We all have a cupboard somewhere in the house full of different cleaning products that are used around the home. Each one promises to give a better cleaning experience than all of the others and sometimes this can be true. The sad fact is that many of these products can be very strong in aroma or the fumes can cause irritation or general uncomfort to people with lung conditions like Alpha1.
We at Alpha-1 Awareness UK won’t recommend brands or products that only certain companies produce as we do not want to be accused of advertising or otherwise not talking about a product that might be better as it might be that we are simply not aware of it’s assistance. As a result, what this page is all about is making your own cleaning products by using general ingredients that you might have already, and are sold at your local groceries shop.
Before you try any of the below, you must note that we take no responsibility for any damage that these products may cause to things you own. Just like with the instructions on the backs of most good products, you MUST always test the cleaning product on a small area of what you want to clean to make sure that it does not damage it in any way. Also when cleaning, you should always have good ventilation, so make sure doors are open and windows where available to allow any fumes to leave the area.
The different guides below are things that we have been told about by others and things we have read about on the internet. Many of them have not been tested by people who work with the charity, so we can’t take any credit on how good they are, what fumes they create or what surfaces you can or can’t use them on. You are also the only person who knows the type and strength of fumes that you can work with, so please take care if you are creating any of the below. All of of them should be perfectly safe for everybody to make and use, but please take caution.
Some of the Ingredients
Baking soda has proven virus-killing abilities that also effectively cleans, deodorizes, and can cut through grease and grime .
Castile soap is a style of soap that’s made from 100 percent plant oils. Castile can cut through grease and cleans. This might not be in all local shops, but readily available in many online shops.
Thanks to its acidity, vinegar is nothing short of a cleaning miracle—it effectively (and gently!) eliminates grease, soap scum, and grime.
White (distilled) Vinegar
The active ingredient in White Vinegar is acetic acid, which has both cleaning and descaling properties. Although White Vinegar has a mild odour, it gradually dissipates.
Natural lemon juice annihilates mildew and mould, cuts through grease, and shines hard surfaces and smells really good.
This great cooking oil also works as a cleaner and polisher.
Essential oils are popular due to aromatherapy, but these naturally occurring plant compounds also make great scent additions to homemade cleaning products (particularly if you’re not into the smell of vinegar). Essential oils are generally considered safe, but these extracts can trigger allergies—so keep this in mind when choosing scents.
Use undiluted white vinegar, pour around the top of the toilet bowl, scrub until clean.
For a heavy-duty toilet scrub that deodorises while it cleans, pour ½ cup of baking soda and about 10 drops of tea tree essential oil into the toilet. Add ¼ cup of vinegar to the bowl and scrub away while the mixture fizzes.
For daily cleaning, fill a small spray bottle with vinegar (about 1 cup should do it) and a few drops of an essential oil of your choosing (lemon and tea tree both work well). Spray on the toilet seats, let it sit for a few minutes, and then wipe the surface clean.
Bathtub and Shower
To get rid of mildew, spray pure white vinegar on the offending area, let it sit for at least 30 minutes, and then rinse with warm water (don’t be afraid to use a sponge if rinsing doesn’t clear away the grossness on its own). Alternatively, try mixing together baking soda with a bit of liquid castile soap, then scrub and rinse.
For daily cleaning or to get rid of soap scum, mix 1 part water with 1 part vinegar (and a few drops of essential oils if you’re not into the smell of vinegar) in a spray bottle. Spray, let it sit for at least several minutes, and then wipe away.
Mix 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of liquid soap, and 20-30 drops of tea tree oil.
Once you’re done cleaning the bathroom, it’s time to make yourself clean (or at least your hands). To make a non-toxic, foaming hand soap, mix together liquid castile soap and water (and an essential oil if you feel like it) in a foaming soap dispenser (these can be purchased in many online shops in the UK like Amazon). Fill about one fifth of the bottle with soap, then top it off with water.
For a simple, all-purpose worktop cleaner, mix together equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. If your worktop is made from marble, granite, or stone, skip the vinegar (its acidity is no good for these surfaces) and use rubbing alcohol or the wondrous power of vodka instead (try not to drink it).
