Hints and Tips
Natural Cleaning / Wellness
Natural Cleaning Ingredients
There are so many different commercial cleaning products these days, filled with toxic chemicals and wrapped in elaborate plastic packaging. Keeping it simple and switching to DIY cleaners can provide you with all you need for a sparkling clean and sanitary home.
Making your own will not only reduce your use of plastic, but dramatically lessen the environmental and household pollution caused by the manufacture, use and disposal of these products.
BICARBONATE OF SODA / BAKING SODA
Baking soda has been used for over a century as a way to deodorise, clean and scour away dirt. You can easily use this alone to clean sinks, toilets, baths, ovens, fridges and surfaces to remove dirt and stains.
Mix with a small amount of water to create a paste and use to clean sinks, baths, toilets etc.
One of the most versatile products you can buy, castile soap can be used as an all purpose cleaner all around your home. From laundry detergent, to dish soap, hand soap, floor cleaner and even shampoo, castile soap has got you covered.
Another incredible multi-purpose product that can be used all over the home to get rid of stains, grease, dirt, odours, mould and mildew is white vinegar. It may have a slightly off-putting smell, but this quickly dissipates, or can be counteracted by delicious smelling essential oils.
A very strong acid, the juice of a lemon helps to fight against bacteria, remove stains and keep your whites white.
Perfect for polishing furniture, olive oil is great at loosening up stains, grease and grime on all sorts of surfaces.
Naturally anti-bacterial, essential oils not only help to sanitise your house, but keep it smelling great too. Some of the best to go for are lavender, tea tree and lemon.
Salt is a super versatile mineral that has a nifty way of scouring off dirt. It will also boost the cleaning effects of other ingredients, such as vinegar or bicarbonate of soda, when combined.
These magical berries produce a natural soap, called saponin, that foams up and removes grime and smells when mixed with water. They're anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial, working as a great eco-friendly alternative to other toxic cleaners.
HOW TO USE SOAPNUTS
- Put 5 - 7 soapnut shells/or equivalent half shells into a muslin washbag, tie bag securely.
- (Optional step) Place washbag into jar with warm water for 3 minutes. This helps to release the soap.
- Load laundry into machine, place soaked washbag into drum of the washing machine with clothes. Wash clothes as directed by fabric care instructions.
- Save used shells, as they can be reused up to FOUR more times.
The same washbag of soapnuts can be re-used 3 - 4 times. Exhausted soapnut shells start to break up in the bag. When soapnuts reach this stage compost them. When the saponin/soap is completely exhausted from the soapnuts, simply throw them in your garden to ward off slugs and snails or put it in your green recycling/bin or food waste. Soapnuts are 100% biodegardable and compostable.
Citric acid is a weak organic acid found naturally in citrus fruits. The most common uses of citric acid are as a preservative and flavouring agent in food and beverages such as soft drinks. Citric acid is used as an emulsifying agent in ice-creams.
As cleaning & chelating agent
Citric acid is considered as an excellent chelating agent. Limescale is removed from boilers and evaporators with the help of citric acid. Citric acid is used for softening water, which makes it useful in laundry detergents and soaps. It can also be used in shampoo for washing colouring and wax from the hair.
Mix a couple of heaped tablespoons of citric acid powder with hot water in a spray bottle. Shake to dissolve the citric acid and it’s ready to be used. Feel free to use more citric acid powder for cleaning more stubborn areas. If you want to use the solution on a vertical surface, add a drop or two of Castile Soap liquid to promote foaming that will allow the solution to adhere to the surface for a longer period of time.
Now let's get to the good stuff, here are different cleaning concoctions you can come up with at home to keep it squeaky clean.
