Tanya Wyatt, Happy Valley pond

All commercial household cleaning products have the potential to negatively impact on your health.  They contain chemicals which are poisonous if swallowed, leach toxins into the air and are inhaled (affecting the lungs). Also, once you touch a surface just cleaned – you’ll absorb them through the skin, forcing the liver to have to metabolise these chemicals.  In addition, they’re very damaging to the environment. Your home could be safer, cleaner and more environmentally friendly.

There are many easy and very cheap ways to make up your own cleaning products and they usually require only a few ingredients.  Below is a list of different recipes that will leave your house clean, fresh and safe!

(Please note: These are not our own recipes – they have been put together from various sources)

Recipes for a safer home

  • All-purpose cleaner can be made from a vinegar-and-salt mixture or from 4 tablespoons bicarbonate soda dissolved in 1litre warm water.
  • Drain cleaner – Pour ½ cup bicarbonate soda down the drain, add 1/2 cup white vinegar, and cover (don’t use this after trying a commercial drain opener as the vinegar can react to create dangerous fumes).
  • Disinfectant and Toilet Cleaner – Mix ½ cup borax and some lemon juice with about 3,5 litres hot water.   Alternatively pour 1 cup borax into the toilet bowl and leave overnight.  The next morning scrub and flush.
  • Washing Powder – use 1 cup bicarbonate soda per load in place of detergent.  To brighten clothes add one cup of vinegar or half a cup of lemon juice to the rinse cycle.  A quarter cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle will remove detergent from clothes (don’t use vinegar if using bleach – the resulting fumes are hazardous).
  • Fabric Softener – add ½ to ¾ cup bicarbonate soda to the wash.
  • Furniture polish – 1 part lemon juice to 2 parts vegetable oil.
  • Floor cleaner can be made by adding a few drops of vinegar to the cleaning water. For vinyl or linoleum, add a capful of baby oil to the water to preserve and polish. For tiles, use 1 cup white vinegar in 1 litre water and rinse with clear water.
  • Deodorise your carpets by sprinkling bicarbonate soda on carpets ½-hour before vacuuming.
  • Window and glass cleaner can be made by mixing a vinegar and water solution, or lemon juice and water. Wipe with newspaper. 
  • Air fresheners – Open windows, simmer lemons, vanilla pods or cinnamon sticks in water, use flower essence oils, or use fresh flowers.  Install a ceiling fan or extractor fan. Sprinkle ½-cup borax in the bottom of rubbish bins to stop mould and bacteria growth, which can cause bad smells.
  • Oven cleaners or pot scourers can be made by sprinkling bicarbonate soda and dry table salt on moist surfaces, and scrubbing with steel wool or a damp sponge.
  • Bath and tile cleaner – rub in bicarbonate soda with a damp sponge and rinse, or wipe with vinegar first, followed with bicarbonate soda as a scouring powder.