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natural cleaning

Home and Garden, Natural Cleaning

Homemade Scouring Powder Recipe

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citrus scouring powder

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My love of green cleaning is widely known.  But it might surprise you to hear I am not a lover of cleaning or housework.  I like having a clean and tidy house, but the actual cleaning and tidying part?  There’s no love lost.  My household cleaning philosophy is it gets cleaned when it’s dirty, and if we have people coming over I will clean and tidy a bit more than normal, but otherwise I have no cleaning schedule or anything like that apart from hoovering regularly, and tidying things away when it needs it.

My hope is that when my daughters are older they will remember me sitting on the floor building Lego houses with them more than the sparkling clean kitchen sink we always had, or the perfectly clutter free living room.  That’s what I tell myself anyway…

That being said, the kitchen sink does need cleaning sometimes.  We installed a white ceramic kitchen sink when we refurbished our kitchen and it really does show the dirt.  When it does need a good thorough clean I’ve been turning to this homemade scouring powder that I’ve been making for a little while now.

homemade scouring powder recipe

This homemade scouring powder consists of only three simple ingredients but packs a strong punch.  The secret is the citrus peel.  Gently dried and ground finely, it’s packed full of it’s fruit oils, that combined with the abrasiveness of the bicarbonate of soda and salt make light work on dirt and grime.   Beautiful smelling, it’ll leave your sink with a delightful citrus zing.  It’s also a fantastic way of using up citrus peel that might otherwise be binned if you don’t have access to composting facilities.  

I’ve adapted the recipe from Crunchy Betty to give it a bit more scouring power, and boy is it a good one!

It does take a little bit of patience to make but the best things do come to those who wait!

How to Make Homemade Scouring Powder

Ingredients

The peel of one grapefruit or large orange; or two large lemons/limes or clementines.  Whatever you have to hand basically!
2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda* (I buy mine in bulk)
3 tablespoons of coarse salt

Method

Take your citrus fruit peel and tear into small pieces – no larger than the size of a ten pence piece.  Sit the peel on a plate and leave somewhere dry and warm.  My preferred location for the plate at present is on top of the fireguard, beside our wood burning stove.  It’s been drying the peel out really quickly and has the added bonus of sweetly scenting our living room.  Alternatively, place your plate on top of a radiator or on a nice sunny window ledge if you’re somewhere sunny right now (you lucky thing!).

Leave the peel to dry out – turning the peel at least once per day – until the peel is hard and dry.  Depending on where you’re drying your peel, it might take a day to four days.

Place the dry peel in a food processor/blender and blitz until you have a soft, fine powder.

Combine the powdered peel with the bicarbonate of soda and salt and place in a clean dry lidded jar.

Directions For Use

As with any cleaning product, natural or otherwise, always test on an inconspicuous area first.  Once you’re happy you’re good to go:

Sprinkle your scouring powder liberally on to the surface you want to clean.

With a damp cloth simply scrub the area, adding more scrub as you feel is required.

Once finished rinse down the area that you’ve cleaned.

This homemade scouring powder is ideal on ceramic sinks and toilets, but might be too abrasive for acrylic baths/shower trays or some metal sinks.  If you want something a bit gentler you can either omit the salt, use more finely ground salt, or swap the salt for borax substitute*, like in the Crunchy Betty recipe.  If you do use the borax substitute, do make sure you rinse thoroughly once you’re done scrubbing as borax is notoriously difficult to remove once dried!  

Storage

Keep your scrub in a clean dry lidded jar.  If you are using salt or borax in your mixture it should keep for around a month, if not it will probably keep for around 2 weeks.  Use your nose and your discretion.

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Natural Cleaning

Eco Friendly Cleaning Supplies

eco friendly cleaning supplies

eco friendly cleaning supplies

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Long term readers of Moral Fibres will know that I’m big on eco friendly cleaning.  It’s lighter on the planet, good for your health, and it’s a whole lot of fun whipping  up your own cleaning products in your kitchen.  I promise you’ll feel a bit like an alchemist mixing up various (often food safe) ingredients, and coming up with potions and powders that will leave your home sparkling clean and smelling beautiful.

I’ve been asked a few times lately about my eco friendly cleaning supplies and where I source my materials.  As it’s come up a few times I thought it would be useful to put all of this information into a blog post.  So lo and behold, a comprehensive list of the eco friendly cleaning supplies I use and where to source them.

