I’ve been on a quest for the past few years to gradually rid my home of chemicals both to reduce my own and my family’s contact with toxins and also to reduce our household environmental impact – which comes from less chemicals, and less packaging/plastic.
I started by switching to ‘green’ alternatives that I found in the supermarket but was disappointed to discover that many of these still contained the ubiquitous sodium lauryl sulphate and other chemicals, and were only marginally better than the non-eco commercial brands, but at a higher price. So I began googling homemade options and slowly began to replace each cleaning product as it ran out, with concoctions of basic ingredients that are easily sourced and a fraction of the price of the highly marketed uber brand products.
I will cover each product in individual posts but first want to put forward the idea that breaking away from the never-ending consumer treadmill we are conditioned to ride on is not difficult, and does not require much additional time or effort. Unless of course you enjoy fighting your way through the aisles of Walmart or Tescos, queuing at the checkout and then lugging an array of plastic bottles and tubs home which then often sit in the cupboard for years, and eventually need to be recycled.
With a few simple ingredients that form the basis of most cleaning recipes and which can either be bought online, or on a one off supermarket trip, you will have all you need to clean your whole house, the dishes, and your clothes for a very long time. And a few minutes is all it takes to prepare several months (or longer depending on how often you clean!) worth of products.
In preparation for the switchover I would suggest that you keep a few empty trigger spray bottles, jars/tubs, large bottles, and old cloths/t-shirts. And then….stop watching tv adverts which tell you that this new amazing product will….unblock your sink/remove grease/dissolve limescale/make your toilet sparkly and germ free….resist the urge to stock up on products when you shop – when you run out of something, that’s the perfect time to try an alternative.
Believe me, if you care about yourself, your family, and our world, that will be enough to get you thinking that there has got to be a simpler alternative and one that will keep your conscience clear and your house clean!
While I’m well on the way to not using any commercial cleaning products, there are still a couple of recipes that I am trying to perfect. So far my list of ‘wins’ covers:
All purpose surface cleaner (for kitchens/bathrooms, and anywhere else, and is also antibacterial)
Antibacterial water spray (also doubles as fabric/air freshener)
Washing powder/Fabric softener
and the ones I am still working on:
Washing Up Liquid
Dishwasher powder (though this may be due to the fact that my dishwasher is useless whatever I put in it!)
I will link these to posts with recipes as I write them. And then there are my two favourite cleaning ingredients:
Bicarbonate of Soda
which both have such huge lists of household uses that they deserve posts of their own! The other ingredients that are used in some of the recipes are:
Essential Oils – choices of: Lavender, Lemon, Eucalyptus, Orange, Tea Tree
Washing Soda (Soda Crystals)
And finally, I will touch on how to clean without so much need for synthetic/plastic, or gimmicky cleaning accessories such as synthetic sponges, microfibre cloths, plastic dishbrushes etc.