So you've decided to have a go at a few easy DIY cleaning products - bravo!
Here's a quick guide to the main ingredients you will need to get started:
distilled white vinegar
vinegar is the powerhouse in the cleaning cabinet. It has germ-killing properties, cuts grease and gets rid of stains. It doesn’t have the nicest of scents but that’s what essential oils are for! Great for glass/mirrors, surfaces, removing limescale, polishing stainless steel, cleaning washing machine drawers and seals, pet urine stains, carpet but NOT granite or marble. Also, good for cleaning collars, cuffs and deodorant stains.
bicarbonate of soda
great for absorbing odours and is mildly abrasive. Cleans: aluminium, chrome, jewellery, plastic, porcelain, silver, stainless steel, tin. Deodoriser for: fridge, carpets, upholstery, vinyl, bins and drains. (see our unpckd Superstar Refill for more detail on use)
made from natural acid found in citrus fruits. Perfect for descaling in place of white vinegar. Cleans limescale from taps, showerheads, toilet bowls, grout, coffee machines, washing machines and irons. Cleans dirty windows and gets rid of wine stains.
aka soda crystals is sodium carbonate which increases the cleaning power of soap while tackling dirt, grease and oil. A weekly mugful poured down drains with hot water will prevent greasy build ups and blockages.
mainly made from olive oil and/or coconut oil and is safely used for body cleaning. It is milder and more versatile than Sal Suds biodegradable cleaner, but may be less economical for cleaning purposes.
lemons have antibacterial properties and are great cleaning agents – and you can’t beat their fresh smell!
essential oils are the natural oils from plants. Super-concentrated, these oils are known for their scent, and some have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Always take care when handling and keep them away from children as they are extremely potent and concentrated and can cause skin irritation.
- Lemon – Antiviral and antibacterial
- Tea Tree – Fights germs, bacteria and viruses
- Rosemary – Antibacterial and antiseptic
- Wild Orange – Great against grease
- Lavender – Naturally antibacterial
- Eucalyptus – Natural germicide
- Peppermint – Antibacterial
- Cinnamon – Antibacterial and antiseptic
- Pine – Common ingredient in cleaners
- Thyme – One of the most powerful against germs
IMPORTANT! DON'T MIX
bicarb + vinegar
It's true that separately, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar are handy natural cleaners, however, it's a myth that mixing them is the key to cleaning magic.
You may get excited because they bubble up, but when combined it's actually just a solution of water and some salt: because vinegar is acidic, and bicarb is alkaline, chemically, they cancel each other out. The mixture won't actually clean anything - it just rinses the dirt with salty water.
castile soap + vinegar
Just like vinegar and bicarb, you are combining an acid (vinegar) with an akaline (soap) and whilst not hazardous when combined, the result will be an oily unsaponified soap and expensive waste of ingredients.
hydrogen peroxide + vinegar
Hazardous: don't mix these two products in the same container. Combining them creates peracetic acid, which is potentially toxic and can irritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory system.
...so now you are ready for your first easy DIY home cleaning product recipes!