To make your own cleaning products, is the alternative to seeking out biodegradable cleaning brands and use with biodegradable cleaning cloths. Most natural cleaning recipes use baking soda and white vinegar, but you won’t get far with those tiny pots of baking soda in shops, and most supermarkets don’t sell white (cleaning) vinegar. You can buy in bulk from Dri-Pak (their site has lots of cleaning tips).
Use with If You Care Fair Trade rubber gloves (lined with natural cotton, use a separate pair for the dishwasher). These are packed in recycled cardboard, with nontoxic glues and vegetable inks. Air-dry and store away from sunlight, avoid use with corrosive substances).
Never mix any cleaner with bleach and avoid essential oils for pregnancy/nursing/babies/pets (also avoid Borax and close toilet lids after use). Read why you should not harm spiders (most will die if put outside) and use humane methods to deter ants, mice etc.
Plants don’t ‘clean the air’ (this is a 30-year old myth – see toxic houseplants to avoid near pets as just brushing a tail against a lily or sago palm can harm). Avoid using disinfectants near pets (if they walk on floors cleaned with them then lick their paws, Erin Heights Vet Hospital says Dettol destroys bacteria walls) and Veterinary Poisons Information Service says Zoflora can cause ulcers).
This bulk box of bicarbonate of soda is ideal to use, instead of toxic cleaning products, and can be used instead of many items. Made in Northamptonshire, this natural cleaning agent is good for absorbing bad smells, or as a mild abrasive, to cut grime. Derived from sodium carbonate, water and recycled CO2 – this is a mild alkali mineral that can combine with eco washing and cleaning products, to give surfaces a more powerful clean. Sold as a starter kit and 500g refill jar. Not for food use. Use baking soda for:
- Absorbing smells in the fridge (keep in a bowl)
- A mild abrasive cleaner
- Sprinkle on carpets overnight (away from pets and children) then vacuum the next day, to remove odours
- Bee stings (mix 1/4 cup with 2 teaspoons of water, then apply paste every 15 minuts to reduce inflammation (wasp stings should be treated with white vinegar). Wipe in opposite direction to the sting with the edge of a credit card, to avoid squeezing venom into the skin.
This bulk box of cleaning vinegar is ideal to replace lots of toxic items that are normally used for household cleaning. Diluted to a safer concentrate, you can use this for cleaning glass, floors, work surfaces and bathrooms. Made in Northamptonshire, just add a small amount to eco cleaning products or water to get rid of tough stains and limescale. You can buy the starter pack then order refill jars. Not suitable for food use. Vinegar is acidic, so don’t use on natural stone, unsealed grout or waxed surfaces. Test on an out-of-sight area, and dilute if concentration is too high. Wearing gloves is recommended. Vinegar can be used to:
- Remove limescale from taps & kettles
- Clean glass & mirrors
- Clean windscreens
- Clean washing machine seals/drawers
- Use instead of rinse aid or fabric conditioner
Natural Cleaning Tips
- To clean a washing machine, use 1/2 cup of white vinegar in final rinse (use 2 cups on empty hot cycle to clean machine). Add 1/2 cup baking soda to the drum, then wipe inside with damp cloth.
- To whiten socks without harmful bleach, just add 1 teaspoon of vinegar to one litre of heated (warm) water, then soak for 30 minutes, then wash as normal. You can alternatively use lemon juice, but it will take longer (a few hours).
- For reusable cleaning cloths, nappies and menstrual pads, replace fabric conditioner (reduces absorbency) with white vinegar in the final rinse.
- To remove mineral deposits on the toilet, add 1 cup bicarb soda to toilet pan, then add 1 cup of vinegar. Add another cup of vinegar and leave for 30 minutes, without flushing. If you have dogs who try to drink water from toilets, obviously keep the lid down while you wait.
- Add a little cleaning vinegar to laundry, to remove ‘pee smell’ of soiled laundry or bath mats, for boys or men who miss their aim!
Books for Natural Cleaning Recipes
Clean Green is a beautifully illustrated guide, with homemade recipes for all-purpose cleaners, bathroom cleaners, stain removers and furniture polish.
Clean & Green is a beautifully illustrated guide from Bake-Off winner Nancy, with 101 simple swaps for cleaning your home, including everyday cleaning and laundry, removing stains and zero-effort oven cleaner.