Want to go greener at home? Try making your own cleaning supplies to save money, reduce waste by keeping packaging and containers from the landfill, keep toxins out of your home, and rest assured knowing exactly what’s in your products.
It’s so easy! With a few simple ingredients from your fridge and pantry, you can create everything you need to sustainably disinfect, scrub and polish.
Orange & Lemon
- Fresh, antibacterial, versatile.
- Brighten clothes. Toss a cheesecloth bag with a couple of lemon slices and a handful of clean, dry egg shells into your washing machine.
- Hand odour-remover. Rub your hands with a squeeze of juice to remove garlic, onion and fish odours.
- Don’t forget the peel!
- Dry and grind lemon or orange peel to a powder. Add to any DIY cleaning product for a deodorizing citrus scent.
- Mix dried pieces of citrus peel with cinnamon, cloves and cardamom in sachets. Pop into drawers, linen cupboards, your purse and shoes.
- Toss lemon rind into your garburator and grind to clean and freshen blades.
- Clean your microwave. Place a bowl of water and lemon peels inside. Bring to a boil and cook for a few minutes. Carefully remove the bowl and wipe away softened debris with a soft cloth.
Distilled White Vinegar
This natural disinfectant cleans surfaces and removes stains.
- Whiten and brighten clothes. Add ½ cup vinegar to the final rinse cycle.
- Remove sweat odour and stains. Spray directly onto stains, leave for 10 minutes then wash.
- Refresh and remove mold and mildew from damp clothing and towels. Fill the washer with hot water, add 2 cups of vinegar, and run a complete wash cycle. Wash again with your regular detergent.
- Soften clothes. Add ½ cup vinegar to the rinse cycle. This also helps to stop pet hair from clinging to your clothes.
Glass & Mirrors
- Mix equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle. Use a lint-free cloth or newspaper for a streak-free finish.
Deodorize the air
- Simmer one cup of vinegar in a pan for 10 minutes to dispel cooking odours like cabbage or fish. Watch carefully because vinegar evaporates quickly. Turn on your stove exhaust fan so you don’t inhale the vinegar vapours.
Remove mineral deposits
- Washing machine: To remove deposits and soap scum, run a complete wash cycle with hot water and 2 cups of vinegar. Pour undiluted vinegar into automatic detergent and fabric softener dispensers.
- Iron: Fill the chamber with equal parts distilled water and vinegar. Set upright (on a heatproof surface) and let it steam for five minutes. Unplug and cool down. Pour out remaining mixture, refill with distilled water and steam iron an old cloth to remove any final residue.
Always test first! Vinegar can discolour or damage some surfaces, so try it on a hidden area first. Do not use undiluted vinegar on tile grout or marble surfaces.
A natural scrubber, stain remover and deodorizer.
- Make a paste with 1 tbsp of water and 2 tbsp of baking soda.
- Clean bathtubs, sinks and other surfaces.
- Remove stubborn food debris on pots, pans and baking trays.
- Pre-treat stains on carpet and clothing (like fruit, wine, sweat, blood and vomit). Rub on paste and leave for up to an hour. Scrub gently, if needed, then vacuum or rinse off, then wash as usual.
- Clean your oven. Spread paste over all surfaces, close the door and leave overnight. Remove residue with a damp sponge. Tackle any stubborn debris with a spray of vinegar and a sprinkle of baking soda.
- Sprinkle in shoes to neutralize odours. Add a shake of cinnamon to reduce microbe growth.
- Sprinkle on your carpets, mattresses or pet beds. Leave for an hour and vacuum.
- Keep an open box in your refrigerator to eliminate odours.
- Put down your drains, followed by white vinegar to create a fizzy cleaner and deodorizer. Wait 10 minutes then flush with water.
An absorbent grease- and dirt-remover.
- Silver polish. Rub on with a soft cloth to see tarnish and fingerprints disappear.
- Glass cleaner. In a bottle, shake one tablespoon each of vinegar and cornstarch with 2 cups of water. For stubborn dirt, make a paste instead. Sponge on, let it dry then remove with a damp sponge.
- Stuffed toy refresher. Put stuffies in a cloth bag (or a pillow) with a cup of cornstarch. Close the top, shake well and leave overnight. Vacuum off the residue.
- Who knew cucumber could be so multi-purpose? Just rub on a thick slice or two to…
- Remove stains and sparkle-clean dull and dirty stainless appliances, faucets and sinks.
- Defog the bathroom mirror.
- Remove stains from furniture and walls with peel-on cuke slices. Great on kids’ crayon scribbles.
- De-squeak hinges.
Down the Drain
Cleaning products laced with chemical additives, dyes, fragrances and corrosive compounds flush down our drains, into natural waterways. In addition to being dangerous for human health, they affect wild and aquatic life.
Everyday Cleaning Solution
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp dishwashing liquid
- Few drops of lavender or lemon essential oil (optional)
- Combine in a spray bottle. Add eggshells that have been ground to a powder to make a non-toxic abrasive cleaner that’s great for pots, pans and sinks.
Super Soap and Scum Remover
- 1 cup baking soda
- ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
- Mix together in a small bowl. When the fizzing stops, apply onto the surface with a sponge and leave for 15 minutes. Wipe down with water and rinse well. Ideal for tile and tubs.
- 1 cup olive oil
- ½ cup lemon juice
- Mix and buff into hardwood furniture.
Article was published in The Good Life.