With greater awareness of a greener lifestyle, many of us are looking to reduce our environmental impact when it comes to cleaning our home. And that means replacing harsh chemical cleaners with natural, planet-safe alternatives. But does making the switch mean a reduction in cleaning effectiveness or can you be eco-friendly while saving money at the same time? Read our essential tips on how to clean your home without using any chemicals to discover how you can save money and support our planet.
Best for – removing stains and fighting germs
With natural antiseptic and antibacterial properties, lemons are the wonder fruit when it comes to deep cleaning your home. Highly acidic, lemon juice can be used on its own, or mixed with other natural ingredients for a dirt buster that leaves your home smelling clean and fresh. To make an effective all-round surface cleaner, mix the juice of two lemons with water and decant into a spray bottle, or use neat by rubbing a thick slice of lemon across a chopping board to naturally cleanse and deodorise. Half a lemon dipped in salt also makes an excellent pan scourer, or you could squeeze it neat into your washing machine for brilliant whites.
Bicarbonate of soda
Best for – deodorising and cutting through grease
Bicarb is one of nature’s natural cleaners found in most kitchen cabinets. Added neat to your washing machine, it absorbs unpleasant odours and helps to soften your clothes. Or mix with a little water into a thick paste and use as a heavy- duty cleaner that cuts through dirt and grease. And if a stained toilet is an issue, pour a cup of bicarb into the bowl and leave it for a couple of hours. Then add a cup of white vinegar, leaving the mixture to sit for a few minutes before flushing, and that ceramic will be restored to gleaming.
Best for – deep cleaning dirty hard floors
Water is the ultimate cleaner, but sometimes it needs a helping hand, which is where a steam mop comes in. If your wooden or tiled floors are a constant dirt magnet then a steam mop will be your cleaning best friend, and the beauty is it only needs water and no chemicals. The best steam mop doesn’t have to be expensive and the cleaning pads are washable so can be used again and again. And many mops also come with a host of attachments, so can be also used to steam clean windows, curtains and fabrics without harming your furniture or the environment.
Best for – all-round house cleaning
White vinegar is super-versatile, from cooking to cleaning and deodorising. And this simple kitchen cupboard staple has hidden powers as its also highly antibacterial. Mixed 50:50 with water, white vinegar is an awesome window cleaner, blasting grime without leaving smears. Or use to clean your dishwasher by filling a bowl with two cups of white vinegar and place on the top rack before running a wash cycle to absorb smells and bacteria. White vinegar is also an excellent deodoriser, particularly strong cooking smells such as garlic or fish. Simply simmer vinegar with water on the hob as you cook, and those lingering whiffs will be gone.
Tea tree oil
Best for – disinfecting your home
Essential oils such as tea tree have many proven qualities, not least their ability to clean and disinfect. Tea tree is also antiviral and can leave your work surfaces clean and germ free. And you don’t need very much, just one teaspoon in a cup of water will make an effective disinfectant. Decant to a spray bottle and you will always have a powerful bug buster to hand, which can also be used to treat mould and mildew.
Best for – polishing wood
And our final eco cleaning tip is once again found in your kitchen cabinet and is an ideal polisher for your favourite wooden furniture. A couple of drops of olive oil, drizzled onto a clean cloth and then wiped over the furniture surface then left to dry is works to condition and polish. Just a few drops are enough to polish, without leaving any greasy residue. And if you also add some freshly squeezed lemon to half a cup of oil, you have an excellent wood polisher that leaves a long-lasting and non-chemical citrusy scent. Now that’s the fresh way to clean up.
Cover image: photo via Pixabay