Eco Cleaning or Green Cleaning means cleaning in a way that is free from harmful toxins, keeps us and our environment healthy, and reduces waste to landfill. Many commercial cleaners contain harmful chemicals and pollutants that flow into streams and rivers. Cleaning sprays can pollute the air in our homes and aggravate health conditions such as asthma. Finally, most shop-bought household cleaners come in single-use plastic bottles, which significantly add to the large number of plastic bottles we get through every year.
Making your own eco household cleaning products is the easiest way to avoid all of these issues. It's also by far the cheapest way to clean your home and is not difficult to do.
A few years ago, I started making some of my own cleaning products. Many of the recipes use similar ingredients which can be bought in bulk. I also use lavender & tea tree oil to give them a pleasant smell. Lavender and Tea Tree oil are both antibacterial and anti-fungal amongst other things which makes them a great choice for homemade cleaning products.
Ingredients and Equipment for Eco Cleaning
You will need the following ingredients, which can be used in multiple recipes.
- Bicarbonate of soda
- White Vinegar
- Citric acid
- Dishwasher Salt
- Castile liquid soap or soap flakes
- Soda Crystals / Washing Soda (US)
- Various essential oils
- Reusable Spray bottles
- Jam jars
- Cleaning brushes and an old toothbrush
- Old towels or t-shirts
- Reusable liquid bottles
- Ice cube trays (for dishwasher tablets)
Homemade Multi Purpose Cleaner
A homemade multi-purpose cleaner you can use in the kitchen and bathroom is very straightforward. Add the following ingredients to a reusable spray bottle, top up with water and shake gently to combine.
- 2 teaspoon liquid Castile soap
- 10 lavender essential oil
- 10 tea tree essential oil
- 1 part water
- 1 part white vinegar
- 10 drops of essential oil
Note. Do not use acidic cleaners (containing white vinegar) on granite as it can mark the stone.
Eco Friendly Toilet Cleaner
- ½ cup Bicarbonate of Soda / Baking Soda (US)
- ½ cup white vinegar
- 5 drops tea tree essential oil
- Sprinkle the bicarbonate of soda or baking soda around the inside of the toilet bowl. Mix the vinegar with the essential oil and sprinkle or spray around the toilet bowl. Allow to fizz and leave for 10 minutes. Scrub well and then flush.
Eco Friendly Fabric Softener
- Add ⅔ cup white vinegar and a few drops of essential oil to the start of your wash cycle, along with your washing powder, to soften clothes and keep colours vibrant.
Eco Friendly Dishwasher Tablets
I've included two recipes here for homemade dishwasher tablets with slightly different ingredients. You will need a large bowl, an ice cube tray, and a teaspoon. I find it easier to use a silicone ice cube tray as it's easier to push the tablets out. You will need to store the tablets in an airtight jar to prevent moisture from getting to them. I usually make around 30 at a time which lasts me about one month. I found that if I made more than this, they wouldn't hold their shape over a long period as you can't compact homemade tablets as hard as they do in a factory.
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. The vinegar will make the ingredients fizz. Press the mixture into ice cube trays and pack down with the back of a teaspoon.
- 2 parts Bicarbonate of Soda / Baking Soda (US)
- 2 parts Citric Acid
- ½ part dishwasher salt *
- ½ part white vinegar
- Few drops of essential oil such as lemon to give a fresh smell (optional)
* You should use dishwasher salt and not other types of salt, eg table salt as they may contain anti-caking agents that can interfere with the mechanics of your dishwasher.
Mix the ingredients in a bowl. Add a few sprays of water to make the ingredients stick together. Pack into ice cube trays using the back of a spoon.
- 2 parts Bicarbonate of Soda / baking soda (US)
- 2 parts Soda Crystals / Washing Soda (US)
- 1 part Citric Acid
- 1 part Dishwasher Salt
DIY Heavy Duty Scrub
- ½ cup Bicarbonate of Soda /Baking Soda (US)
- 3-4 tablespoon liquid Castile Soap
- 5 drops tea tree essential oil
- 5 drops lemon essential oil / other essential oil
Stir the ingredients together until they form a creamy paste. Dip a cloth into the mixture and scrub your bath, tiles, or oven, then rinse off with water.
Eco Friendly Glass Cleaner
Mix a few drops of your favourite essential oil with white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray onto the glass and polish with a cloth.
Homemade Floor Cleaner
- 3 Cups of white vinegar
- 12 Cups of hot water
- 20 drops of an essential oil
Mix the above in a bucket and mop.
Take an audit of your cleaning products today and see what you can change. There are lots of recipes on the internet for making your own products. If this isn’t for you then just take a look at what you already have in your cleaning cupboard and ask yourself if you need to continue to buy everything.
There are many 'Eco Cleaning' products available on the High Street and their eco-credentials can vary quite considerably so do some research before buying. If you're lucky enough to have a Zero Waste Shop near to you, they may offer refillable of many cleaning products. Shops like this pride themselves on being ethical and environmentally friendly so you are likely to be able to buy a truly ethical brand from these shops.