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While elbow grease and soap has a lot to answer for, sometimes it's nice to have a bit more oomph up your sleeve when tackling the grottiest of cleaning jobs. These eco-friendly cleaning products come highly rated by Mumsnetters, and don't contain any bleach or other chemical nasties.
Considering the current issues in availability in cleaning items, below are some great homemade cleaning products too.
Splosh provides bottles and caps for life – simply order refills online or by using their app. They'll arrive in a pouch which you can rinse out, fold up, and return for free. You're even given a Bottle-ometer score, so you can see how many bottles you're saving from going to waste each time you refill.
“Splosh use mainly plant-derived ingredients and work on a model of refillable pouches. It's seriously easy, seriously cheap compared to other eco brands, and their mission is to eliminate plastic waste by >90%.”
“Another vote for Splosh for laundry – the powder and softener are excellent. Their hand soap is very good too.”
2. Dr Bronner's Castille soap
This all-purpose soap is 100% vegan, cruelty-free, organic and biodegradable, and comes packaged in recycled bottles. You can use it on your body, your floor, your walls, and even to clean fruit and veg. It doesn't get much more diverse than that.
“We use Dr Bronner's Castille soap to make our own foaming hand soap – you do need to dilute it a lot (it can sting if you use it undiluted), but we save tonnes on buying hand soap. We just bought some foaming soap dispensers and put our solution in those.”
“Dr Bronner's soap is your friend. SLS-free and super-concentrated, you can get it from health food shops and it comes in a variety of lovely scents. You can even use it in the washing machine and shampoo your dog with it.”
3. Steam cleaners
Steam is magic for getting rid of dirt, and disinfects the area while you're at it. If you get one with lots of attachments, you can clean your floors, windows and surfaces. And we hear it's more than a little bit satisfying to do, too. Here's the full rundown on Mumsnet's favourite steam cleaners.
“I've recently bought a Karcher steam mop. It's great for all my floors, and I'm still finding out where else I can use it around the house.”
“For cleaning your oven, a steam cleaner is a good idea. Some people put a pan of boiling water into the oven first to help soften the dirt.”
“I have a steam mop, which is brilliant. I think they're really effective.”
“I recommend using a steam mop with attachments for cleaning the bathroom, blinds, kitchen, cooker, etc. No chemicals, and the steam will disinfect everything naturally and effectively.”
These very dense microfibre clothes come highly recommended by Mumsnetters. Speeding up the process of wiping down surfaces, they also means less chemical intervention, picking up all sorts of grime with just water.
“I've just started using e-cloths – they're great!”
“I have an e-cloth mop and really can't believe how good it is. Seriously amazing.”
“I love my e-cloths. I'm allergic to loads of cleaning products and they work very well to pick up all sorts of grime with just water – they do a glass polishing one too which cleans mirrors and glass quickly and easily without smears.”
5. EcoCoconut scourers
Derived from the inner coat and outer shell of of a coconut, these scourers are recyclable, biodegradable, and are free from toxic chemicals. Use them to scrub the most stubborn food off of dirty dishes.
“Brilliant for cleaning dishes and counter tops, and once used-up they can go straight in the compost bin. No more plastic sponges and scourers!”
6. EcoVibe Coconut scrub pad
Made from coconut fibres, these scrub pads are a great alternative to soggy old sponges. 100% biodegradable and plastic-free, they're non-scratch even on non-stick pans.
“I use coconut husk scourers instead of buying those plastic green and yellow sponges, as the coconut husk can be composted once it's used up.”
7. Ecozone Ecoballs
Free from chemicals, Ecoballs clean clothes with only mineral and plant-based ingredients. They also last for up to 1000 washes, so they make sense for your wallet, too.
“I've only used them for a couple of weeks but I'm totally converted.”
“I've been using them for six months already and haven't replaced them. I was very impressed and saved a fortune on washing powder.”
“I got Ecozone Ecoballs cheap from Aldi last week, and I'm very impressed. They took a spag bol stain out of a light-coloured T-shirt, so I'm happy with them.”
Homemade cleaning products
Frugal and eco-friendly, Mumsnetters' homemade solutions below use everyday products you'd find around the house. Here are a few essentials you can buy in bulk and use as needed:
- Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) – buy now
- White vinegar – buy now
- Liquid castile soap – buy now
- Lemon essential oil – buy now
"When my oven door is really greasy, I cover it with a paste of sodium bicarbonate, then pour some white vinegar on it. It removes most of the grease very easily."
"If you want to prevent your toilet from scaling up in a hard water area, try using the cheapest diet cola you can find. Tip the full bottle into the bowl before bed and flush in the morning."
"For stains on a sink or a cooker, try bicarbonate of soda just dampened with water. It acts as a gentle abrasive."
"To prevent limescale build-up, fill an empty bottle half with vinegar and half hot water, shake it together, then spray down every tile and faucet, and wipe it down. If the shower head gets grotty-looking, take an airtight Ziploc plastic bag and fasten it around the shower head. Fill it with your vinegar mixture (shake well first), tape it up and leave it for around 10 hours, then rinse and dry off the next day, maybe using a small soft toothbrush."
"I make my own multi-purpose cleaner with liquid castille soap (buy in bulk on Amazon), water, lemon and orange essential oils (both antibacterial). It's great in the kitchen and bathroom – just don't use on the floor as its a bugger to rinse off and makes for a very slippy floor!"
"I just did the white vinegar and soda thing on my oven and it is stunning. Hubble bubble toil and trouble!"