Are you wary of commercially available cleaning agents that are packed with unpronounceable ingredients and synthetic smells? Want some easy, cheap and safe alternatives that won’t contribute to indoor air pollution? Look no further! We have put together a list of excellent DIY ‘recipes’ for natural cleaning products that are eco-friendly and safe for the whole family.
THINGS TO NOTE BEFORE WE PROCEED
Even if the following natural recipes are better for you than commercial agents, you should still always use gloves and other appropriate protective gear to clean. Also, be mindful of potential allergic reactions or any other adverse reactions during and after each use.
A few of the following recipes use essential oils. While these oils will mostly not pose any huge risks because they are well-diluted in the recipes, you should always exercise caution when using them, especially around younger children, pregnant women or pets. See here and here for more information.
In a nutshell, it’s best to avoid skin contact, ingestion or inhalation of essential oils where possible.
If you want children to participate in the cleaning process, steer them towards the tasks that don’t involve a cleaning agent with essential oils (e.g. window cleaning – see below). Otherwise, it should be fine for you as an adult to spray a surface first, then get them to clean it off with a cloth once the mist has settled.
MULTI PURPOSE CLEANER
This all-purpose cleaner is great for most hard surfaces – showers, bench tops, basins.
All you need is 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar, 2 cups of water and 20 drops of essential oils (choose or mix fragrances according to preference). Mix it in a bottle and spray away!
Note: Do not use on marble, granite or other porous surfaces as it may cause mild erosion.
Yep, the token recipe using lemons – you knew it would come up!
Window and glass cleaning is one of those tasks that is easy and fun for young children to do. So put your mind at ease with this safe and natural window cleaner recipe.
Mix 1 cup of water and 1 cup of white vinegar together, then add 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice. To use, simply spray on the window/glass and wipe clean with a dry paper towel.
The oven is so intimately involved in the cooking of food that most of us would balk at the idea of using chemical-laden commercial oven cleaners. The following recipe uses just baking soda, vinegar and water, courtesy of Keeper of the Home.
Make a paste using 1/2 cup of baking soda and stir in a few tablespoons of water, adding slowly and adjusting until you get a spreadable paste. Spread the paste over the walls of your oven, lightly scrub it in a little and let it rest for at least 10 hours. Then, put some vinegar in a spray bottle and spray over the paste. This will create a foaming action. Wipe clean using a damp cloth.
Also courtesy of Keeper of the Home is this terrific and easy method to clear blocked and stinky drains. Sprinkle approximately 1/4 to 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain, followed with 1/4 cup white vinegar. A bubbling mixture will result. Let it sit for about an hour and then pour boiling hot water down the drain to rinse. Depending on the extent of the clogging or smell of your drain, you may need to repeat this process.
You might have noticed by now that vinegar is magic…
MOULD AND MILDEW KILLER
Although it doesn’t get rid of existing mould and mildew, this fantastic concoction will help inhibit future growth. Just spray and walk away. (Though if you’re a bit concerned about your kids being exposed to essential oils, make sure that you don’t leave wet droplets of the spray in areas where the kids are likely to make skin contact with it).
All you need to to is mix 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar and 20 drops of tea tree oil.
If you would prefer to avoid tea tree oil altogether, an alternative recipe mixes 1 cup of water with 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract. (Recipe adapted from Annie B Bond)