Categories
Low Impact living

CLEANING YOUR HOME

What actually goes on in our homes? I’m talking about daily life and activity; Family, kids, pets, guests. What we use to keep our homes clean can make a big difference.

What actually goes on in our homes? I’m talking about daily life and activity; Family, kids, pets, guests. What we use to keep our homes clean can make a big difference.

CLEANING YOUR HOME

We wanted to be able to clean our home with safe products. Like anyone else,we also wanted it to smell lovely and fresh too. And with three dogs, that can be a challenge! Not to be surrounded by any doggie smells.

Our largest dog, a Labrador Retriever, has a habit of licking the floor, and his paws constantly. It has made us more aware, of just what we were cleaning the floor with.

All these products leave a residue,and can cause air pollution, which can then in turn be inhaled by them as well.

Of course, any of these products are also flushed down the drain and into our environment.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO FIND MORE INFORMATION ON A CHEMICAL OR PRODUCT CLICK HERE

WHAT IS FOUND IN THESE PRODUCTS?

A great explanation, of these products and deeper information can be found on the links below.

With all the fear of the Covid-19 virus , people have been cleaning more rigorously . There have been many advertisements on using certain chemicals like bleach to kill the virus. It is a worrying time, of course people want to know they are safe in their own home. What I do find worrying is that there have been report of people taking this to the next level and drink or bathing in bleach products, very scary and extremely dangerous.

Have you ever looked at the containers for these products and wonder why they have danger, poison for human and animal is on the label? Also warnings of getting the product on your skin. Why it is safe to have these in our homes? Why is so much is hidden by the fragrance label.

One of the jobs that I have done in the past was to do Market research for a couple of companies. One of the tasks given was to get people in from the shopping area, and let them smell what scent they thought was better for a cleaning product. Anything to make the product more sell-able. Regardless of what harm that can be doing to us. The issue I have with these products, is that they seem to suggest that they are safe in small amounts. What they fail to add to that ,is when we end up mixing all of these products in our home. By the time you have washed the floor, cleaned the kitchen tops and washed the dishes, just how many of these toxins have been released in our environment? I absolutely hate the smell from some of these, probably oven cleaner has to be the most toxic smell.

ORGANIC CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION

The green washing on some of these products, such as plant based, but what else is in there? biodegradable, maybe giving how many days before break down. It is still ending up in our sewage and will end up somewhere!

EXPERIENCE LIFE .COM 

This article is a little old, but still relevant, in what can be lurking in your cleaning products.It gives 8 hidden toxins hiding in your cleaning products. It is the story of Beth Greer, and how finding a tumour in her chest, led her to find a cleaner lifestyle without toxic chemicals in cleaning products and her personal care. After changing her lifestyle and keeping away from processed foods, the tumour disappeared. This led to her writing a book called SUPER NATURAL HOME

ORGANIC CONSUMERS .ORG

They have a really good article, on what is in cleaning products , giving you solutions too.

WATCHING A TV PROGRAM

There used to be a house cleaning program on TV( How Clean Is Your House) where they went into homes that had serious problems with years of neglect and cleanliness issues. Equipped with the fancy rubber gloves!

It was interesting to see that they used natural products such as vinegar, bicarbonate, lemon juice and cola, to clean such a deep grained dirt. It was an “Oh my gosh! how can you let the place get like that!” type of program.

Before seeing it, I had heard of my gran, and mum, using vinegar to clean windows,with the aid of a newspaper as well.

I never thought that something so natural could be that effective.

Since then, we have armed ourselves with loads of vinegar, lemon juice, bicarbonate of soda and essential oils. There are “Safer” products on the market these days but it does take some reading of bottles and searching.

Again on TV there is yet another program on cleaning up neglected homes, often having being neglected by their owners for long periods.Only this week our daughter was watching the struggles of a divorced man with problems and the apartment was in quite a state. It was interesting to note one of the cleaning mixtures that the two guys recommended was a mixture of white vinegar, lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda for cleaning the bathrooms. It removed all manner of yucky stuff.

Often an organic cleaning agent, can also be found in your local health  or organic shop.

We find these rather expensive, so we have listed a number of recipes to help you D.I.Y.

I recently found another company that seem to be getting some great reviews for their cleaning products called KOH.COM This link goes to their list of ingredients and facts page.

I have seen quite a few videos on YouTube if you want to check out some reviews. I am looking forward to giving this stuff a go, especially on the cooker which through this lock down is getting used even more frequently!

I saw an article on the IDEAL HOME with this product being recommended by TV presenter KIRSTIE ALLSOPP.

