A clean and shiny tabletop not only looks great, but it also helps prevent the spread of germs and bacteria where food is prepared and eaten. However, most conventional cleaners contain harsh chemicals like bleach, ammonia and artificial fragrances that can be toxic and irritate eyes and skin. Fortunately, there are many highly effective non-toxic cleaners you can easily make using natural ingredients you may already have at home.
In this article, we’ll cover the top 5 non-toxic solutions for cleaning every type of mess on your tables from stuck-on grease to disinfecting. You’ll learn the specific benefits of each cleaner, when it works best and any limitations so you can use the right natural cleaner for each cleaning task. With this guide, you’ll be able to get your tables sparkling clean without exposing your family to dangerous toxins.
A Natural Abrasive: Baking Soda and Water Paste
Baking soda is likely already in your kitchen cabinet since it has so many uses from deodorizing the fridge to whitening teeth. Mixed with a bit of water, baking soda makes a simple but highly effective natural abrasive cleaner for scrubbing stuck-on messes on tabletops.
To use, mix about 3 parts baking soda with 1 part water until it forms a thick paste. Apply the paste to the dirty table surface using a sponge or damp cloth. Let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing in circles. The grains of the soda will help lift off dried food, grease and drink rings. Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry with a cloth.
- Made from 100% non-toxic ingredients you likely already have at home
- Creates an abrasive paste that cuts through grease and lifts difficult stains when scrubbed
- Super inexpensive compared to commercial cleaners
- Requires scrubbing and a bit of elbow grease to remove stains
- Not a disinfectant so it doesn’t kill bacteria or viruses
Best For: Baking soda paste works well as a regular tabletop cleaner for handling those stuck-on messes that need some scrubbing power to remove. The abrasiveness can be a bit too harsh for very delicate surfaces, so spot test first.
A Natural Disinfectant: White Vinegar
You’ve probably heard about the versatility of white vinegar for eco-friendly cleaning. The acidic nature of vinegar makes it a powerful degreaser and disinfectant against bacteria, mold and mildew. For general table cleaning, create a 50/50 vinegar water solution.
To make it, mix 1 part white vinegar with 1 part water in a spray bottle. Lightly spritz the solution over the table surface and use a damp cloth or paper towel to wipe. Rinse well afterwards with clean water and dry with a microfiber cloth to avoid streaks.
- Kills up to 80% of germs and bacteria as an effective disinfectant
- Removes grease and sticky residues without harsh chemicals
- Inexpensive and readily available in any grocery store
- Can leave a strong vinegar scent behind that some find unpleasant
- Not as abrasive as baking soda for scrubbing off dried spills
Best For: Use white vinegar solution whenever you need to sanitize and disinfect your tables. It’s particularly helpful for cleaning up in the kitchen after handling raw meats.
A Vegetable-Based Soap: Castile Soap
Castile soap has been used for centuries as a natural cleaner made from vegetable oils like coconut, palm, olive and hemp. You can find liquid castile soap in major supermarkets and health food stores. It works great by itself diluted in water, but you can also pair it with essential oils for added cleaning powers.
To make an all-purpose castile soap table cleaner, simply add 1-2 teaspoons of liquid castile soap to 2 cups water in a spray bottle. Mist the soap solution over the table surface and use a sponge or cloth to wipe clean. Buff dry with a microfiber towel to prevent streaking.
- Biodegradable and made from renewable plant-based oils
- Rinses clean without leaving chemical residue behind -Cuts through grease and lifts dirt with ease
- Need to fully wipe down after to avoid streak marks on the table
- Not abrasive enough to remove baked-on stains
Best For: Diluted castile soap makes an excellent natural daily table cleaner. It’s safe for sealed wood and other delicate surfaces. The mildness also makes it ideal for cleaning tables where food is prepared.
Disinfecting Power of Essential Oils
Many essential oils like tea tree, thyme, lemon, clove and oregano oil naturally contain antimicrobial properties that destroy bacteria, viruses and fungi. When added to castile soap and water, they create a non-toxic disinfecting table cleaner.
You can buy pre-made essential oil cleaning blends or easily make your own. Try this invigorating citrus table cleaning spray:
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup liquid castile soap
- 1 tablespoon lemon essential oil
- 1 tablespoon orange essential oil
- 1 teaspoon tea tree essential oil
Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well before each use. Mist onto table surfaces and wipe clean with a cloth. The natural oils will cut through grease and leave tables freshly disinfected with a light citrus scent.
- Kills germs without toxic chemicals like bleach or ammonia
- Leaves a pleasant, uplifting scent behind
- Cuts through stuck-on grime and grease
- Essential oils can be pricey, especially for large batches
- Doesn’t have abrasive scrubbing power for baked-on spills
Best For: Use an essential oil-infused table spray whenever you need to both disinfect and deodorize. It’s great for daily cleaning in the kitchen and other eating areas prone to spills and messes.
A Non-Toxic Bleach Alternative: Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is commonly used for disinfecting wounds and whitening teeth, but it also works great as a non-toxic bleach alternative for household cleaning. When diluted properly, hydrogen peroxide kills germs and brightens table surfaces.
Make a cleaning solution with a 3:1 ratio of water to 3% hydrogen peroxide. Mix 1 part hydrogen peroxide with 3 parts water in a spray bottle. Lightly spritz over tables and let sit for several minutes before wiping clean with a cloth.
- Disinfects tabletops and bleach stains without toxic fumes
- Breaks down into just oxygen and water so it’s environmentally friendly
- Very budget-friendly compared to harsh chemical bleaches
- Can damage certain surfaces like wood or granite with prolonged exposure
- Doesn’t provide degreasing power to cut through oils
Best For: Hydrogen peroxide solution works well for both disinfecting and brightening tables prone to stains. It’s also great for sanitizing tables after being sick since it kills illness-causing germs and viruses. Just take care not to use it too frequently on delicate surfaces.
Keeping tabletops clean should never require exposing your family to a cocktail of worrisome chemicals that get left behind on surfaces where you eat. With these 5 simple, non-toxic DIY cleaners made from ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, castile soap and essential oils, you can easily conquer all types of tabletop messes.
Each natural cleaner has specific strengths making them ideal for particular cleaning needs. Vinegar and hydrogen peroxide solutions work best for disinfecting. Baking soda is perfect for scrubbing stuck-on gunk. Castile soap and essential oils cut grease and leave a streak-free shine. Pick the right natural cleaner for each cleaning task and you’ll get sparkling tabletops minus the chemical residues.
Transition to these safe, eco-friendly cleaners is easy since they likely contain ingredients already in your pantry. Small batches are inexpensive to make and store nicely in reusable spray bottles. Using these non-toxic solutions provides peace of mind your family won’t be exposed to questionable chemicals from cleaners while still getting tables cleaner than ever. Try out these simple green cleaners in your home and experience their cleaning power first-hand. Your tables will be spotless, naturally!