Every time I make my own cleaning products, I think of all the plastic bottles kept out of landfill and the unfriendly chemicals kept away from my home and body, writes The Rogue Ginger, Erin Rhoads.
It might seem like something so trivial, but our actions, even when it comes to choosing our cleaning products, do add up and create meaningful change for generations to come.
These days, I make a handful of my own cleaning products but we buy dishwashing powder and laundry powder from bulk stores, collecting them in old plastic containers passed on from my mother-in-law.
Many cleaning replacements found unpackaged at bulk stores are more affordable than their packaged alternatives. I have filled up old wine bottles with liquids like floor cleaner, window cleaners, liquid soap and wool wash, for example. I then decant into spray bottles if needed; otherwise they stay in the wine bottles, clearly labelled, in our laundry cupboards.
Here are five natural cleaning products you can easily DIY at home.
1. Scrappy citrus vinegar
Not only does citrus peel mask vinegar’s smell, the oils contain D-limonene, a good chemical, giving an extra boost to the vinegar to really cut through stove-top grease.
Half-fill an empty jar with orange or lemon peel scraps. Top up the jar with vinegar, put the lid on and let it sit in a dark place for six weeks. Strain and use.
2. Floor cleaner
Babies spend all day crawling on the floor and, let’s be honest, licking it too (same with our pets). I like to keep my floor clean, while steering away from any hazardous chemical nasties. This recipe is affordable, low-waste and quick to mix up. I love to add a drop of eucalyptus oil, especially in winter to freshen the air when it’s too cold to open a window.
Combine 125ml (½ cup) vinegar with 4 litres (16 cups) hot water and 1 drop eucalyptus oil (optional) in a bucket and use as normal.
3. Oven cleaner
Mix 55g (¼ cup) bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and 1 teaspoon vinegar or scrappy citrus vinegar (see above video) into a paste and apply to all areas of the oven with a cloth. Let it sit for an hour or overnight. Wipe and rinse well. Leave the door open to air-dry.
4. Air freshener
Some very natural odours just aren’t pleasant! But we can easily breathe in hazardous chemicals from sprays, taking them into our bodies where they can make their way to our organs. Vinegar neutralises odours without any risk to our health.
Mix ½ teaspoon vinegar with 150ml water, and add a few drops of an essential oil like lavender. Pour into a spray bottle to use.
5. Toilet cleaner
I used to clean my toilet with a bleach equivalent and I remember how the fumes hurt to the point where they basically put me off cleaning altogether. Lavender oil is not only helpful for its antibacterial properties, but it also adds a pleasant fragrance.
Sprinkle 110g (½ cup) bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) into the toilet bowl (optional). Spray 250ml (1 cup) cleaning vinegar or scrappy citrus vinegar into the toilet bowl using a spray bottle. Let sit for an hour. Add ¼ teaspoon lavender oil and scrub well. For tough stains, empty the toilet water and pour (1 cup) vinegar into the bowl. Let it sit overnight and scrub the next day.