plant-based recipes and mindful living

Spring Clean

The bright sunshine of April is a welcoming sight and gives us that feeling that everything is going to be ok. The leaves are budding, the birds are singing and the cycle of life is starting again, phew!

With the welcoming of light and life comes the realisation that the spring sunshine is casting light onto the layers of dust and dirt in our homes, boo! But for me, I love having a clean, tidy home and welcome the season that invites us to clean!

Homemade window cleaner

Back in January I suggested switching to eco-friendly cleaning products in my new years resolutions post because to be honest, the chemicals found in household cleaning products is insane! We have clean homes but the products we are using to clean them are the main sources of toxins and indoor air pollution found in our homes. Not to mention the harm they do once washed down our drains and out into our ecosystems. A little counterintuitive to say the least. In a similar way in which we should be mindful of what products we use on our skin, chemicals from cleaning sprays or laundry detergents are absorbed directly by our skin or our lungs. Because they bypass our livers and kidneys our bodies have no chance to tackle those toxins and they go directly into our bloodstream.

So today I’m going to suggest not only should we all switch to more eco-friendly cleaning products, we should try and push that one step further and just make our own. Whilst switching to eco-friendly cleaning brands such as ecover and ecozone are a great and easy place to start, its a whole lot cheaper just to make your own. Not only is it easier and more effective than you’d imagine, you can sleep easy knowing exactly what it is you’ve ‘cleaned’ your home with and poured out into our water system.

There is so much great information out there when it comes to making your own cleaning products that I hardly feel it necessary to share any with you. But I thought I’d share some really simple ones that I started with which made me realise just how cheap, easy and effective it can be. Hopefully this will inspire you, as it did me to get more experimental with the rest of your cleaning routine.

homemade cleaning products

The basics

Fruits such as lemons, limes and grapefruits are not only good for eating but also cleaning.
Bicarbonate of soda is just a good a friend in the kitchen as it is in the bathroom or anywhere else around the house.
Vinegar is good on chips but distilled vinegar will make your home sparkle.
Don’t throw away your old cleaning products, once you’ve used them up, clean the empty bottles out and make your new ones in them!

homemade cleaning

citrus cleaners

Window and glass cleaner
Mix together equal parts of water and distilled vinegar in an old spray bottle.
Get cleaning with a lint free cloth and admire your sparkling windows.
(Yes my windows were that dirty! You may remember I posted a photo of the scaffolding outside my flat back in December, well they fitted the new windows but they certainly didn’t clean them…)

vinegar window cleaner

Ta-da! All clean!

Kettle Descaler
If you live in a hard water area like me, you will be all too familiar with the pains of limescale. Well don’t let it destroy your kettle, keep on top of the build up and you can laugh at limescale because we know its weakness, acid!

Squeeze the juice of one lime into your empty kettle.
Add a little water and give it a good swish around. I add enough to cover where my limescale water mark is.
Leave over night and inform everyone there is lime in the kettle : )
Give it a little scrub in the morning with your washing up sponge and rinse thoroughly.
If you have a really bad build up of limescale you may need to repeat this a few times and use more than one lime.

Drain un-blocker
Pour 2 tbsp bicarbonate soda down the plug hole followed by 2 cups boiling water and immediately put the plug in.
Once things have calmed down pour another 2 tbsp bicarbonate soda back down the plug hole this time followed by 1 cup of distilled vinegar and plug again.
Leave for another few minutes and pour more hot water down, this should now flush down the blockage.

Bathroom cleaner
Slice a grapefruit in half, sprinkle it with coarse salt and use it to clean your bath, tiles, shower screen and sink.
Rinse with warm water.

Toilet cleaner
Using your toilet brush, push down most of the water down the u-bend.
Shake 1/4 cup of bicarbonate of soda around the toilet bowl then pour on around 1/2 cup of distilled vinegar.
Give it a good scrub with the toilet brush and then flush!

Whilst these are all effective cleaners the best method when relying on homemade cleaning products is little and often. Keep on top of the cleaning and don’t let things build up. Then you won’t be forced to use heavy duty chemicals to get things sparkling again.

For further homemade cleaning inspiration, here are some of my go-to places : )

Chickpea magazine spring 2013 (here you can find the grapefruit bathroom cleaner and a whole lot more from Shelly Westerhausen).
Food matters have two great articles here and here.
A house in the hills has a great post here.

Happy cleaning!

Amy x

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