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Cleaning products – we can’t do without them can we? But cleaning supplies are notoriously expensive – and they can contain as much as 90% water! How do we get duped into buying these products instead of making our own cheap green cleaning products.
Once again, clever marketing has tricked us into buying expensive and potentially harmful cleaning solutions. When the same result can be achieved by cleaning with vinegar, lemon juice or other natural products. So if being green is important to you or you just want to save some cash, here’s how you can make your own cheap, effective and green cleaning products.
Not only are they draining our purses, but research has shown that these products often contain toxic chemicals which can build up in our bodies over time.
When you’re scrubbing the bathroom you are inhaling the fumes given off by the products, especially if you’re in a poorly ventilated area. If you are holding a cloth soaked with your regular cleaning product and you’re not wearing rubber gloves, you will also absorb some of that product through your skin.
And for animal lovers, green alternatives may sit better with your conscience. There is evidence that some chemicals in cleaning products cause serious harm to wildlife when they find their way from your drain into rivers and estuaries.
If you’re worried about the list of unpronounceable ingredients on the back of your cleaning bottles, or you just need to hoard a few extra pennies, follow our tips for making your own natural cleaning products and save your cash and your health.
Many pre-war household cleaners were made from food items such as vinegar, lemon juice and beeswax. In the current climate, when we’re all tightening the purse strings, these cheaper alternatives are suddenly sounding like a realistic option again.
Using homemade cleaners is not only going to spare you exposure to potentially scary chemicals, it will save you loads of cash. You can probably make a supply of all of your cleaners for less than a fiver – while you would have spent at least £20 on stocking up on the chemical alternatives.
Before you start re-living your Year Ten chemistry class, follow these safety tips:
Start concocting recipes that would make granny smile:
Ingredients from your cupboards:
|Lemons||Surface cleaner and stain remover.Cut a lemon in half and leave it in the fridge to absorb smells.Mix with salt to clean copper and brass, or mix with water to whiten whites and brighten colours.Shift greasy microwave grime by placing a couple of slices of lemon in a bowl of cold water and switching on the power for a couple of minutes.||Bag of four lemons: 80p|
|Distilled White Vinegar||Surface cleaner, stain remover, de-scaler.Vinegar cuts through grease, deodorises and acts as a mild disinfectant.A diluted mix is good for cleaning windows (sponge on, then polish off using scrunched-up newspaper) and for washing floors.||8p per 100ml|
|Bicarbonate of Soda (baking soda)/ soda crystals (washing soda)||Bicarbonate of soda is useful as a deodoriser. To clean surfaces, sprinkle on a damp cloth.Washing soda is good to add to your wash in small quantities for an extra cleaning boost (using it in hard water areas will cut down on the amount of laundry detergent you need) and cleans grease from blocked drains.||41p per 100g/ 9p per 100g|
|Olive Oil||Use sparingly as furniture polish and fingerprint remover for stainless steel.||33p per 100ml|
|Sunlight||Natural bleacher (excellent for whitening nappies).||Free!|
|Tea-tree oil||Antiseptic and disinfectant.Effective on mould and mildew. Dilute as a deodoriser for musty clothing.||£2.98 per 10ml|
|Salt||Pour on grease spots to absorb and prevent staining. Combine with lemon to clean copper pans.||4p per 100gm|
So, when you compare those cheap ingredients and easy recipes with stocking your cupboards with leading brand chemical cleaners, what’s the impact on your wallet?
|Stain remover||38p per 100ml|
|Surface Cleaner||20p per 100ml|
|Descaler||£2.01 per 100gm|
|Room Fragrance||34p per 100ml|
|Furniture Polish||34p per 100ml|
|Thick bleach||15p per 100ml|
|Antiseptic||44p per 100ml|
|Disinfectant||30p per 100ml|
|Drain Cleaner||55p per 100ml|
|Glass Cleaner||20p per 100ml|
|Floor Cleaner||20p per 100ml|
|Bathroom Cleaner||30p per 100ml|
|Multi-purpose Cleaner||25p per 100ml|
|Toilet Cleaner||13p per 100ml|
|Kitchen Cleaner||27p per 100ml|
Your total saving is £1.33 per 100ml/gm of product, however most of us would have the natural ingredients in our cupboards already – so effectively, you could clean your house for free!
We used MySupermarket to search for the best prices of the natural and chemical cleaners described here; however these prices can fluctuate. MySupermarket can also tell you which supermarkets have special offers or 2for1 deals.
Note: Do not use these directly after using a chemical version of the cleaning product as it can cause a reaction.
HOT TIP: For dry clean-only fabrics rub the stain immediately with an ice cube rather than a cloth to prevent the stain from setting. Try to deal with stains on the reverse of fabric where possible.
These may not save you money, but if you’re more concerned about being green then these products are a good alternative to more conventional ones. There are plenty of online ecological shops which sell a range of products, including the best known brand: Ecover. For more ways to be green (and save money) check out our article.
Nigel’s Eco Store for a wide range of ecological cleaning products.
Got more great ideas for green cleaning products? Share them and your experiences of being green in the comments below. Or why not head over to our Facebook page?