Cleaning Plastic-Free

Friends, July is winding down but that doesn’t mean that our efforts to refuse and reduce single-use plastic needs to slow down.

An area in our house that has brought in a lot of single-use plastic is in cleaning products- dish soap, dishwasher detergent, laundry detergent, cleaner for the bathroom, kitchen, floors, etc. The easiest way I have found to reduce plastic & avoid toxins in our home is to make my own cleaning products. For most DIY cleaning products you just need a couple of ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen-

Vinegar - make sure it’s the cleaning vinegar (with higher acidity). Fill a spray bottle & add a little essential oil (lemon, orange, peppermint) or infuse with citrus peels

  • Glass cleaner

  • Dilute with water to clean hardwood floors

  • Use in rinse cycle of laundry

  • Bathroom surfaces (sink, toilet, shower, tub)

Baking Soda or Super Washing Soda - great when you need some scrubbing action

  • Stove top scrub

  • Mix with vinegar & salt for oven cleaner

  • Buff stainless steel sink

  • Scrub for bathroom (sink, tub, shower, toilet)

  • Crayon marks on the wall (but what kid would write on the wall with a crayon??)

  • Boost your laundry detergent

  • Dish washing detergent (mix with citric acid, salt & essential oil)

This Soap is Nuts!!

Another product that I started using about a year ago are soap nuts! These nuts, actually berry shells, grow on the soap berry tree in the Himalayas. The cleaning agent in the nuts is saponin that works like a detergent minus all the toxins. I was super excited when we moved to Asheville and found that there was a local business woman who packages and sells soap nuts, Shecology. The soap nuts come packaged in a brown paper bag, with a small fabric drawstring bag & instructions. My favorite way (so far) to use the soap nuts is to boil them (8 nuts/1 cup of water), cool, strain, add essential oil (I like to use grapefruit, tea tree or lavender depending on the end usage), freeze in an ice cube tray, use 1 cube at at time as needed. I use these cubes in the dishwasher, washer machine, diluted in the dish soap dispenser and diluted in a spray bottle for all purpose cleaner.

I recently met Mari, the owner for Shecology, at the farmer’s market. I shared with her how much I appreciate the soap nuts product and she shared with me a new product they are carrying, cleaning brew. Brew your own cleaning product…so Asheville where we brew lots of beers and kombucha. The Home Cleaning Brew is basically the soap nuts ground into a powder that comes in a teabag. Brew the teabag for 15 minutes in hot water, add to a spray bottle (with your favorite essential oil) & get to cleaning. I tried it out in the bathroom & it worked great - see the before & after photos of the sink.

As with all my experiences with non-toxic cleaners they require a little extra muscle power - elbow grease. Double the benefits - non-toxic & dynamic movement for your body! Fill your cleaning product ingredients from the bulk bins with your own container & use your own rag & you are zero-waste cleaning! What are your favorite non-toxic & DIY cleaning products?