10 easy natural and eco-friendly cleaning hacks that actually work

You'll wish you knew them sooner

A basket of cleaning products on a kitchen counter top
(Image credit: Getty)

No one wants to spend more time cleaning. But if you're considering swapping out your go-to cleaning hacks and supplies for more eco-friendly ways, you might assume it's going to take way more effort. Luckily, that's not the case with these natural cleaning hacks. 

Let’s be honest, reaching for a pre-made cleaning spray is easy, and not to mention super convenient. Especially when it’s designed to specifically target the exact task you want to tackle. The truth is, cleaning your home with heavy chemicals does more than just kill bacteria and blast through grime, it can also damage the environment and could impact you and your pets' health.

In brighter news, there are a whole host of natural and eco-friendly cleaning products out there, but if you'd rather use stuff you already have in your kitchen, then keep reading. Lots of these eco-friendly cleaning hacks can be found on #CleanTok meaning they're sure to make keeping your home clean and smelling fresh easier.

What are the best natural and eco-friendly cleaning hacks?

1. Remove burn marks with onion 

It might sound kind of odd but hear me out on this one. There’s an enzyme in onions that — when it reacts with oxygen — creates an acid that can be used to dissolve grease and grime. For best results, cut the onion in half, gently heat it up, and then use the cut side of the onion to rub over any marks. The acid will quickly remove any stains. 

2. Shine pans with rhubarb 

Noticed that your pots and pans have taken on a rusty hue or lost their shine? All you need to do is slice up some rhubarb and simmer it in the pan with a little water. As the rhubarb heats up the oxalic acid within the fruit lifts stains, leaving your pans looking shinier than ever. 

3. Clean your shower screen with lemon and a little salt  

Sick of your shower screen looking grimy? A great natural way to tackle water stains and remove areas of built-up limescale is to use lemon and salt. Simply slice a lemon in half, dip the cut side into a bowl of salt, and then use the lemon and salt combination to buff the shower screen. I’ve tried this myself and it really works. 

4. Clean windows (and mirrors) with vinegar 

For cleaning your windows, vinegar is a well-known hack that works super well. For best results, pick up a bottle of white vinegar (this white vinegar from Heinz that's available at Amazon is our go-to) and decant a small amount into a spray bottle (like this Hula Home bottle from Amazon), so that you can spritz your windows with vinegar more easily, before buffing away the grime with a soft microfiber cloth. 

5. Use lemon and baking soda to get your sink sparkling  

This is a hack that I use day in, day out and absolutely love for cleaning the sink, deodorizing it, and making it seriously shiny. Simply sprinkle baking soda (this Arm & Hammer baking soda from Amazon is what we always like to recommend) around your sink, slice a lemon in half, and use the cut side of it to buff the baking soda around the sink. Leave to sit for a couple of minutes, and then wash away, and your sink should be sparkling.

6. Swap out regular sponges for biodegradable ones 

Instead of using regular foam sponges to clean, opt to replace them with a more eco-friendly alternative (like these Airnex eco sponges from Amazon). Both coconut and walnut fiber sponges are biodegradable, affordable, and — get this — actually more effective at cleaning, particularly when dealing with crusty pots and pans. 

7. Use grapefruit to clean the bath and shower 

You know the lemon and baking soda sink hack above? Well, for cleaning your bath and shower, all you need to do is swap the lemons for grapefruits and you can achieve the same super shiny (and not to mention wonderfully fresh and clean) results. 

8. Remove limescale with white vinegar 

Noticed a build-up of limescale that you want to get rid of? For a more natural approach to removing it, fill a spray bottle with a mixture of half water and half white vinegar, wrap a paper towel around the affected area, and spray it with the vinegar and water solution until saturated. 

9. Clean your microwave with lemon and vinegar 

For deep cleaning your microwave without the use of a chemical-based spray, slice a lemon, squeeze some of the juice into a bowl filled with half water and half white vinegar, and then microwave for three to five minutes — or until the solution is steaming hot. Keep the door closed for a further five minutes to allow the steam to loosen any built-up grime, before wiping out the microwave with a microfiber cloth. 

10. Use baking soda to deodorize your garbage can 

If your kitchen trash can has developed a stench, this is the hack you need. Simply fill the container with hot water and a cup of baking soda, leave it to soak overnight, and by the morning it should smell fresher. 

Beth Mahoney
Freelance journalist

Hi! I’m Beth Mahoney and I’m a former staff writer at Real Homes. I’ve been a journalist for the national press for the past six years, specializing in commerce and trends-related lifestyle articles, from product reviews and listicles to guides and features. With an eye for pretty things (think: quirky wall prints, scalloped edge furniture, and decadent-looking tableware) but a limited budget, I love nothing more than a bargain buy.