Eliminating chemicals from my life has been a journey I have been on for many years now. I can remember sitting in my inner city apartment, killing time between uni lectures and watching Oprah. Sophie Uliano was the guest for that particular day and she was sharing tips from her book ‘Gorgeously Green’. I had always had an interest in living green and especially DIY beauty products. As a child I would pick a multiude of herbs from Mum’s herb garden and browse her books and dream of creating bath bombs or a fancy moisturiser. So, when Sophie started talking about chemicals in make up, body products and household cleaners I was instantly sucked in. I guess, for me, it was the first time I had thought I could improve my impact on the environment and reduce the chemicals I use, in a way that wouldn’t completely change my lifestyle. That suited me at the time and it certainly pushed me forward to making changes.
Another major turning point for me was when my eldest son was born. I was now responsible for a little person and I had the amazing power to create a healthy and wholesome start to life for him. This was also when my journey into ‘additive free’ living began, food wise. I quickly decided that, if I was going to continue down this path, I would need to find ways to make eating healthy and living green an integral part of our everyday lives, so that it could be done with ease. The easiest and most frugal way to begin was to start making my own ‘green cleaners’. They were quick to make, cost practicially nothing AND they actually worked! Today, I am going to share three of my favourite recipes, Laudry liquid, spray and wipe and a multi-purpose cleaner. I will also add a few links to other recipes and ideas for you to try.
I am certainly still learning how to be more eco conscious and we are far from perfect in our practices BUT it is far better to do something than it is to sit by and do nothing. Every little change, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction.
This recipe makes a large amount and cleans clothes like nothing else. You can add different essential oils to the ones I’ve listed, if your prefer. I also make mine in a large, old stock pot that holds around 11 Litres. If you don’t have an old stock pot, just do the first step in a smaller saucepan and then use a bucket when combining the extra water and soapy mixture.
1 1/2 Litres of water
1 Cup pure soap flakes (I use Lux)
1/2 Cup washing soda
1/2 Cup borax
20 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil
20 drops Lavender essential oil
1. Add water and soaps flakes to an old stock pot, heat gently, mixing until soap has dissolved.
2. Add washing soda and borax, stir until thickened.
3. Remove from heat and top up the stock pot with *warm water (around 8-9 Litres) or tip mixture into a bucket and top the bucket up.
4. Mix well, it will be quite thin while it is still warm. Decant into smaller bottles – I use 1 Litre bottles.
*If you put cold water into the mixture, it tends to split and seperate.
Spray and Wipe
1 Spray bottle
2 Cups water
1/2 Cup Vinegar (or lemon vinegar – see below)
1 Tablespoon liquid castile soap (or other dishwashing liquid – check to make sure it is free from chemicals and eco friendly)
20 drops tea tree oil (optional)
20 drops Eucalyptus essential oil (optional but recommended)
20 drops Lemongrass or Lavender essential oil (optional)
Add all ingredients to a spray bottle, shake well and use to spray and wipe surfaces in either the kitchen or bathroom.
Multi – Purpose Cleaner
This is a good one to use for mopping the floors or can be used to wash bathrooms etc.
1/2 cup washing soda
2 Litres of warm water
20 drops essential oil – lavender, lemograss, eucalyptus etc. (optional)
Combine ingredients in a bucket and use as needed.
Here are some links to some more practical and cost effective green cleaners…
7 Easy Homemade Cleaning Products (Multi-purposer spray, Mould killer, Stainless Steel cleaner, Wooden/ Leather furniture polish, Oven cleaner, Cream cleanser and Fabric softener. Also a little information on the chemicals in regular cleaners.)
Back to basics – A list of uses for common green cleaning ingredients.
Another tip I have, is to get yourself some good quality microfibre rags in place of ‘throw away’ cloths like Chux. They make such a difference to the quality of clean and help to shine surfaces, especially chrome or stainless steel.
Until next time,