DIY Eco-Friendly Cleaning Supplies You Can Use At Home!
A thorough cleaning of your home doesn’t seem like it would have any effect on the outside world... you’re just cleaning indoors after all, right?
It is surprising, and slightly alarming, how some of the cleaning products that we use every day negatively affect the environment without us even knowing it. Many products that are praised for their ability to degrease, whiten, and sanitize can also introduce hazardous pollutants to both the water we drink and the air we breathe.
Research has shown that products containing phosphorus, ammonia, and nitrogen are the worst offenders when it comes to harming the environment. These chemicals are most commonly found in products such as:
- Dishwashing detergents
- Laundry detergents
- All-purpose cleaners
- Glass cleaners
In larger quantities, these chemicals can prove to be highly hazardous water contaminants. When cleaning toilets or kitchen sinks, these chemicals are washed down the drain or flushed; thus, introducing them to our water.
Normally, pollutants contaminating the water are removed at waste treatment facilities before re-introducing it to natural water sources such as rivers and streams. However, chemicals like phosphorus, nitrogen, and ammonia are not removed at these facilities; therefore, leaving them to accumulate in the water and lead to further environmental and wildlife issues.
Additionally, when we use these cleaners in our homes and leave windows open to air out the house, we are introducing these chemicals to the outdoors; thus, contaminating the air.
Your standard dishwashing detergent contains up to 30-40% phosphorus. Ammonia is a popular chemical used in almost every multipurpose cleaner, shining wax, and toilet bowel cleaner on the market. Both floor cleaners and glass cleaners often contain nitrogen.
So, with pretty much every cleaning product on the market containing one or more of these hazardous chemicals, what can be done? We certainly can’t just stop cleaning altogether. There is always the option of purchasing green cleaning products online, but some of these products can be expensive and ineffective in achieving their intended purpose.
Fortunately, rather than using dangerous chemicals or breaking the bank with so-called ‘green’ cleaning solutions – there is a third option; DIY cleaning products.
Do It Yourself Cleaning
DIY cleaning products refer to the use of non-toxic ingredients, often things we already have in the pantry, to create homemade cleaning supplies. Solutions made at home are often the best, most environmentally friendly method of keeping your house clean and tidy without burning a hole in your wallet, or the ozone layer.
Often, these cleaning mixtures share ingredients. The products that are commonly used for making these homemade cleaners include:
- White vinegar
- Castile soap
- Baking powder
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Vegetable or olive oil
- Fresh herbs
- Citrus or citrus peel
- Essential oils (tea tree oil, lavender oil, lemongrass oil, and eucalyptus oil).
Using these ingredients, there are numerous solutions that can be made to clean even the toughest surfaces.
Recipes for DIY Bathroom Cleaners
We tend to use a large number of cleaning products when cleaning our bathroom.
When going down the cleaning supplies aisle in any supermarket, we find that there are tons of different products for cleaning toilets, sinks, mirrors, bathtubs, countertops, and tiles. These products often promise to make anything they are used on squeaky clean and free of any harmful germs or bacteria; however, they fail to mention that certain chemicals they contain, when mixed, can be highly dangerous to the individual using them. In fact, bleach and ammonia, which are found in numerous cleaning products, when combined, create an extremely dangerous gas.
This is yet another reason why DIY cleaners seem to be the best choice when looking for a safer alternative. Below are some recipes for creating your own non-toxic and eco-friendly cleaning solutions.
Tile and Bathtubs Cleaner
- In a spray bottle, Mix 1 2/3 cup of baking soda with 1/2 cup vegetable oil-based liquid soap.
- Add in 1/2 cup water and two tablespoons of vinegar to the mixture.
- Shake well
The solution should now be finished and ready for use. Apply with sponge or cloth and rinse thoroughly.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
- Combine 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar in the toilet bowl.
- Leave this mixture in the bowl for around 15 minutes (longer if needed).
- Scrub the interior of the toilet bowl and then flush.
- Combine a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar.
- Using a mop or sponge, apply the solution to tile and clean as you would with any other floor cleaner.
Glass Surface Cleaner
- Mix 1/4 cup of vinegar with 4 cups of warm water in a spray bottle.
- Use newspaper or a cloth to apply.
- Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar down the drain.
- Leave to fizz for around 15 minutes.
- Rinse with boiling or hot water.
- If necessary, pour the mixture into the drain again and leave overnight.
Soap Scum Remover
- Sprinkle baking soda onto the area that requires cleaning.
- Thoroughly scrub with a sponge or cloth.
Lime or Calcium Remover
When lime or calcium deposits are present on chrome faucets:
- Soak a towel or wash cloth in vinegar.
- Wrap the towel or cloth around the faucet.
- Leave for around two hours or overnight if necessary.
- Spray 3% hydrogen peroxide onto a moldy surface.
- Leave peroxide for around 10 minutes.
- Scrub the surface clean.
- Wipe with a damp cloth to remove residual mold spores.
Recipes for DIY Kitchen Cleaners
As previously stated, most of the ingredients that you need to create your own cleaning supplies can be found in the pantry. When making kitchen cleaning supplies, you will often need:
- Baking soda
- Dish soap
- Essential oils
- Combine 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon dish soap, and 2 tablespoons of vinegar in a spray bottle.
- Stir or shake the mixture.
- Let the mixture sit for a minute or two.
- Fill bottle with warm water.
- Shake the mixture again.
- Let the mixture sit for an additional 3 minutes.
- Add a few drops of essential oil (optional).
Stovetop and Sink Cleaner
- Pour 1/3 cup of baking soda into a bowl.
- Add warm water to the mix until it becomes a past.
- Put paste on either a brush or sponge and scrub.
Recipes for DIY Living Room Cleaners
To create this mixture, you will only require 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and 1 tablespoon of water.
- Extract the juice from a lemon and pour into a small jar.
- Add the oil and water into the lemon juice mixture.
- Seal the jar firmly and shake well.
- Dip your cloth into the mixture and polish away.
Carpet Cleaner and Stain Remover
Carpet spills are almost impossible to avoid. However, when those accidents occur, there are environmentally friendly and cheap methods by which you can rid your carpet of those unsightly stains.
All you will need is white vinegar, salt, and lavender essential oil.
- Mix 2 cups of water and 1 cup of white vinegar in a large spray bottle.
- Add 15 drops of the lavender oil and 2 teaspoons of salt into the mixture.
- Shake the mix well.
- Apply to carpet generously (shaking frequently between sprays).
- Leave carpet to dry.
- Repeat steps if necessary.
There are hundreds of DIY cleaning recipes out there that you can try. However, it is important that you read over the ingredients carefully and ensure that what you are making is actually environmentally friendly and non-toxic.
For example, there are many recipes out there that contain borax, which is not eco-friendly and listed as a pesticide, fungicide, and poison. When opting for eco-friendly DIY cleaning, researching the topic is key. There are plenty of sites out there dedicated to educating the public about homemade cleaning supplies and how to make them.
July 1, 2017