There was a time we wouldn’t think twice about our cleaning products. So long as they smelled lemony fresh, made our worktops sparkle and the advert had a jaunty jingle we could hum along to, life was perfect. But we’ve become a lot greener since then and there are plenty of environmentally friendly products on the market. But are they up to the job? Some of the so-called green cleaning products don’t work as well and they can be almost twice as expensive, so is it possible to get that lemon-fresh, sparkly shine without damaging the environment? We’ve got some natural cleaning recipes to help you clean the green way:
What are Natural Cleaning Products?
Natural cleaning products have learned from nature. They’re designed to clean without harmful chemicals. Many of the products are better for your health, safe for you, your kids and your pets, and they’re environmentally friendly.
Well known examples are Method, Ecover, Eco-Zone, Bio-D and Borax, but you can also put together a home cleaning kit to really get on the green scene.
Basic Natural Cleaning Kit
Environmental expert, Donnachadh McCarthy recommends a basic kit should contain: organic white vinegar, borax, bicarbonate of soda, lemons and a selection of natural brushes and cloths. We recommend adding beeswax, cleaning salt, coconut oil and essential oils, like lavender, tea tree and rosemary to that list.
Lets get cleaning!
Keeping your carpets regularly vacuumed is a good idea, but what about stains? A bicarbonate of soda paste mixed with a little water works well, but for stubborn, ground in stains, you’ll need a spray bottle and an iron. Mix 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water and spray the stain. Place a damp rag on top of the spot then, with your iron on a steam setting, iron the rag for about 30 seconds. Voila!
You can also keep your carpets fresh by creating your own carpet freshener. Mix 1 cup of bicarbonate of soda with 10 drops of your favourite essential oil (lemony fresh , if you like!). If you have pets you can even add ½ cup borax to help keep fleas at bay. Lightly sprinkle the mix onto your carpet, let it sit for 10-15 mins then vacuum away.
With a bit of water, a dash of vinegar and a lot of elbow grease, you can get your windows sparkling. Use one part white vinegar to eight parts warm water and you’ve got yourself a homemade, cheap glass cleaner that really works, gets rid of pesky fingerprints, and won’t leave streaks.
The toilet is the one place where you might think a harsher chemical would be necessary, but we’ve found a scrub that’ll take care of business.
A tea tree scrub uses the antibacterial property of the essential oil to kill germs inside and outside of the loo. Mix ½ cup baking soda with 1 cup of vinegar and ½ tsp of tea tree essential oil into a spray bottle. Spray the mix inside and outside of the toilet bowl, including the lid and handle. Scrub away, then use a dry cloth to wipe the solution off the outside and you’re done. No odours, no stains.
Other than the kitchen, bathroom cleaning takes the most amount of time and effort. If you’ve only got 10 minutes then a mix of 4 tsp of bicarbonate of soda, eight of vinegar and half a squeezed lemon scrubbed into the surfaces will do the trick. A 50/50 vinegar and water solution will clean tiles, counters and cabinets and a simple bicarb and water paste will clean stubborn dirt off the shower and tub.
Got limescale on your taps? Some of the traditional products are packed full of harmful chemicals. Try soaking a dishcloth in vinegar and wrapping it around the end of tap. Leave for an hour then remove the cloth and rinse. You’ll have sparkling, shiny taps again.
As with the bathroom, you can use a 50/50 vinegar and water solution to clean tiles, counters and cabinets and the simple bicarb and water paste will clean stubborn dirt in and around the sink. You can even use this on your Corian worktop, microwave or kettle, but do make sure you don’t add any essential oils.
For the hob, mix up a paste of bicarb of soda, lemon juice and warm water with a splash of vinegar. Yes you’ll need to add a good dollop of elbow grease, but it really does work. Wipe down with a water and vinegar solution and the job’s done.
When it comes to cleaning the inside of your oven, some of the products on the market are super toxic to the environment and not good for your health. A fizzing combination of bicarbonate of soda, a cup of salt and some vinegar can be mixed and left on for an hour. Check back later for some serious scrubbing and hey presto, you’ve got a clean oven.
And the floor? Again, a dollop of trusty bicarbonate of soda in a bucket of water matched with the humble scrubbing brush is all you’ll ever need.
The only polish you need here is beeswax. Simply leave on for 30 minutes then buff. Your furniture will look and smell amazing. Plus it’s suitable for all natural woods and veneers.
Cloths and Wipes
Sales of cloths, wipes and paper towels have gone through the roof and supposedly save us time, but they’re not at all environmentally friendly. Use the humble duster instead or the fantastic E-cloth. It lasts for years, can be washed when dirty, and cleans with just hot water!
Being an eco Warrior doesn’t have to be difficult or cost you extra. Use these simple cleaning recipes, save money and swap your toxic products for natural home cleaning. Your health, your family and your pets will thank you for it. Not to mention mother nature!