12-Feb-2018

DIY Natural Cleaning

It only takes a walk down any supermarket cleaning aisle to comprehend the abundance of products for home cleaning.

The underlying message from manufacturers of detergents, disinfectants, bleaches, crèmes, powders and pastes for household cleaning is that we need to use chemicals to keep our homes fresh, clean and hygienic.

In addition, with so many products on the market, they seem to be telling us that specialised products are required for just about any household cleaning task - sprays for glass and mirrors, particular pastes for benchtops and dedicated products for bathrooms to name just a few.

The problem is that many of these products are laden with chemicals, which end up on our skin, in the air and in our waterways, adding to the chemical loads on our bodies and the planet.

You can save money and reduce the amount of chemicals your household sends down the drain with Living Smart’s guide to DIY natural cleaning. By assembling a kit of basic supplies, and following the simple steps below, you can take care of most regular cleaning, leaving your home fresh and clean - without the chemicals.

Your DIY Natural Cleaning Kit

  • White vinegar (which is a better mould killer than bleach, according to Choice)
  • Bi carb soda / Baking soda
  • Lemon juice
  • Microfibre glass cleaning cloths (for example the White Magic Eco Cloth)
  • Washable microfibre dusting cloths (check out Biome ad PoshPolish for some environmentally friendly options

Dishwashers

Instead of buying a commercial dishwasher cleaner for your monthly maintenance wash, turn to your DIY kit.

  1. Place 2 tablespoons of bi carb soda in a cup on the top rack and a cup of vinegar in a dishwasher safe bowl on the bottom rack
  2. Run the otherwise empty dishwasher through a full cycle. This will remove any scale or detergent build-up, clean and deodorise.

Don’t forget to follow your dishwasher maintenance manual for keeping drains and seals clean.

If you’re not currently using an eco-friendly dishwasher detergent, you also might like to check out these Choice Dishwasher Detergent reviews where several eco-friendly, cruelty-free brands perform as well or better than well-known brands.

Washing machines

Front loading washing machines are renowned for the slimy mould build-up on and behind seals and in detergent dispensers. Cleaning once a week can help prevent this build-up and keep your machine spotless.

  1. Place 2 tablespoons of bi carb soda and 1 cup of vinegar in the soap dispenser
  2. Run the machine empty on a hot cycle

Always wipe the inside of the door and seals dry after use to prevent mould from growing.

Drains

Bi carb soda and vinegar can be used to help to keep laundry, kitchen and bathroom drains clear and remove odours.

  1. Pour a jug of boiling water into the drain
  2. Tip about half a cup of bi carb soda into the drain, followed immediately by 1 cup of vinegar
  3. Let sit for about five minutes
  4. Pour another jug of boiling water into the drain

Microwaves


Microwaves are easy to clean and most grease, food residue and baked on stains can be removed with this method.

  1. Place a cup or jug of water with approximately 3 tablespoons of lemon juice on the centre of the turntable plate
  2. Start the microwave and leave it going until the water is boiling
  3. Let stand for about 8 minutes so the steam from the water fills the microwave and lifts the stubborn residue
  4. Wipe out with a damp cloth

Dusting

Reusable, washable microfibre dusting cloths are an ideal alternative to chemicals and disposable sponges for cleaning furniture. Most furniture, skirting boards and window sills can be dusted with a dry or damp microfibre cloth.

Be sure to read the packaging for reusable dusting cloths as some are impregnated with oils or chemicals.

Glass and mirror cleaning

Microfibre cloths can produce great results for windows and mirrors, either by using vinegar and a standard microfibre cloth or a specialised microfibre cloth for glass and mirrors.

Vinegar method: Mix vinegar and water 50/50 in a spray bottle. Spray onto the surface and wipe over with a microfibre cloth.

Microfibre cloth for glass and mirrors method: Moisten the cloth in warm water (be sure to wring out any excess moisture) and wipe over the surface. Turn the cloth over to polish the surface if necessary.

You may be surprised by what else can be cleaned with only these items (just google Natural Cleaning or DIY Cleaning Products for some more ideas).

So, next time you are thinking of heading down the supermarket cleaning aisle, perhaps try putting together our FIY Natural Cleaning kit and using that instead. With a little effort, your home will still be sparkling clean, and the planet and your wallet will be better for it.

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