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Natural Cleaning

Home and Garden, Natural Cleaning

Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products (That Work!)

eco-friendly cleaning

eco-friendly cleaning

I’ve blogged about some natural cleaning products that I use around my house before, but they’re all a bit vinegar based.  What if vinegar isn’t your thing?  I do get that – sometimes cleaning your kitchen with vinegar does sound a bit far out.  For anyone that isn’t a fan of vinegar I thought I’d round up some of my favourite environmentally friendly cleaning products.  None of them are vinegar based, and in my opinion match the cleaning performance of their harsher counterparts:

Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products – Dish Washing

environmentally friendly cleaning products

For the dishwasher I like Ecover Dishwasher tablets in conjunction with dishwasher salt. They have a fresh lemon scent and cut through most dirt and grease.  We ran out once and could only get a big brand name one in our local shop – I would say the Ecover matched it in terms of cleaning power.  A box of 25 is around £5.50 and is widely available, and it’s also available in a big box of 70 for just £11.95 at Ethical Superstore*.

For handwashing I’ve been using Bio D washing up liquid for quite some time now.  I was initially sceptical the first time I used it as it doesn’t have much of a smell, and it seemed quite watery.  My fears were unfounded as it’s got great cleaning power and is now the only liquid we use.  It’s around £2 for a big 750ml bottle, and often available in Oxfam shops, as well as natural food stores.  If you’re into bulk buying, it’s only £9.30 for 5 litres at Ethical Superstore*.

Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products – Laundry

eco-friendly cleaning products

For a few years now we’ve used Method Laundry Liquid and I’m really happy with it’s cleaning powers at 30°C.  I even used it on my daughter’s washable nappies for over two years, which was a real test of it’s cleansing and freshening powers!  It’s concentrated so comes in a little bottle, but don’t let the size fool you – it lasts around 25 washes or so.  It costs around £6 but I stock up whenever I see it on offer, and you can even buy an 85 wash refill bag for £14.

Lately I’ve been having problems with my washing machine smelling.  After a web search I found that washing manufacturers don’t recommend that you use laundry liquid all of the time as it can clog your machine, especially if you always wash at low temperatures (scroll down to the section on causes of washing machine smells in that article).  Did you know this?  I knew that fabric softener isn’t good for your machine but I was completely in the dark about laundry liquid and low temperatures.

Thankfully Mangle & Wringer recently sent me some of their Pure Laundry Powder and Natural Bleach Powder to try out.  As well as getting my laundry clean, it has really been helping with the washing machine stink (that and a couple of empty hot washes with a couple of dishwasher tablets!  Honestly!).

environmentally friendly cleaning products

What I really like about the Mangle & Wringer products is that they are made from all natural food grade ingredients and are completely unscented.  While the products are a bit more expensive at £9.50 for a 1.5kg bag of washing powder, and £3.50 for the natural bleach, it’s well worth it if you are sensitive to chemicals, or looking for an effective all natural washing powder.

I’ve been washing my towels and flannels on a hotter wash (60°C) with the Mangle & Wringer duo and have been enjoying squeaky clean and soft towels with no synthetic scent or chemical residue (and a sparkly clean washing machine!).    Don’t be frightened by the term ‘bleach’ – it’s great for stains or smells, even on colourfast items.

Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products – Surface Cleansing

eco-friendly cleaning

We’re hand-down Method fans when it comes to cleaning surfaces.  I love their lavender multi-surface spray (£3) – it smells lovely and cleans easily.  You get a lot for your money in comparison to some other sprays, and I use it all round the house.  I even dilute it in water to mop my floors.  Basically, if I’m not using vinegar then I’m using this – lavender is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal so it meets all of my needs.

I mostly use bicarbonate of soda on tough stains in the kitchen and bathroom.  If that’s not your bag then Mangle & Wringer again make an all natural cream cleanser for both the kitchen and the bathroom (£5.80 each), which they sent me to try out.

I’ve found that the kitchen cleanser makes light work of food splashes on my hob, and leaves my sink and draining board gleaming.  Meanwhile the bathroom cleanser tackles soap scum in my sink and shower with ease.  Like the laundry powder, the cleaners are completely unscented and made with 100% natural ingredients, making them great alternatives to the big brand name chemical-filled cream cleansers.

eco-friendly kitchen cleaner

So there you go, a round-up of some of my favourite environmentally friendly cleaning products.  Any favourites you want to add?

 

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Mangle & Wringer also sent me the products mentioned above to review.  As always all opinions are my own.

