Store-bought household cleaning products can expose you and your family to a range of toxins, which is why making the switch over to natural cleaning is a great alternative. Not to mention they are also a cost-effective option that can save you money in the long run.
Unfortunately, harmful chemical ingredients like hydrochloric acid and chlorine bleach, which are highly caustic and corrosive, are the norm in many products you find in the cleaning aisle. Natural, greener options that you can make yourself* instead will help you to eliminate those unnecessary toxins from your household, and we’ve got some basic recipes to help you take the first step.
*We always recommend testing your formula on a small, hidden patch to see how your particular surfaces and flooring react to the mixture. As with any cleaning product (natural or not) do not ingest, keep away from eyes, consult your doctor if irritation occurs, and always keep out of reach of children.
Bicarbonate soda (also sometimes referred to as baking soda) has excellent natural cleaning properties.
To get rid of the grit and grime that builds up in your oven, all you need to do is combine bicarbonate soda and enough water to form a paste, and spread it over the bottom of the oven. Leave the mixture to sit for a few hours (the longer the better), before wiping away with a damp cloth. Before using your oven, make sure that all the bicarbonate is wiped away, otherwise it may start to smoke.
To help unclog a smelly sink, pour half a cup of bicarbonate soda into the drain and follow with 1 cup of white vinegar. Leave it for 10 minutes or so, before flushing with water. The bicarbonate soda and vinegar combination will help to scour the drain and get rid of common blockages.
Bicarbonate soda can also be used to clean and deodorise your carpet. Simply mix 10-15 drops of your favourite essential oil per cup of bicarbonate soda and mix well to break up any lumps. Use a sieve or shaker bottle to spread evenly over your carpet and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Then use your vacuum cleaner to suck up the bicarbonate soda to reveal clean and fresh-smelling carpet!
Lemon is a great alternative to harsh cleaning products, as the natural acidity helps to effectively cut through grease and grime. And it also works well as a rust stain remover! Slice a lemon is half, dip it in a bit of bicarbonate soda, and then use as you would a cleaning cloth to wipe over counter tops to get your kitchen sparkling. Once dry, simply wipe over with a damp cloth and voila!
You can also tackle lime scale with lemon juice, but rubbing a cut lemon over your taps and handles, and leave to sit for an hour or two. Then, wipe over with a wet cloth to get rid of any residue, and taps and shower heads will be good as new.
If you have a garbage disposal that is not smelling so fresh, simply cut a lemon in half and grind down into the garbage disposal with the water running. You’ll be left with a nice aroma and the acidity will help clean it out.
You can also add 1/2 cup of lemon juice to your rinse load, to brighten your whites and add a fresh, natural fragrance to your washing.
If you’re looking for a natural way to clean your dishwasher,we recommend filling a microwave-safe bowl with two cups of vinegar and setting it on the top rack, before running the ‘clean me’ cycle.
White vinegar is also great at deodorising your microwave. Fill a microwave-safe bowl with 1/2 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water, and cook just long enough to bring it to the boil. It will also help to soften any baked on splatters, so you can wipe them away easier.
If you have laminate floors and even those so-called ‘laminate floor cleaners’ still seem to leave streaks and spots, white vinegar is a great alternative. Simply mix equal amounts white vinegar and hot water and clean as normal for a shiny and streak-free floor.
Just a one or two drops of essential oils doesn’t seem like much, but these potent grime-fighters pack a serious punch! For a natural clean, we recommend stocking up your essential oil supply, starting with the classics; tea-tree oil, peppermint oil, lemon oil and eucalyptus oil.
Antiviral, antimicrobial, bactericidal and pleasant-smelling to boot, lemon essential oil is a great one to have in the drawer. Add a 5-10 drops per 1 cup of water in a spray bottle and easily clean your surfaces with it.
Peppermint oil has excellent antiseptic and antibacterial properties. It can even be used to deter ants by adding 10-15 drops to 1 cup of water in a spray bottle and spraying it wherever you see them pop up.
Tea Tree Oil is another natural bug repellent, simply use the same measurements as you would with peppermint oil in a spray bottle, and use in and around the house.
You can also make homemade antibacterial soap with tea tree oil, by adding a few drops to some liquid castile soap into a soap dispenser.
Tea tree oil can also be used as a natural toilet cleaner, by combining 1 cup of white vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of tea tree oil in a spray bottle. Spray onto the toilet bowl and let it sit for several minutes. Then sprinkle 1/2 cup of bicarbonate soda in the toilet bowl and scrub clean with a toilet brush. A hint for tea tree oil is to keep it in a cool, dark place as direct sunlight and heat can change the chemical components of the oil.
Dust mites be gone! Use a few drops of eucalyptus oil mixed with 1/2 cup of bicarbonate soda and sprinkle over your mattress. Leave it for as long as you can, before vacuuming it up. This little combo is a natural way to keep the bed bugs away.
Rubbing alcohol is usually found in the medicine cabinet as it is a powerful disinfectant used in first aid situations to kill harmful bacteria. Rubbing alcohol is generally made up of approximately 70% isopropyl alcohol or ethanol and 30% distilled water. It has a strong smell, so wherever you use it, make sure there’s good ventilation.
Tackle shower screen soap scum by combining 2 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol, 5 drops of peppermint oil, 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and 2 cups of water in a spray bottle. Spray onto the shower screen and use a microfiber cloth to buff away any grime.
Rubbing alcohol is also a great one to have on hand if your stainless steel appliances need a clean. Simply add enough rubbing alcohol to wet a microfiber cloth and wipe over any fingerprints or marks. The rubbing alcohol will soon evaporate, leaving a streak-free finish!
Do you have any natural alternative cleaning tips and tricks you’d like to share? We’d love to hear about it! Leave your comment below.