DIY Home Cleaning Products

As we farewell winter, many of us will be making healthier lifestyle changes in preparation for shorts season. It’s also the perfect time to freshen up and make changes at home via an annual spring clean. Before you start scrubbing, spraying and soaking with the usual chemical-laden cleaning products, why not consider switching to DIY solutions? Making your own versions using natural, non-toxic ingredients is not only better for the environment, it’s a much friendlier option when it comes to the health of you and your family. 

The best part is, switching to natural is super cheap and easy. In fact, you may well have half the ingredients in the house already. For anything else just head to Woolworths and Coles.

White Vinegar
Natural cleaning gurus know that vinegar list much more on its CV than just “salad dressing ingredient”. The acetic acid responsible for making your salads sing and your tastebuds jump is also a very effective mould killer, de-greaser and disinfectant, with antiseptic qualities and a knack for neutralising stinky odours, to boot.

The recommended formula for most home applications is one-part white vinegar to one-part water. However, given that vinegar is a natural and comparatively gentle product, you can make the solution stronger for tough jobs like scrubbing mould from the shower.

There’s one (small) negative to using vinegar as the base of your cleaning products: your home might end up smelling like a chip shop. The fix? Natural, plant-based aromatics, of course. Add some orange peel, cinnamon, clove or other spices to your vinegar solution and allow to infuse for one to two weeks. Otherwise try a few drops of fresh-scented essential oils like lemongrass, lavender, sweet orange or lemon myrtle.

For a great mould killer add two teaspoons of tea tree oil to a spray bottle with two cups of your vinegar solution. For an all-purpose cleaning spray start with a mild vinegar solution and add lemon peel, fresh thyme sprigs and lemon essential oil. Allow to steep for two weeks before use. In the bedroom, a spritz of fresh lavender and lavender oil added to diluted vinegar will keep moths away from your knits – plus, your room will smell like summer all year. Just be careful to avoid applying any vinegar-based solution to marble or other natural stones as it can damage the surface of stone.

Baking Soda
Baking soda is fantastic around the entire house. Not only is it great for absorbing strong smells in fridges, it makes for an effective drain cleaner too. 

Mixing baking soda with other natural ingredients transforms it into even more of a cleaning workhorse. Mixed into a paste with water and vinegar it’ll cut through grimy soap build-up in your washing machine, leaving it sparkling clean. Brush the oven with a baking soda and water paste and blast it with a few sprays of the vinegar solution. A good scrub will help remove any burnt-on food particles.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg: throw a cup of baking soda into a load of laundry for a proper deep clean; use it to deal with carpet or upholstery stains; or sprinkle into stinky sneakers as a natural deodoriser.   

Chopping boards with porous surfaces are notorious for holding onto stains and strong smells (hello onion). Sprinkle a good pinch of baking soda, some salt and a good squeeze of lemon over the board and scrub, then watch as the stains fade like magic.  

Eucalyptus Oil
The oil derived from the Australian native plant has so many great uses, we reckon every Aussie household should have a bottle at the ready. 

For a powerful floor cleaner, fill a mop bucket with warm water then add a good dose of white vinegar and a teaspoon of eucalyptus oil. The solution is cheap as chips to make and can be used on tiles, wood, marble and even glass. 

And that’s not all. Not only is it antibacterial, tea tree oil is an effective insect repellent too. Got pets? Add a few drops to their shampoo for natural flea repulsion.
In the laundry, try adding a few drops to your next wash for germ-free, fresh-scented linens or de-grease your cooktops with a stronger solution in the kitchen. 

Blocked sinuses? Eucalyptus oil is a natural bronchial dilator, so add a few drops to a bath or a bowl of steaming water. Not only will it help you to relax, your head will feel as clear as ever. 

The annual spring clean can be extremely satisfying, so why not go one better with cleaning products that are clean too. Next time you’re doing the grocery shopping, stock up on some of the natural cleaning basics – your body and wallet will thank you and so will the planet.