Another company called Sodasan – which I believe is made in Germany, I have linked their product policy on the link. They are pro- environment and even their packaging is from recycled products. Below from Link

  • We use only vegetable oils from organic cultivation as the base for our soap products.
  • We support socially responsible agriculture in the Third World by buying vegetable oils from Fair Trade projects.
  • We do not use any synthetic preservatives or fragrances in our products.
  • We do not use any ingredients from chlorine chemistry.
  • We do not use any ingredients which are manufactured using genetic engineering.
  • We do not perform any animal testing, either directly or indirectly They seem to have a huge range of products, from cleaning and laundry to soap bars, made with essential oils.

DO THE DIY RECIPES WORK ?

I am often hunting differing articles on this subject, I came across an article today in the NY TIMES on whether these DIY Cleaners really work.

It is an interesting take on what is out there , especially some of the recipes on You Tube and Pinterest. I really understand what she is saying, you definitely feel as if you are trying to take some control over what you are using around your family. Everything is a chemical, even water, so being mindful about how look at these DIY solutions.

To be proactive in what products you are using for your skin, whether it be in a daily personal product or a cosmetic.

I do understand that there is areas that we may not understand, it could be mixing certain products which could have a chemical reaction that were were not aware of. Really looking into some of the recipes and understanding them before we try them out.

One thing that I have been much more cautious about since really looking into all this, is the preservation of personal products, so that we don’t have some sort of yucky bacteria or mould growing, and cause more problems than we were trying to solve.

A REALLY IN DEPTH ARTICLE ON THE SUN NEWSPAPER

On the dangers in using the chemicals in cleaning products, hand wipes and mouthwashes could be affecting your ability to having a baby. It amazes me that companies seem to be able to use these chemicals and it can effect the ability to have a family.

VINEGAR SOLUTION

We have kept it simple, and often distilled white vinegar mixed with pre-boiled water works well in a spray bottle, you can add a few drops of essential oil too , this helps to get rid of dirt, and soap scum.

HOMEMADE DISINFECTION

You can also add some lemon juice, to one part of the white distilled vinegar, and two parts of the water, about one part of the lemon juice.

This makes a good disinfectant. We use a spray bottle, then add a label, so you can work out each product later.

THE SPRUCE.COM has some good advice on using Vinegar to clean , also some warnings on mixing it with Bleach, which causes a bad reaction.

I have seen recently with everyone cleaning more frequently and probably more deeply than they ever have before , that using vinegar alone won’t disinfect, it will clean but it is not good enough to kill the virus that is effecting everyone at the moment.

FOR THE TOILET   

You can just add neat vinegar. I think vinegar has become my best friend! cost wise it saves a fortune.

You can also use Baking Soda with some essential oil too, Baking soda does have some abrasive quality too.

On a T.V. program ,I saw them putting down a bottle of cheap cola over night to remove stubborn stains.

There is a video below to explain how you can use this.

Another way is to sprinkle some Baking Soda around the inside of the bowl,you can then add some vinegar and let it sit a while. Tea tree is a disinfectant which can be added.

( careful using Tea tree oil if your dog drinks from the loo as it is dangerous for dogs.)

I have seen the use of Hydrogen Peroxide too, not one we have tried, as we have a septic tank, which you have to be careful with.

THE TOILET BOMB, I TRIED MAKING, AND WHAT I THINK I DID WRONG!

I saw one video that made a toilet bomb , Not to blow up your loo! But a pod that can be chucked down to react with the water, making the loo clean.

It sounded great!

I mixed the Baking soda , Citric Acid and some distilled water, you are then supposed to put the mixture in an ice cube tray or mould and leave to dry for some hours.

SO of course after reading that, I decided to add some essential oil to make them smell nice.

That, is when I ended up with mount Vesuvius coming over the sides of the mould! Perhaps I should just follow the basic recipe next time!

I couldn’t get the mix just to sit in the mould, I was afraid nothing would be left after the drying period.

They have reacted to the essential oil so much, that they now don’t react in the loo!

Oh well you learn by mistakes.

here is a little video by Natural Ways on using coke in the toilet and other odd uses

MICROWAVES

I have heard about a couple of tips to clean and loosen dirt.

I am not a fan of microwaves, but I certainly have had my share of mistakes in them, then having to find some way of cleaning off the concrete type food mess.

One mistake I made was ,to put a crushed crisps, on the outside of a chicken piece, as it doesn’t colour in the microwave.

It had spectacular results and plastered its self over the entire interior of the oven!

CLEANING THE MICROWAVE NATURALLY

With a heat proof glass bowl either 50/50 of water and vinegar or water and lemon juice.

