It’s amazing how ingrained chemicals are in our lives – to the point that when you are trying to get rid of them from your life it can be a difficult and suprising process. Just when you think your on the right track, you find out theres another whole area that you need to look at.
Household cleaning is perhaps one of the more obvious areas (when you’ve already got your eyes open to the chemical craziness) – you’re touching and smelling them.
I remember having the skin on my hands become painful, red, and start cracking open with cuts when I was using particularly harsh chemicals at my job in a certain fast food chain in my teens. Luckily (or not?) my body is very sensitive to any chemicals – just smelling them will give me a rotten headache so I’m well aware of chemicals around me and am forced to use clean, natural alternatives for everything. For those not so sensitive, it can take awhile to become aware of not just the dangers, but also where the chemicals are lurking. Hint: it’s in nearly every area of our lives now – including the mattresses that we sleep on (flame retardants, anyone?)!
It’s actually much cheaper and easier to only but a few simple, everyday cleaning ingredients! I find keeping it simple is key – if I have to use a different recipe of natural stuff for every single application I just won’t bother altogether.
Make sure you save this list for future reference!
Natural cleaning must-have’s:
- White vinegar
- Baking soda
- 3% hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle – check out it’s many uses here
- Mircofibre cloths – I use these cloths by Full Circle
- Spray bottles
Other options: lemon juice, clove oil, eucalyptus oil, salt, castile soap
Once you get the hang of using these ingredients, you will be able to easily apply them to different cleaning situations.
White vinegar + baking soda
Vinegars main benefit is that it cuts through grease, but it will also kill some types of bacteria. Use vinegar to clean all types of surfaces – floors, windows, toilets.
Baking soda is a mild abrasive that works great as a scouring powder.
This combo works will clean pretty much everything, and works amazingly well for cleaning the bathroom and kitchen sinks.
Hydrogen peroxide is an antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, germicide and will kill harmful bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli, and mold and mildew spores – especially when used in combination with vinegar.
Kitchen & Bathroom Surfaces
Keep vinegar in a spray bottle to use as a surface cleaner.
Keep a spray bottle in the bathroom to sanitise every surface – the shower, sink, bench, floors, bathtub and toilet.
Make your own Spray n’ Wipe:
A spray bottle with vinegar + a few drops of essential oil (like eucalyptus, tea tree or lavender) or a spray bottle with a 1.5% solution of hydrogen peroxide.
Use baking soda with a damp cloth or scrub brush to remove soap and scum. Then spray a 1.5% solution of hydrogen peroxide over the shower surface area. Let sit a few minutes then scrub or wipe down with hot water.
Don’t use vinegar too often on anywhere with grout, as it will break it down.
Make your own orange power:
Put fresh leftover orange peels in a big bottle of vinegar and let it steep for a week or two, then strain and put into a spray bottle.
Mold + Mildew (including grout):
Hydrogen Peroxide: Spray hydrogen peroxide on dry grout and tiles. Let it sit for a few hours then scrub with hot water. This is also good for prevention.
Clove oil: Combine 1 litre/quart water + 2ml clove oil in a spray bottle and spray on mouldy areas.
Spray hydrogen peroxide or use 500ml water + 3 drops tea tree and spray over walls, windows ect then wipe dry.
White Vinegar + Baking Soda – Spread 1/4 cup baking soda over the toilet bowl and seat, then pour 1 cup vinegar (or juice of 1 lemon) over that. Let it sit several minutes, then scrub as usual.
Hydrogen Peroxide – Combine 2 quarts / 2 litres of water with 1 cup 3% hydrogen peroxide and use a cloth to wipe solution over the toilet seat, use a brush to scrub the bowl. Leave the solution on the toilet for 30 minutes, then scrub again and wipe down. You could also spray and wipe off a vinegar solution before or after this for an extra clean finish.
Use with a damp cloth. Both are mild disinfectants.
Mildly abrasive (use for anything you don’t want scratched): baking soda
Medium abrasive: salt
Glass & Mirrors
Use a spray bottle with hydrogen peroxide – it doesn’t leave streaks. 1 part hydrogen peroxide to 3 parts water.
For detergent, I buy the cleanest looking (or most on sale) brand at the health food store.
What about ‘natural’ or ‘eco’ cleaning products?
Beware of products claiming to be natural or eco friendly, especially if they still look and smell like regular cleaning products. Just because they say natural or eco doesn’t mean they actually are – usually its just a neat marketing trick. Always check the ingredients and make sure you understand what each ingredient is.