Natural Cleaning


Also known as sodium bicarbonate or baking soda, it can be used on people and pets, in cooking and cleaning, inside and outside the house. The best part is that it’s extremely accessible and cost-effective – you can pick up a kilogram for around $3.50 or less at supermarkets.


EVERYDAY CLEANING SPRAY

This handy and effective cleaning product is perfect to have on hand to clean down the stove and benches after cooking, and for general everyday cleaning. It only contains a few simple ingredients:

1 tablespoon bi-carb of soda
1 part vinegar
1 part water
A few drops of dishwashing detergent
Non essential: a few drops of essential oils such as lemon or tea tree oil

Mix ingredients together, noting that the bi-carb of soda may make the mixture fizz and bubble. Keep a spray-bottle filled with this mixture on hand for everyday cleaning. For attacking bathrooms and floors, mix the same recipe together in a bucket with hot water as you need it

DISHWASHER DETERGENT IN-A-PINCH

Have you ever found yourself in the situation where you have a loaded dishwasher ready to go, and then find your box of dishwasher tabs or powder is empty?

Bi-carb of soda can save the day, in combination with two other household essentials: dishwashing detergent and salt.

Add just 1-2 drops of standard dishwashing liquid (no more!) to the dishwasher’s detergent dispenser.
Fill 2/3 of the dispenser with bi-carb of soda.
Fill the rest with salt.

If you want to add your own rinse aid, you can also add a tablespoon of vinegar to the rinse aid dispenser.

IMPORTANT! This recipe is designed for those unexpected moments when your usual powder or tablets are not at hand. Homemade powdered dish detergent can be tricky, depending on how hard/soft your water is and the temperature you wash dishes at. Also, be aware that some dishwashers will not tolerate even a few drops of dishwashing liquid without causing a bubble apocalypse and/or blockages.

If you want to stop using off-the-shelf powder/tablets altogether, try this recipe from Wellness Mama based on washing soda. It contains no dishwashing liquid.

PERSONAL DEODORANT

This one might be a bit controversial, as people don’t want to compromise on dealing with body odour! However, many conventional deodorants also contain anti-perspiring agents such as aluminium that some people don’t want anywhere near their skin. Packaging is also an issue: it’s usually single-use and may not be not recyclable.

Bi-carb of soda, together with a few other easily accessible ingredients such as arrowroot powder and coconut oil, offer a more sustainable and cheaper alternative. Bi-carb of soda helps balance and regulate pH in the body. It’s the key ingredient in this home-made deodorant as it neutralises odour as you sweat.

For a great deodorant recipe that I’ve been using for well over a year now – stink-free – check out this detailed article on my Connected Mama blog.




toxin-free deodorant


3 tablespoons organic unrefined coconut oil
¼ cup arrowroot powder
¼ cup bicarb of soda
1 tablespoon grated beeswax
A few drops each of:

Teatree oil (which is an antifungal and bacterial oil) Note: this is the important oil – the rest are nice-to-haves and just the oils that I chose to use.

Sage Dalmatian oil* (clears negative energy)
Bergamot oil (promotes calm and relaxation)
Peppermint oil* (aids digestion and uplifts energy)

Method
In a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water, add the beeswax until it melts.
Add the coconut oil and let it melt down.
Add the arrowroot powder, bicarb of soda and your essential oils of choice.
Mix up until it becomes a paste.

Now, working quickly as the beeswax tends to harden fast, spoon the mixture into your containers. (Note from experience, if possible, use a plastic-free container such as a small glass jar, as the plastic could melt under the heat of the beeswax and oil. Sterilise jars first.)

This made 2 small containers worth – suitable for approximately 4-5 months.

To use
Use a pea-sized amount on each armpit. In winter, the paste is quite hard, so you may need to use a spoon to scoop the deodorant out. It will melt quickly in your fingers as you massage into your armpit.

If this is your first time using natural deodorant, you will probably experience a detox for the first week or so. You can help the detox along by drinking plenty of water and dry brushing your armpits daily before having a shower.

Please note: bicarb of soda can be an irritant, particularly if you are using it during pregnancy. If that is the case, you may wish to replace it with kaolin clay, or add shea butter and reduce the amount of bicarb of soda.



Natural Dishwasher Detergent

I’ve posted a lot of recipes for DIY natural cleaners in the past, but dishwasher detergent was one that I had trouble figuring out. I’d experimented with a lot of recipes, but all of them left a little residue, especially on glass. I wasn’t sure if I had too much of something or if I was missing an ingredient that would make it more effective.

Thanks to a little tip on Pinterest last week, I figured out what the missing ingredient was: Citric Acid.

Thankfully, I already had this on hand for making soothing salt bath bombs and after birth bath fizzies, so I was able to give it a try.

The result: clean and shiny dishes… finally (and naturally).

I should mention that this recipe does include Borax, which has been the center of much online debate. In my personal opinion, Borax is very much on the low end of the scale when it comes to the potential toxicity of chemicals in cleaning products.

If not, I’ve also used enzyme cleaners like Biokleen and Tropical Traditions’ dishwasher soap and both seem to work well and do not contain borax.

DIY Dishwasher Detergent Recipe

Ingredients:
2 parts borax
2 parts washing soda
1 part citric acid
1 part salt
essential oils for scent (completely optional)

Instructions:
Combine all ingredients and store in an air tight container.
Use 1 tablespoon per load as needed.
For an extra boost, add a few drops of dishwashing liquid (only a few!!!) to the powder before closing the soap container in the dishwasher.
You can also add white vinegar as the rinse agent, though honestly, I forget this most of the time and it still works.

Notes:
1 Part= Any Measure you want.

In other words, if 1 part=1 cup, you would use 2 cups each of borax and washing soda and 1 cup each of citric acid and salt. If 1 part was 1/4 cup, you’d use 1/2 cup of borax/washing soda and 1/4 cup of citric acid/salt.

Not Working for you?

Homemade powdered dish detergent can be tricky and depending on how hard/soft your water is and the temperature you wash dishes at, it can be really difficult to find a recipe that works.

If you aren’t up for the DIY option, here is my review of all the natural store-bought versions I’ve tried and which ones actually worked. Also, there are quite a few other homemade dishwasher detergent recipes floating around online, like this one from Crunchy Betty and this one from Kitchen Stewardship, so if you want to experiment with other recipes, check theirs out.

New to Natural Cleaning?

If you’re just starting out with DIY or natural cleaners, here are some other easy and inexpensive recipes: