The World Health Organization says that poisoning is the fourth biggest cause of unintentional injuries in high-income countries like the UK, with household bleach and other cleaning products noted as some of the most common culprits. One article by the Independent even reported that inhaling home cleaning products is as bad for your lungs as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day!
Aside from causing damage to our health, home cleaning products can also be really damaging to the environment. More often than not, they contain things like petrochemicals, phosphates, phthalates, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and other chemicals that pollute water and contaminate soil.
Fortunately for people who are keen to live a little greener, high street retailers are getting better at making and stocking cleaning products that contain naturally derived cleaners instead of nasty chemicals. The only problem is that they’re often quite pricey compared to the harmful stuff. The good news is that you can easily make your own all-natural cleaning products with everyday ingredients. Here are a few quick fixes that won’t break the bank!
Baking soda as a bathroom cleaner
Anyone who’s ever used a public loo knows how nasty a stained toilet is, and it’s quite easy for your home toilet to gather dirt to this level if you don’t clean it properly. It’s not a fun task, but sadly, it has to be done. If it’s any consolation when you’re scrubbing, HomeServe’s article on toilet cleaning explains that rather than being stained from constant use, the stains at the bottom of the toilet are usually limescale. Phew.
Limescale shows up after water travels through rocks like chalk and limestone, and besides leaving brown stains in your toilet bowl, it also leaves white specks on taps and shower heads. To thoroughly clean your toilet, pour a cup of vinegar into the bowl and let it sit for a minute. Add a cup of baking soda, then two more cups of vinegar.
The fizzing action created by the combination of the two will soften the limescale and the stains, making it easier for you to scrub them off. A paste made of one part water and three parts baking soda is also a great cleaning product that will help you remove the gunk in between your bathroom tiles!
Tea as an all-around kitchen cleaner
Kitchens are understandably filled with stains that are a pain to remove. Glass and shiny surfaces are particularly to clean, since the act of cleaning itself can leave marks. Luckily, tea can help get the job done.
Simply brew a strong pot of tea and allow it to cool. Then, dip a cloth into the liquid, wring it and then use it to wipe kitchen surfaces to remove marks and water stains. The article 7 Alternatives to Toxic Cleaning Products explains that the tannic acid in the tea acts as a cleaning agent that dissolves dirt and grease, eliminates dubious smells, and adds shine to glassy surfaces.
That said, this cleaning solution can also be used to clean kitchen appliances such as microwaves, stove tops, dishwashers and many more. Certain types of teas, such as black tea, are also good for bringing out the vibrant colour of wood, so if you’re lucky enough to have stripped wooden floorboards, you can use tea to clean them too!
Borax powder as a heavy-duty scrub
Also known as sodium borate, Borax is a naturally occurring chemical that has been used for many decades as an all-around cleaning agent. Unlike modern cleaning products, borax cannot be absorbed through the skin, and does not accumulate in the body.
To use borax as a heavy-duty scrub, Good Housekeeping suggests mixing half a cup of borax powder with half a lemon. This mixture is great in removing rust stains on porcelain or enamel sinks and tubs.
You can also use borax powder as a laundry booster – just dissolve half a cup of borax for every gallon of warm water and pre-soak your laundry items for about 30 minutes. You can also add the borax powder to your wash to improve the cleaning power of your laundry detergent even more.
Castile soap as an all-around cleaning product
Castile soaps are vegetable-based cleansers, and this soap is often mixed with other naturally-occurring products such as coconut, castor oil, avocado, hemp oil, almond oil and many more. When diluted properly, castile soaps can be used to clean virtually anything including your body (or your dog!). Castile soaps are also effective additions to laundry detergent.
To use castile as a laundry detergent additive, replace half of the detergent you put for every load with half a cup of castile soap. A mix of one cup of castile soap, three cups of water and a few grams of baking soda can also be used as a scouring scrub that is great for your kitchen and bathroom.
Do you have any other great, green home cleaning methods you think should be included? Let me know in the comments below!
If you enjoyed this post, you might also like to read my recent update about eco-friendly makeup removers and moisturisers.