Ever wondered how people cleaned house before the availability of various products now found on supermarket shelves? Simple: they made natural cleaners. No, they are not less effective. Indeed, it’s just the opposite. From this article, you’ll learn how to make your own homemade cleaning products and your home will be a sparkling safe haven rather than a chemical depository.
Multi-use organic cleaner
This is a handmade soap that can be used in multiple ways. It’s so versatile that you can use it to clean all sorts of different surfaces, from rugs to hard floors and from the kitchen worktop to the bathroom sink. You’ll need the following ingredients:
- 30% rubbing alcohol to clean
- 20% vinegar
- 50% distilled water
- 20 drops of essential lemon oil
There are no specific measurements listed because how much you make will depend entirely upon the size of the container that you have to hand. If you have a large bottle with a lid, you can make quite a lot of cleaner and decant it into a smaller bottle or jar. This is the most economical way to do things. Put a splash of your cleaner into a bucket of water and use the blend to clean as you normally would.
Natural cleaners for tile or porcelain
This safe and simple cleaning product has a variety of different uses, but it’ll work wonders in your bathroom. It’s highly effective for cleaning tiles and fixtures (such as the bath or the basin). It will also brighten up any porcelain you have and it’ll make your silverware shine.
All you have to do is mix lemon juice and water together. Soak a sponge or microfibre cloth the liquid and wash the desired surfaces. If they’ve accumulated a lot of dirt and grime, let them sit for a bit or, if the surface isn’t too delicate, scrub it. Rinse with warm water, wipe down with a clean cloth and let dry.
Once you’ve washed your bathroom floors and fixtures with lemon and water, you may wish to sterilise with apple cider vinegar. Leave this overnight and rinse off the following morning with plain water.
Oven grease is a real nightmare – especially if you’re not in the habit of cleaning it very often. Those layers just keep piling on top of each other so that it takes loads of time and a huge effort to remove it completely. If you want to stop using conventional (and potentially toxic) oven cleaners, we’ve got a recipe for you. It’ll be worth the small effort to whip this up if you want freedom from nasty chemicals such as petroleum derivatives, potassium hydroxide and methylene chloride. When you rely more frequently on natural cleaners, you’ll almost certainly prevent skin, eye and respiratory tract problems.
First soak a cloth in water that is as hot as you can bear and use it to wash the entire oven. Then, using water and baking soda, make a thick paste and apply it to the surfaces inside the oven. Leave it on overnight. The next day, all you’ll have to do is rinse it with a bit of water and it’s, ‘Goodbye, grease!’.
Natural washing-up liquid
This recipe is a gem whether you do the washing-up by hand or in a dishwasher. It lends the unmistakably uplifting smell of lemon on your pots, plates, cups and cutlery. Of course, it also cleans like nobody’s business – and it’s much more economical than the conventional products available in supermarkets. To make it, you’ll need:
- 3 lemons
- 200 grams of course sea salt
- 100 ml of white vinegar
- 200 ml of water
Wash and cut the unpeeled lemons and put them in your blender. Add the salt and liquidise. Once blended thoroughly, add the vinegar and water, then blend again at high speed. Place the mixture in a pan on medium heat and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Keep a watchful eye on it as it heats, as the mixture can stick to the bottom of the pan. Pour into a heat-resistant container and let cool completely. When it is no longer hot, stir it a bit to get rid of the layer that has formed on the surface. Fill an airtight container and keep your washing liquid refrigerated. When it’s time to do the washing up, use about two tablespoons per wash.
Organic detergent from wood ash
Detergent or wood ash bleach is so easy to make – providing you have a woodstove! The harder the wood you’ve burned, the higher quality your bleach will be. Better safe than sorry: use gloves and glasses if your skin is sensitive. However hearty your skin, always avoid contact with it when you’re putting together the detergent.
First, sift the ashes to separate it from any remaining pieces of coal. The whiter and more charred the ash, the better the detergent will result. Put the ash in a container of very hot water, observing a ratio of 5 parts water to 1 part ash. Cover the liquid with a cloth for 1 or 2 days. During that time, ensure that you stir it once or twice. Pour it by filtering it through a cloth or some stockings.
Your liquid should be slippery to the touch. That’s how you’ll know that you’ve made a very powerful detergent. To really test its readiness, drop a potato into it. If it floats, it’s time to bottle it up. If the potato sinks, you’ll need to add more ash. Once it’s perfect, you can use it undiluted as a strong detergent for tough jobs or you can dilute it with some water. Either way, save it in containers that are airtight.
The most common uses for ash bleach are for cleaning soiled laundry and for sterilising utensils, tools, clothes or pots and pans. It’s perfectly safe for disinfecting vegetables, roots and legumes or for disinfecting kitchen or bathroom surfaces, as well.
Natural, handmade air freshener
What’s that smell? Even the cleanest homes sometimes suffer the odd invasion by cooking smells. That’s the price you pay if you like onions and garlic! Still, nice as they taste, their odours aren’t always welcome. To remove offensive aromas from your home, use this air freshener. It’s much nicer than the chemicals you often get with health-harming aerosol sprays. You’ll need a glass bottle with a screw top. Fill a quarter of the bottle with baking soda and add 8 drops of your favourite essential oil or oils. Screw on the top and shake to blend the ingredients together well. Use a nail to punch a hole in the cover. Place the bottle where you need it to work its magic and when the fragrance has gone completely, repeat the process.