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natural cleaning

Home and Garden, Natural Cleaning

Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products (That Work!)

eco-friendly cleaning

Let me share with you my favourite environmentally cleaning products, that actually work.

Hold on a minute, this post is from a few years ago. See this post on eco-friendly cleaning products, for a more up-to-date picture.

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:

My Favourites

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 skeptical the first time I used it.  Bio-D doesn’t have much of a smell, and it seemed quite watery.  My fears were unfounded as it’s got great cleaning power.  So much so that it 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*.

Laundry

eco-friendly cleaning products

For a few years now we’ve used Method Laundry Liquid and I’m really happy with its 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 its 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.

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 around 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?

 

* denotes an affiliate link

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

Want to make your own homemade cleaning products but don’t know where to start? Let me show you how with these super simple recipes.

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 on the surfaces that I touch or prepare food on. Particularly as scientists have warned that some household cleaning products could be as bad for your lungs as smoking 20 cigarettes a day. Meanwhile, there is a link between cleaning products and breast cancer.

As there are all sorts of health and environmental dangers associated with using cleaning products, over the past few years we’ve been trying to cut down on the number of harsh chemicals we use in our home.

We first switched to using more eco-friendly cleaning products. And where we can we’ve also started making our own homemade cleaning products. Let me show you how to make them.

What You’ll Need

To get started, you’ll need a few simple supplies.

To make my homemade cleaning products, I have a small selection of essential oils, that I buy from eBay*.  I’ve got lavender, lemon, sweet orange, peppermint, and tea tree.  As well as smelling great, I like them because these specific oils have great cleaning and germ-killing properties.

essential oils for cleaning your home

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 glass bottles in the supermarket that you can transfer into a spray bottle. A more economical way is to buy white vinegar in bulk, which is very economical, and you can refill any empty spray bottle.

In terms of spray bottles, here’s where I source glass bottles to hold my homemade cleaning products.

Homemade Cleaning Products

Now that you’ve got your supplies, let me show you my step-by-step instructions for making my homemade chemical-free cleaning products.  You can make them easily and cheaply, and I promise you they are as effective as any shop-bought chemical cleaner.

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 naturally sparkling!

Please note that vinegar shouldn’t be used on granite, marble, quartz, or other forms of natural stone.

Homemade Kitchen Cleaning Spray

For my homemade kitchen cleaner, I add twenty drops of lemon oil and twenty drops of lavender oil to a solution of 250 ml cooled boiled water and 250 ml white 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. However it completely disappears once dry, and you’re left with a very light and pleasant scent of the essential oils.

For an extra cleaning boost, you can add 1 teaspoon of regular washing up liquid to the oil, vinegar and essential oil solution.

If you have any tough spots of grime or dried in food then try spraying it with a liberal amount of vinegar and leaving it to soak for 10 minutes before wiping. If that doesn’t help, try a light sprinkling of bicarbonate of soda on the affected area, and then rubbing it with a damp cloth. You may want to patch test this in an inconspicuous area first to test that it’s not going to damage the surface you are cleaning.

This homemade cleaning product keeps for up to around 8 weeks. However if it starts to look or smell bad before then, then do discard it and make a fresh batch.

Homemade Bathroom Cleaner

You can also make homemade bathroom cleaning spray, again using vinegar.  This time, to the 250 ml cooled boiled water and 250 ml vinegar solution add 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 my homemade cleaning spray on my tiles after showering to inhibit the growth of mould and remove soap scum. I also use 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 the vinegar. Only a very subtle aroma of tea tree and lavender.

Again, the shelf life of this is around 8 weeks.

Homemade Fabric Softener

I’ve used vinegar for years as a homemade fabric softener, but I’ve only just started adding essential oils to the vinegar.  Simply fill an old jar with vinegar, and add around 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 the dosage I just fill up to the line on the fabric conditioner drawer of my machine and that seems to work a treat.

As you are not adding water to the vinegar, your homemade fabric softener will last indefinitely. Again, if it starts to look or smell bad then do discard and make a fresh batch.

Homemade Dishwasher Rinse Aid

Vinegar also makes a fantastic rinse aid in your dishwasher. It leaves 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 and plastic reduction journey since I wrote this, and have since shared lots of recipes and methods, that I’ve summarised in my cleaning favourites post.

PPS: I’ve been on ever such the green cleaning journey since I published this post AND my post on my green cleaning favourites.  I’ve written a book all about green cleaning, called Fresh Clean Home, with over 35 recipes for every room in your home. It’s available to purchase now.  Do check it out!

Main image from here, all others are my own.