Category

Natural Cleaning

Home and Garden, Natural Cleaning

DIY Cleaning Spray

diy cleaning spray

I have got a great winter scented DIY cleaning spray for you today, that I’ve been using to naturally clean my home.

February is always a difficult month, I find. The clocks go back in October, and from then on in it’s the cheery march to all the end of year festivities, twinkly lights and delicious food and all. January comes, and it feels like a bit of a reset. A quiet time to take stock, reflect and make plans for moving forward.

And then comes February. Pesky February. Far away from the festivities to make them seem like a long distant memory. And far enough from spring that it doesn’t feel like the mornings and early evenings will ever be anything but dark. I tend to find the worst of the winter weather seems to bite in February too. Right now, it’s snowing and we’ve just come through Storm Ciara. Hibernation until Spring always feels like a good idea round about now.

I’m trying to change my mindset on winter, and recently I read an article on the Norwegian secret to enjoying winter. It turns out Norwegians view their long dark winters as something to celebrate, so I’m trying to bring about some of that Norwegian attitude to Scotland.

I’ve started small – adapting an old favourite natural cleaning recipe to make my home smell like a forest in wintertime. I may not want to go out in the snow today, but at least I can pretend I am. It’s a start, right?!

Here’s my favourite DIY cleaning spray recipe with a winter twist, that can be whipped up in seconds:

DIY Cleaning Spray Recipe

You Will Need:

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A 500 ml spray bottle

500 ml cooled boiled water

2 teaspoons liquid castile soap (the citrus, eucalyptus or peppermint Dr Broners liquid castile soap works particularly well in this recipe, but any version is fine).

10 drops pine essential oil

10 drops cedarwood essential oil

Method

Add the two teaspoons of liquid castile soap to your empty bottle (a funnel may help), and the essential oils.

Next add the cooled boiled water, and add the spray top.

Shake gently, and you’re good to go!

Directions for Use

This DIY cleaning spray is a great multipurpose spray that can be used all around the house. Shake well before use to disperse the oils and away you go.

If using on wood I always recommend spraying the cloth and then wiping your surface to avoid over saturating your wood, as this could cause it to warp.

Safety First

Keep all homemade cleaning products and their raw ingredients (particularly essential oils) out of the reach of children and pets.

Wear gloves for cleaning if you have sensitive skin.

Some essential oils aren’t recommended for use around children, pets, or during pregnancy. I’m off the personal belief, that using essential oils in this highly diluted manner for a product that is not ingested or applied to the skin doesn’t pose a risk – certainly not more of a risk than using conventional cleaning products. However, I would encourage you to do your own research and come to your own conclusions as to which, if any, oils are right for you.

Home and Garden, Natural Cleaning

A Plastic-Free Cleaning Hack (No Vinegar Required!)

plastic-free cleaning hack

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Who Loves A Plastic-Free Cleaning Hack?

I certainly love a good plastic-free cleaning hack.  I make most of my own homemade cleaning products, a lot of which are made without plastic.

Then there are the cleaning products that are made with vinegar.  Now, I love white vinegar and buy my vinegar in bulk, but of course, it comes in a five-litre plastic carton.

I use white vinegar a lot in my cleaning and laundry, so for me, it’s good environmental practice to purchase bulk white vinegar rather than individual plastic bottles of chemically dubious shop bought cleaning products.

However, I have had people ask me if there is a plastic-free way to buy white vinegar in large volumes. The simple answer so far is there is no way to buy white vinegar in bulk sizes in anything but plastic.  Vinegar corrodes metal, and a five-litre glass bottle would be difficult to transport and prone to breakage.

Even if you buy vinegar from a packaging-free shop, that vinegar probably arrived at the shop in a five-litre plastic carton because there’s no other easy way to transport 5 litres of vinegar in anything but plastic. Plastic it is, sadly.

However, I recently discovered a clever plastic-free cleaning hack from Dri-Pak that acts as a brilliant white vinegar substitute.  It also had the added benefit that it doesn’t smell like vinegar if you or a family member is a little nose sensitive to white vinegar.

What is it?  A humble £2 cardboard box of Citric Acid*.

plastic-free cleaning

With this little plastic-free box of wonder, you can create vinegar-free cleaning sprays for your home, or use it in place of vinegar in most natural cleaning recipes that call for vinegar.

What is Citric Acid?

Citric acid is an acid compound found naturally in citrus fruits, particularly lemon and limes, but can also be formulated by fermenting sugars. Visually, it looks a lot like sugar.

Its name sounds a little scary, but it’s actually a key component in home-brewing beer, and in bath bombs.  Because it’s naturally found in food; used in food and drink production; and also easily biodegrades, then it’s 100% safe to use around the home in green cleaning with a few caveats for safe making and usage, of course (see below).

How to Make a Plastic-Free Vinegar Substitute

cleaning with citric acid

Ingredients & Equipment Required

  • 500 ml hot water (boil first, and then allow to cool for 10 minutes)
  • A measuring jug and spoon
  • 2 tablespoons citric acid – I buy my boxes of Dri-Pak citric acid online from Big Green Smile* – they conveniently arrive in plastic-free packaging.  The citric acid box is even wrapped in a compostable bag, in case of spillage in transit, that I then use for kitchen scraps.  Alternatively, for a local supplier, try homebrew shops, Asian supermarkets, chemists, or hardware shops.
  • 500 ml spray bottle – recycle an old glass or plastic bottle – glass vinegar bottles are ideal –  and spray nozzle, or you can purchase a glass spray bottle here*.
  • Optional: a few drops of your favourite essential oil

Method

Pour the hot water into your measuring jug.

Stirring well, dissolve the citric acid in the hot water.

Add 20 drops of essential oil if required.  I went for 10 drops of lemon essential oil* and 10 drops of rosemary essential oil for a Mediterranean scented cleaning spray but feel free to use what you have to hand.  Lavender essential oil and tea tree essential oil are both great anti-bacterial options, for example.

Decant the mixture into your spray bottle and off you go!  How’s that for a clever plastic-free cleaning hack?!

What Can You Clean With Citric Acid?

Citric acid is a great all-round cleaner.  It kills bacteria, mould, and mildew, and is brilliant for general disinfecting and cleaning.  Where it comes into its own is that it’s really effective at removing soap scum, hard water stains, calcium deposits, lime, and rust.

I cleaned my glass shower screen with the cleaning spray and a cloth so you can see for yourself how effective this citric acid cleaning spray can be – I know I love a good before and after:

before and after cleaning with citric acid

Left – shower screen before cleaning; right – shower screen after cleaning with citric acid spray.  

You can clean all surfaces with citric acid with the exception of stone, marble, and granite.  You’ll want to make a stone-safe cleaning spray for this job, the recipe of which can be found on page 34 of Fresh Clean Home.

Safety First

Whilst Citric Acid is a natural ingredient, it is still a chemical, and the powder can still cause damage and irritation if handled incorrectly.  I prefer to use it in a well-ventilated area – breathing in citric acid can cause respiratory symptoms, such as a cough, shortness of breath, and a sore throat.  Citric acid can also irritate your skin and eyes, so take care when handling the powder not to spill it or rub your eyes before washing your hands.

And, as with any cleaning product, homemade or otherwise, always keep both the citric acid, and any homemade cleaning spray, away from curious pets and/or children.