A short guide to green cleaning
Try these alternatives to harsh and expensive chemical products around your home.
NATURAL CLEANING or ‘green cleaning’ is a way to clean your home using fewer cleaning products and safer alternatives. This produces less waste and reduces the need for artificial chemicals that can be harmful to your family and the environment. To clean well, cheaply and safely throughout your home, try these basic ingredients. You can buy these inexpensive items from your local supermarket:
Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda or sodium bicarbonate) cleans, deodorises, softens water and scours. Store in a flour shaker to keep it dry.
Borax is a natural mineral salt. It cleans, deodorises, bleaches and disinfects. Borax also controls ants and cockroaches. (It’s toxic, so keep it away from children and pets.)
Lemon juice is a mild bleach, a deodorant and a cleaning agent.
Washing soda cuts through grease and removes stains.
White vinegar also cuts through grease and acts as a deodoriser and mild disinfectant. Mix half and half white vinegar with water and store in a labelled spray bottle.
Pure soap is a general-purpose cleaner that biodegrades completely.
Eucalyptus oil can be used to remove stains, and as a disinfectant and deodoriser. It cuts through grease and grime and leaves laundry smelling fresh.
Microfibre cloths clean surfaces effectively with just water.
Green cleaning recipes
Warm water mixed with pure soap or white vinegar is a cheap and easy general cleaner you can use throughout the home.
In the bathroom
Toilet cleaner Make a paste from borax and lemon juice for cleaning non-septic
Ceramic cleaner Clean tiles, sinks, toilets and baths with bicarbonate of soda using a damp cloth.
Mirror cleaner Apply eucalyptus oil with a wad of newspaper to prevent mirrors fogging.
In the kitchen
Surface cleaner Use bicarbonate of soda on a damp cloth to clean benchtops, sinks, windows and all the surfaces of your refrigerator.
Dishwashing detergent Use pure soap and add white vinegar to the rinse water to give glasses an extra shine.
Oven cleaner Wipe the oven down with a soapy cloth while it’s still warm from use.
In the laundry
Bleach Use 1 cup of lemon juice in half a bucket of water. Soak overnight. Or add half a cup of borax per wash to whiten whites and brighten colours.
Stain remover Use eucalyptus oil to remove stains before washing. Apply a few drops and let it evaporate.
Laundry detergent Mix one-third of a cake of pure soap (grated) with one-third of a cup of washing soda. Dissolve in hot water and top up with water. The mixture will set to a soft gel. Use 2–3 cups per wash.
In the living room
Carpet cleaner Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda on the carpet before vacuuming to deodorise.
Window cleaner Wash windows with warm soapy water if they’re really dirty. Add half a cup of vinegar to a litre of warm water. Use crumpled newspaper moistened with vinegar to get a beautiful sheen.