In supermarkets you can buy so many cleaning products available for every job you could possibly imagine. Each of them tends to come in a big plastic spray bottle.
Actually, the basics of cleaning are in two plastic-free products – clear malt vinegar and bicarbonate of soda (also called baking soda). You can buy clear malt vinegar in glass bottles in most supermarkets. Bicarbonate of soda is sold in cardboard boxes in Savers.
Some like to add essential oils as well to mask the smell of the vinegar (available in most supermarkets and Health Food shops like Holland & Barrett in the Kingsgate Centre in Dunfermline).
Another essential in your cleaning cupboard is soda crystals with lots of uses and can also be bought at Savers.
Bathroom cleaner - There are many recipes online. Here are some suggestions. All they require are bicarbonate of soda, vinegar, liquid soap and warm water for the initial mixing. Just put the right quantities in an old spray bottle, and away you go.
Cleaning cloths – You don’t need anything special – cutting out squares from old clothes makes great cloths. Otherwise you can pick up cleaning cloths online.AnythingButPlastic.co.uk. Good cloths are Enjo cloths or e-cloths.
Dishwasher powder – You can buy this in cardboard boxes (don’t buy the tablets as they are individually wrapped in plastic). But making your own is easy. The ratio is 1:1 bicarbonate of soda to soda crystals. So depending on how big your container is, one, two or even three cups of each, and mix thoroughly. Add an essential oil for a nice smelling finish. Teatree or lemon are good.
Dishwasher rinse aid: Clear malt vinegar does the trick!
Fabric conditioner – Here is a good recipe online. Pre-soaking in soda crystals before washing, and putting vinegar in the fabric conditioner drawer also works as recommended here. You can also get refills of Ecover. Or go without. The majority of the time your clothes don’t actually need fabric conditioner.
Floor cleaner – Mix up in your bucket: For every two cups of warm water add ½ cup vinegar, ¼ cup surgical spirit (available in glass bottles from all pharmacies), three drops hand soap (make sure it doesn't contain any antibacterial ingredients, moisturizers, or oxygen bleach), 5 – 10 drops essential oil (e.g. peppermint oil) of your choice to make a pleasant smell. Mix together and mop that floor!
Furniture polish – In an old spray bottle, mix up 1 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup white malt vinegar and 3 to 4 drops lemon essential oil (optional).
Kitchen cleaner - Pour ½ cup white vinegar into an old spray bottle. Add 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda. Fill the bottle with tepid water and shake well. If you'd prefer to cover the vinegar scent you can add a few drops of essential oil, such as tea tree, eucalyptus, or even a citrus oil
Sink un-blocker - Mix 1/2 cup bicarb with 1/4 cup table salt and pour down the drain. Follow by pouring 1 cup of heated vinegar down the drain (it will foam and bubble). Let it sit for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes run hot tap water for 30-60 seconds.
Toilet cleaner - Combine vinegar and essential oil in a small spray bottle. Spray vinegar mixture inside the bowl, and also on the toilet seat, lid, and handle. Allow cleaner to sit for several minutes. Sprinkle baking soda inside the toilet bowl and scrub inside of the bowl with a toilet brush.
Washing detergent – It is a fact that we wash our clothes too much. Each time we do, we are damaging them and unless they are made from natural materials, microfibres get into the water system. Underwear should be washed daily, but other garments really only need washing if you can see the dirt, or they smell. There are lots of clothes detergent recipes. You can get boxes of powder in supermarkets which are plastic-free packaging. If you want to reduce your chemicals, and your packaging waste, then Ecover refills are an option (see more on Ecover below).
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