Reduce Toxins, Reduce Plastic, Reduce Clutter - 8 natural home cleaning product swaps
It's easy to see how generation 'peak stuff' happened. It's no surprise that the post war generation were happy to wave goodbye to rationing and embrace all the products and items that were flooding into the shops. The promises of products designed to make you more glamorous or make your life easier, were just too good to pass up!
The new and shiny - In the sixty years that followed companies have continued to respond to the insatiable appetite for the new and the shiny. We need X "because we deserve it" we've been told. Maybe we do, maybe we don't, but it doesn't seem to be making our planet, or society any healthier.
The more we have, the less healthy we seem to be. The incidence of "modern day illnesses" such as cancer, diabetes and asthma is increasing year on year in the developed countries.
Evidence suggests that dietary factors are playing a significant part in this and books such as The China Study by T. Colin Campbell make interesting reading, but could it be that the products we're using to clean our homes, are also a contributory factor?
A product for everything - it's a subject that I've been thinking about over the last few years, as I've seen so many under sink cupboards bursting with cleaning products (in fact it's rare to see them confined to just one cupboard). We 'need' separate products to clean toilets, basins, windows, kitchen surfaces, ovens, don't we?
Of course not, they contain the same basic ingredients, but why sell the consumer just one product when you can sell them four?
Did you fall for it too? Don't worry, we all did!
At first I was interested purely from a Decluttering & Organising perspective, helping clients reduce cleaning product clutter and store them for ease of access. Then I became interested, from a waste perspective, as having so many different products results in so much plastic waste. Did you see the programme where everyone in a street had to bring out of their houses, all products contained in plastic? It was a phenomenal amount of plastic (and by the way most of it not recyclable). Check here for recycling information for your local area.
Back in 2019 someone suggested I read Low Tox Life by Alexx Stewart and this sparked my interest in natural cleaning product swaps such as bicarbonate of soda, white vinegar, lemon juice.
So simple, so why hasn't anyone thought of it before?
Actually they have, this is exactly what people used to clean their houses, before they used chemicals in plastic bottles. In fact talking to a ladies group, I felt a bit of a fraud, as though I was "teaching grandmother to suck eggs"!
The only reason natural cleaning ingredients are not promoted by major companies, is because there's no big money to be made!
So, space saving, potential health benefits, environmental benefits, cost benefits. Plus the products smell so much nicer, that they actually make cleaning a pleasure!
We can't yet prove that by reducing the plastic and other chemical toxins in our home, we're going to see widespread long term health benefits, but knowing what we do so far, it's got to be worth a try hasn't it?
We do know for sure that it'll benefit our planet.
I've been experimenting with natural cleaning products since 2019, as a result I'm quite clear about what which product swaps work for me and which don't.
So what are my natural home cleaning cupboard swaps?
Here are my 8 essentials:
White Vinegar - for cleaning everything including windows (but not to be used on granite worktops). I also use it in place of fabric conditioner for my laundry and as a substitute for dishwasher rinse aid.
Bicarbonate of Soda - for cleaning and eliminating oder.
Minimal non biological laundry liquid - from my local refill store.
Sodium Percarbonate (natural bleach) - for whitening laundry, removing stains and to whiten grout and sealant in my bathroom.
Toilet Cleaner - from refill store.
Witch Hazel - for creating air freshener/room spray.
Essential Oils (Citrus & Peppermint) - for creating window cleaning spray and room spray
Cleaning Concentrate (Doterra) - for general surface spray.
There are a couple of mainstream products that I haven't been able to successfully swap. One of these is furniture polish. I tried to make it by combining olive oil with a few drops of orange essential oil, but I found that it left a sticky feeling residue. The other one is wooden floor cleaner, I can't seem to wean myself off Method as it smells so good! Do hit reply and let me know if you've managed to replace these (or have any other natural suggestions).
If you'd like my "recipes" for making up my natural cleaning product swaps, I'll be making these available as a download to subscribers of Less Is More news. I'm learning all the time and tweaking it as I go along, but it's a good place to start! You can sign up HERE if you haven't already.
If you're bogged down by kitchen clutter generally and would love a kitchen "reset" to make your day to day living easier, click HERE for my Chaos to Calm Kitchen DIY Guide.
Jo Hall is a Professional Home Organiser and Clutter Free Living expert 🏠
If you would love to have a really good sort out but don't know where to start, or maybe you've made a great start with it, but have since lost your way, Jo can help!
Jo works online with clients worldwide 🌍 via 1:1 sessions, DIY resources and group courses 👩💻 Guiding overwhelmed people to break free from the burden of stuff.
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