Cleaning products can be harmful to the environment for numerous reasons. Firstly, many cleaning ingredients contain palm oil. As you can read here, palm oil has some serious environmental and social consequences. Secondly, many commercial cleaners will involve toxic chemicals. When these chemicals go down your toilet, sink, dishwashers and many more appliances, the chemicals are rinsed down the drain. From here the water is treated at waste water facilities however, not all the chemical contaminants are removed. This means over time they build up, having a substantial negative effect on surrounding wildlife. Even more, some of the contaminants could enter the food chain via aquatic animals and have harmful knock-on effects. Thirdly, cleaning products often involve a lot of plastic packaging. Whilst most of it is technically recyclable much of it won’t end up actually being recycled.
One of our top tips for avoiding these negative consequences of household cleaners is to make what you can yourself. Not only is it likely to be more cost-effective, it will reduce demand for potentially harmful commercial cleaners. Keep reading to find out some of our favourite DIY cleaners. Even better, you can use the packaging from your old commercial cleaners to put these DIY cleaners in!
All-Purpose Liquid Cleaner:
Infuse vinegar with citrus peel to give the vinegar a fresher smell. You can do this by filling a jar with leftover citrus peel (clementine, orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit), then filling it to the top and leaving it for two weeks in a sunny spot to infuse. Then drain the vinegar and discard the peels. You can make it in batch and store the vinegar in a glass jar in a dark, cool place.
Add 120ml of the vinegar and 460ml of water to a water-tight container of your choice. You can also add essential oil here if you wish. Shake well to mix.
To use: shake the mixture and spray onto any surface. Wipe clean with a damp cloth.
Note: if you don’t have two weeks to infuse the vinegar, just mix the juice of half a lemon into the mixture.
Note: do not use this cleaner on natural stone countertops or tiles.
Note: it will smell like vinegar when you first spray it but the smell will soon disappear.
Mix 135g of baking soda with 60ml of warm water and 1 tsp of salt to make a paste.
Spread the paste all over the oven, or focus only on the parts that need cleaning, and leave overnight.
Remove the paste the next day with a plastic scraper, wetting as needed and wiping with a damp cloth to remove any streaks.
Pour some white vinegar and a good amount of bicarbonate of soda into the toilet bowl. Option here to add 10 drops of your favourite essential oil. Leave to sit for a few minutes.
Scrub the bowl with a brush to fizz-up the mixture and clean the bowl.
Option one: mix water and 10 drops of your favourite essential oil in a spray bottle. Simply add more essential oils if you think it’s needed after spraying and sniffing it.
Option two: put some essential oils on a cloth and wipe over a radiator.
Windows and Mirrors:
Mix together 1-part white vinegar and 4-parts water.
Spray on windows or mirrors to polish and clean.
Note: to get streak-free windows and mirrors use an old newspaper to wipe them.
Fill a microwave-safe bowl with about 500ml of water and two tablespoons of vinegar. You can also add some drops of your favourite essential oil.
Run the microwave on high for 5 minutes, allowing it to steam up. Do not open the door and leave it for 15 minutes to work its magic.
Remove the bowl (may be hot) and the turntable. Wipe down the turntable and inside of the microwave.
If any dirt remains use a rag dipped in the water-vinegar solution.