We live in the countryside, have 9 (of which 8 rescue) dogs, so when the weather is awful we often bring mud from the fields inside, whether we try to avoid it or not. So yes, cleaning happens here a lot, hence loads of cleaning products! We’re not the magazine white impeccable household, we have a home where we live and thrive. I do want to make important non-chemical, preferably zero waste changes, but I need changes that work and are doable!
I searched tons of blogs and tips and tried loads of DIY eco friendly solutions, what is good for one household might not be good for another. On top of that I checked my gran’s little household book containing wonderful but sometimes weird recipes and tips she used years ago and tried them out as well … Homemade products are safe, non-chemical and a lot cheaper than buying tons of different products instead of using all purpose ones.So have a look at some well working non-chemical household tips from the net or the good old days, it is really worth it to give them a try.
Determined to limit my carbon footprint:
- I don’t want plastic containers for my homemade products or for the products I use to create a DIY product for my household (still working on that, baby steps remember).
- Aim is to avoid toxins and chemicals as found in conventional products.
- It has to be easy to make.
- It has to be cheap (I’m a cheap goat and trying to cut my budget).
- Use of basic ingredients (natural soaps, washing or baking soda, vinegar (removes 99% of bacteria and viruses), salt, peels of fruit) that can be used for many things and which I can find or at the worst order in this region.
- Soaps seemingly as good as castile soap:
- Aleppo soap (origin Syria, made through hot process!) is a hard soap comprised of olive oil and sodium hydroxide (also known as lye), but its unique ingredient is laurel oil, made from laurel trees (from which we also get bay leaves). It’s the green soap you see in the main picture, although it had a cardboard box, it was packed inside in plastic, but until my soap lady makes her own (local / avoiding shipping) I needed soap for my DIY cleaning product.
- “Savon de Marseille” (we live in France!), pure, genuine and authentic when it is made with at least 72 % vegetable oil (this indication is stamped on one side) and produced using artisan methods. It should only contain 3 ingredients: olive oil, palm oil (to avoid, so find a soapmaker who doesn’t use that oil) or copra oil and soda (which disappears during the manufacturing process). Conventional coconut oil comes from dried coconut flesh, but making it is time-consuming, dirty, lonely, arduous, male-dominated, fuel-intensive, low-paying work/slavery. It also can mean unhygienic drying, humid tropical conditions, bulk shipping and long distances, resulting in lengthy delays and the growth of moulds on the copra. Sometimes this leads to carcinogenic aflatoxin contamination. It requires refining, bleaching and deodorising (RBD) to create a commercially acceptable product. So check where it comes from at your local soap shop and how it was treated or check out the fully sustainable DME system: http://www.kokonutpacific.com.au/production/DmeKp.php
Option 1: Homemade laundry soap with Castile soap
- Combine 1 cup of liquid Castile soap, 3/4 cup of baking soda, 2 1/4 cups of warm water and 1/4 cup of finely grated sea salt.
- Dissolve the baking soda and salt into 2 cups of warm water.
- Pour into a 4 liter container and add the liquid castile soap. Fill to the top with water. You can use about 1/4 of a cup per load making this recipe worth about 64 loads!
- About the 1 cup of liquid Castile soap (I can’t find it here in refills and it is only sold in plastic bottles so I made my own from a bar of soap: grate the soap bar add warm water to it and let it sit so it can dissolve.
Option 2: A more concentrated powder using a bar of Castile soap:
- 1 cup Baking Soda (haven’t found this in bulk bins/paper, mine is packed in cardboard).
- 1 cup Washing Soda (not found in bulk bins but packed in recycled paper)
- 1 bar pure Castile soap (paper)
- Finely grate the bar of Castile soap.
- Mix baking soda, washing soda, Castile soap together.
- Use about 2-3 tablespoons per load.
Option 3: Make laundry detergent out of chestnuts
Chestnuts contain saponins, a soap-like chemical compound (sapo is Latin for soap). Dried chestnuts do the job as well, so in season make sure you gather enough! Collect enough chestnuts for an entire year. Even dried they still work fine. You need 71 gr each load. So if you wash 1 – 2 times a week you need to collect 5kg of chestnuts to have enough to last you until next fall. The shredded and dried chestnuts can be kept in a jar and anytime you want to wash a load just take the amount you need.
