Keeping your home clean can be an expensive business – if you’re anything like me, you probably have a cupboard under your sink that’s packed full to the brim with all your dusters, polishes, glass cleaners and multi-surface wipes.
Is this all really necessary though? Do you we really need an overflowing cupboard full of toxic cleaning products? Well the answer is actually a simple no. Despite probably paying a hefty amount each year and tolerating the toxic fumes reeking from your toilet cleaner, the truth is that there are cheaper, natural alternatives and today I’m going to talk about just 7 of them!
#1 Lemon Juice
Lemons – the odds are you already have a few kicking about in your kitchen. These gorgeous zesty citrus fruits are extremely popular for adding flavour to dishes or squeezing over fish, but their real talent lies in their antibacterial and antiseptic qualities. The acid contained in lemon can be tart and bitter but it holds a multitude of benefits when it comes to cleaning, effortlessly cutting through grime and removing water deposits.
Personally, I always use lemon juice to clean my stainless steel sink. All you have to do is combine it into a paste with some baking powder and voila! Just remember to wash your sink afterwards – lemon juice can be rather sticky after-all! Or you could use some lemon juice to clean your countertops – be careful to only leave the juice on for a few minutes before washing off though, as lemon juice can be very acidic!
#2 Bicarbonate Soda / Baking Powder
Okay, I may have cheated a little with this next entry, but the two are very similar and are often interchangeable!
Bicarbonate soda, or baking soda, simply contains sodium bicarbonate, which reacts when it comes into contact with acids – think back to your primary school volcano project! Baking powder is very similar but contains two additional acids that won’t react with the sodium bicarbonate until it becomes extremely hot or wet. 1 Normally bicarbonate soda is mixed with vinegar or lemon juice, however this staple cooking ingredient can pack a powerful punch on its own and all you need is some hot water.
Stains tend to be the department that bicarbonate soda really shines in – simply remove stubborn coffee stains from your mugs by filling them with baking soda and hot water, and leaving overnight. Tired of that funny odour coming from your fridge? All you have to do is leave an open jar in your fridge to absorb all the food odours!
#3 – Olive oil
Ah olive oil! It’s probably the product you use the most on this list, either for cooking your chicken, mixing up a salad dressing or even to soothe your skin! However, one place you probably didn’t envision using this highly adaptable oil was to polish your tables or to mend scratches on your furniture.
All you have to do is combine olive oil with either lemon juice or white vinegar and hey presto, you have yourself a powerful, non-toxic furniture polish! I also enjoy combining olive oil with a little salt to create a scrub for cleaning my pans!
#4 – Liquid castile soaps
Liquid castile soap is something that you probably use to clean your hands or wash your hair but in actual fact these soaps are extremely versatile and can be used to clean your home. Most castile soaps are quite concentrated and contain a base of water and our old friend olive oil mingled with some essential oils.
My favourite brand of castile soap has to be Dr.Bronner – they offer a really extensive range, including mild and unscented soaps for sensitive skin! I tend to favour their Organic Liquid Citrus Castile Soap simply because I really enjoy the smell of citrus for housecleaning – it’s so clean and refreshing!
I use the soap to clean my toilet bowl at home – a difficult chore that used to take a lot of cleaning products to complete! Now all I do is mix some liquid castile soap with some water, bicarbonate soda and a few drops of essential oil. Quick, easy and ever so simple!
5 – White vinegar
Normally used to flavour dishes, white vinegar (white vinegar, not malt vinegar!), similarly to lemon juice, is a naturally acidic substance that is extremely useful when it comes to eliminating smears and combatting limescale.
*h*Apple cider vinegar works well as a substitute for white vinegar and is extremely beneficial for your immune and digestive systems! *h*
I usually use it to clear my microwave – all you need to do is place a little vinegar and some water into a glass bowl. Microwave for a couple of minutes until it starts to boil and then wipe away any tough stains or grease.
I also use white vinegar in my bathroom to prevent mildew – all I have to do is spray my shower walls and curtain with a little vinegar and that’s it, job done!
#6 – Essential oils
I personally love essential oils – they’ve quickly replaced my bubble bath and if I’m ever having trouble nodding off, a little lavender oil on the back of my pillow does wonders. The truth is that most essential oils are naturally anti-bacterial and smell exquisite! However, they are also extremely concentrated so be careful, a little really does go a long way.
My favourite essential oil for cleaning is easily tea tree oil, although some of my friends have recommended eucalyptus and peppermint oil, even saying that the latter can help to deter spiders! I feel the most comfortable using tea tree oil on my counters, usually mixing 10 drops with some white vinegar.
Tea tree also works well for cleaning your laundry – just add a couple of drops to your wash for fresh-smelling clothes that are free from bacteria and fungi! If you are going to use any essential oils, my recommendation would be to go for Absolute Aromas – they have a wide range, from Sweet Orange to Peppermint, and are very affordable!
#7 – Salt
Salt – something you’ve probably been told to avoid, at least as far as your diet is concerned. However salt can be very beneficial and easy to incorporate into your cleaning routine. It usually works as a base for a great non-toxic cleaning paste or simply on its own with hot water.
I normally use salt to clean copper by mixing with flour and white vinegar, however some of my colleagues have also mentioned that it can be really effective when it comes to tough stains, such as wine.
It has to be done quickly though, so as soon as you notice the stain heap on some salt. This should help to pull the stain away from the fabric. Then wash as usual and hopefully the stain will be removed!
What else can I do?
Although most of the suggestions I’ve made are quick, I do understand you may find it difficult to make these recipes on a daily basis. While I would highly recommend giving it a go, you could try and incorporate these ingredients into a regime that also makes use of natural cleaning brands such as Ecover.
Ecover is our favourite natural cleaning brand here at Jan de Vries and we can confirm that it is 100% phosphate-free and very kind on the environment. Ecover never use any unnecessarily harsh toxins and have even provided a range of non-bio, fragrance-free products to suit those with sensitive skin.
Biodegradable and cruelty-free, this is definitely a brand you don’t want to miss out on and we’d absolutely recommend their products to all of our customers. The main three products that I definitely couldn’t go without are their Oven Cleaner, ZERO Washing up Liquid and their Multi-purpose Wipes!