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natural cleaning

Home and Garden, Natural Cleaning

How To Make Homemade Oven Cleaner That Actually Works

homemade oven cleaner uk

Hello!  Today I wanted to share a recipe from my new natural cleaning book Fresh Clean Home. It’s for my homemade oven cleaner that actually works.

This time last year I barely came up for air as I beavered away on writing the book.  Honestly, ask me what happened in May last year and I cannot tell you, aside from busying away in my kitchen and on my laptop.  Therefore it’s a huge relief that precisely 365 days later I can share the fruits of my labour with you!

Anyway, back to the oven!  I really like my homemade oven cleaner recipe because no noxious fumes come off it.  It was recently reported that regular use of cleaning sprays has an impact on your lung health, comparable with smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.  My clean green homemade oven cleaner has none of that nastiness, but all of the effectiveness.

The best part?  You can pick up all of the ingredients (mostly from the baking aisle!) next time you’re at the supermarket!

Homemade Oven Cleaner Recipe

Is cleaning the oven your least favourite job?  Mine, too, my friend, mine, too.  I shan’t admit how often I clean my oven (you might judge me), but let’s just say it’s not as often as I should.

For me, the big problem is that I find the caustic fumes from conventional oven cleaners overwhelming.  Instead, I’ve come up with this homemade oven-cleaning gel that does the trick without the noxious atmosphere.  The gel ensures the homemade cleaner clings to the sides of your oven overnight, allowing the soda crystals to really get in and help dissolve the cooked-on grease and grime.  The result is a clean oven without the chemical stench.

homemade oven cleaner uk

Photography for Fresh Clean Home by Rachel Whiting

You Will Need:

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (buy it from the baking section of the supermarket or health food store)
2 teaspoons glycerine (again, but it from the baking section of the supermarket)
2 teaspoons washing-up liquid
300ml just-boiled water
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons soda crystals (find it in the cleaning aisle of the supermarket)

Makes: a single use gel

Use: use this homemade cleaner on your oven immediately

Method

To make this homemade overn cleaner, put the xanthan gum and glycerine in a large bowl and stir well to fully combine. Add the washing-up liquid and stir again.

Pour the just-boiled water in a large jug and add the salt and soda crystals. Stir until the crystals dissolve.

Pour the warm solution into the bowl with the xanthan gum mixture and use a hand-held blender to pulse for 1 minute, until fully combined. Take care not to burn yourself – you may want to allow the water to cool a little before blending.

To Use Homemade Oven Cleaner

To use this homemade oven cleaner, switch off your oven at the socket and remove the racks from the inside.  Wearing rubber gloves, use a sponge or scrubbing brush to apply the gel liberally to the surfaces of your oven, including the door.

You can also use the homemade oven cleaner on your oven racks and trays, too, if you like.

Leave the gel on overnight, then in the morning, again wearing rubber gloves, use a scrubbing brush to give your oven a thorough clean.  If burnt-on spots remain, sprinkle over some bicarbonate of soda to give you some extra scouring power.

When you’re satisfied, wipe the oven down with a clean, damp cloth, rinsing the cloth in freshwater as necessary.

Warning: Do not use this homemade oven cleaner on aluminium surfaces.

Fresh Clean Home, my new book is packed full of natural cleaning recipes for every corner of your home, is available now through your local bookshop or via online sellers.  You can buy it here:

Amazon* / Foyles / Hive / The Telegraph / Waterstones / Wordery*

Home, Home and Garden

The Best Plastic-Free Dishwasher Detergent and Tablets in 2021

plastic-free dishwasher detergent

Hello!  In an ongoing quest to try and reduce my plastic usage let’s talk plastic-free dishwasher detergent and tablets.

In Fresh Clean Home I show you how I make 95% of my own cleaning products.  This saves on so much plastic.  The other 5%?  Dishwasher detergent and washing up liquid.  Both have eluded me.  Dishwasher detergent and tablets in particular.

After trying countless formulations and re-formulations, nothing cut the mustard.  Everything I tried either left a white film on all of our dishes, or a greasy film.  Sometimes, it even left the double-whammy – a white greasy film.  The worst.  The homemade dishwasher powder experimentation era in our house was a grim time.

I sat down and did some extensive research to see where I was going wrong.  What I discovered was that pretty much all commercial dishwasher tablets and powders, even eco-friendly brands, contain an ingredient called sodium silicate powder.  Sodium silicate rinses away food and soap deposits and is completely soluble in water.  As a result, dishes always come out clean and streak-free. 

