We all want our house to be clean, but did you know that many cleaning products are really bad for the environment? Even worse, they can be toxic to you and your family as well. Harsh, harmful chemicals can stay on surfaces and in the air for a long time, damaging your health. This is why so many cleaning products carry warnings of being used only in well-ventilated areas. But don’t you need these strong chemicals to keep your place clean and germ-free? In some cases, when you’re dealing with a particularly nasty mess, you may find you have no choice but to resort to strong chemical cleaners, but for everyday cleaning there are plenty of alternative products you can use instead. You can even make some cleaning products yourself for a fraction of the price! Here are some ideas for replacing common chemical cleaners in your home.
Natural cleaners are not as strong as chemicals, so while they can clean and clean well, it’s best to clean you house regularly so that it doesn’t become a problem only a chemical can tackle. Sweep or vacuum your house regularly to keep your floors and furniture free of dust and grime. Some people invest in robotic vacuum cleaners to avoid doing the work themselves (there are some good reviews for those on Vacuum Fox). Clean bathrooms and kitchens at least once a week, as well as making sure the kitchen worktops are cleaned before and after you prepare food. Spillages are easier to get rid of when they’re fresh and not caked in. Avoid letting food and fat go down your sinks and don’t throw things like Q-tips (cotton buds) down the toilet. This will prevent clogs and reduce the need for pouring chemicals down the sink or calling a plumber.
Store-bought natural products
If you don’t want to start messing around with making your own cleaning products, you’ll be happy to know that you can simply head down to your local health food store and choose from a whole range of eco-friendly cleaning products. Alternatively, you can order online and get them sent to your house. There are many to choose from and they cover most types of cleaners you’ll ever need, from multipurpose spray cleaners to dishwashing liquid, washing powder, toilet cleaners and more. They are based on natural ingredients that breakdown easily and are less harmful to the environment. Vinegar, citrus fruit, bicarb of soda and essential oils are a few examples. Once you start using these natural cleaners, you may well come to terms with the fact that you can probably make your own versions at home, which we’ll discuss in more detail below.
Making your own cleaning products
Natural cleaning is based on two types of ingredients – acidic and alkaline. These can be applied separately or together for different uses around the home.
Vinegar, namely white or apple cider vinegar, is one of the most versatile natural cleaning products you’re ever likely to come across. Mix it with water and a few drops of essential oil in a spray bottle for an all-purpose cleaner you can use on everything from kitchen worktops to dust removal and window cleaning. It’s great for cleaning burnt fat off pots and pans – just leave the pans to soak in vinegar or fill them with vinegar and leave for a few hours or overnight. You’ll be able to easily scrub them clean. Vinegar is a great bleach substitute for getting read of mildew and other types of fungus or mould. Spray the vinegar on or soak if possible and leave for a few hours. The vinegar will kill off the mould. Vinegar is also great for getting rid of the smell of pet urine. While its own smell is strong, it will overpower the smell of urine and then disappear within a day or so. Lemon is a good alternative to vinegar and has a more pleasant smell, but to prepare lemons to be as strong as vinegar take significantly more effort than simply buying a bottle of white vinegar at the store.
Bicarb of soda is another great household cleaner. You may know of it from baking, but it can do wonders for soaking up spillages. As soon as possible after the spillage, cover it with a good amount of bicarb of soda, which will then soak up the liquid. Once dry it can be vacuumed away.
You can mix vinegar and bicarb of soda to help unclog drains. Although not nearly as strong as caustic soda, this method is far less dangerous to you and the environment. Use it for minor clogs or as a weekly drain treatment to keep your pipes from clogging in the first place. First, pour half a cup or so of bicarb of soda down your drain. Follow immediately with half a cup of vinegar. The vinegar will cause the bicarb of soda to fizz as it goes down the drain and this will remove any fatty deposits likely to cause a clog. Follow this by pouring a cup of boiling water down the drain to help clear everything out.