Choosing sustainable home-made household cleaning solutions can help you live in a more ethical way. We all know that we should be doing our bit to fight our climate crisis and tackle the massive waste problems in our society. But sometimes, it can be challenging to break our reliance on damaging systems. Choosing better solutions for cleaning our homes can be one big step in the right direction.
Choosing a DIY approach and making or own sustainable home-made household cleaning solutions can give us back some control. It will allow us to avoid toxic chemicals present in many commercial cleaners and to reduce our plastic use by doing away with all that plastic packaging and all those plastic bottles.
Commercial manufacturers of household cleaning products would have us believe that we need a whole barrage of different unguents, cleaners, cleansers, scourers and bleaches to clean our homes. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Baking Soda & Vinegar
Two simple ingredients can be used in a range of greener and more eco-friendly household cleaning products. Here are some examples that explain how they can be used:
Cleaning Your Windows:
Windows and other glass items around your home can be cleaned using just water, vinegar, and some newspaper or a piece of old toweling. Put a solution of one-third vinegar two-thirds water into a plant sprayer and squirt it onto the glass. Then simply use the newspaper or toweling to wipe the dirt away.
Cleaning the Floors:
An old-fashioned mop and pail will work perfectly well to clean the floor in a bathroom or kitchen and rather than buying a floor cleaner you can just fill your pail with hot water, then add a small amount of vinegar and a shake of baking soda. The whole lot will fizz and then settle. Give it a stir, then mop as usual. Your floor will be perfectly clear, the vinegar will kill germs, and the soda will get rid of any lingering odors.
Wiping Down Surfaces:
Simply mix some baking soda and vinegar in a container, wet your cloth and wipe away. Vinegar will cut through grease and the mild abrasiveness of the soda will remove things that have adhered to the surface.
Cleaning the Oven:
Think you need heavy-duty chemical treatments for a hard job like this? Think again. If your oven has hard, baked-on grease and grime that you think will never come off then you may have some success if you mix a thick paste of baking soda and vinegar and spread it thickly inside your oven and leave it overnight. The next day, with a little elbow grease, you should be able to get your oven clean again.
Cleaning the Toilet:
Think it would be revolting not to use bleach and other harsh chemicals in your toilet? Worried about germs and smells? Tip some soda and vinegar into your toilet bowl, give it a go with a toilet brush and flush. Give it a week and you will see that your toilet remains stain and odor-free under this new regime.
Deodorising Furniture, Carpets, Etc..
Baking soda is fantastic for getting rid of any unpleasant smells. You can sprinkle it in the bottom of your fridge, sprinkle it and hoover off soft furnishings and floor coverings – even use it to deodorize your pets. Your home will smell fresh and you can get rid of nasty smells rather than just covering them up.
One thing to remember, however, is that while switching to baking soda can help you avoid many more harmful cleaning products, it is not necessarily the most sustainable choice.
In the United States, most baking soda is derived from Trona, a mined ore. In most of the rest of the world, it is derived from salt brine and limestone (from quarries) using the Solvay Process. Of course, these processes have a carbon cost and can take an environmental toll.
Interestingly, even baking soda may often be avoided if you take the time to learn about entirely plant-based DIY cleaning products.
Many herbs and flowers can be used to make infused vinegar solutions. Plants like lavender, thyme, and rosemary, for example, have beneficial anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agency, which can help keep your home clean and healthy. Especially when you combine these plant-based ingredients with vinegar, they can be very useful around your home.
Finally, an all-natural, plant-based Castile soap can be used for almost any cleaning job. You can but the base – without fragrance – or a scented option. Whether you add your own essential oils or choose a ready-prepared option, this is another thing that you can use in almost every setting to keep your home sparkling clean.