What you’ll need (and why)

Vinegar, bicarb, salt, lemon juice, olive oil, coconut oil and low strength peroxide – these seven benign, inexpensive and naturally occurring items are all you need to accomplish a massive array of household cleaning and personal care tasks, spotlessly.

Each one is a rich source of benefits and wonders. Learn more about the spotless ingredients here.

Spotless ingredients

  • Vinegar (generally white spirit for home and apple cider for hair and body)
  • Bicarbonate of soda (a.k.a. baking soda, bicarb, sodium bicarbonate)
  • Salt (i.e. common salt)
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • 3% (or 10 volume) Hydrogen peroxide (a.k.a. peroxide. At low strength this natural and extremely useful substance is hugely beneficial. But if you’re uncomfortable with using it, there is always an alternative using the other ingredients above.)

Why these?

Unlike most ingredients of commercial household cleaning and personal care products, ALL of these:

  • serve useful functions in our bodies and the environment, and all have medicinal uses.
  • They are all naturally occurring, and so can be dealt with in nature when we release them into air or water.
  • Our bodies recognise and can use them.
  • They are all wonderfully versatile, allowing you to radically reduce your shopping list.
  • You can buy them all in bulk to further reduce packaging, cost and trips to the shop.
  • And they are all very inexpensive.

(Click on any ingredient above to find out about its makeup, uses, production and history. Find out how to tackle specific jobs in household cleaning and personal care.)

Can I eat it?

Substances, whether beneficial or harmful, can (and do) enter our bodies through various routes, known as the routes of exposure. Apart from injection, all these routes are open to the substances we use to clean and care for our homes and bodies. They are absorption (through the skin), inhalation (by breathing them in) and ingestion (by eating particles of them with our food).

Because it is so easy for the substances we use to clean and care for ourselves and our homes to enter our bodies through these various routes, a good rule of thumb in choosing what to use, is to ask, can I eat it? All the seven substances above can be eaten and in fact have many benefits to our bodies, meaning that exposure to them will not harm you (though of course an excess of anything is bad). Three of them (salt, bicarbonate of soda and hydrogen peroxide) are produced in and used by our bodies at a cellular level and are vital for good health, while the others (vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil and coconut oil) are well-known foods with long appreciated health benefits. They all have medicinal uses, without (if used correctly) any negative side effects.

The “can I eat it?” rule may appear extreme when we are exposed to so little of a particular ingredient that it seems safe to use, particularly if we don’t experience any immediate reactions. However, studies are now showing that many of the toxins in the products we use in our homes have no safe dosage – sometimes even tiny amounts are dangerous, and some toxins are just as dangerous over long-term low exposure as from short-term high dosages. Also, even the limited research that has been done on the safety of some ingredients does not look at their interaction with other ingredients or other chemicals that may be present in the environment. Especially in sprays, particles are furthermore often so small that they can penetrate deep into lung tissue and pass through the body’s natural barriers of skin and membranes to easily enter the bloodstream.

For an ingredient to be natural is also not always enough to make it safe. Several dangerous substances are derived from naturally occurring sources. As one example, sodium lauryl sulfate, a known irritant and sensitiser that leads to dioxin formation and is extremely common in household cleaners and personal care products, is normally derived from coconut. Generally, substances that are well-known to be benign after being part of our diet or environment for very long periods, and that are used in their natural form or only very simply processed, are safer than newly invented, or highly processed substances, whether artificially produced or derived from natural sources.

For more details on why a particular ingredient has been included, go to its specific page.


  • Look at the household cleaning and personal care pages for detailed instructions of how to do a massive range of tasks with just these seven items above.
  • Get information on storing your spotless materials, and what other bits and bobs you might need to make cleaning easier.
  • Read more about using the herbs or essential oils we sometimes mention adding to various spotless recipes.
  • Get some motivation and help in making the change from commercial products to using the spotless approach.