Little Green Duckie on ways to have a clean and chemical-free home

I make a number of my own cleaning products, and you can too; it’s easier than you might think. Here are some reasons why I do it and some simple recipes to enable you to become a chemical-free household.

Chemical issues
I was shocked to discover the US Environmental Protection Agency found the average US house contains 2-5 times more air pollution than the air outside, and in some cases up to 100 times more. Household cleaning products, air fresheners, personal care products and pesticides are contributing factors, and are best avoided where possible. Also, it might seem obvious, but it’s worth pointing out that fresh air and good ventilation are important in terms of maintaining a healthy indoor environment.

Saving money
The average UK household in 2018 spent £140 per year on cleaning products. Using items that most of us have to hand anyway will cost a lot less than this.

Animal testing
It is strange that after all the anti-animal testing cosmetics campaigns of the 90s most mainstream UK cleaning products are still tested on animals. To ensure you are using animal-free tested products look for the leaping bunny logo on the packaging.

What I use
A cheaper solution to buying commercial products is to make your own. My cleaning arsenal is very simple; lemon, white vinegar, bi-carb, natural washing up liquid and tea tree oil. I have spray bottles from when I used to buy cleaning products and refill them with the appropriate combination of items as I need to.

My cleaning product recipes

  • Floor mopping spray – 1/4 cup of white vinegar to 1 cup of water
  • Shower spray – 1/4 cup of white vinegar to 1 cup of water, a few drops of essential oil of your choice
  • Window cleaning – mainly water with a bit of white vinegar and a little washing up liquid
  • Anti mould – 1/4 cup white vinegar, few drops of tea-tree oil, 1 cup water
  • Lemon to remove water marks and limescale – keep lemon halves left over from cooking in the fridge and use as needed. Or a bottle of lemon juice.
  • Bi-carb (baking soda) – a mild abrasive, for anything a bit stubborn. Make into a paste with water for cleaning the oven and baking trays.

Where to get ingredients
I am able to get all of the above, apart from tea tree oil, from my local plastic-free, organic shop, Get Loose in Hackney City Farm, using containers I already have as refills.

If you’re near Hackney Downs, there’s also Re:Store.

If you don’t live near a bulk shop, 5 litre bottles of white vinegar can be bought online for around £5.

If you don’t have any essential oils hiding at the back of the bathroom cupboard, your local health food shop should have a good range.

For washing up liquid I use Bio-D, as it is plant-based, made in the UK, does not pollute the water system and is not tested on animals. Many health food shops stock a natural washing up liquid so shop around to see what suits you. Better yet, buy online in 5 litre containers (you can then refill a smaller one) saving money and packaging.


About Little Green Duckie
Little Green Duckie (Justine) lives in Stratford and is a Sustainability blogger who envisions a disposable-plastic free city. Challenges rail companies on water fountains, book swap guardian and loves a litter pick.

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Image: Little Green Duckie