DIY Natural cleaning solutions that actually WORK

I think we all intuitively know that choosing natural cleaning solutions is better for our health. BUT how do we know what products are legit, and what have been "greenwashed?"

If you just want the natural solutions; scroll down. Otherwise here is a really quick summary on WHY you should clean out your cleaning cupboard! 

Avoid 'green-washed' cleaning products...

If you've never heard of greenwashing before - it describes products that have things like 'natural,' 'organic,' 'biodegradable,' or 'green' on the front of the packaging. While the front is all hearts and flowers, sadly the back tells a very different story. Why do they 'greenwash' products?

Its simple really, the marketing departments of these manufacturers have conducted market research which revealed consumers are DEMANDING natural, non-toxic products. So sometimes without making any changes to the product beyond 'greenwashing' the packaging, these companies are leveraging the demand for natural solutions, misleading consumers and profiting from it.

Sadly, in Australia our laws favour manufacturers of cleaning products. In Australia, cleaning brands don’t need to legally disclose their ingredients. This means manufacturers have less reason to avoid risky chemicals. The ACCC does not administer a mandatory standard for cleaning product ingredient labelling. Therefore, making a truly informed choice about the products you bring into your home is extremely difficult. [1]

Supermarket cleaner v DIY natural cleaners..

In the table below is the basics I keep on the cleaning shelf in my laundry. These are how I have kept my home clean, fresh and chemical-free for more than 5 years. Without the harsh chemicals & toxic ingredients you can get a thorough clean without the bleach headaches/migraines, skin irritation, coughs and respiratory congestion!

  • Reduce the toxic load on your body
  • Reduce your environmental impact through harsh chemicals and plastic packaging
  • Eliminate the possibility of poisoning children if they sneak into your cleaning cupboard
  • Kill airborne pathogens safely, without any negative health implications for you OR your pets

Oh, and it is WAAAYYYY cheaper too. 

Supermarket product My DIY alternative

Multipurpose surface spray

This is what I use to clean pretty much everything - my furniture, table/kitchen bench, bathroom & toilet seat, bedroom vanities.. any horizontal surfaces.

Ajax Spray n' Wipe Multi Purpose Anti-Bacterial Cleaner Lavender & Lemon.

$3 per 500ml

Includes 3 big nasties - sodium lauryl sulphate, fragrance and sodium hydroxide.

There is actually NO Lemon or Lavender in this product!!!

 DIY OnGuard surface spray

$1.80 per 500ml

($18 for cleaner concentrate, which makes approx 10 x refills). Saves on plastic waste!

Ingredients/how to make:

  • 500ml glass spray bottle
  • 1/4 cup doTERRA OnGuard cleaner concentrate
  • fill with water
  • OPTIONAL: add 10 drops of other essential oil: OnGuard, Lemon, Spearmint are my favs.

Window cleaner

Streak free finish on windows, mirrors and shower screens.

 Windex

$4 per 500ml 

Aside from water, is pretty much all toxic. colours, fragrance, preservatives, ammonia..

White Vinegar & Wild Orange window cleaner

$1.55 per 500ml

Ingredients/how to make:

  • 500ml glass spray bottle
  • 250ml white vinegar, $1.20 for 2L from Woolworths
  • 25 drops Wild orange essential oil $14 for 15ml
  • fill with water (approx 250ml)

 Laundry powder

You only need 1/5 cup per load for everyday soiling. I always add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the softener tray as well. It works as a softener (there is NO smell) and helps maintain the machine.

 Earth Choice ultra concentrate laundry powder

$10.99 per 2kg

An example of greenwashing - not as bad as other products out there, but still has artificial 'fragrance' and Sodium Aluminosilicate.

Home made 4-ingredient laundry powder

$14.64 per 1.5kg

Ingredients/how to make:

  • 2 parts washing soda ($3.85 from Woolworths)
  • 1 parts borax ($4.50 from Woolworths)
  • 1 part natural soap flakes (1kg $26 from eBay)
  • 25-30 drops OnGuard, Lemon, Lavender, Citrus Bliss or other Essential oil.

I usually make 1.5kg each time using this recipe.