Dishwashing & The Law

Great, you’re thinking.  Just add sodium silicate powder to the ingredients of your homemade plastic-free dishwasher powder or tablets.  It’s not that simple I’m afraid.  Sodium silicate powder is only available commercially.  Its sale is very heavily restricted.  One supplier of sodium silicate powder says “we have a duty to control the supply of these chemicals and any private individual attempting to purchase these chemicals may have their details passed to the police in their area“.  

Eco-friendlier shop-bought dishwasher detergent/tablets it is then.  The pursuit of homemade dishwasher powder is simply not worth the very real threat of getting listed as a suspected terrorist!

The Best Plastic-Free Dishwasher Tablets

Eco-friendly dishwasher detergents/tablets are one or two a penny.  However, eco-friendly and plastic-free dishwasher detergent or tablets has proved to be a trickier thing to source.  Even Ecover tablets are wrapped in polypropylene plastic. However, I have tracked down some zero-waste and eco-friendlier dishwasher tablets (that won’t get you in trouble with the law). Here’s what I found.

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.

Ecoleaf Dishwasher Tablets

plastic free dishwasher detergent UK

Ecoleaf Dishwasher Tablets (£13.49 for 70*; or £5.45 for 25*) are a great eco-friendlier AND plastic-free dishwasher detergent/tablet.  Made from plant-derived ingredients, the dishwasher tablets are free of phosphates, SLS, SLES, parabens, triclosan, and synthetic fragrances.  They are also certified cruelty-free and vegan-friendly.  The one downside is that they do contain palm oil.  However, as in all aspects of ethical living, it is practically impossible to find a product that is 100% perfect in every way.

Each tablet is wrapped in a water-soluble wrapper, that dissolves as your dishwasher starts running.  I initially worried that this wrapper might break down into something bad for the environment, or contribute towards microplastic.  The good news is Grist says no.  It breaks down to carbon dioxide and water.

The dishwasher tablets are designed to leave your dishes sparkling clean. They have a built-in rinse-aid, degreasing agents, and powerful cleaning action.  I’ve been using them in our soft water area and I concur.  I have found that they perform great on our dirty dishes and glassware.  I’ve also had no issues with their cleaning ability.

Smol Dishwasher Tablets

Want plastic-free dishwasher tablets without the fuss? With Smol, you can set up a subscription whereby a box of dishwasher tablets will arrive at your home at a frequency that suits you.

Try Smol out for free* (just pay £1 postage) and then 30 tablets cost £4.60.

Smol dishwasher tablets come packaged in a cardboard box that fits through your letterbox. As Smol’s pink and white tablets look like sweets, Smol have considerately made their cardboard box childproof. This means, if your child gets to the post first, they can’t get into the box, which is great. The only problem I’ve found is that as well as being childproof, the box is also adult-proof too. Between us, my partner and I have three university and college degrees, and we have been completely unable to open the box beyond tearing it to shreds. If you have mobility problems you may well struggle with Smol.

Smol’s dishwasher tablets are cruelty-free, Leaping Bunny approved, and 100% free of any animal-derived ingredients. In terms of what they are made of, it’s a bit opaque. Beyond that, Smol doesn’t tout their tablets as being chemically environmentally friendly. All that Smol says is that “using Smol technology we have found a way to use lower levels of added chemicals per wash when compared to the other tablets brands“.  So although they use fewer harsh chemicals this means their ingredients don’t have particular sustainability or eco-friendly credentials. I’d really like to see Smol move towards more ecologically sound ingredients.

Ecozone

Looking for a plastic-free dishwasher detergent that’s allergy-friendly? Ecozone dishwasher tablets* (£5.29 for 25) are both plastic-free and carry proof of Allergy UK certification. This ensures that these tablets won’t cause any adverse allergic reactions. What’s more, their tablets are cruelty-free and suitable for vegans.

Ecozone’s mission is to ‘make your home an Ecozone’ to reduce the number of toxic chemicals in your home. They believe that homes should be safe and clean environments for all families and that the fight to keep germs at bay should come without compromise or toxicity. I have to agree with this – I’ve not had any problem cleaning my dishes with Ecozone.

Fill Dishwasher Powder

fill dishwasher powder refillable plastic-free

Fill dishwasher powder* (£7.36 for 500g) comes in a recyclable glass jar with a metal lid. Produced in Northamptonshire, Fill is made with natural and biodegradable ingredients which are also vegan and cruelty-free. What’s more, once you have finished with the 500g jar you can purchase a 10kg bulk refill bag* (£33) to reduce waste.  This comes in a plastic-free cotton stitched brown paper bag, so there’s no sneaky plastic in your dishwasher detergent here either.

Have you found any other plastic-free dishwasher detergents?  Or have you been able to make your own dishwasher detergent successfully, without the horrible white and/or greasy films?  If so, you have my eternal respect!  Let me know in the comments below!