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Your Guide to Green Cleaning

April 2020 by Catherine McGinn

Creating your own toxin-free cleaning supplies is a fun, crafty and practical way to live a more green and ethical lifestyle while reducing your carbon footprint. Everything we buy has a carbon footprint attached – from the manufacturing process to the transport of different ingredients, all the way through to disposal. As we’re all avoiding the shops as much as possible at the moment, whilst trying to keep surfaces extra clean, why not try using some bits you probably already have around the house to create your own DIY cleaning products?

Another benefit of cleaning your house with natural, chemical-free products is the removal of health and safety concerns. Having chemicals around children is always a worry, but even for adults using the products, health implications shouldn’t be overlooked. Many common ingredients in household cleaning products such as ammonia, chlorine bleach and hydrochloric acid are skin and lung irritants. This can worsen asthma along with other lung conditions if used regularly. Other chemical solutions such as drain cleaners can have particularly negative implications for our water quality, threatening fish and other wildlife. Creating your own gives you the opportunity to choose every ingredient, and may bring you some peace of mind.

 

Cleaning Remedies:

Natural cleaners are just as effective as the chemical cleaners found in supermarkets. However, the convenience of these has distracted us from the simplicity of natural cleaning solutions. We’ve created a list of simple mixes for your different cleaning needs, hopefully highlighting the ease of creating your own products!

Many of these recipes include the option to add essential oils to your solutions which also act as a natural air freshener for your home – some great oils we love are eucalyptus, lavender, tea tree, peppermint, and any citric fruit oil (though do your research and be careful if you have pets as some can be harmful to them).

All-Purpose Kitchen Cleaner

Mix a few tablespoons of baking soda with some warm water and a few drops of your favourite essential oil. Sprinkle this solution onto kitchen surfaces and cupboard doors, before wiping away with a damp cloth. To disinfect, add tea tree oil as this is a natural disinfectant. (Please note that using detergent or washing up liquid in a fridge is not recommended as it can affect the taste of your food).

Fridge Cleaner

To clean the inside of your fridge, dissolve baking soda in warm water and use a clean cloth to wipe down surfaces. If there are any stubborn stains, rub neat baking soda onto the stain and wipe down with your cloth.

Drain Cleaner

Pour some soda crystals, followed by boiling hot water, down your drain and leave on for a minimum of 30 minutes – depending on how big the clog is, this can be left to sit overnight.

Alternatively, mix 100mls of baking soda and 100mls of salt and leave this in the drain for at least 30 minutes before clearing with boiling water to reveal your squeaky clean drain! Like soda crystals, using salt acts as an abrasive and can scrape away residue and grime.

Rinse Aid

Using lemon peel acts a rinse aid for your dishwasher as opposed to purchasing a commercial rinse aid.

Stainless Steel Cleaner

Using a microfiber cloth and a few teaspoons of olive oil, wipe your stainless steel items to mask scratches, smudges and watermarks. Toothpaste is also a good way to remove tarnishes from silver.

Carpet Cleaner

A weak vinegar solution, of 50ml vinegar and 50ml of warm water, with a cloth, removes the film of dirt and grease from carpets.

Floor Cleaner

Replace your bleach and store-bought floor cleaners with a weak solution of hot water and soda crystals for clean and fresh wooden floors and tiles. Adding lemon juice or an essential oil of your choice can leave your home smelling fresh.

Window Cleaner

Wiping windows with white vinegar and newspaper is a classic window cleaning solution. Fun fact, this remedy has been around since glass was invented!

Wood Cleaner/Polish

By mixing a ½ pint of water, ½ a pint of vinegar and a tablespoon of olive oil, you can create a wood cleaner and polisher in one – olive oil is a natural product that can be used to act as a varnish and leave a nice gleam on your wooden furnishings (test this on a small patch of wood before applying to the whole surface).

Bathroom Surface Cleaner

Mix equal parts of hot water and white vinegar in a spray bottle to clean bathroom sinks, showers and vanities. For a fresh scent, add lemon juice or an essential oil of your choice.

Toilet Cleaner

Create your own toilet cleaner by mixing 30grams of baking soda and 100mls of vinegar,  apply the solution then leave to sit for approximately 30 minutes. You can also add any essential oil for a fresh scent.

Limescale Removal

Apply lemon juice and scrub with an old toothbrush to remove limescale. Alternatively, rub your stain gently with half a lemon dipped in salt then rinse thoroughly with a damp cloth.

Before following homemade remedies do check your surfaces are compatible with ingredients.

 

Eco-Friendly Storage Solutions:

Reusing glass jars, cartons and containers as storage for your new cleaning products is a great way to find a new life for old items such as jam jars and coffee containers. Alternatively, by reusing an old plastic cleaning bottle or spray, you will also be reducing your plastic waste. Ditch the wastage that comes from using disposable paper towels and repurpose some worn-out cotton garments and towels to use as a cloth. Finally, an old toothbrush makes a great little scrubber. Easy!

There are useful items you can invest in that will help with your sustainable cleaning journey, and Amazon is a great place to find these as a one-stop shop.

Firstly, microfiber cloths are a great purchase and are seen as the ultimate cleaning tool! They outlast other basic cloths, are versatile and perform well on many surfaces. Not only can they be used for cleaning, but are great for dusting your home too. Also, purchasing reusable, long-lasting spray bottles for storing solutions is a convenient way to have your solutions ready and at-hand at all times. Just add some labels and voila!

 

Sustainable cleaning accounts worth checking out:

The Homely Haven

Blancliving.co.uk

The Wellness Mama

 

Sustainability reading materials:

Live Green by Jen Chillingsworth

Fresh Clean Home by Wendy Graham

Natural Cleaning Guide by Laura J

Sustainable Home by Christine Liu

Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson

 

Green cleaning is certainly the way forward and we hope this post has helped inspire you to create some crafty cleaning solutions while reducing your carbon footprint.

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