Eco-friendly multipurpose cleaner

biodegradeble household cleaner recipeMost popular household cleaners are dangerously toxic. Even dishwashing liquid leaves a toxic residue on the plates we eat from. We may not be putting these toxins on our skin every day, like we do with our beauty products, but we are creating a toxic environment for ourselves, our families and our pets. These neuro-toxic, hormone-disrupting and lung-damaging poisons are completely unnecessary. All you need is white spirit vinegar and bicarbonate of soda for a spotless and healthy home.

Rather than sharing one specific recipe, this post shares the different ways in which you can use white vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to clean your home. For easy use, I suggest that you store your white vinegar in a spray bottle, and your bicarbonate of soda in a salt shaker.

Bacteria busting essential oils (OPTIONAL)

You may add essential oils to these methods for extra cleaning power. Below are a few essential oils that have powerful antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-fungal and antibiotic properties. Simply add 20-40 drops per 500ml of vinegar. (Buy organic essential oils here).

  • Eucalyptus – This is a great choice if someone at home has a cough, cold or the flu. This essential oil will help respiratory problems, and not make things worse like many synthetic household cleaners do.
  • Lemon – has a wonderfully fresh, clean fragrance that is also known to treat headaches.
  • Tea tree – also provides relief from respiratory problems and is a good insect repellent for mosquitoes, fleas, lice and flies, as well as internal parasites like roundworms and tapeworms. It’s a great choice if you have pets around the home. Although, please be sensitive to your pet’s sense of smell and only use 10-15 drops per 500ml vinegar.
  • Lavender – aromatherapy benefits include treatment for headaches, insomnia, depression and stress. It helps keep most spiders away.
  • Thyme – will also discourage all manner of parasites and insects from invading your home, and also assists in the elimination of toxic wastes from the body. Thyme is also a wonderful oil to have in the air when the flu is around.
Bathroom & basins

Step 1 : Spray vinegar onto surface. I.e. In toilet bowl, bath, basin, shower floor and shower curtain. You can also add half a cup of vinegar into the toilet bowl. Let this stand for a minute or two, then flush or rinse surface clean with water. This step is great for getting rid of mold, mildew and disinfecting.

Step 2: Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda onto the wet surface.Let it stand for a minute or two (you can let it stand for longer if you want). Scrub surface, and then rinse clean with water. This step is great for abrasive cleaning.

Windows and surface cleaner

Step 1: Spray vinegar onto the window or counter top surface.

Step 2: Wipe windows or surface with a cloth. Vinegar will not leave streaks on the windows, and is a great disinfectant for chopping boards.

To make vinegar go further, you may dilute it with water, but not less than 50:50 ratio.

Tile floors

Add one cup of vinegar to every 2 litres of water in a bucket and mop floors as usual. For more persistent floor stains, add a splash of eco-friendly soap into the mixture (i.e. castile liquid or similar).

Carpets

Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda liberally onto carpets, let it stand for 10-20 minutes and vacuum as usual. By adding essential oil into the bicarb shaker (shake well), you will benefit from a fresh fragrance and antibacterial action.

REFRIGERATOR

Clean your fridge with a 50:50 water and vinegar solution. You can also place a cup (or more) of bicarbonate of soda into the refrigerator to eliminate odours. Replace every 3 months. 

STAINED CUPS

Wet cups, sprinkle bicarb into them and scrub them with a little elbow grease to return them to their former glistening glory. Ditch the bleach!

Walls

Remove your children’s artistic crayon doodles from walls by applying a dab of bicarb to a damp cloth and scrub clean. The crayon/ scuff marks should come off instantly without removing paint. But I would be careful of the finish of your wall, and don’t scrub too hard.

Simple enough? Give it a try and let me know how it works for you. One thing is for sure though, if you have a septic tank, it will be much happier when you make this switch.

COST & SHELF LIFE

Lasted me about: 6 months (using as needed)eco-friendly household cleaner recipe

Estimated shelf life: Indefinite (both white vinegar and bicarbonate of soda, but I’d recommend using them within two years).

Remember: Most of these ingredients have a long shelf life and are common in natural recipes, so you will be left with ingredients for other recipes too.

*Costs accurate at time of writing this blog post. Costs based on the best available prices I’ve personally found.

CHALLENGE

  • If you don’t add essential oils, the scent of the vinegar will linger for a little while, but it will evaporate eventually.

CHERRY ON TOP

  • On top of a clean home, you will create a non-toxic environment in your home that is safe for your family, pets and even your garden.
  • Your household will also benefit from the aromatherapy properties of each essential oil.

INGREDIENT BENEFITS

  • White vinegar:  Is a natural disinfectant that is great at cleaning mold, mildew and microbial contamination including salmonella. It is not so great at removing soil/dirt, soap is better at this. Here is my natural soap bar recipe, and liquid soap recipe.
  • Bicarbonate of soda:  Dissolves grease and grime, and is a great abrasive cleaner.

TIP: You’d think that combining white vinegar and bicarb would possibly be a dynamic cleaning duo, right? Wrong. It will actually result in a weaker cleaner. The reaction merely produces carbon dioxide and water along with other weaker agents, despite the fun fizzy action. For best results, use vinegar and bicarb separately. 

You will be able to find vinegar and bicarbonate of soda at almost every grocery store. If you’re not sure where to find essential oils, or which brand to buy my shopping guide may help you. Also, if you are pregnant or new to using essential oils, please read how to use them safely.

RECOMMENDED RETAIL OPTIONtriple-orange-all-purpose-cleaner-wonder-gel

If DIY just isn’t your thing, I recommend buying this product which I have personally used and approved: Triple Orange All Purpose Cleaner Wonder Gel. It’s great at washing dishes, laundry and as a general purpose cleaner. A little goes a heck of a long way too!

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2 thoughts on “Eco-friendly multipurpose cleaner

  1. Natacha says:

    Thank you for all the natural tips they are great.
    I am currently trying to make my own dishwasher powder but don’t seem to find a place that sells citric acid. Would you happen to know where to find it in KZN?
    Thank you!!

    • Natural Nerd says:

      Hi Natacha. Thank you for your comment. You should be able to find citric acid in almost all grocery stores. I see it everywhere. Look in the baking aisle where you find bicarbonate of soda/ epsom salts etc. Here’s a pic of what you should find. I hope that helps. Let me know how your dishwasher powder works – It’s on my to-do list too!

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