There’s nothing quite like kicking back with a cuppa after you’ve cleaned the house. Heck, why not reward all your hard work with a treat or two while you’re at it? But can you really enjoy that biscuit when you know that by cleaning your house, you may have introduced a whole lot of toxic chemicals to your family, and the planet?
The majority of cleaning products you find on your supermarket shelves contain harsh chemicals. According to Choice, around 40,000 individual chemicals are permitted to be used in consumer products. What’s even worse is that manufacturers aren’t legally required to list the chemicals on the labels. Say what?
While some companies volunteer a list of ingredients on their packaging and websites, not all of them do. Even if you request a Safety Data Sheet, you’ll only read about the hazardous chemicals that are regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
When it comes to cleaning products regulated by the TGA, those intended to be used on medical devices and instruments must be included on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) before distribution. Similarly, hospital grade and commercial/household grade disinfectants with specific claims, and hospital grade disinfectants without specific claims, must also be included on the ARTG.
However, antibacterial wipes, sanitisers, sanitary fluids, and sanitary powders that don’t make disinfectant claims, are exempt from the ARTG.
When choosing cleaning products you should be wary of those containing bleach and hypochlorite (used in disinfectants).
Natural eco-friendly cleaners on the other hand can be just as effective on grease, grime, and germs as their chemical counterparts. The added bonus is that they are free from toxins, such as synthetic fragrances, phthalates, triclosan, ammonia, chlorine, and the like. Because many of them utilise plant-based ingredients, rather than synthetic chemicals, they are also friendlier to Mother Nature, and less likely to cause adverse health reactions. Hooray!
So, here are 16 natural cleaning tips that will keep your home sparkling clean, smelling great, your little ones safe, and your planet happy
DIY kitchen cleaning recipes
- Microwave and fridge: Combine 1 cup white vinegar with 2 cups hot water, and 10 drops lemon essential oil. Spray mixture inside microwave and fridge, scrub, and wipe down.
- Stovetop and oven: Mix 1 tablespoon water with 2 parts baking soda and add a couple of drops of orange essential oil. Spread paste over area, softly scrub with a sponge, and wipe clean.
- Benchtops: Mix ¼ cup white vinegar with 1¾ cups water. Add 30 drops of your favourite essential oils. Add to spray bottle and shake well. This can be used as a general-purpose cleaner.
- Dishwasher: Place a cut lemon in an empty dishwasher and turn it on to get rid of nasty smells.
DIY bathroom cleaning recipes
- Bath and tiles: Combine ¾ cup baking soda, ¼ cup unscented liquid castile soap, 1 tablespoon water, 1 tablespoon vinegar and 5-10 drops of lemon oil. Apply to area, leave for 5-10 minutes and scrub. Use a wet cloth to wipe clean.
- Mirrors and shower screens: Mix 1½ cups white vinegar with ½ cup distilled water and 8 drops of citrus oil. Add to spray bottle and shake. Use in place of glass cleaner.
- Toilet cleaner: Simply use undiluted white vinegar and scrub until clean.
DIY floor cleaning recipes
- Floor cleaner: Mix equal parts of white vinegar and hot water and mop, or 1/4 cup castile soap in 5½ litres of hot water.
- Wood polish: Mix ¼ cup olive oil with ¼ cup vinegar in a glass spray bottle. Add 10 drops of your favourite essential oil. Shake well before use. Apply to a microfibre cloth and wipe surfaces clean.
- Carpet cleaner: Mix 1 cup white vinegar with 2 cups water, 2 teaspoons salt and 15 drops of lavender oil. Add to spray bottle and shake to combine. Spray on carpets, allowing to dry, vacuum treated area.
DIY laundry cleaning recipes
- Laundry powder: Use ½ – 1/3 cup of pure castile soap for a large load of washing. Add ½ cup vinegar to the rinse cycle.
- Fabric softener: Mix 1 part vinegar with 2 parts water together along with your favourite essential oil, if preferred. Add ¼ cup to the final rinse cycle.
- Stain remover: Mix a little salt with lemon juice and rub on to stain.
- Fabric deodoriser: Sprinkle fresh, unused coffee grounds on smelly rugs or upholstery. Wait 24 hours before vacuuming You could also mix 1 tablespoon of baking powder with 2 cups of water. Pour into glass spray bottle with 10 drops of your favourite essential oil.
DIY nursery cleaning recipes
- Baby change mat: In a glass spray bottle mix ¾ cup distilled water with ¼ cup white vinegar. Add 5 drops lavender oil and 5 drops Melaleuca oil. Spray on change mat and wipe with a towel.
- Air freshener: Place ¼ cup baking soda into a small jar. Add 5-6 drops of your favourite essential oil. Place a piece of fabric over the jar and seal with elastic band. Shake often to activate scent.
While it may seem a daunting task to make up your own cleaning products, mixing up large batches and storing them in glass containers and glass spray bottles can be a great time saver. And did we mention you’ll also be saving money and the planet in the process?
Of course, if you’re too busy spending time having fun (and making a mess) with your little ones to be bothered making your own products, there are a great range of natural, eco-friendly products on the market which will leave your home sparkling, and you smiling.
Now, where are those biscuits?