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Home and Garden

Home and Garden, Natural Cleaning

Stainless Steel Cleaner – Make Your Own Eco-Friendly Version

Don’t buy bottles of chemically dubious stainless steel cleaner. Instead, let me show just how easy it is to make your own effective and eco-friendly version.

Did you know that stainless steel has only been around since 1913? For a material that’s only been in use for a little over a hundred years, stainless steel has quickly taken over our kitchens. In fact, as that article points out “it [stainless steel] has become the metal with which we are the most intimately acquainted; after all, we put it in our mouth almost every day.”

Stainless steel is now ubiquitous in our kitchens. From hobs to ovens, sinks to fridges, to worktops and cupboards. Some kitchens are even made entirely of stainless steel. However, all of that steel comes with some upkeep. I feel like the inventor of stainless steel was having a laugh when they named it. I don’t know if it is just me, but I feel like I can just look at a stainless steel worktop or fridge, and it can leave a mark!

As such, stainless steel does take a bit of cleaning to keep it looking spick and span. General multi-surface cleaners don’t quite have the power to give stainless steel a clean and shiny finish. Meanwhile, specialist stainless steel cleaners can be pricey. I say save your money, save on buying yet another plastic bottle, and use what’s (probably) lurking in your kitchen. Here’s the full how-to!

How to Make Eco-Friendly Stainless Steel Cleaner

Image of a brown amber spray bottle with a blue text box that says how to make all natural stainless steel cleaner

Makes 500 ml

Keeps for up to six months or more

You Will Need

  • 500 ml white vinegar
  • Glass spray bottle
  • Lemon, orange, or grapefruit essential oil
  • Olive oil or coconut oil – whatever you have to hand
  • Three cotton non-scratch cloths or rags

Method

I feel like it’s cheating a bit to list this as a recipe because this stainless steel cleaner is SO simple to make. But it’s so effective that I couldn’t not share:

  • Add 20 drops of your citrus essential oil into your glass spray bottle.
  • Next decant the white vinegar into the bottle.
  • Add the spray trigger, and you’re done.

Keep the oil and two of the rags or cloths to the side for now – you don’t need these right this second.

How To Use This Stainless Steel Cleaner

To use your homemade cleaning spray, first shake well to combine the oil and vinegar. Next, simply spray down any stainless steel surfaces that you want to clean. Leave it to soak for a few seconds, before wiping with the soft cotton cloth or rag.

Why cotton, you may ask. Well, I find cotton to be most effective at wiping down steel, as it doesn’t tend to leave any lint behind. It also won’t scratch your steel or remove the temperature markings from your hob or oven, unlike abrasive cleaning pads or sponges. Sidenote, if previous cleaning efforts have removed your oven and/or hob markings, I found an Etsy shop that specialises in stove stickers*, to take the guesswork out of cooking. Genius!

Back to the cleaning! My top tip is to follow the grain of your stainless steel as you are cleaning. If you are wondering what this grain is, then you might be surprised to hear that stainless steel has a wood-like grain to it. If you look really closely at your stainless steel object, you should be able to see some faint lines running along the steel. Once you’ve found them, that’s the direction to follow when you are wiping. Wiping against the grain makes it easier for dirt and grease to build up in the grain. Over time, this will decrease the shine of your stainless steel. This is not what we want to achieve so go with that grain!

Now that you’ve cleaned your stainless steel object, you next want to make that steel shine! Everyone swears by using baby oil for this purpose, however, baby oil is a mineral oil that’s made from petroleum. I like to avoid using fossil fuel products when cleaning my kitchen thank you very much.

Thankfully, natural oils such as olive oil or coconut oil do the job effectively, without any need to involve the oil and gas industry. All you have to do is apply a small amount of the olive or coconut oil to your steel, and then, taking the clean dry cloth or rag, work the oil into the surface. Keep buffing until the streaks and stains disappear (and they will, I promise!).

Finally, for good measure, give your steel one last wipe down with the last clean cloth or rag to remove any residue, before standing back to admire your shiny handiwork!

Job done! The shinest stainless steel you’ve ever seen!

Why This Stainless Steel Cleaner Works So Effectively

orange cleaning spray

This cleaner works effectively because of the potent ingredients. Vinegar is acidic and can take on dirt, grease, and grime with ease in the kitchen. Meanwhile, citrus-based essential oils cuts through oil like nothing else, meaning your stainless steel will come up spotless. The olive or coconut oil then promotes a shiny finish, without the use of petrochemicals.

Safety Notes

Although vinegar is a great all-natural cleaner, and perfect for cleaning stainless steel the eco-friendly way, there are a few safety considerations you need to make.

Firstly, do not use this cleaner on granite, quartz, marble, natural stone, or similar. Vinegar is acidic and can damage these types of worktops. If you do have a stainless steel hob, for example, and these types of worktops, I would spray your cotton cloth and then wipe carefully to avoid touching your worktop, rather than spraying your hob.

Secondly, do not use vinegar to clean anything coated in metallic paint.

Thirdly, if you have any stuck-on food stains, don’t reach for the bicarbonate of soda. Let the vinegar soak for a little while to soften the stain, before wiping. Bicarbonate of soda reacts with vinegar to create a weak salt water solution, that’s no good for cleaning with.