 Bathroom, tiles/floor cleaning/shower

For all these I use the OnGuard cleaner concentrate & add a few drops of whatever oil I feel like on the day. Usually lemon or OnGuard for their antibacterial, antiviral properties.

Domestos Bleach

$5.49 per 750ml

Its all bad. Ever used this to clean the shower and had full on migraines? It might be cheap, it might technically 'kill stuff' but its terrible for you.

doTERRA OnGuard Cleaner Concentrate, bicarb soda & vinegar

$18 per 355ml

For tough calcium/soap build up - scrub with bicarb soda, vinegar and wipe off residue with the multipurpose spray.

In the mop bucket, 2 tbsp cleaner + hot water + EO of choice (I love citrus for cleaning!)

 Toilet cleaning

To scrub the bowl I use the OnGuard cleaner concentrate, then drop in a 'toilet fizz' to deodorise and freshen it up & lift stains.

Harpic toilet white & shine

$3 per 450ml

Bleach, chlorine... check out the MSDS here, the list of 'side effects' is enormous.

 OnGuard Cleaner concentrate + peppermint/lavender toilet fizz

$5.43 per batch of 16 fizzies

Ingredients/how to make:

  • 1 1/2 cups bicarb soda
  • 1/3 cup citric acid
  • 10 drops lavender
  • 10 drops peppermint
  • press mixture into a silicon baking mould, leave overnight before transferring to jar. Makes 16 in a small muffin tray.

Why are these chemicals so bad?

triclosan

TRICLOSAN - found in: antibacterial soaps, deodorants, facial cleansers, liquid hand soap, toothpaste...

What it is: chlorinated aromatic compound, petroleum derived, deoderant/preservative.

Potential effects: Allergic reactions, skin, eye & lung irritation, suspected skin, sense organ and immunotoxicity, wildlife and environmental toxicity. Possible endocrine disruptor (impacting thyroid). [2]

phthalates

PHTHALATES - found in: body/facial lotions, hair spray, nail polish, perfumes, detergents

What it is: group of compounds, may be petroleum derived, some banned in EU, plasticiser/solvent.

Potential effects: Linked to birth defects and damage to male reproductive system, suspected endocrine, liver, kidney, reproductive, developmental, immuno and neurotoxicity, wildlife and environmental toxicity. [3]

ammonia

AMMONIA - found in: hair colour, bleach, polishing agents, window cleaners, bathroom cleaners, cigarettes

What it is: anhydrous inorganic gas, may be petroleum derived, buffer.

Potential effects: Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) & hyper-sensitive reactions, asthma, bronchitis, skin irritation, very toxic to aquatic organisms. [4]

SODIUM LAURYL SULPHATE - found in: body wash, facial cleanser, foundation, hair colour, bleach, shampoo, tooth whitener, toothpaste, car wash, detergent, carpet cleaners, whipping agent in dried egg products

What it is: from lauryl alcohol and sodium hydroxide, may be palm oil derived, may be petroleum, cleansing/denaturant/emulsifying/foaming/surfactant

Potential effects: Can penetrate skin and accumulate in vital organs, irritant contact dermatitis, may cause or aggravate acne, may cause skin dryness, skin & eye irritation, suspected liver toxicity, toxic to aquatic organisms. [3]

Save money, save the planet, save your health.

As you can see, with just a few basic ingredients & your essential oils you can save money on cleaning, save the planet on chemical and plastic waste and save your health. Win, win, win.

What are your favourite DIY cleaning recipes?

References/resources:

  1. http://www.nueclean.com.au/about/the-hidden-truth/
  2. https://www.nourishedlife.com.au/article/3243/what-triclosan-why-should-you-avoid.html
  3. Chemical Maze iPhone app - 'phthalates' 'sodium lauryl sulphate'
  4. https://experiencelife.com/article/8-hidden-toxins-whats-lurking-in-your-cleaning-products/ & Chemical Maze App
  5. http://rb-msds.com.au/uploadedFiles/pdf/Harpic%20White%20&%20Shine%20Bleach%20Gel%20-v5.2-D0060799.pdf
By | 2018-04-29T13:10:21+00:00 April 29th, 2018|Essential Oils, Lifestyle|0 Comments

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