At first, eco-friendly cleaning may seem ineffective and time consuming. At least, I personally regarded it so at the beginning. Now, I would risk the statement, that the process of getting used to sustainable housekeeping is similar to transitioning to the veganism: you have to learn it, just like you have to learn from scratch how to cook while going over on a plant based diet.
After a long time of experiments, I eventually got to the point, where I need less than ten natural ingredients in order to keep my house clean and fresh. Although I truly believe, that everyone should learn from the mistakes, I decided to share my tricks just to save you the extra job.
At this point, I should probably mention something about the financial aspect of natural cleaning products: they are dirt cheap. Since they’re all based on vinegar, citric acid or baking soda, you will save a lot of money within a year. There is no need to invest in expensive ingredients or equipment and that’s the best thing about eco-friendly housekeeping. In addition, most of the product are available in bulk or in recyclable packaging, so it’s an easy way to reduce your thrash and be a one step closer to the zero waste ideal as well.
I’m not gonna lie: cleaning with non-toxic products sometimes requires more time and effort. The final effect is as good as (and sometimes even better) than the results of using chemicals, though. The reason for why it might be considered as time-consuming is simple: sometimes you just have to scrub instead of pouring chlorinated cleaning agent all over the surface. It’s definitely worth it, though.
You have to remember, that we should focus on cleaning and physically scrubbing away organic material rather than on disinfecting. In the end your home will smell of lemons and herbs and the natural bacteria-killers like soda and vinegar, will do their job really well anyway: they not only help to get rid of dirt, but also kill effectively household germs.
Below you will find my green cleaning tips and best natural cleaning products recipes I came up with. Enjoy!
Lemon all-purpose surface cleaner
Every day I use at least one lemon, mainly while preparing my morning lemon and ginger water. Instead of throwing the peels out, I started to produce an all-purpose surface cleaner. The preparation is easy and effortless. All you have to do is to put the lemon peels into a glass jar or bottle and than just pour the vinegar over. I usually start with peels from one lemon, than I add more and more every morning and gradually fill up the container with vinegar. Next, I leave the mixture for minimum two weeks, then pour the liquid into a spray bottle and the product is ready to use.
Since the vinegar is a famous bacteria-killer, you can use the product to clean all types of surfaces and equipments, which may need a proper disinfection like bathroom fittings, kitchen sink or kitchen countertops. It’s also a great scale remover (just spray, leave for at least 15 minutes, wipe off and rinse). Although it leaves a strong vinegary smell, the fumes disappear after a few minutes. If the smell is too strong for you, you can always water the cleaner down or/and add a few drops of lemon essential oil.
Important: Never use vinegar on marble (e.g. marble countertops) - since it’s acidic, it can cause marble to corrode.
Eucalyptus & lavender glass and mirror cleaner
Although the lemon surface cleaner is really multipurpose, it unfortunately leaves the streaks on the mirrors and windows. That is why, I use another vinegar-based concoction to clean the glass. I prepare the a solution of half water and half vinegar with addition of a few drops eucalyptus and lavender essential oils (optional). Brilliantly easy way to get the streak-free windows.
1 Baking soda paste for tough jobs
Just mix baking soda with water to form a paste. Use the concoction to get rid of hard water and soap scum stain. To clean the bathtub and sink just give them a good rinse, sprinkle baking soda over the wet surface and scrub. At the end, give the surface another rinse and spray with natural disinfectant like vinegar/water or spirit/water solution (glass and mirror cleaner or all-purpose surface cleaner will also do the job).
Natural toilet cleaning fizzies
All you need to make your own natural toilet cleaning fizzies is washing soda, citric acid and favorite essential oil (optional- I prefer the pine essential oil). Just mix two parts (e.g.two cups) of washing soda and one part of citric acid in a bowl. Next add the essential oil and continue mixing. Use an ice tray to separate the mixture into single use sizes. Let it dry (it will take about two days) and place the tabs in an airtight container.
Make friends with your old toothbrush
The size of a toothbrush makes it perfect for cleaning all hard-to-reach places. It’s really multipurpose. You can use it to get rid of heavy-duty stains from the stovetops or to clean the tile grouts. It works magic in combination with baking soda paste.
Citric acid – the non-toxic descaler
The citric acid dissolves hard water deposits efficiently and quickly. Use it to descale the coffee machine or kettle. It’s much better than commercial chemical descalers - please bear in mind they can be toxic for you!
Get rid of disposables
Recently, I’ve managed to completely eliminate the paper towels and disposable silicone gloves. Instead, I’ve assembled a collection of reusable dusters and cloths. I have enough to use in the course of the week and while the weekend general cleaning. I also have two pairs of rubber gloves – one designated for bathroom and one for kitchen. Practical tip: you can wipe the wet floor with cloths you’ve already used to clean e.g. the kitchen countertops before you’ll wash them. As I said before, I have enough wipes to wash all of them once a week.