As we try to move towards developing more sustainable living practices, one of the simplest things we can do is reconsider the types of products we use. In particular, many products used to clean our homes actually contain a surprising amount of harmful chemicals. Luckily, there are a range of simple recipes that we can follow to create our own homemade cleaning products, which are not only more environmentally-friendly, but which are also cost-effective. Here are five easy homemade cleaning product recipes you can use in your home.
Key Ingredients for Natural Cleaning
There are a number of ingredients that can be used in multiple recipes. This makes creating different recipes for different cleaning purposes even easier and more affordable. Even better, most items are easy to come by and can be easily purchased from your local supermarket. Investing in these key ingredients will make natural cleaning even easier.
· White vinegar
· Bicarbonate of soda
· Castile soap
· Soda crystals
· Essential Oils (tea tree, lavender, orange and eucalyptus oil tend to be particularly useful)
· Spare spray bottles and jars/containers for storage.
1. All-Purpose Cleaner
An all-purpose cleaner is ideal for spraying on countertops, as well as floors, bathroom fixtures and most other surfaces. Lemon is a great cleaning ingredient because it’s naturally antiseptic and antibacterial. Even better, by adding lemon and rosemary sprigs, or an alternative essential oil, it also smells great!
One note of caution, however – never use lemon, vinegar or any other types of acidic substances on granite or marble surfaces as this will damage them.
· One part water
· One part white vinegar
· Lemon rind
· Rosemary sprigs or a few drops of an essential oil (e.g., lavender or tea tree).
Combine all the ingredients together in a spray bottle. Shake them thoroughly and them allow them to infuse for a week. It’s then ready to use!
2. Laundry Detergent
Making your own laundry detergent can help to avoid and reduce skin irritation, which is particularly useful for people who suffer from sensitive skin or eczema. This simple recipe uses castile soap, but you could substitute this for another similar bar soap. It is this which will help to remove dirt from clothing. Meanwhile, the soda crystals will not only help to clean your clothes, but they’ll also prevent build-up and limescale in your washing machine.
· ½ cup of soda crystals
· 1 bar of castile soap
Shave the bar of castile soap (you can even use a cheese grater for this, or another similar type of tool). Mix the soap shaving and soda crystals together until they are all well combined. Pour them into a container to store. You can then use 1 tablespoon per load, or 2 tablespoons for heavily soiled items.
Tip – you can also use biodegradable soapnuts instead. These are a natural detergent source and are grown in India. When they come into contact with water, they produce mild soap suds, which can then be used as a soap alternative. Simply place 5-7 soapnut shells in a cotton bag or sock and tie it securely. You can then add this to your clothes for washing.
3. Glass Cleaner
A good-quality glass cleaner can be used for a range of items, including windows and mirrors and even electric stovetops. This recipe includes rubbing alcohol which is useful for lifting and removing residue, helping to leave glass streak-free. The vinegar is key to this recipe as it’s the ingredient that actually removes the dirt. However, it’s important not to use more than indicated in the recipe, as it could lead to glass becoming cloudy.
· ¼ cup of white or apple cider vinegar
· ¼ cup rubbing alcohol (at 70% concentration)
· 4 cups of water
· 1 tbsp corn flour
· 1-2 drops of orange essential oil (this is optional and only for smelling purposes)
Combine all the ingredients together in a spray bottle. Shake the bottle and spray directly onto glass surfaces. Use a dry microfibre cloth or soft rag to wipe the glass dry.
Tip – avoid cleaning windows on hot sunny days. The solution is likely to dry too quickly, leading to lots of streaks. When cleaning mirrors, you can also spray the solution on to a paper towel or soft cloth first before you start wiping.
4. Toilet Cleaner
This easy recipe is great for leaving your toilet smelling great, as well as ensuring that your toilet bowl is left clean and free of limescale. After cleaning, you can also add some oil around the bowl to prevent dirt from sticking to the side of it. It’s worth noting that this is a single use recipe that will need to be made at the time you are ready to clean the toilet. This is because there’s no way of storing the mixture, due to the fizzing action.
· ¾ cup white vinegar
· ¾ cup of bicarbonate of soda
· 10 drops of lavender essential oils
· 10 drops of tea tree oils
Mix the bicarbonate of soda and essential oils together. Add the vinegar to the mixture and then pour the entire mixture into the toilet. You can then use a toilet brush to scrub the bowl.
5. Grease Cleaner
Cleaning grease can be particularly arduous. But with this simple recipe you can clean your stove hood, grill and oven racks with ease. The sudsy ammonia is great as it contains detergent that helps to remove stubborn grime.
· Scant 1 gallon of water
· ½ cup of sudsy ammonia
Mix the ingredients together and it’s ready to use. You can either dip a sponge into the mixture and wipe the items, or instead, soak them directly in the mixture. For particularly dirty or stubborn items, you can add more ammonia. Remember to rinse them with clear water when you’re finished.
Living a more sustainable lifestyle is beneficial in a number of ways. Switching to more natural products can help to improve our health and wellbeing, as well as the environment, including alleviating some skin conditions.
However, it also offers us the opportunity to reconsider our attitude to cleaning itself. For most people, cleaning is a chore, simply another thing that we have to get ticked off our to-do list. Yet, when we consciously decide to switch to a more natural homemade approach, we also create an opportunity to reframe our approach to it.
Instead of viewing it as a chore, we can instead try to see it as a moment to mentally pause and slow down. In the act of cleaning, we can try to reconnect with our home environment, viewing the task as a cleansing moment. It’s an opportunity to refresh our homes, the environment many of us spend the most amount of time in, in a considered manner.
This week, we invite you to try one of these recipes. Swap a shop-bought cleaning product for a homemade one. Of course, we’d love to hear your experiences, as well as any other recipes for homemade cleaning products you might have.
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