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& nurturing Mother Nature.

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Living life with good intention, loving with soul, and consuming with a conscience

Sustainable Sundays: DIY Low Waste Cleaning Recipes

Can you believe there hasn't been a Sustainable Sunday post since January?! I know, I'm reeling too, so let me resolve this issue by sharing with you some of the easiest, most eco-friendly, low waste recipes for creating your own cleaning products for your home using that very basic kit I discussed back in January. Over the last three/four years, I've become more and more conscious of what I'm using to clean my home and whether or not it's cruelty free and what unnecessary chemicals might be lurking in the ingredients (check out this post for more information on this!). Don't get me wrong, I still use a few home cleaning products that are shop-bought because I feel like they do a great job of doing what I need them to do (plus they're CF and vegan so I trust them), but there's some products that you can totally make at home instead.

Before we get into the recipes themselves, I need to quickly mention something here (alongside some of the pointers I may have mentioned in my last post) just so you can get the most out of these recipes and using DIY cleaning products in general. Obviously as these cleaning products are natural and homemade, they have no added preservatives in the recipes so ideally you want to make smaller batches of each cleaner. The recipes provided below are all fine to use as is but I would suggest that you don't double them up etc. unless you really need to. The amounts listed below are tried and tested by yours truly and are just right for keeping the overall product fresh and effective! These recipes I'm going to share with you are not only affordable, but minimise your plastic pollution and the best bit - they actually keep your home fresh and clean! Just remember to give them a good shake before use and they'll be good to go. So let's get into my homemade DIY low waste cleaning kit:

Multi-purpose and Multi-surface Cleaner
You might remember back in my switching to zero waste/natural cleaning products post that I said it's a myth that you needs lots of different cleaners for different rooms of the house and I still fully stand by that. This multi-purpose cleaner can be used on all sorts of surfaces and in each and every room of the house. If you want to be extra minimal, this cleaner alone should meet most of your needs! Also if you only have one of the base cleaning agents to hand, I have altered the recipe to suit both vinegar and soap options and if you don't have essential oils, simply opt for lemon juice instead.

Castille Soap option:
- 1 cup of water
- 3 tsp of castille soap
- 15-20 drops of essential oil or juice of half a lemon

White Vinegar option:
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1/2 cup of white vinegar
- 15-20 drops of essential oil or juice of half a lemon

To make: simply combine all the ingredients in your glass bottle, pop on the spray nozzle and give the bottle a good shake! The only surfaces I wouldn't recommend you use this cleaner on are wooden surfaces or anything stainless steel/chrome as the water is not good for wood in case it expands and the lemon/essential oils can cause more harm than good to steel/chrome. But everything else? You're good to go.

Window and Mirror Cleaner
Although I am a firm believer that you don't need lots of different cleaners clogging up your cleaning cupboards, a good additional cleaner to have at hand is without a doubt a one specifically targeting windows and mirrors. We all know what it's like when you try to clean your shower cubicle screen or your mirror with a cleaner not designed for those types of surfaces and the sheer frustration that ensues because of the streaks, fog, and mess they can create when you try to remove them. This cleaner completely prevents this from happening and cuts through watermarks like non one's business! Unfortunately, you've got to use some vinegar in this one, castille soap chaps! Vinegar is just too good when it comes to making those surfaces shine.

- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup of white vinegar
- 10-15 drops of lemon or tea tree essential oil

To make: Add all the ingredients to your bottle and give it a good shake. Lemon is a good option here if you want to make your all-purpose cleaner your window/mirror cleaner too but I find tea tree to be the best for getting rid of any streaks or residue so making an extra batch with this in where possible is always a good shout.

Mould and Mildew Cleaner
Next up is a more heavy duty cleaner for stubborn damp bathrooms. I know I know, I said you don't need multiple cleaner but, if you're someone like me, you might find that even when you used the very toxic hard-hitting chemical products back in the day that you still had a lose-lose battle with mould build-up in your shower/bath area. My bathroom gets extremely damp so the build up of mould and mildew can be horrendous if I don't scrub at it on a weekly basis. I find a blend of oils work best for me in this instance, but below I've also listed some additional ingredients that could help instead if you haven't got a choice of essential oils to work with.

- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup of white vinegar
- 2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda or 15-20 drops of a blend of essential oils (this is when I use my cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, rosemary, and tangerine blend discussed in my previous post)

To make: You know the drill - add all your ingredients to your bottle and shake. The reason I make a blend for this spray is because the oils I use are great for fighting mould and mildew as well as disinfecting surfaces and aids your immune system in the fight against seasonal and environmental bacteria. By keeping the bathroom area so squeaky clean, I notice a huge difference in the quality of the air in that room after cleaning (which lasts for a few days which is always nice to see a product perform so well), and I feel confident that I'm doing my best to fight some nasty germs that can build up in damp conditions.

Furniture Polish
The last recipe I wanted to throw into this post is a fail-safe furniture polish which can get those wooden surfaces looking fab because the all-purpose cleanser just won't cut it here. As I mentioned earlier, a water-based cleaner isn't always the best option for wooden surfaces but if you want to clean up and polish some wood, in steps some trusty olive oil in water's place. Yep, you heard me right.

- 1/4 cup of white vinegar
- 3/4 cup of olive oil
- juice of half a lemon

To make: Simply add all the ingredients together in a spray bottle once again and shake it up. The olive oil gets such a good polish on wooden surfaces whilst the white vinegar and lemon helps cut through dirt and grime like any other cleaner.

These basic cleaners should hopefully demonstrate just how simple cleaning can be if you have the basic ingredients. Not only are they effective but they cost so little each time you make a batch, you can bulk buy the ingredients to create less waste overall, and they will keep your home clean and your mood lifted. DIY cleaning recipes aren't for everyone as some people can't get on board with the smell of white vinegar (including me), but I find that the smell soon disappears and that there's always ways to eradicate the smell. If you'd like to see some more low waste recipes including carpet cleaners, toilet bombs, and sink unblockers, just let me know!

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