- ALL PURPOSE CLEANER
This all purpose cleaner can be used all over the home to wipe down surfaces, and sanitise your home. Equal parts white vinegar and water. Add around 10 drops of essential oils to offset the vinegar smell, however this smell should disappear soon after cleaning down surfaces. You can also try infusing your vinegar with the rind of lemons or oranges to offset the scent. You can do this by adding citrus rinds to a jar, cover with white vinegar, seal and store in a cupboard for 2-4 weeks. Once the vinegar has infused, strain and use alongside normal vinegar in this mixture to add a fresh scent (this is a concentrated liquid so you don't need much of it to get a nice smell). Avoid use on marble, stone or granite surfaces.
- TOILET CLEANER
For a sparkling loo, glug in some white vinegar, a good shake of bicarbonate of soda with around 10 drops of your favourite essential oil into the basin. Leave to sit for a few minutes, scrub with the toilet brush, fizzing up the mixture and getting rid of all the nasties. Use the above all purpose cleaner for surfaces, leaving to sit for a minute or two before wiping away.
- LAUNDRY DETERGENT
Soap nuts are a traditional and simple way to clean your clothes. When the soapnuts are mixed around in your washing machine, they will release saponin, dissolving dirt and cleaning your laundry in the process. You can simply add them into your washing machine in a pouch, grind them up or make them into a homemade liquid detergent by boiling them in water. You can reuse the soapnut pouch for around 4 to 5 washes, until they turn grey. And the coolest thing is that when you're done with them, they can be composted in your garden!
- WINDOWS AND MIRRORS
Mix together 1 part white vinegar to 4 parts water and use on your windows or mirrors to polish and clean. You can also add in some essential oils for a fresh scent. Try to avoid doing this on a hot day as can leave streaks.
- AIR FRESHENER
Fill a spray bottle up with water and around 10 drops of your favourite essential oil, such as lavender. Give it a sniff and a spray and add a few more drops of oil if it needs it. Go slowly, less is more when it comes to essential oils! When you're happy with the scent, then you can use it to freshen up the air, your furniture or linen.
6. MOULD AND MILDEW
Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar (optional: add tea tree oil for added mould and mildew killing properties) and spritz the affected area. Let it sit for around 30 minutes and rinse off the area with warm water. Scrub off with a cloth if it needs some assistance!
- WASHING UP LIQUID/DISH SOAP
Castile soap works perfectly as a washing up liquid as well! Simply mix 4 parts castile soap to 1 part water in a repurposed container of your choice.
- FURNITURE POLISH
Olive oil works perfectly as a furniture polish. Mix together 1/4 cup of white vinegar, 3/4 cup of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon.
- POT AND PAN SCRUB
The abrasive textures of the salt crystals help to remove stuck-on food, without hurting your cookware. Simply pour a small amount of Epsom salts onto your pots or pans before you scrub them.
EPSOM SALT BATH SOAK
- Add 2 cups of Epsom salt to your bathwater
- Add 3 to 5 drops of aromatherapy black pepper oil (not applied directly on the skin)
- Soak for at least 10 minutes
EPSOM SALT MOUTH WASH
Because of its antioxidant properties, Epsom salt can be used as a mouthwash.
- Add 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt to a cup of lukewarm water.
- Gargle for 5-10 minutes.
You can use Epsom salt to make a cleansing face mask that’s applied to damp skin for maximum absorption.
- Mix quarter of a cup of grated carrot with 1.5 teaspoons of mayonnaise with half a teaspoon of Epsom salt.
- Leave on face for 10-15 minutes.
- To exfoliate instead, gently massage Epsom salt over wet skin, starting with your feet and continuing up towards the face.
Not only will your body thank you for adding Epsom salt into your daily routine, your hair will also benefit. To remove build up of styling products, including hairspray, mix 1 cup each of Epsom salt and lemon juice into a gallon of water. Cover and let the mixture sit for 24 hours before use. Simply pour over hair and let the mixture sit for 15-20 minutes. Wash and condition as usual. To add volume to your hair, combine equal parts conditioner and Epsom salt. Apply to hair and let sit for 20 minutes. The Epsom salt helps remove excess oil that weighs hair down.