Allow it to come to boiling point , the steam helps loosen and dirt, let it cool a little and then it can be wiped.

CLEANING BRASS 

I cook a fair bit, and have a set of those beautiful brass pans.

They are great for a bit, then the outside tarnishes fairly quickly.

An old fashioned way of cleaning I found on line, was to get some table salt and vinegar, using a cloth or sponge, dip it in the vinegar squeeze out the excess then sprinkle on salt and very gently rub the sides , its like magic !

Rinse very thoroughly and buff up with a soft cloth.

CLEANING AN OVEN

Photo by PhotoMIX Ltd. on Pexels.com

I have to say this is one job that I am not keen on doing, a lot of ovens these days have a self cleaning cycle, ours has, but  it still doesn’t get everything off .

I went on the search and found a different method on WIKIHOW

I tried yet another method that I found on the Internet the other day, this was a thick mixture of Bicarbonate of soda mixed with a little water to a paste then plastered over the interior of the oven , avoiding the electrical bits! then leave over night and the following day after wiping it off with a cloth, use a white vinegar solution with water to rinse off the rest. They suggested doing the glass on the door the following day. I did find it ok, but even after I thought I had removed all the bicarbonate, after heating up the oven again, I was left with a white residue which hadn’t shown up before.

Yes I am still wiping out white residue, now on about the fourth clean!

Also with the oven, prevention is often better than cure( or clean).

A good friend of ours, reminded me today ,about the dangers of using tin foil to line your oven to keep it clean.

LILY NICHOLS has a well written article on the dangers which most of us are totally unaware of, in using tin foil to cook with in the oven. 

HELLONEST 

has a NON TOXIC NO FUME OVEN CLEANER , easy to make and leave on your oven over night. They also offer many recipes for a number of DIY recipes, great site.

CLEANING YOUR SOFA

Photo by Designecologist on Pexels.com

I was actually reading a really good site for ordering products called ECCO-VERDE.COM , I came across recipes for cleaning your sofa. They have two, one for fabric, which has lemon juice, baking soda and water, and the suggestion of an essential oil ( of course patch test first) or for Leather they are suggesting white vinegar and water, both using a micro fibre cloth too. I am going to give the sofa a go this afternoon, if the colour doesn’t come out! I will let you know.

PLUMBS.CO.UK also have some ideas on cleaning sofas more naturally , quite similar to the above, but also suggesting some washing up liquid, baking soda or white vinegar to deal with stains. I thought their tip of using a white cloth to avoid any colour transfer, a simple idea but great. How often do you grab the first thing on hand to deal with a spill?

USING ESSENTIAL OILS  

We use quite a few Essential oils in our household cleaning products, also in disinfecting.

After a friend of ours was using Tea-tree oil near one of her dogs , and the dog ending up at the vets quite ill.

We are careful what essential oil we use near them. Especially in a place where your animal can lick the area, or inhale .

There are some ideas of essential oils ,and how to be careful around animals, on the Healthy Animal part of this website.

NIFTY has some great ideas of 7 D.I.Y. household cleaners

Also a lot of the recipes for making homemade soap products use a CASTILE soap.

We are only starting out on this journey into making our own products .

I have seen the recipe, on how to make Castile soap, which is a pure soap.

I have also included a video made by OH, THE THINGS WE’LL MAKE  which makes this look fairly simple.

 GOING GREEN – is a site written by LISA BRONNER 

With many answered questions for anyone using this wonderful product. Lisa is an expert in how she explains everything these products can do. She is easy to listen and watch, with a clear understanding.

DR BRONNER’S range and Castille soap, how to dilute, and use these liquids correctly, so that they are more effective.

DR BRONNER’S SAL SUDS BIO DEGRADEABLE CLEANER  for use in many cleaning situations in the house very concentrated. Great reviews.

LISA BRONNER.COM has some fantastic ways you can use Dr BRONNER’S products for a whole range of cleaning and washing clothing with ideas on how to use it in your washing machine and dealing with stains.

Lisa has a number of really informative and helpful videos on her site. Which is great, I know when we first started making out own products ,it was a bit of a walk in the dark , to what would work and the amounts to use.

Since I wrote this originally I have across another website called WELLANDGOOD.COM They are offering 14 ways how Castile Soap is as good at cleaning as baking soda is at, well everything.

This Site seems to be popular too, I came across it after looking on the METRO NEWSPAPER site MRS HINCH CLEANING , she appeared on the TV program THIS MORNING.  This seems full of cleaning Hacks too. #

The METRO also have an article on the ways of using Distilled Vinegar in cleaning and in your washing machine as a softener. I have seen mixed reports of this though.

