I have been dabbling lately with some homemade cleaning products, and thought I would share some of my success stories.
Firstly, I think it is good to explore the benefits of homemade cleaning products. I have been trying to use natural cleaning products to reduce my plastic consumption and move towards using more natural chemicals to clean with. On the whole they’re also much cheaper and you probably have most of the ingredients in your cupboard. There are still a couple shop-bought versions I prefer; toilet bleach for instance. I do a toilet bleach once a week, but I have also been trying other methods to use bleach less often. Washing up liquid has also become a contentious subject in our house. I happy using castille soap to wash-up with (you do need a bit more soaking and elbow grease) but it drives Steve mad as it’s not quite as good as store-bought washing up liquid, so he buys his own. As always, find what works for you but I really encourage you to try making your own- you might be surprised!
First up, your cleaning arsenal. Ditch the paper towel and use cloths instead. I made mine out of an old t-shirt that had holes in it. I also use microfiber clothes because they are the BEST. Can you recycle some old spray bottles? Use old newspaper or the paper stuffing from parcels to clean windows and glass, make bin liners out of old packaging (giant rice packets, clothes order bags). When you next need to buy a new washing-up brush, hunt out a wooden one. I found mine in Marqt in Amsterdam for a euro! Try to use as little water as possible when cleaning.
I think we all know this one, but thought I would include it anyway. White vinegar and newspaper is all you need my friend.
- 1/3 cup bicarbonate of soda
- 1/3 cup white vinegar (cheapest you can find!)
- Boiling water
Mix the bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar over a sink in a mug, and then pour down the sink and leave to sit for a minimum of one hour maximum overnight. Flush through with boiling hot water.
Version 1: I took this recipe from the yoga studio I used to work at, we used this to clean the yoga mats, and they always smelled brilliant! This version is especially good if you don’t like the smell of vinegar ( which I use in my other version)
- 1 empty spray bottle, you can use an empty old one washed out
- Cheapest vodka you can find
- Tea tree and lavender essential oil
Fill the spray bottle about half full with vodka and half full with water. Add about 8 drops of tea tree and lavender oil (or more if you want a stronger smell) mix together and voila!
Version 2: This one is a little more pungent and takes a bit of time.
- White vinegar
- Air-tight jar
- Old citrus peel
Put the old citrus peel in the air-tight jar and cover with white vinegar. Leave for 1 week to ferment. Open and use! I dilute mine with water and put into a spray bottle that my friend gave me when moving out.
I once listened to Radio 4 programme on which a butler shared his cleaning tips. He swore by the method of cleaning the toilet with a whole litre bottle of cheap coca cola (another reason not to drink Coke). I find this does leave my toilet bowl sparkling. For me a once-a-week bleach is still necessary , but here is a non-toxic in-between toilet cleaning method:
- 1 cup boiled and cooled water
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1 cup vinegar
- roughly a handful of bicarb soda
- essential oils for a nice smell
Mix the vinegar and essential oil into a spray bottle and spray around the bowl. Shake the bicarbonate onto the toilet bowl and scrub with a toilet brush. Flush and wash away.
I haven’t yet found a homemade washing up liquid that really works. I have tried castille soap but unfortunately it just doesn’t cut through the pan grease, however I have recently been using used coffee grounds as a pan scrub to get the hardened on stains off. Alternatively, if you have a load of grease in your pan I really recommend giving a good sprinkling of bicarbonate of soda and then pouring on white vinegar and leaving to soak and do its magic.
Ecover is probably one of the best laundry detergents out their for the environment and you can refill your Ecover in the UK. Whatever laundry detergent you use, try to use a liquid version. I have written before about using a liquid as opposed to powder as this creates less friction and therefore less micro-plastics. Also fill your washing machine with as much washing as possible, and put it on a lower temperature.
I hope these work for you! I will keep experimenting and I would love to hear the methods of natural cleaning that you use!
Have a great weekend!
Flora x x