Go into any store and you will be faced with a bewildering array of household cleaning products. You will find ones to clean the sink, floor, toilet, oven, glass, carpets - the list is endless......
While these products may be effective, many contain harmful, toxic chemicals that are bad for your health and the environment.
In addition, most people throw away numerous plastic containers after use. This adds to the growing problems of our ever-burdened landfill sites and contributes to global warming. (Not to mention the traces of toxic products left in the containers that leach out into the groundwater.)
The conventional cleaning products we use have only been around a relatively short period of time. Prior to the second World War, simple household products such as bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), vinegar and lemons were used. These are effective, safe and natural cleaning agents.
This article will show you how to make your own selection of green cleaning products using simple ingredients. Many of these will tackle several different jobs, so you will free up some valuable storage space in your cupboards, too!
YOU WILL NEED
- White distilled vinegar
- 3% hydrogen peroxide
- Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- Olive oil or jojoba oil
- Lavender, lemon and tea tree pure essential oils
- Fresh lemons (optional)
- Labels and waterproof pens
Don't worry about sourcing the bottles and jars. You'll find it easier than you think to reuse old packaging if you take a good look around your home.
Your deodorant or body spray might be in a pump dispenser bottle; you may find glass jars with the last dregs of hand cream or facial cleaner in them and look at your shower gel and shampoo for squeezy bottles.
Ask friends and family to keep old packaging for you, or ask on your local Freecycle group.
In a spray bottle, mix one part white vinegar with one part water. Label the bottle, 'Glass cleaner.'
Use this product to shine mirrors and windows. Spray it onto a cloth to clean grubby fingerprints off light switches and door handles. Spray around the toilet rim to freshen. Or use to spray on surfaces after cleaning to remove any product residues.
If you have particularly greasy areas to clean, then add a teaspoon of washing-up liquid to the mix and gently shake.
In a large jar, mix 1/4 cup bicarbonate of soda and 1 cup white vinegar. This is a great mix for the kids to get involved with as it will fizz and rise up inside the jar. (Best to hold it over a sink or the toilet when you mix them in case it comes over the top!) Label this container, 'Toilet cleaner.'
Pour into the toilet while it is still fizzing, leave for 10 minutes and then scrub with a brush or gently rub with a natural pumice stone to remove limescale.
In a squeezy bottle, mix 1/4 cup vinegar and 1/8 cup bicarbonate of soda. Add 1 litre water. Label this bottle, 'All purpose cleaner.'
Use this to keep your bathroom fixtures and shower panels free from soap scum and hard water deposits. Spray on the toilet handle and light switch covers. Use in the kitchen to clean the sink, work surfaces and knobs.
Grout cleaner/mold treatment
In a spray bottle, combine one part 3% hydrogen peroxide with two parts water. Label this bottle, 'Grout cleaner.'
Spray this on grout or areas where mold tends to grow. Leave to work for half an hour, then rinse.
Wooden floor cleaner
In a spray bottle, combine 1 part white vinegar with one part water. Add 5 drops pure lemon essential oil, 2 drops pure tea tree oil and 5 drops pure lavender essential oil. Label this bottle, 'Floor cleaner.'
Spray this directly onto wooden floors and wipe clean with a microfibre cloth. Spray onto linoleum and use a mop to remove all marks and leave a wonderfully clean, fresh fragrance.
Wooden furniture polish
In a glass jar, combine 2 parts olive or jojoba oil with 1 part white vinegar or fresh lemon juice (remember to strain the bits well!). Label this jar, 'Furniture polish.'
Apply to wooden furniture with a soft cloth to create a beautiful shine. This furniture polish is more of a 'food' for your wood. It will penetrate the wood and nourish it and prevent it from drying it. Over time, your homemade furniture polish will bring out the depth, tone and natural beauty of your furniture.
Air Freshener/surface cleaner
Fill a spray bottle with water and add 6 drops pure lavender essential oil, 6 drops pure lemon essential oil and 1 drop of pure tea tree essential oil. Label this bottle, 'Air freshener.'
Shake well and use as an air freshener whenever you want to remove smells or add a subtle fragrance to your home. This product is an effective cleaner for kitchen work surfaces, the dining table or even to clean sticky hands! All of the oils are antibacterial, so spray liberally around if anyone in your home is ill.
Hopefully this has inspired you to have a go at making one or two green household cleaning products yourself. It's a great way for you to teach your children about respecting their health, the environment and your family home. Not to mention the amount of money you will save over time by no longer buying conventional cleaning products!
Your house will be clean, safe, and you will dramatically reduce the indoor air pollution in your home which can result in improved health for you and your family.
"The Naturally Clean Home: 100 Safe and Easy Herbal Formulas for Non-Toxic Cleanser" by Karyn Siegel-Maier
"Green Clean: The Environmentally Sound Guide to Cleaning Your Home" by Linda Mason Hunter
She isn't famous, has no qualifications and hasn't written a book, but Rachelle's on a mission to share empowering information. She must be quite good because people keep asking her to write.
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