I have also come across an informative site with some great ideas on cleaning your washing machine and how frequently this needs to be done, one of those was cleaning out the filter! I really had to think how long ago we did that???? Stay at home mum Has many ways of dealing with all cleaning issues to do with your washing machine, top loaders and front loaders. From using Vinegar to Bicarbonate of soda and even clove oil if you have mould in your machine, which was a new one to me.

BICARBONATE OF SODA

I love Bicarbonate, it is so useful in cleaning and baking, an amazing product.

THIS VIDEO BY CLEAN MY SPACE IS BASED ON BICARBONATE OF SODA 

BICARBONATE OF SODA

By NORTEMBIO this is such a great product . This is a great size container.

They also give a free leaflet with loads of ways of using it.

HEXEAL – this company has a whole list of products to use in natural cleaning including different sizes of Bicarbonate of soda.

STEAM CLEANER 

SIMBR is a hand held one for toxic free cleaning, car carpets, bathrooms and more, it comes with a load of accessories.

We bought one of these to clean bathrooms ,without the need for using chemicals.

You do need to be careful with the temperature these cleaners get to. The first time I tried it was really scary, I was convinced that I would burn myself on the steam.

H20 has a different type which can clean floors too. A friend of ours swears by hers.

MICROFIBRE CLOTHS –

I remember when I first saw these, it seemed a strange concept then, to clean without a spray of something, now they can be used in all cleaning situations.

There is a book on THE NATURALLY CLEAN HOME , which has a load of good reviews.

THE DYNAMIC DUO a book on using both Vinegar and Bicarbonate soda in cleaning.

I remember years ago, picking up a book on using Vinegar in cleaning, and just about everything else, it was fascinating just what was possible. It really made you want to try it on everything.

THE SPRUCE.COM has a number of ideas for natural cleaning, some I have used such as lemon for cleaning cutting boards, a couple were new to me.

WASHING UP and DISHWASHER

To wash up without using the normal bottles that are in the supermarket, I know it is fairly simple to find something like an ECOVER ,BioD, Faith in Nature, who’s  brand Clear Spring can also be found on Amazon .

They cover a range of cleaning and washing products.

These can sometimes be found in supermarkets, or your local health food store, ours also has a refillable option which is much better.

Of course there is also ways of making your own washing up liquid.

This recipe I found on the  GUARDIAN newspaper website I have listed it below but you can also click into their link. It is an old copy but the recipe looks simple to make.

3 tbsp liquid Castile soap
2 cups warm water
2 tsp glycerine
2 tbsp. white vinegar
10 drops lavender essential oil

Mix all ingredients in a jar, cover, and shake well to blend. Use about 1 tbsp for dish washing.

I have to admit that we haven’t as yet found a recipe that works well for us.

Our water is hard and I found we didn’t get enough bubbles. Though I do realise that you don’t need these to clean, just shows you how conditioned we are .

WASHING UP LIQUID

Another simple recipe is 1/2 a cup of Castile soap with the same 1/2 cup of water

( I tend to filter mine, and boil it so it is as near to distilled as possible. I have read that it makes the product last longer. Then add  2 TBSP of white vinegar and mix in 1 to 2/3 cups of baking soda., I then add a few drops of an essential oil like lemon or orange .)

Sometimes, I find that it doesn’t always cut the grease.

So I am going to put a few more recipes that I find here,

HELLONEST again has a recipe for DIY washing up liquid with Lavender . 

BIO D – washing up liquid ( 5 litres)

They say this is a family owned company that try to give a range of cleaning products that are kind to the environment and people. Where possible are plant based. This washing up liquid contains vegetable glycerine.

ECOVER WASHING UP LIQUID ( 5 LITRES)

This is a larger size , to save money, of course this available in smaller sizes. I just wanted a comparison to the prices of the BIO D . Available in different scents from essential oils. This has been around for years, it was at least one that I had heard of. They also make dishwasher tablets too

SOAPNUTS  Can also be used for washing up too, another link is also found on laundry washing.

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DISHWASHER

ECOVER DISHWASHER TABLETS – these are again part of the range of this long standing company. They are usually available in your local health food store.

TRI-BIO ECO NATURAL ALL IN ONE DISHWASHER TABLETS 

RINSE AID FOR DISHWASHERS BIO D RINSE AID FOR DISHWASHERS

As to the use of Distilled white vinegar, have a look at two site for their differing advice.

 USING Distilled White Vinegar. This was also mentioned on WIKIHOW 

CNET.COM  Have an article explaining why it is not a good idea to use Vinegar in your dishwasher.

I honestly have seen the use of this , everywhere on the net.

