6 March, 2024

With each passing day, winter’s long, cold nights are becoming a distant memory, and the freshness of spring takes hold. Along with the birds chirping in trees and flowers blossoming, spring cleaning is one of the most popular hallmarks of the new season. There’s nothing like good thorough cleaning to kick-start the flow of new energy in the home. Gone are the days of dousing everything with bottles full of mystery chemicals,  

Some chemicals in general cleaning products have been identified as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), which may be linked to breast cancer and other diseases. This has seen a rise in the popularity of natural cleaning products. In addition to reducing our exposure to harmful chemicals, switching over to natural cleaning products can also reduce your spending. There are natural solutions for almost all household cleaning tasks, which can easily be made using ingredients you’ll likely already have lying around in your cupboard at home! 

Here is a list of homemade toxic-free alternatives to help to get your home looking spic and span for spring. 

Warning: Never mix vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, or any of the other natural ingredients listed below with other cleaning products (e.g. bleach). The combination can produce highly toxic gases. 

 

The All-Rounders 

Multi-purpose cleaner = white vinegar 

Vinegar (acetic acid) is a great all-round cleaner. Its natural acidic properties mean it can cut through dirt easily. Mix one part vinegar to one part water in a spray bottle. You can add lemon rinds and/or herbs for scent. Never use vinegar on stone or ceramics.

Heavy-duty scrub = lemon + bicarbonate of soda [also known as baking soda]

These two heavy-hitting natural cleaners can remove stubborn marks, including rust. Mix the juice of half a lemon with 4 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda to make a paste and apply to the area. Remove any residue with water and cloth.

Mould remover = white vinegar + table salt 

Add white wine vinegar to a spray bottle (recycle one of your old bottles), spray over the mould, leave for 20 mins, then dip an old toothbrush into table salt and scrub away.

Drain un-clogger = bicarbonate of soda and hot water

Our drains are the silent hero that we only notice when something goes wrong. Over the course ften witnessing their fair share of dirt and food scraps that would be best suited for the compost heap. Next time your drain gets blocked, try a mixture of two cups of boiling water and half a cup of bicarbonate of soda. For tougher blockages, follow the first solution up with 1/2 a cup of vinegar. This will likely start to fizz like something out of a science-fiction film (don’t worry, just cover it up with a lid and wait for it to stop it). Once the fizzing stops, pour roughly 4 litres of boiling water down the drain and your drain should be back up and running!

Dusters = a cloth + water 

House dust can be a source of exposure EDCs. Although, dusters are great for cleaning surfaces, they often lead to dust being dispersed into the air. Thankfully, there’s a simple alternative. Try using a cloth and water to remove dust from surfaces in the home. Damp cloths lift dust particles and capture them instead of just moving them around.

Air freshener = house plants

Ditch air fresheners for good by investing in house plants that naturally freshen the air in your home. Check out our previous blog to find out which ones work best. 

 

The Kitchen Companions 

Cutting board stain remover = lemon or lemon juice +salt 

The best things in life really are the simplest, and the same goes for this toxic-free cutting board cleaner. You’ll only need two ingredients, a lemon (or lemon juice) and some salt. Cut the lemon in half, squeeze the juice over the chopping board and then apply salt to the same lemon and scrub away. However, it is important to note that this solution is great for removing stains and residues, it isn’t a substitute for good hygiene practices such as washing contaminated surfaces with eco-friendly soap and water.

Make sure you swap plastic boards with glass or wooden ones.

Kitchen cleaner = bicarbonate of soda

To clean kitchen counters, appliances, and the inside of your refrigerator, all you need is bicarbonate of soda. It is a great deodoriser and can be used to shine stainless steel. Mix 4 tablespoons with 450ml warm water and add to a spray bottle to use. To clean stainless steel, dissolve the bicarbonate of soda with some warm water to make a paste. With a soft cloth, rub the surface to remove marks and then buff it with a clean cloth to shine.

Cast-iron pan cleaner = olive oil + salt

Cast iron pans can be a little trickier to clean than their non-stick counterparts, but the extra effort is worth it in the long run! Items with a non-stick coating, such as PTFE, may release “forever chemicals” which have been linked to health issues. Instead of using soap that can strip the seasoning from the pan, try scrubbing the pan with olive oil and a teaspoon of coarse salt in the pan and rinse it off with hot water.

Glass cleaner = white vinegar + rubbing alcohol 

It is possible to have streak-free mirrors and windows without using harmful chemicals. Mix 250ml water with 3 tablespoons white vinegar and 60ml rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle. Use as you would a regular glass cleaner.

 

The Bathroom Buddies

Bathroom scrub = bicarbonate of soda + salt

For a dry scrub cleaner that cuts through soap residue, mix equal parts bicarbonate of soda and salt into a paste.

 

So next time one of your cleaning products runs out, swap it for one of the alternatives above. Within a few months, you’ll have changed over completely to toxic-free cleaning! 

Would like to find our more about how to reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals, download our handy EDC guide today



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