Go­ing green

Ditch­ing some of those ul­tra- toxic for­mu­las for some­thing more nat­u­ral doesn’t have to be a huge chore, as ABI JACK­SON finds out

Solihull News - - YOUR HOME -

W ant a clean, sparkly home but keen to avoid harsh, overly toxic clean­ing prod­ucts? There are cer­tain en­vi­ron­ments that re­ally need to be su­per- ster­ile ( like hos­pi­tals and labs), but when it comes to our homes, there’s re­ally no need to bleach the life out of ev­ery­thing. If you do a lit­tle home­work, there are lots of ways to keep your home clean and hy­gienic with a more planet and well­be­ing- friendly ap­proach.

Rebecca Sul­li­van, whose new book The Art Of Nat­u­ral Clean­ing ( Kyle Books, £ 9.99) is packed with sim­ple recipes for clean­ing prod­ucts you can whip up your­self, re­calls be­ing un­set­tled when an at­tempt to clean her oven trig­gered a cough­ing fit. Her nan, she says, had al­ways used just four in­gre­di­ents to clean her house – “Bi­car­bon­ate of soda, lemon, vine­gar, salt and el­bow grease” – and Rebecca de­cided to fol­low suit.

“Not only do they work, her home­made clean­ing prod­ucts are also all com­pletely nat­u­ral and ed­i­ble,” writes Rebecca. “It makes me ut­terly com­fort­able hav­ing them in my home. Be­cause re­mem­ber, if it’s be­ing sprayed in your home, it’s go­ing to end up in your body one way or an­other.”

The tools and in­gre­di­ents re­quired for home­made clean­ing are usu­ally read­ily avail­able – and of­ten cheaper than their shop- bought coun­ter­parts.

“Have a raid of your food cup­board and it may well be that you have some of the key in­gre­di­ents re­quired to make your own prod­ucts. Bi­car­bon­ate of soda, corn flour, glyc­er­ine and white vine­gar, cit­rus fruits and herbs all have their key uses,” says Wendy Gra­ham, au­thor of Fresh Clean Home (£ 12.99, Pavil- ion). “I also buy a few key in­gre­di­ents, from essential oils to a use­ful nat­u­ral soap called Liq­uid Castile Soap, that has a myr­iad of ap­pli­ca­tions.

“Tools- wise, you don’t need any spe­cial equip­ment – noth­ing more than what you would find in an average kitchen,” adds Wendy, who also shares tips and info on sus­tain­able liv­ing on her blog, Mo­ralFi­bres. co. uk. “Stor­age- wise – a few glass bot­tles and jars are handy – I re­use old bot­tles and jars where pos­si­ble, rather than buy­ing new ones.”

And it’s not as time- con­sum­ing as you might think

While it might sound like more of an ef­fort to mix up DIY con­coc­tions, it’s prob­a­bly not as bad as you’re imag­in­ing ( Rebecca says most recipes in her book take “sec­onds and min­utes” to make, al­though some need to be made in ad­vance).

“As a work­ing mum, time is tight, and what I have found is that mak­ing my own clean­ing prod­ucts isn’t much ef­fort at all and [ is] time- sav­ing,” adds Wendy. “Most of the clean­ing prod­ucts I make can be whipped up in sec­onds. And when I say sec­onds, I mean sec­onds!”

Here are two recipes from The Art Of Nat­u­ral Clean­ing for in­spi­ra­tion...

OR­ANGE ALL- ROUND KITCHEN SPRAY

This will clean all sur­faces – kitchen and bath­room – and leave ev­ery­thing smelling de­li­cious. To make 400ml, you’ll need: Peel from 4 or­anges; 200ml white vine­gar; 500ml glass jar; re­cy­cled spray bot­tle. Method: Tightly pack the or­ange peel into a glass jar and cover with the white vine­gar. Put the lid on, and then leave to stand for four weeks. Gen­tly shake the jar oc­ca­sion­ally dur­ing this pe­riod. Strain the vine­gar into a spray bot­tle and top up with an equal amount of wa­ter; shake briefly to com­bine. Spray di­rectly onto sur­faces and wipe with a damp cloth. This will keep in­def­i­nitely.

OVEN CLEANER

With a tiny bit of el­bow grease and pa­tience, you can have a chem­i­cal- free, clean oven.

To make enough for one clean­ing ses­sion, you’ll need: 60g bi­car­bon­ate of soda; 60ml white vine­gar; course salt; spray bot­tle.

Method: Place the bi­car­bon­ate of soda in a small bowl and add a lit­tle cold wa­ter at a time, mix­ing un­til it forms a paste. Wear­ing rub­ber gloves, take a cloth and rub the paste over the en­tire sur­face of your cold oven. De­pend­ing on the size of your oven, you may need to make a lit­tle more. Leave for 12 hours to work its magic. Af­ter that time, wipe all of the sur­faces with kitchen pa­per and dis­card. Put the vine­gar in a spray bot­tle and spritz all the sur­faces of your oven. Use salt as a scourer for any stub­born stains by sprin­kling it di­rectly onto the cloth, scrub­bing, then rins­ing us­ing a cloth and some warm wa­ter to re­move all of the residue. Give all the sur­faces a fi­nal wipe down with clean, warm wa­ter and leave to dry.

3 OF THE BEST ECO- FRIENDLY CLEAN­ING PROD­UCTS

And when only shop- bought will do, check out these top picks...

Bio- D 750ml Wash­ing- Up Liq­uid with Laven­der, £ 2.30 ( avail­able from Ox­fam stores, se­lected in­de­pen­dent health food stores and biodegrad­able. biz)

Bio- D’s 20- plus prod­uct range uses eco- friendly, eth­i­cally-sourced in­gre­di­ents, and they’re now rolling out new pack­ag­ing made from 100% re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als, in a bid to help tackle the planet’s plas­tics prob­lem. This laven­der wash­ing- up liq­uid smells lux­u­ri­ous and calm­ing to boot.

Tinc­ture Lon­don All Pur­pose Clean­ing Tinc­ture, £ 7.50 ( cu­ri­ousegg.com)

The new Tinc­ture Lon­don range from Cu­ri­ous Egg prom­ises prod­ucts that help look af­ter the planet and pro­mote well­be­ing in the home; 100% nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents – de­rived from an­cient Monas­tic botan­i­cal recipes along­side An­timi­cro­bial Sil­ver Tech­nol­ogy, with stylish re­cy­clable pack­ag­ing. This all- pur­pose for­mula can be sprayed di­rectly onto sur­faces through­out the home for gen­tle but ef­fec­tive wipe- away clean­ing.

KINN LIV­ING Laven­der Floor Wash, £ 5 for 500ml ( kinn- liv­ing. com)

The mother and daugh­ter duo be­hind KINN, Marie Lavabre and So­phie LavabreBar­row, ap­ply the same ‘ clean liv­ing’ ethos – en­sur­ing prod­ucts are as non- toxic and gen­tle as pos­si­ble – to their home prod­ucts as their beauty range. Add two cap­fuls of this plant- based cleaner to 5L of warm wa­ter, for floors that sparkle and re­tain a sub­tle scent of laven­der oil.

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