My eco friendly cleaning supplies:

green cleaning supplies

Amber Glass Bottles (500ml or 1000ml size)

The reason I specifically use amber glass bottles is because the cleaning products I make typically contain essential oils.  Amber coloured bottles protect the essential oils from ultraviolet light, which can damage the oils.  Meanwhile the glass is used because certain oils, such as citrus oils, may dissolve plastic over time.  This could be a problem if you’re reusing plastic bottles time and time again.  I found my amber glass bottles at Baldwins, and their service is second to none.  Don’t feel you have to splash out on bottles though.  For a zero waste solution the glass bottles that white vinegar comes in will suffice: just store them in a dark cupboard when not in use.

Trigger Spray Nozzles

The glass bottles from Baldwins all come with screw tops.  I add a few trigger spray nozzles to my order.   Alternatively reuse trigger sprays from any used up cleaning products.  I’ve bought the nozzles as some as my bottles are 1000 ml sized, for cleaning products I like to make in bigger sizes.

Pump Tops

I’m having a go at making my own hand wash, so have two pump tops, again from Baldwins, for easy and measured dispensing.  I’ll share my recipe once I’ve hit the homemade hand wash jackpot.

White Vinegar

I buy my white vinegar in bulk from eBay, getting four 5 litre jerrycans of the stuff at a time.   Twenty litres works out at a little over £15 (with free postage) and it’s the most economical way of buying vinegar.  At about £1.33 a litre, it’s way cheaper than buying the glass bottles of white vinegar at the supermarket (£1 for 568ml) or the plastic 750ml bottles from the pound shop.  I use vinegar all around the house, and even the garden, so it’s a handy bulk supply to have in stock.

Vodka

I buy a big bottle of vodka specifically for cleaning with.  Nothing fancy, just the cheapest, nastiest stuff I can find on the bottom shelf of the supermarket.  Minimum alcohol pricing laws in Scotland means the cheapest I can find vodka for is £10 for 750ml.  Vodka is scent free and oddly great for deodorising (I promise your house won’t smell like a pub).  It’s also great at cutting through soap scum and has some disinfectant properties.  And the handy thing is that once you’ve finished cleaning you can pour yourself a celebratory vodka and tonic…!

Bicarbonate of Soda, Soda Crystals, Salt, & Borax

I keep a couple of boxes to hand of each ingredient.  Each is handy in it’s own right – see here for soda crystals uses and here for borax uses, and often can be combined with other ingredients to make powerful homemade cleaning products.  Large boxes of borax, soda crystals and bicarbonate of soda can be found cheaply in the cleaning aisle of bigger supermarkets, at Wilkinsons, or in pound shops.  Alternatively try eBay if you want to buy in bulk at low cost.

Dr Bronner’s Castile Soap

I’m a fan of Dr Bronner’s Castile Soap.  I’ve been buying the orange scented soap in the larger size and been using it as part of the handwash recipe I’m working on.  I also use it for other uses around the home, such as cleaning my solid floors.

Essential Oils

I use a variety of essential oils.  The most common ones I use are lemon, sweet orange and grapefruit, as I’m a particular fan of citrus scents.  I’m also partial to lavender and tea tree oil because of their disinfectant and antibacterial properties.  I tend to buy my essential oils from Buff & Butter on eBay as they are priced competitively, offer free delivery, and have the added advantage of being organic.

e-cloths

I love my e-cloths – I wrote a whole ode to e-cloths here.  These cloths remove dirt, grease and 99% of all bacteria, including salmonella, E.coli and listeria, with just water.  When dirty, just pop them in the washing machine.  I’m particularly a fan of using e-cloths to clean my windows and shower screen, and for cleaning my stainless steel hob and appliances.  Streak free cleaning at it’s finest.

There is a bit of controversy regarding microfibre cloths shedding microplastic into the ocean.  However, if you wear any kind of synthetic clothing then it’s also responsible for this microplastic release.  I would personally argue that the environmental impact of not using harsh chemicals that ultimately end up in our waterways is better than the small amount of microplastic coming from microfibre cloths.   That’s your personal choice to make though.

Other Items

Cotton cloths, scrubbing brushes, and citrus fruit are always handy eco friendly cleaning supplies to have to hand, as is a little bit of elbow grease!

Looking for inspiration?  Try my post on my green cleaning favourites for some recipes to try out with these eco friendly cleaning supplies!

eco friendly cleaning uk