Time to reevaluate your cleaning products. Let's forget about the copious amount of shop-bought chemical-laden plastic-wrapped bottles for a moment and go back to the basics.
These 5 household ingredients can not only declutter your cleaning cupboard and save you money but they are also healthier for you and the planet. Plus all of these ingredients can be bought in bulk or unpakaged, further minimising your carbon footprint.
1. Bicarbonate of soda- The wonder salt is a must-have for natural cleaning. It works as a gentle abrasive, eliminates odours and absorbs moisture. Being an alkaline substance when combined with vinegar or citric acid it creates a gentle fizzing and helps to lift the tougher stains.
To clean carpet and upholstery, soft funishing, just sprinkle over and leave overnight, brush off or vacuum up the next day.
Sprinkle in shoes or clothes to de-odour, really! It is magical!
Smelly fridge? pop a small open container of bicarb in the fridge.
We love to add dried lavender flowers to our bicarbonate of soda for a lovely natural fragrance.
2. White Vinegar* is a multi-purpose acidic solution derived from fruits. It works as an Inexpensive, non-toxic cleaner that can replace many chemical-laden products in your home. The acidity means it is a natural disinfectant and works to kill bacteria, mould and mildew. It also dissolves grease and grime, as well as removes limescale. Although acidic, vinegar is a natural substance that dissolves in water and easily biodegrades in the environment, so leaves no significant negative effects.
Used as an alternative fabric softener
Unclog drains when combined with bicarbonate of soda.
If you are not keen on the vinegar smell try to infuse it with citruses or herbs, or our all time favourite: pine needles! We collect ours from the discarded trees left in the streets after Xmas.
3. Citruses - Nature's degreaser and disinfectant. Lemon, lime, oranges or grapefruits cuts through tough greases with ease, and also helps remove limescale. Similar to vinegar they are weak acid and you can use them interchangeably. (see White vinegar). Next time you cook with lemon or eat a gratefruit, don't throw the peels away, pop in a jar of diluted white vinegar and leave to infuse to create a powerful citrus-fresh all-purpose cleaning spray.
You can also buy Citric acid (which a safe chemical derived from citruses) in pure crystal form and can fine-tune the strength to your liking.
4. Soda Crystals or washing soda are in the same family as bicarbonate of soda, but are much more alkaline and caustic so have much much better grease cutting and cleaning properties. Together with Soap Flakes, they make liquid soap (see the following recipe) that can be used to clean the house from floor to ceiling!
Chuck in a wash cycle or use in a pre-soak to remove tough stains or tackle the more stubborn odours.
Can save your washing machine or dishwasher by breaking down limescale build-up.
Sprinkle in the toilet bowl, bathtub or bassin for sparkling a clean bathroom.
Perfect to clean your greasy oven or extractor.
Did you know that soda crystals soften hard water so less detergent needs to be used saving you money!
5. A trusty block of Marseille soap - . Pure and gentle but effective, this soap is great for washing the dishes, the floor or any other surface in your house. This Soap is kind to the skin and can be used as handwash as well. Can be grated or bought already grated to melt in water and add to other products. See below for our handy liquid soap recipe.
*As they are weak acids, it is not recommended to use them to clean natural surfaces, such as granite or marble, as they will dull the natural rock. If unsure, please test a small part of your surface to check.