The chemicals many of us use in your homes every day might do their job, but they could be having a detrimental effect in both our health and the environment. Not only that, many of them are prohibitively expensive.
Manufacturers make wild claims about what their cleaning agents can do, but in reality, you can often achieve the same results with natural ingredients. Laden with chemicals that can exacerbate health conditions and harm the environment, many of these products are simply unnecessary.
Here are seven cleaners you can make at home — many of which you’ll be able to put together with stuff you already have lying around.
1. Glass cleaner
A commercial glass cleaner might promise to change your life, but smell it, and the chances are you’ll get a whiff of the active ingredient – vinegar. To make your own cleaner at a fraction of the cost, create a solution of one part white vinegar and three parts water. Add some of your favourite essential oil, and pour the solution into a clean spray bottle. That’s it… your very own DIY glass and window cleaner!
Degreasers can be very expensive, and quite often caustic. You can create your own by mixing white vinegar with lemon juice and baking soda. Create a thick paste, and apply it to greasy surfaces liberally. Leave it there for 30 minutes, then wipe and rinse.
3. Fabric stain remover — when there’s nothing to lose!
If you’ve tried everything to remove a stain from an item of clothing, your last resort should be a homemade one. Add 300g of powdered dishwasher detergent to four litres of water, then add around 200ml of liquid chlorine bleach. Pour the solution into a bucket, and soak the garment in the solution for around 20 minutes.
Note: Use a plastic bucket, as aluminium will corrode
4. All-purpose cleaner
All-purpose cleaners do a great job, but they are among the most expensive cleaning agents on the market right now. In many cases, these cleaners are relatively simple, however. You can make your own at a fraction of the cost by creating a solution of one part white vinegar, one part water, some lemon juice and a few sprigs of rosemary. This creates a powerful cleaner that can cut through dirt and grease will leaving a fantastic odour behind.
5. Brass cleaner
Never buy a commercial brass cleaner, as the results you can achieve with this homemade version are sensational. Squeeze some lemon juice onto a foam sponge, and sprinkle it with table salt. Rub the juice and the salt into the brass item, and watch in awe as your brass reverts to its original colour.
6. Water ring remover
If you have stubborn water rings on a table, you should be able to remove it with a combination of white toothpaste and baking soda. Sprinkle the affected area with some baking soda. Dampen a microfibre cloth with tap water, and rub the toothpaste into the water stain — going with the grain. Rinse the area with fresh water, and dry with a clean cloth.
7. Tile cleaner
Tiling and grouting can become particularly grimy in kitchens and bathrooms, so they need to be cleaned regularly. To a bowl add 150g of baking soda, some dishwashing liquid and a few drops of your favourite essential oil. Mix everything together to form a paste, and apply the paste to the tiles and the grouting with a stiff-bristle brush. Give the area 20 minutes of contact time, then rinse away with a wet microfibre cloth.
Cleaning chemicals often find their way into our watercourses and kill wildlife, harm habitats and pose a risk to human health. We can all do our little bit to reduce chemical usage and protect our environment.