Increasingly often I am being knocked out of my hamster-wheel of convenience by the realization that there are consequences and other choices. Acknowledging the link between the commercial cleaning agents I buy and, through them, my contribution to polluting our precious water resources was the cause of my recent fall-out. I could have climbed back in to spin along the common path, confused to the point of apathy by the process of trying to understand the labels and choose an eco- friendly option. Certainly, choosing one of the new commercial eco-friendly products is part of the solution, but they can be expensive and more complicated label reading is required to ensure that the products are not green-wash. Then a friend said just KIS, i.e. to Keep It Simple. We don’t need a cleaner for every conceivable job. A few ingredients do the work simply and without the irony of my clean home polluting our environment.
What we need are a few spray bottles, non-scratch scourers, 5 basic cleaners (vinegar, bicarb, tee tree oil, borax and hydrogen peroxide) your favourite essential oils blended with a positive value that Nature matters.
Have a look at the recipes below. You will be surprised at how simple, cheap and effective they are. If you have other tips please share them with us by emailing me.
All purpose cleaners:
Fill spray bottle one-quarter full of white vinegar and fill with tap water. The vinegar smell while pungent at first, does not last. If you want a nicer scent add a few drops essential oil. Try Lavender essential oil or a use for all the mint in the garden.
Scouring cleaner and Scrubbing paste:
1. Bicarb on a non-scratch sponge replaces commercial powder cleansers.
2. Pour generous amount of bicarp (1/2 cup) into a bowl and add a generous squirt of natural liquid soap and enough water to create a paste. Use for tubs, tiles, toilets and sinks. Rinse with water after cleaning.
Remove Mould on surfaces:
1. 1tsp pure tea-tree oil, 1 cup water. Spray on areas with mildew or mold and don’t rinse off.
2. Add 5-10 drops lemon oil (optional, for degreasing) and use for kitchen and bath.
1. About 1 cup white vinegar in bucketful water.
2. Half fill bucket with water and add 2 tbsp white vinegar, 4 tbsp borax, little bicarb (optional for scrub), few drops of Johnson’s baby oil (optional for shine) and few drops hydrogen peroxide (optional for sterilization).
Mix and put into a fine spray bottle.
Lavender: Fill a spray bottle with distilled water and add few drops lavender until the strength you like. Spray the children’s room just before they go to sleep to help them to relax.
Vanilla: 1/2 cup distilled water, 3 tbsp vanilla extract, 5-10 drops vanilla oil.
Citrus: Fill bottle with distilled water and add a few drops of citrus flavoured essential oil.
3% Hydrogen Peroxide mixed with baking soda and a small amount of natural soap, is effective at removing resistant odours. Wipe with a cloth rather than spray.
Window and glass cleaner:
1. 1/4 tsp natural liquid soap, 3 tbsp white vinegar and fill with tap water.
2. Fresh or stale club soda in spray bottle.
1. 3tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp white vinegar. Use soft cloth to apply.
Comments on Borax. Borax inhibits the bacterial enzyme urease and is therefore antibacterial. It is the main ingredient of non-chlorine bleach and reputedly has excellent cleaning power without fading colours. (I would test sensitive fabric first.)
Comments on Hydrogen Peroxide. 3% Hydrogen Peroxide is available from the chemist and is a disinfectant that breaks down in the environment into oxygen and water.
Yours in being clean & green. KimK