Eco homemade cleaners

Country living means we have a septic tank in the garden, so it’s worth taking care of what goes down the sink! I am very mindful of the potential impact of the chemicals at work in my kitchen cupboards.

A new home and new way of living that is more in tune with the beautiful countryside that surrounds us.

I have been looking through many excellent websites and blogs for information about the materials needed make household cleaners.

Cleaning materials

  • Vinegar

Vinegar is a mild acid and works well on alkaline substances by dissolving scale, inhibiting mould. It is great for removing rust and tea stains. A great cleaner for the house to degrease the dishwasher, windows, bathroom and kitchen surfaces.

Do not use use on granite works tops and floors or wood

  • Bicarbonate of Soda

Very cheap and versatile, Soda Bicarb can be used as a mild abrasive, scouring agent and deodoriser. It works best on proteins and grease and is a natural deodoriser

Removes odours – sprinkle into shoes. Keep a cup of soda bicarb in the fridge to absorb food smells. Sprinkle onto carpets, leave 15 minutes before vacuuming – also works on sofas and chairs.

Apply dry with liquid soap or detergent to clean around the bath or sink.

In the kitchen, use to remove tea stains on cups, unblock sinks. Make a thick paste to clean oven doors.

Mix with water and use as a general cleaner

Add drops of the tree and/or citrus essential oils

Remove lime scale and detergent build-up in washington machines and dishwashers. Run a hot wash, with an empty machine and one cup of soda crystals.

Prevent drains from becoming clogged. Pour a cupful of crystals down your sinks each week, with hot water. Soda crystals are fine to use with septic tanks – woohoo!

Remove stubborn, burnt on food from pots and pans. Make a thick paste and wipe it on the pan. Leave overnight and wash off in the morning.

Remove stubborn stains for clothing. Mix a strong solution and soak clothes for one hour before washing.

Kill moss and algae. Sprinkle crystals on the moss and dampen with a watering can. Leave for a day or two, until the moss goes brown, then brush off and rinse with plenty of water.

  • Borax or borax substitute

Borax is alkaline and used stubborn stains: make a paste with Borax Substitute with a small amount of water, and smooth it onto the stain. Leave to soak in, then wash as normal.

Mix with water, lemon juice or white vinegar to create a multi-purpose cleaner. Good for mould, kitchen and bathroom cleaning.

Carpet cleaner – sprinkle liberally onto the carpet and leave for 15 minutes to deodorise and refresh.

  • Essential Oils

Tea tree – has antimicrobial proporties

Citrus – lemon, grapefruit and orange are not expensive and smell clean and wonderful.

…and these are recipes I have found work very well around the house:

A good all-purpose cleaner

  • 750ml spray bottle
  • 1 1/2 tsp borax substitute
  • 1 tsp washing soda crystals – Sodium carbonate
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar
  • ½ tsp liquid Castile soap or detergent
  • 750ml hot water
  • 20 drops essential oil – tea tree, lavender or citrus lemon, grapefruit, orange

Not to be used wood or granite worktops

Carpet deodoriser

  • 250g Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 120g Corn starch
  • 5 drops Essential

Mix the Bicarbonate of Soda and cornstarch together and add the essential oil. Sprinkle the mixture onto the carpet carpet and leave for 30 minutes before vacuuming.

Upholstery deodorising spray

100g Bicarbonate of soda

10 drops essential oil, such as lavender

360ml water

Add the baking soda to a 500ml spray bottle. Add the essential oil. Fill the bottle with water and shake gently mix the ingredients together. Spray over upholstery to remove smells. It is first worth checking on a small area to see whether the liquid leaves mark.

Beeswax Polish

Beeswax polish is easy to make and wonderful on wood.

Ingredients
  • 150g Beeswax – block or pellets
  • 150ml Pure turpentine (not substitute)
Equipment
  • Cooker or hot plate 
  • Saucepan and stainless steel bowl (double boiler)
  • Small saucepan
  • Glass jar for the polish 400g -500g

Method
  • Chop the block of wax into very small pieces – or use pellets
  • Fill the sauce pan with 5 am water and bring to the boil – reduce to a simmer.
  • Place the bowl over the boiling water
  • Add the beeswax to the bowl and melt slowly. Do not allow the wax to get too hot.
  • Heat the turpentine till warm – DO NOT over heat. The turps just needs to be warm enough to prevent the beeswax from solidifying when mix together.
  • Move to a well ventilated space, away from any naked flames. Add the turpentine to the melted wax and stir well.
  • Pour into the jar and leave to set.
  • Apply thinly to wood with a soft cloth. Leave for 10 minutes then buff to a shine

Please note: Turpentine is highly flammable so it is very important not to heat it to much before adding to the melted beeswax.

Notes

  • Add essential oils – Lavender and cedar wood are lovely fragrances
  • Add linseed oil to the polish recipe for extra richness. Use equal amounts of beeswax, linseed oil and turpentine in the mixture. Mix the turpentine and linseed oils together and heat very gently before adding to melted beeswax.