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Natural Year Challenge: Household - Month One

Five Basic Natural Cleaning Products

Buy Five

Welcome to your first step in transitioning to a naturally clean home! We hope these 10 steps will make the journey fun and fulfilling. Your first assignment is to make the following purchases. You have an entire month, so no need to rush.

  1. Borax. This is sodium tetraborate and will be used for making laundry soap. Borax can be found in the laundry aisle of many grocery and big box stores. For information regarding the safe usage of borax in the home, see our Borax: Friend or Foe? article.
  2. Washing Soda. This is a "cousin" of baking soda. It is sodium carbonate and will be used to make your own laundry soap. There will be other uses as well, but it is commonly found in the laundry aisle of your big box or hardware store. It is also available online from vendors such as Amazon. You can also make your own washing soda by heating baking soda in your oven. See our How to Make Your Own Washing Soda article for details.
  3. Baking Soda. This is sodium bicarbonate and is available at your local grocer, in the food section. Some stores will carry 2 lb. boxes. Many co-ops offer the opportunity to buy this in bulk. You will be using lots of baking soda, so don't hesitate to stock up!
  4. White Vinegar. Distilled white vinegar is available at local grocers and big box stores. Look for the gallon size.
  5. Castile Soap (liquid and bar). Castile soap is an olive oil-based, environmentally friendly soap that originated in Spain. You will be using liquid castile soap in the kitchen and bathroom, and the bar soap in your laundry room. You can find them at your local health food store or online from vendors such as Amazon. For a pure, all-natural castile bar soap, see momsAWARE's handmade Just So Clean Coconut Castile Soap. (Also available in grated form for easy use in laundry soap.)

You can purchase these items for less than $25, depending on the sizes. Transitioning to a naturally clean home is truly cost-effective!

Bonus Items:

  • As we will learn later, essential oils make a wonderful addition to the naturally clean home. If you’ve never tried essential oils, consider purchasing one this month. Lemon and/or tea tree oil make wonderful beginning choices. Reputable brands include rareESSENCE and Rocky Mountain Oils.
  • We will be grating our castile soap bars. Consider purchasing a grater or an inexpensive food processor specifically for this purpose.

In the following video, Andrea shows each of the Buy Five items to help you in your quest.
Happy shopping!


"My daughter started having digestive problems... heart palpitations... coughing episodes... muscle/joint pain... asthma/allergies... Her doctor finally advised me to check for mold in our home."

– Anonymous

"My symptoms persisted and eventually turned into lethargy and depression. At the age of 26, I required a nap every evening after work."

– Jennifer

"I've been living in a mold-infested home for 13 months... I was going CRAZY! Finally figured it out... Just a few days of recovering in a mold-free home and I feel AMAZING!!!"

– Lauren

"We were having a lot of health problems and had been to the doctor countless times... we had large circles of slimy greenish-black mold on the bathroom ceiling, where it had caved in a few months before."

– C.

"I was skeptical at first that these (natural cleaning) products would work, but they work better than the stuff I buy at the store! We will soon be moving to the personal care products as well!"

– Jennifer

"We had some water leaks in our home... we never thought we needed to clean out and remove the floor, the ceiling, or the drywall... my two small children and I have remained constantly sick for years in this home."

– Mia

"I'm new at this, but today I cleaned my bathroom with baking soda and vinegar. It's much better not having those strong chemical smells afterwards."

– Anonymous

"The ERMI mold test as well as your helpful articles and Toxic Talk Tuesday programs have helped us avoid a terrible mistake in purchasing a new home."

– Angela

" age 35 or 36 I started to become allergic to everything, and I got asthma at age 36... I went to doctor after doctor after doctor and was desperate for help, but nobody could help me."

– Mia

"I started finding myself sitting on the floor in rooms of my house and not remembering how I got there, what I was doing before, or how long I had been there."

– Brenda

"The entire time we lived in our (mold-infested) house the kitchen sponge would get musty smelling within 3-4 days. It was so strange. I had to buy a pack of sponges nearly every week."

– Anonymous

"I have been sick for almost 6 months now and doctors were not able to figure out why. I finally put it all together after going away for vacation for a week and suddenly my symptoms were going away."

– Anonymous

"I knew it was mold, but doctors kept telling me I had anxiety. I was sitting in my office and could not remember who I was talking to, or what we were talking about."

– Brenda

"We all suffered from headaches, hormonal body temperature fluctuations, brain fog, fatigue, difficulty breathing, thrush, rashes, and yeast infections... we vacated our home two weeks ago."

– Anonymous

"Our family has been out of our home for 9 months due to mold... I am so scared and weak from all of this. We have lost friends; family members don't understand."

– Anonymous

"In my moldy home if I left the wet clothes in the washer they would get musty very quickly and I'd have to re-wash... Sometimes I'd run a load, go to work, and they'd be musty when I returned that evening."

– Anonymous

"I had been struggling with headaches, head fog, breathing difficulties (unable to get a full breath), constant scalp tingling, migraines, nausea, feeling spacey/detached, and severe itchy skin."

– Anonymous

"My daughter has had many blood samples taken to test for everything imaginable and her doctor just seems puzzled. Everything comes back normal."

– Anonymous

"Both of my sons went downhill quickly and coughed for months... They both lost their ability to read, had profound vision disturbances, and had phenomenal gastric issues."

– Lee

This site is dedicated to a true friend and mother — Barbara Dell Kessel (1929-2009)