CLEANING YOUR MATTRESS

This informative Blog is by HOUSEWIFE HOW TO’s .COM 

I have heard of sprinkling a mattress with bicarbonate, then hoovering it off.

A hoover each week does wonders for keeping on top of all the dead skin cells Yuk!

After watching the TV program as mentioned above, the guy had bed bugs too, just saying that makes me itch! but what I hadn’t realised is that they don’t just live in the bed but can be found through out your home, they even found them in appliances. The TV cleaners used a special bug bomb of chemicals to kill everything. Though the next day they also used a huge cleaning machine ,to wash the mattresses. The colour that came from the water make you realise how often you should be giving your mattress a clean!

AIR FRESHENER

A simple solution to stop using these chemicals in these products 

I have seen so many associated problems with using these types of products.

CVSKINLABS have an article on 7 reasons why you shouldn’t use Febreze or other chemical air fresheners. This gave me something to think about, the advertising on these products is on TV all the time. This company based in West Palm Beach also offer an Organic skincare range.

SCIENCE DIRECT .COM have 10 questions on the chemicals and effects of AIR FRESHENERS. 

INDOOR DOCTOR.COM have advice on the plug in air fresheners and the health hazard.

I am never happy, with a load of chemicals pumping into the air! The public toilets have me holding my nose! Have you ever like me tried holding your breath until you can quickly exit the toilet area?

Another option which a friend of ours is selling is OZOFRESH a plug in, without adding chemicals. It uses an ozone to eliminate the smells. I have put a link so that you can have a look if you are interested. I understand that he has great success even in nursing homes. There is much more information on the link.

DO YOUR OWN THING/RECIPES

A really easy way is to have a clean spray bottle , adding a distilled water then adding some drops of essential oils, such as lavender or tea tree.

Another recipe that I read about in a book called ORGANIC AT HOME ( by Diana Hill) It is a bit old now, but still a very informative book.

They suggested a spray 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice in 500 ml of hot water and decanting into the spray bottle.

THE PRAIRIE HOMESTEAD.COM – They have 10 different suggestions for a homemade air freshener.

SAFER OPTIONS TO PURCHASE 

ACTIVATED  BAMBOO CHARCOAL AIR PURIFYING BAGS 

Chemical free and reusable.

PURE ESSENTIAL AIR SPRAY 

For air and surfaces, just essential oils a blend of 41 different oils.

LAVENDER BAGS BY SOOTHING IDEAS

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

The old fashioned way for putting into to draws and cupboards.

Simple but beautiful, good to repel moths.

Our neighbour, had a terrible time with this problem, they stated to eat into all her expensive woollens, heart breaking.

FURNITURE   

Cleaning with more natural products like beeswax.

My gran used to use a lavender scented polish, It brings back memories , Lavender is such a great oil.

EARTH FRIENDLY POLISH make a natural product with Orange and Olive oils.

They do other products for around the house and animals called ECOS . 

HOMEMADE RECIPES FOR FURNITURE CLEANING 

THE SPRUCE has some great tips on natural cleaning and how to make your own furniture polish.

Photo by Alex Qian on Pexels.com

WINDOW CLEANING 

I guess the most simple way is with vinegar and water.

My mum used to use a newspaper with it to get a shine.

TIPS BULLETIN have 6 different recipes for a homemade streak free window cleaner.

NATURAL LIMESCALE REMOVER by ECOGURUS   for windows, PVC  with apple cider vinegar .

Our water here is really hard, to find a safer way of removing the Limescale, would be great, it looks like you haven’t cleaned!

I SAW THIS VIDEO BY HOUSEHOLD HACKER with a number 100 year old solutions , these were tested again , a bit of fun but also some ideas of how to use lemon to clean your boots and milk to remove some ink stains.

over 5 million people have seen this video , must be something in it!

INSECTS & RODENTS

I don’t know what you are like with anything that crawls? I am fine with anything basically crawling around outside in the garden, but draw the line inside our home.

Living in the countryside in France has been a different experience. We share our garden with little lizards , deer and other wildlife.

Recently we seemed to have a load of ants, both crawling and flying getting through the gaps of our patio doors. Yuk would be an under statement. They just wouldn’t stop coming in! The flying ones seem to get everywhere. I ended up trying all stuff from white vinegar, Eco type cleaning sprays, not a lot was working for us. Then I came across a tip using coffee grounds around the area . Wow! is all that I can say . This totally worked for us , and so quickly too. We had some old beans and just ground them up and laid a line outside the door. Totally happy with this solution. Also having no chemicals that could effect our dogs.

Peppermint – Using peppermint essential oil or planting near your windows, could help to detract ants.