And lastly, do not mix vinegar with bleach, products containing bleach, or hydrogen peroxide. Doing so can release noxious gases that can be very harmful to your health.

See my full guide to everything you need to know about cleaning with white vinegar for the full rundown.

Storage

As with any cleaning product, homemade or shop-bought, it’s important to both label the bottle, and store your cleaner away from children and pets.

Home, Home and Garden

Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Blankets to Keep You Cosy This Winter

Searching for a sustainable, eco-friendly, or ethical blanket to keep you cosy this winter? I’ve got seven blankets for you today, that won’t pull the wool over your eyes with their eco-friendly credentials. From recycled to organic, and everything in-between, at all budgets, there’s sure to be something that needs your needs.

I’ve written about ethical bedding before, but what if you are looking for an eco-friendly blanket to cosy up to on the sofa with? With energy bills set to soar in 2021, finding ways to keep warm without having to have your heating on 24/7 have never been more important.

As someone who spends part of their working life freelancing from home, over the years I’ve developed a number of strategies to keep warm that don’t involve always having the heating on. From cosy socks and ethical slippers to keep my feet warm. To big cardigans, hot water bottles, and blankets draped over my knees to keep my core temperature cosy. The life of a freelance writer is certainly not a glamourous one! However, coupled with some clever energy-saving tips, it really helps keep our energy bills down. Needless to say, I’m a big fan of the humble blanket.

Where to Buy Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Blankets

Image of some folded tartan blankets with a blue text box that says the best eco-friendly blankets to keep warm with this winter

If you are looking for a blanket to cosy into this winter, then I’ve got a great selection of eco-friendly blankets for you today. I’ve specifically looked for blankets made of natural fibres, eco-friendly organic materials, or sustainable recycled materials.

In order to help support the running costs of Moral Fibres, this post contains affiliate links, denoted by *. Moral Fibres may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to readers, on items that have been purchased through those links. This income helps keep this site running.

Frugi

Frugi's cuddle up blanket made from GOTS certified organic cotton

If you’re looking specifically for a baby or kid’s eco-friendly blanket, or a small blanket to go over your knees, then Frugi’s striped cuddle up blanket* (£35) is a good buy. It’s ethically made from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton, and is super soft and snuggly.

Oxfam Online

Oxfam Online has a great selection of ethical and eco-friendly blankets. This small recycled wool blanket*, for example, is woven from recycled fibres which have been re-spun to form the blanket. Not only that but it’s made in the UK too for a low carbon footprint. At only £12.99, it’s a planet-friendly bargain.

If you are looking for a larger ethical blanket, then this pure wool eco-friendly blanket* (£37.99) would be a colourful and cosy addition to any home.

If wool isn’t your thing, then Oxfam also caters to vegans. This recycled cotton blanket*, at £44.99, is a little more spendy, however, it is a thing of beauty. The blanket is made by a family-run Fair Trade business established in Jaipur, India that employs artisans to make beautiful products using recycled fabric. They aim to work as a platform for Indian artists and uneducated craftspeople who are in need of work, in order to keep traditional skills alive through their products. 

Purchases from Oxfam Online all support Oxfam’s work fighting global poverty.

Thrift Knit

Thrift Knit sells designer secondhand knitwear. However, for the sweaters and cardigans that are too damaged for them to sell, instead of ragging them, they turn these damaged knitwear items into fabulous recycled blankets.

To make these blankets, they take the damaged garments and removed the buttons, labels, and any trimmings. Thrift Knit then turns that wool back into yarn. The yarn is then woven into these beautiful, sustainable blankets by weavers based in Delph, on the Yorkshire/Lancashire Border.

These woollen blankets comprise 80% of Thrift Knit’s recycled wool. The remaining 20% comprises of pure new wool. This must be added to ensure the yarn keeps its length and strength.

Find these lovely blankets on Etsy* for £55 to £60.

Urbanara

Recycled eco-friendly blanket from Urbanara

Urbanara sells a wide range of pure wool and eco-friendly organic cotton blankets. However, the one that caught my eye was this recycled fibre blanket* (£60).

Made using only a blend of 100% GRS-certified recycled fibres – from recycled cotton to recycled polyamide, acrylic, linen, and silk fibres, it’s not only ecologically friendly but super soft and cosy too. Despite being made from some recycled synthetic fibres, the knit structure feels similar to pure cotton. At a 190 by 130 cm size, this makes for a cosy blanket, perfect for snuggling up in on chilly winter nights.

Weaver Green’s Eco-Friendly Recycled Blankets

Got dogs or little kids? Partial to a glass of red wine? Got allergies? Then you will want to know about Weaver Green blankets (available via the National Trust for Scotland webshop*) (£48). These are hand-woven from up to 300 recycled plastic bottles each. Despite being made of recycled plastic, their blankets are soft, warm, and luxurious like wool. What’s more, they are easy to clean, stain-resistant, and suitable for outdoor use. They’re also water-resistant, hard-wearing and moth resistant. And if you have allergies, then the good news is that dust mites won’t live in them.

The one downside? Recycled plastic isn’t great to wash in the washing machine, as it does release microplastic which ends up in the food chain. Try to spot clean any marks/stains before washing the whole blanket.

Got any other good sustainable blanket tips? Do share!