
From windows to rugs, tile grout to swimming pools, there are endless things you can clean with baking soda so it's useful to have at home.

3. White vinegar disinfectant

It is no secret that vinegar is one of the best natural cleaners but did you know it is also a great gentle disinfectant? 

Karina Toner, cleaning expert and operations manager at Spekless Cleaning loves its ability to disinfect everyday surfaces and remove odors:

‘It's effective against bacteria and viruses, and can even get rid of black mold more effectively than bleach,’ she explains.

‘To make a general cleaner, mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle and use it on kitchen counters, glass surfaces, bathroom fixtures, and as a general all-purpose cleaner. If using it on mold, skip the water and use the vinegar plain for the best results.’ 

Cleaning Vinegar | $4.99 at Target

Cleaning Vinegar | $4.99 at Target
Having a container of cleaning vinegar in your cleaning cabinet is essential for all sorts of household chores. 

Karina Toner
Karina Toner

Karina is the operations manager at Spekless Cleaning, a trusted maid service based in Washington D.C. The team has over five years of experience providing top-quality cleaning services for both residential and commercial clients. Karina oversees every aspect of the business, ensuring that every client gets the same top-notch service and a spotless clean every time.

4. Hydrogen peroxide disinfectant

If you are looking for a slightly stronger disinfectant, you can consider cleaning with hydrogen peroxide instead of vinegar.

Muffetta Krueger, professional cleaner and founder of Muffetta’s Domestic Assistants explains that 3% hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle is perfect for sanitizing surfaces and eliminating bacteria and viruses. 

It also works as a fantastic stain remover, she adds. ‘Just pour it into an easy-to-use spray bottle, and it’s ready to use.’

Hydrogen Peroxide 3% | $13.95 at Walmart

Hydrogen Peroxide 3% | $13.95 at Walmart
This industrial one-gallon container of hydrogen peroxide is perfect for cleaning and is more affordable than buying lots of little bottles from the drugstore.

Muffetta Krueger
Muffetta Krueger

Muffetta Krueger is a cleaning expert and founder of Muffetta’s Domestic Assistants with over 16 years of operational management experience in the service industry. Muffetta’s Domestic Assistants provides housekeepers, house cleaners and maids, and is based in New York.

5. Lemon and olive oil wood polish

To keep your wood furniture looking its best, a simple lemon juice and olive oil mix is all you need and is far more affordable than a commercial polish, says Angela Rubin, cleaning expert and owner of Hellamaid.

‘This natural wood polish not only cleans but also conditions wooden furniture. Lemon juice removes stains and odors, while olive oil brings out the wood's natural shine and prevents it from drying out,’ she explains. ‘Mix one part fresh lemon juice with two parts olive oil. Apply the mixture to a soft cloth and use it to polish wooden surfaces – is it ideal for wooden furniture, caring for wooden cutting boards, and even freshening up hardwood floors.’

Test on a small, hidden area first when trying for the first time.

Angela Rubin
Angela Rubin

Hellamaid is an award-winning cleaning company in Canada that's been featured on multiple global media brands. 


Are homemade cleaners effective?

Homemade cleaners, when made with the right ingredients, can be incredibly effective for cleaning up everyday household grease and grime. Common household items like baking soda, soap, and vinegar can be perfect for maintaining general cleanliness so long as you use them correctly. 

What is the disadvantage of using only natural cleaning products?

When only using natural cleaning products around your home, it can sometimes mean you need to scrub more or put a little more time and effort into ensuring one space is completely clean. This is because natural cleaners and homemade solutions don't have powerful chemicals that immediately break down grime and bacteria, requiring you to put more effort in on your part.  

It is important to note that not every area of your home should be cleaned with natural homemade cleaning solutions alone. If you have had a sickness in your home, for instance, are cleaning a toilet, or are even just doing laundry, commercial cleaners, and detergents are best to help kill bacteria and ensure important spots are sanitary.

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.