When, sometime ago, one day I opened the cleaning cupboard and I realised how many different bottles, mostly plastic, we had it was clear to me there was an issue with that. Why would we need so many cleaning products? One for the sink, another one to clean the fridge, other for the microwave… and the list could continue…
Furthermore, if you look at the ingredients and all the warning symbols they all have in their packages you get both surprised and scared. We’re constantly breathing, touching and pouring through the sink a lot of chemicals, without even being conscious about it.
That’s why I started looking for alternatives. Because it’s possible to use more environmental friendly products. Obviously it’s much quicker to go the supermarket and buy everything there but I can tell you it doesn’t take so long and we’ll be helping ourselves as well as the planet if we use more natural ingredients.
You don’t need to go crazy either. Just start slowly. I started replacing some products as soon as they were empty. It doesn’t make sense to through everything you have right now into the trash bin. It’d be a waste of money and you’d be contaminating even more. So, let’s do it step by step.
In the same way, I haven’t replaced all of them, because in some cases the natural version didn’t work for me.
The ones I’ve replaced so far are:
- All purpose cleaner, one with vinegar for most of the surfaces, and another one without it, as my countertop is made of granite
- Dishwashing liquid soap
- Washing machine soap
These are the “recipes”.
ALL PURPOSE CLEANER (with vinegar)
- 1 part infused vinegar
- 3 parts distilled water
Mix the vinegar with the water, pour into a glass spray bottle and you’re done.
To make the infused white vinegar you just need to put some vinegar into a crystal jar together with citrus peels or lavender, rosemary… Let it infuse for one or two weeks and you’ll come up with an aromatic vinegar.
So far I’ve tried with citrus peels (orange, lemon and grapefruit) and also with lavender and rosemary. I love both so I always have one of each infusing and I can change from one to the other whenever I need to prepare a new batch of cleaner.
GRANITE CLEANER (without vinegar)
- 2 tbsp grated Marseille soap (or liquid dishwashing soap from the next recipe)
- 50 ml alcohol
- 250 ml distilled water
- 10-15 drops of essential oils (optional)
Simply dissolve the soap in the water (you can use warm water to make it easier), add the alcohol and essential oils and mix all together. As easy as that!
Using essential oils is optional but I fully recommend it as it’s always nicer when you clean and smells good, isn’t it? You can use just one type of essential oil or combine a few, it’s up to you. This is the best part, as you can experiment and try different combinations till you find your favourite. So far I’ve used a mix of lemon and lavender, or bergamot. Tea tree oil is also quite good but the smell is a bit strong so whenever I use it I mix it with cloves or cinnamon oils, which give a nice touch and reminds me of Christmas time.
DISHWASHING LIQUID SOAP
- 1/2 Marseille soap bar
- Distilled water
Grate the soap bar and cover with water. Let is rest for a couple of hours, or overnight, and blend. An immersion blender will facilitate the task. You’ll notice there’s a lot of foam but, don’t worry, it’ll go away after it settles down.
Once you have this mixture just add more water till you get the consistency you want. I normally make it more liquid as I use a soap dispenser and I prefer it that way.
You can also add some drops of essential oils if you want. I love to add a few drops of lemon or mint, or both.
WASHING MACHINE SOAP
In this case, it’s not a recipe but a recommendation. Several months ago we replaced the standard liquid soap for the washing machine by soap nuts. Till now they’ve been working pretty well. It’s true that, when you open the washing machine, it smells a bit like vinegar, but it’s not transferred into the clothes so you don’t need to worry about that.
One thing you have to be aware is that it might affect the white clothes over time. In order to avoid they get grey just add a tablespoon of percarbonato and the problem will be solved.
These four natural cleaners are already part of our cleaning routine. I’ve also tried several recipes for the dishwasher but couldn’t find anything suitable. They weren’t as efficient as I expected. I’ll keep investigating and searching for an alternative.
I’d also like to find a replacement for the WC cleaner. I’m currently testing some options but couldn’t tell you if they work fine yet. I need some more time to see how they work. Maybe for a next post.
References: Some of the accounts I follow, where you can find many ideas, recommendations and some of the recipes I’m using are @vivirsinplastico, @plantedinthewoods, @higiaeco.