Now the festive entertaining is over, don’t wait for spring to spruce up the house. But think twice about fumigating your home with popular household cleaners, which may release toxic gases irritating your family’s eyes and respiratory systems. There is a more economical and non-toxic alternative: make your own.
Never underestimate the power of humble kitchen ingredients: when combined with water, white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and salt are versatile and have multiple cleaning purposes around the home. But most importantly they are non-toxic. Pure essential oils provide further antiseptic and antibacterial properties and they smell great as well.
General tile cleaner
Use this in the kitchen or bathroom.
Recipe: Mix 100 grams of bicarbonate of soda with a generous sprinkle of ground sea salt and a few drops of pure essential orange oil. Keep in an airtight container. Dust the affected surface and then scrub it using a damp sponge. Rinse the surface well when completed.
Use this in the kitchen or bathroom.
Recipe: In a spray bottle, combine 500 millilitres of filtered water with 4 tablespoons of liquid soap — Dettol is a good choice — and 15 drops of pure essential lavender oil and 15 drops of tea tree oil. Close the bottle and give it a good shake before using. Spray the affected surface and wipe off the spray with a clean cloth.
No one likes hairballs and dirty grime clogging up their drain. Instead of putting chemicals into the water, try this method.
Recipe: Pour 50 grams of bicarbonate of soda into the affected drain. Boil a kettle of water and proceed to flush the bicarbonate of soda down the drain. Repeat until the drain is unblocked. For more stubborn blockages, follow the bicarbonate of soda with a generous glug of white vinegar. This will cause a safe chemical reaction that will encourage the break up of the obstruction. Flush with boiling water until the drain runs clear.
Mildew, grease or mould stains
This is a great all-purpose cleaner.
Recipe: In a spray bottle, combine 250 millilitres of white vinegar with 20 drops of pure essential lavender oil, 20 drops of tea tree oil and pop in a few sprigs of fresh thyme. Close the bottle and give it a good shake before using. Spray the affected surface and wipe off the spray with a clean cloth.
Recipe: In a bowl, create a paste of bicarbonate of soda and water. The quantity required depends on the size of the surface you need to clean. Apply the paste liberally to the oven’s inside, avoiding the elements. Leave the paste to work overnight. While wearing your washing-up gloves, use some old-fashioned elbow grease to scour off the dirt and the oven will be spotless in no time.
hazardous chemical cleaners that could damage your skin.
Glass and mirror cleaner
Recipe: In a spray bottle, combine 1 litre of water with 1/2 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. Close the bottle and give it a good shake before using. Spray the affected surface and wipe off the spray in a circular motion using newspaper rather than kitchen roll, which leaves streaks and lint.
Recipe: In a bowl, combine 100 grams of bicarbonate of soda with a few drops of pure essential lavender oil. Sprinkle the mixture on the rug or carpet; this amount should be enough for one medium-sized room. Allow the mixture to absorb any odours for up to 30 minutes before hoovering.
Wooden floor cleaners
Recipe: In a spray bottle, combine 850 millilitres of water with 60 millilitres of white vinegar and several drops of pure essential orange oil. Close the bottle and give it a good shake before using. Since wooden floors should not be cleaned with a wet mop, it’s best to lightly dampen the floor with a few squirts of the spray and use a clean, dry mop to wipe it away.
Best commercial non-toxic cleaning brands
For convenience, and if you don’t have the ingredients listed above to make your own, you can buy environmentally-friendly products from any of these green brands.
- Ecover — award-winning Belgian company that has been supplying green cleaning products since then 1980s
- Method — A green cleaning company with an emphasis on aesthetics, design and function.