Convenience. Having things easily to hand is a driving force in what we actually, use, consume or purchase on a day to day basis. No matter how much fun it is mixing up the first batch of a new cleaner, the novelty soon wears off and making cleaning products becomes yet another chore.
This is where an all-in-one concentrate comes in really handy. It simplifies life, can be made in bulk so it lasts for ages and forms the base to refill or replace several products so both reduces waste and frees up storage space. It feels really good to know even the kids can use the cleaning products and this one leaves everything smelling just great!
But why bother at all? For starters, the health risks associated with harsh chemicals in commercial cleaners are well documented at this stage and are garnering more attention week by week. Store-bought cleaning products typically contain several different agents, many of which are “corrosive at high concentrations, and irritant at lower concentrations. They may produce irritation of skin, eyes, and mucous membranes of upper and lower airways; and even skin burns related to intensive and/or prolonged contact with high concentrations.” (http://oem.bmj.com/content/62/8/581)
With even regular washing-up liquid often labelled ‘harmful to aquatic life’ and simple alternatives easy to make, the real question has got to be why are we using store bought cleaners at all. It makes good sense to steer towards more gentle chemical solutions, often readily available in our kitchen cupboard.
White vinegar, the magic word in home made cleaning products, is a gentle solution of acetic acid which lifts stains, freshens laundry, descales, disinfects, deordrises and cuts grease. Oh happy days. 🙂
Vinegar can be purchased cost effectively in highly recyclable (HDPE) 5l containers or in recyclable glass bottles.
This spring fresh concentrate contains an invigorating blend of mint, citrus and lavender oils and will replace glass cleaner, cleaning spray, tumble drier sheets and fabric softener in one fell swoop.
- 1 litre (4 US Cups) White vinegar
- 20 drops peppermint essential oil
- 40 drops lavender essential oil
- 20 drops lime essential oil
- 20 drops may chang or lemon essential oil
- (To make a full 5 litre /1.32 gallon container multiply essential oils by ten)
- Add the essential oil to the vinegar
- Shake and smell. Adjust if necessary.
- Store upside down and shake before use.
- GLASS SPRAY: Use ½ cup of concentrate with 1 cup of water and 2 or 3 drops of dish soap. Pour into an old spray bottle and label. Spray generously on windows and mirrors, rub with a lint free cloth and squeegee off.
- GENERAL CLEANING SPRAY: Use 1 cup of concentrate to 1 cup of water. Recycle an old spray bottle, fill and label. Use as required. For tough dirt that needs a foaming scourer sprinkle baking soda from a shaker, spray with general cleaning spray and scour to your hearts content. Leave on for a few minutes before scouring to tackle the toughest of burnt on grease on cookers effectively.
- FABRIC SOFTNER: Just shake bottle and add a capful (1/4 cup) undiluted to the correct compartment in your washing machine.
- TUMBLE DRIER SHEETS: Cut and old light cotton shirt or sheet into 15cm or so squares. Add ¾ cup of the master concentrate to an old candle or pickle jar. Fold 15 squares and add to the jar. Push down so the fabric squares will absorb the liquid and all are wet. Put the lid on the jar. Add 2 or 3 wet squares to a drier load. Retrieve and return to the the end of the jar when dry, where they will absorb more liquid and be ready for reuse. Wash once in a blue moon. Simple!