A DIY Guide To Natural Cleaning Products For Your Home
There are so many reasons to make a switch to creating our own cleaning products at home. It’s affordable, kinder to our families and frankly it’s good fun! So, let me ask if any of these statements ring true for you:
- You are concerned about the chemical cocktail within standard off-the-shelf products.
- You experience skin irritation, allergies or respiratory problems.
- You wish you could reduce the plastic waste from your household.
- You are anxious about what your kids are exposed to within your home.
- You don’t enjoy the fragrances of synthetic scents.
- You worry about the environmental impact of what goes down your drain.
- You would like the freedom to make your own eco-friendly cleaning products!
If you answered yes to one, many or all of the points above, I have some good news!
With a little know-how, it is easy and affordable to create our own cleaning products from a small list of readily available ingredients. You will be amazed at how clean your home is and how much more pleasant natural fragrances can be. You won’t have to worry about the kids finding their way into the cleaning cupboard or fret about breathing in fumes from commercial cleaners. Let’s see if we can convert you with these easy tips and recipes. Give it a go, and I suspect you won’t turn back!
DIY Cleaning Product Shopping List
- White Vinegar
An invaluable addition to your cleaning cupboard! While vinegar tackles grease, grime, lime scale and odours and will make a fantastic addition to many a cleaning concoction. You can even use it to make a family and pet-friendly non-toxic weed killer for your patio too!
- Bicarbonate or Baking Soda
Stick to bicarbonate of soda rather than a washing soda, as while useful, washing sodas are caustic, may cause damage or fading to surfaces, and must be handled with care. Good old bicarb is a gentle alternative but does a great job and is totally safe to handle.
- Lemon Juice
The juice of this cheery yellow fruit is usefully acidic, anti-bacterial, and leaves a lovely fresh scent!
- Sea Salt
When scrubbing becomes inevitable, sea salt offers the perfect solution!
- Citrus rinds, herb sprigs and essential oils
The odour of vinegar is not particularly lovely, and we all enjoy stepping into a pleasantly smelling room. Adding natural scents to our own natural cleaning products, for example, soaking citrus rinds in vinegar to impart their zingy freshness – enables us to enjoy the cleaning power of the vinegar and the scent combinations we love.
Choose Robust Containers
Choosing to make our own cleaning products means cutting out a whole area of our plastic consumption, which is a great step! If you plan on making a homemade cleaning product, why not source a suitable glass container that you can reuse over and over again. Plastic bottles tend to break eventually and can sometimes react with acid or alkaline substances within them. You could find a robust glass jar spray bottle that you like, or even repurpose a screw top glass bottle and a screw on spray nozzle from old containers you’d planned on recycling anyway. Glass is non-toxic, robust and aesthetic to boot.
Prepare Your Vinegar Base
White vinegar is inexpensive and easy to buy in huge 5l bottles that will last for ages in your household. While it does fade quickly, the smell of vinegar is not everyone’s favourite. Jump straight on it by adding citrus peels to the bottle as soon as you buy it. This will lift and cover that tell-tale smell and offer a great base for other great fragrances that you can add to the mix later!
Magic Multi-Purpose Spray
For a cleaning spray that you can use in every room of the house, mix a solution of half vinegar and half water in a large glass spray bottle. Add some sprigs of lavender and rosemary which will combine with your citrus scented vinegar to leave a gorgeous fragrance. The bottle will look so lovely you might find yourself leaving it out on the sideboard on purpose! You can always experiment with adding sprigs of different fragrant plants or adding essential oils and could even create different scents for different rooms. Just take care that any plants are non-toxic and be aware that some essential oils, (such as mint and tea tree), can be corrosive to plastic-based paints and varnishes, so always test an inconspicuous area first. This spray is not only good for surfaces but will work perfectly on glass for a smear free finish.
Tactics For The Kitchen
I’m going to recommend two different approaches for tricky kitchen cleaning, and I’ll explain why. Often DIY cleaning products fall flat because we make the easy mistake of not thinking about PH. For example, lemon juice and vinegar are acidic liquids, while bicarbonate of soda is alkaline. Mixing opposing PH substances can be handy, but also can mean that they act to neutralise each other. Sometimes the reaction itself is useful, as you will see below, but in some circumstances, it will eliminate your desired cleaning effect. If you feel tempted to use up any old cleaning products you have at home it’s particularly important to never mix any bleach based product with anything acidic, as this will release very dangerous gasses. Always double check before combining any strong chemical with something else, or better yet, skip the chemicals and stick with our natural solutions! So here we are, one acidic, and one alkaline approach to kitchen scrubbing:
Super Bicarb Soak
Mix bicarbonate of soda with water until you have a paste. Cover the surface in question such as the hob, the inside of your microwave or the oven and leave for a few hours to soak before wiping clean!
Lemon Salt Scrub
If you need to scrub hardened debris from your oven or cooking pans, mix sea salt with some lemon juice as a handy scouring mix.
Fabulous Furniture Polish
Combine two parts olive oil to two parts vinegar and one part of lemon juice for a gentle furniture polish that will revitalise the wood in your home. This polish will lift grime, disinfect and protect wood in one easy wipe.
Brilliant Bathroom Scrub
This recipe uses the reaction between bicarbonate of soda and vinegar to our advantage, so you cannot pre-prepare this one but must mix it when you use it. For sparkly bathrooms, combine equal parts of vinegar and bicarbonate of soda (remembering you only need a little bit for immediate application) for a fantastic frothing solution that you can use anywhere. To clean the toilet pour your mix into the bowl, leave it to soak a while and then scrub with the toilet brush before flushing. Apply your solution to grout and leave for a while before buffing clean to lift grout stains, and for scummy soap lines, you can always add a little salt, making it easy to leave everything bright and shiny. If you make this combination heavier on the bicarb, it will also work to unblock drains. Pour it into an empty plughole, leave it overnight and then flush with hot water in the morning!
So there we are, we have scratched the surface, (or should I say naturally scoured the surface!) of DIY natural cleaning products for the home. This tiny list of ingredients can have a multitude of uses. Give these recipes a go, and if you find yourself hooked, the next step is to explore how many other ways you can eliminate unnecessary chemicals and plastic waste from your home.