- Shred/blend 4 to 5 chestnuts (no need to peel).The smaller you shred the chestnuts, the quicker the saponins will dissolve into the water.
- Put them into a glass jar .
- Add a cup of hot water and let sit overnight. I you shred the chestnuts in a blender and use boiling water you only have to wait 10 minutes.
- Filter your mixture.
- This milk-like liquid stays well in the fridge for up to a week.
- Hard water in your area? Add a splash of white vinegar.
- Compose the leftover chestnuts!
You can of course also simply put shredded chestnuts into an organza bag and put the bag in with your laundry instead.
Option 4: Another tip from my gran: Washing whiter than white:
- Fill a small linen bag with eggshells.
- Tie it securely and boil it with your white wash for dazzling results. Then again I never boil my white wash so…
On the net I found THE ABSOLUTE TOPPER for dishwater detergent: Fresh Lemon Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
No need to buy 3 different products (loaded with chemicals, packed in plastic) anymore. Forget about dishwasher tablets, salt for the dishwasher and dishwasher rinsing liquid by creating one do it all product!
Check it out on this website:
And people does it work wow! This easy, all-natural dishwasher detergent will make your dishes sparkle and shine! I made it in hardly no time, with ingredients (lemons, water, vinegar and salt) you’ll surely have in the house!
I add vinegar to the closed compartment instead of a chemical rinsing liquid!
It is just amazing: my dishwasher shines, plates and glasses are ever so clean and shiny and this homemade product has a lovely scent to it too.
Once made I pour it in those beautiful decorative glass bottles with flip top closure and add the lovely sticker on the website!
Easy homemade Glass Cleaner avoiding buying tons of window cleaner sprays or refills.
- ½ cup white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons liquid Castile soap (I made mine of a bar of soap as that is packed in paper and the liquid Castile soap is only sold in plastic bottles)
- 2 cups distilled (!) warm water
Actually microfiber cloths are great, just add water… no window cleaner needed and glass can also be cleaned by rubbing with damp crumpled newspaper, but that is all for people who don’t have dog nose prints on their windows! I do, so I use the mixture above in a spray dispenser (you can also just use the micro fiber cloth to apply the mixture)
Use a microfiber cloth to dry or scrub the windows squeaky clean and dry with a newspaper
Mine were super clean, well that is till the next dog had to put his paw on the window asking me to come in…
The easiest way of course: Wash windows and windowsills with microfiber and 50/50 vinegar-water solution.
Option 3: Gran wrote stingy nettles will do the job too:
- 1 liter of water +
- dash of vinegar +
- 1 bunch fresh stingy nettles +
- pinch of salt (gives extra sparkle to glass):
- Put water and vinegar in a bucket
- Dip the leaves in water, crunch them up and quickly rub the windows with them (don’t forget to wear gloves).
- Dry with crumbled up newspaper
Option 4: Ever heard of potato power?
- Pour boiling water over clean potato peelings.
- Cool slightly.
- Then use the warm water to wipe over your windows
If you still use chamois leather wrung out in a mild solution of vinegar to buff your windows, always rinse it in salted water after use!
Cleaning floors All-Purpose Household Cleaner
1-1 mixture of water and apple cider vinegar will clean most of your home. You can add lemon or orange peels to give it a citrus smell.
Mix 3 tablespoons of natural soap (Castile soap,…) and 3 tablespoons washing soda in a full bucket of warm water.
My gran also provided a cleaning product for stone floors and although it seems weird, I tried it as we have a wood stove and it works (I honestly don’t see many people trying this but you’ll never know)! If you don’t fancy this special gran’s recipe (which I can imagine) use homemade liquid Castile soap and vinegar instead to do the job.
- 33gr sieved wood ash
- a small sturdy fabric bag
- 10 liters of water
- Carefully tip the wood ash into the bag and fasten it securely with a long piece of string.
- Place the bag in a bucket.
- Boil water and pour it over the bag and leave to soak for a few hours then use the water to mop the floor.
- The bag can be used twice to make the washing solution!
Still trying out home made shower gel and cutting out as many chemicals from our regular routine as possible. Will let you know which concoction got my blessing,