Citrus acid (used in jam making)
1. Boil kettle.
2. Once boiled, add a couple of teaspoons of citric acid and reboil a couple of times.
3. Empty and give a quick rinse.
To clean stubborn, caked-on food out of the oven, just heat the over to 125 degrees and grab your spray bottle of vinegar (see “worktops” above). Once the oven is warm, spray until it’s lightly damp and then pour salt directly onto the affected areas. Turn off the oven, let it cool, and then use a wet towel to scrub away at the mess. If that doesn’t cut it, follow the same instructions but try use baking soda in place of salt (just let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing).
Pour some vinegar into a small cup and mix in a little lemon juice (exact amounts don’t really matter). Put the cup in the microwave, let the microwave run for 2 minutes, and leave the door closed for several more minutes. Open the door and simply wipe down all the sides with a warm cloth or sponge—no scrubbing required!
To unclog a stuffed-up drain, start by boiling about 2 cups of water. Pour ½ cup of baking soda into the drain, and then add the water while it’s still nice and hot. If that doesn’t do the trick, follow the baking soda with ½ cup of vinegar, cover it up tightly (a small pot lid should work nicely), wait until the fizzing slows down (when baking soda and vinegar come in contact, they’ll react by fizzing) then pour down a full kettle of boiling water. Just be warned that mixing vinegar and baking soda together dose create some rather strong fumes for a while, so make sure your doors and windows are open as it can get quite smelly.
To cut through the grime on frying pans, simply apply some salt (no water necessary) and scrub vigorously.
Many will say never to use soap, steel wool, or dishwashers to clean cast-iron pans. Luckily, there’s an alternative way to tackle cast-iron grossness: combine olive oil and a teaspoon of coarse salt in the pan. Scrub with a stiff brush, rinse with hot water, and you’re done!
To clean what is perhaps the toughest of all kitchen “gross spots,” reach for the baking soda. Add about ½ cup of the white stuff to a bucket of hot water. Dip a clean rag in the mixture and use it to wipe down the fridge’s insides.
For serious disinfectant power, mix ½ cup baking soda, 1 teaspoon castile soap, and ½ teaspoon hydrogen peroxide. Use a cloth to apply the mixture to a wet surface, scrub, and then rinse thoroughly.
To add a fresh, clean scent to laundry, make a sachet stuffed with your favourite dried herbs (lavender, peppermint, and lemon verbena are all great options). Toss it in the dryer while it’s in use, and voila: customised, non-toxic scent!
For a simple, effective tile floor cleaner, simply combine one part white vinegar with two parts warm water in a bucket. Use a mop or rag to scrub down the floors with the solution. No need to rinse off! (Note: this one’s not recommended for wood floors).
A more expensive way to clean floors using just water is to get a floor steamer mop. They are very easy to use, only need water and work very effectively.
Windows and Mirrors
For an all-purpose window cleaner, combine 1 part white vinegar with 4 parts water (feel free to add some lemon juice if you’re feeling citrusy), then use a sponge or rag to scrub away.
For an all-purpose furniture polish, combine ¼ cup vinegar with ¾ cup olive oil and use a soft cloth to distribute the mixture over furniture. For wood furniture (or as an alternative to the first recipe), combine ¼ cup lemon juice with ½ cup olive oil, then follow the same procedure.
Rub your item with toothpaste and a soft cloth, rinse it with warm water, then allow it air to dry.
If you have a few items you want done in one go, line a bucket or other container with aluminium foil, lay out the silver on top of the aluminium, and pour in boiling water, 1 cup of baking soda, and a pinch of salt. Let it sit for several minutes and watch as—like magic—the tarnish disappears! Test this on one the edge of one item before doing everything just in case!
Clean varnished wood by combining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, and a litre of warm water in a spray bottle. Spray onto wood and then wipe off till it is dry with a soft cloth. (Note: Since olive oil can leave behind some (slippery) residue, this one might not be the best option for wood floors.)
External Web Sites
From time to time come across web sites that also have some great ideas about natural and home made products. We are not connected to any of these sites, but thought you may find them useful as we have.
Earth Easy– All about living naturally and using as much natal products to help the environment.
Keeper Of The Home -A site dedicated to naturally-inspired living for homemakers.
Sarsons – They give some great uses for vinegar.
WellnessMama – A site with great ideas for using natural products around the home.