To make your own cleaning products does require a bit of planning, but it’s pretty simple thereafter, once you have your base ingredients, some containers and a little bit of knowledge. Use with biodegradable cleaning cloths (if you use Microfiber cloths, use a microfiber catch bag, to avoid plastic particles breaking off in the machine, and reaching the sea).
Use unscented for pregnancy/nursing and near children or babies. Don’t mix any cleaner with bleach, you’ll create mustard gas (one Sheffield woman almost died recently, by innocently mixing bleach with Zoflora disinfectant). If you have bugs in your house, see why spiders are good for your home (most will be killed if you put them outside) and see humane methods to deter critters (ants, mice etc).
Don’t use scented cleaners (inc. citrus) near pets as cats, birds, reptiles and ferrets especially could suffer harm. Erin Heights Vet Hospital and Veterinary Poisons Information Service say to avoid conventional disinfectants (Dettol and Zoflora can be lethal to pets, due to ingredients that destroy bacteria walls or cause oral/tongue ulcers). Also avoid spraying natural air fresheners near pets (air rooms before allowing pets back in, even if using essential oils).
- Clean Green is a beautifully illustrated guide on why to avoid chemical cleaning products (wrap and bin), and then offers homemade recipes for all-purpose cleaners, bathroom cleaners, stain removers and furniture polish, along with air fresheners. Green Cleaning is a go-to guide for environmentally and budget-friendly ideas to clean your home, with lemons, baking soda and vinegar. Each tiny change, makes a big tip over time.
Clean & Green is a beautifully illustrated guide from a former British Bake Off winner. Nancy offers 101 simple swaps and ideas for cleaning and maintaining your home. The book covers everyday cleaning and laundry, stains and a recipe for zero-effort oven cleaner.
Where To Buy Bulk Ingredients
Most natural cleaning books use bulk baking soda, white vinegar and washing soda etc. You won’t get far using those tiny pots in supermarkets, so here is where to buy them in bulk.
- Dri-Pak offers bulk baking soda, white vinegar and soda crystals (their website has hundreds of cleaning tips for each item). Find in discount shops or online. They sell Borax substitute (like Borax, this is toxic to pets and children, so keep it safely locked away, and leave the loo seat down, if using to clean the toilet).
- Fill (not food grade) Bicarbonate of Soda is sold in glass bottles with cardboard refills. Keep in a bowl in the fridge to absorb bad smells, use with a damp cloth as a mild abrasive cleaner or sprinkle overnight on the carpet (away from pets and children) then vacuum the next day, to remove odours. You can use it for bee stings (mix 1/4 cup with 2 teaspoons of water then apply paste every 15 minutes, to reduce inflammation (wasp stings should be treated with white vinegar instead). Wipe in opposite direction with the edge of a credit card, to avoid squeezing more venom into your skin.
- Fill (not food grade) Cleaning Vinegar (do not use on natural stone, unsealed grout or waxed surfaces) is sold in a glass bottle, with cardboard refills. Remove limescale from taps & kettles, clean glass, mirrors, windscreens, washing machine seals/drawers or use instead of Rinse Aid/fabric conditioner.