Home and Garden, Natural Cleaning

Make Your Own Homemade Cleaning Products

homemade cleaning products

homemade cleaning products

I want my home to be clean, but at the same time I don’t really want a cocktail of chemicals in the air that I breathe, or the surfaces that I touch or prepare food on, so I’ve turned to some homemade cleaning products.

There are all sorts of health and environmental dangers associated with using cleaning products, so over the past few years we’ve been trying to cut down on the amount of harsh chemicals in our home.  We first switched to Ecover about six years ago, then Method a couple of years ago, and now we’re using a mix of Ecover (for dishwasher tablets and for toilet cleaner) and BioD products (for laundry, and for hand-washing dishes).

Where we can we’ve also started making our own homemade cleaning products, and I thought it would be useful if I shared my instructions for making these chemical free cleaning products.  You can make your own homemade cleaning products quite easily and cheaply, that are as effective as any shop bought chemical cleaner, so I’ve got a host of recipes here for your kitchen and bathroom, and for doing laundry and the dishes.  They’ll soon have your house sparkling!

First up, select your arsenal of essential oils:

essential oils for cleaning your home

I use these organic Soil Association accredited ones to make my homemade cleaning products with.  I’ve got lavender, lemon, sweet orange, peppermint and tea tree.  As well as smelling great, I like them because as they’re organic I know there are no hidden chemicals in them from the growing process.

Next, you’ll need a bottle or two of white vinegar.  Vinegar is quite a key component in making homemade cleaning products.  You can buy white vinegar in the supermarket that you can transfer into a spray bottle, but you can most likely find big bottles of spray vinegar in pound shops.  I found mine in Poundland for, you’ve guessed it, £1.  You get 750 ml of vinegar which is much better value than the little bottles you find at the supermarket, and you have the convenience of not having to find an empty spray bottle.  You can also buy white vinegar in bulk, which saves even more money.

Homemade Cleaning Products

Kitchen Cleaner

For my homemade kitchen cleaner, I add twenty drops of lemon oil and twenty drops of lavender oil to a 50/50 solution of cooled boiled water and vinegar.  Lemon is a great degreaser and lavender has brilliant antibacterial properties:

household kitchen cleaning products made with vinegar and essential oils

My home-made spray made light work of my dirty worktops.  Here you can see the before and after shots:

before and after cleaning with vinegar

Sparkling clean, and germ-free without any trace of harsh chemicals!  When you use the spray (or any other vinegar based homemade cleaning products) then you do get a smell of vinegar, but that completely disappears once dry, and you’re left with a very light and pleasant scent of the essential oils.

If you have any tough spots of grime or dried in food then I find a light sprinkling of bicarbonate of soda, followed by a spray of your vinegar solution and a good rub helps remove the dirt.  If it’s particularly dried on or hard to shift try spraying it with a liberal amount of vinegar and leaving it to soak for 10 minutes before wiping.

Bathroom Cleaner

I also made bathroom cleaning spray, again using another vinegar spray bottle.  This time, to the 50/50 cooled boiled water and vinegar solution I added 20 drops of lavender oil and 20 drops of tea tree oil.  Tea tree oil has brilliant antiseptic and anti-fungal properties, making it brilliant for cleaning bathrooms:

bathroom cleaner spray made with vinegar and essential oils lavender tea tree

I’ve been spraying it on my tiles after showering to inhibit the growth of mould and remove soap scum, and also using it to wipe down the sink and toilet and everything else.  Again, it initially smells of vinegar but when it dries you can’t smell it – only a very subtle aroma of tea tree and lavender.

Fabric Softener

I’ve used vinegar for years as a fabric softener, but I’ve only just started adding essential oils to the vinegar.  Simply fill an old jar with vinegar, and add 30 drops of orange oil to your vinegar for softened clothes and a delicate and clean aroma to your laundry, without a hint of vinegar, I promise!  With regards to dosage I just fill up to the line on the fabric conditioner drawer of my machine and that seems to work a treat.

Dishwasher Rinse Aid

Vinegar also makes a fantastic rinse aid in your dishwasher – leaving your glasses, cutlery and plates sparkling!  I just use the same solution as I do for my fabric softener – making it fantastically multipurpose!

Do you make any of your own homemade cleaning products?  Do share in the comments below!  I’m always on the lookout for great tips!

Ps: if you enjoyed this then you might also enjoy my post on green cleaning favourites.  I’ve been on quite the green cleaning journey since I wrote this post, and have since shared lots of recipes and methods, that I’ve summarised in my cleaning favourites post.

PPS: I’ve been on ever the green cleaning journey since I published this post AND my post on my green cleaning favourites.  In 2018 I wrote a book all about green cleaning, called Fresh Clean Home, which is available to purchase now.  Do check it out!

Main image from here, all others are my own.