So as my final act for Plastic Free July, to cut down on the bottles of various plastic bottles of cleaning products under the sink, I tried out 5 DIY plastic free non-chemical cleaning recipes. With various success… The three main ingredients for them are white wine vinegar, bicarbonate of soda (from a zero waste shop) and leftover lemons!
The first thing I’d like to note is this little nugget of advice: white wine vinegar and bicarbonate of soda CANCEL EACH OTHER OUT. One’s an acid and one’s a base for you chemically inclined lot. Any “hack” that says combine them together creates a lovely fizzing, but basically removes the cleaning properties of them both and results in sodium acetate. So you’ll be washing with slightly salty water…
#1 Glass Cleaner
Our glasses sometimes come out cloudy and streaked from the dishwasher. To get them clear, the recipe suggested ¼ cup white vinegar mixed with 1 cup of warm water, wipe over glass, rinse and dry. Result! Also did wonders with the shower glass!
#2 Basic General Cleaner
I tried this on my bathroom sink. It stated simply sprinkle with bicarb, scrub it in, leave for a bit, then spray with white wine vinegar and wipe clean! This seemed to work just as well as my normal chemical based cleaner (with some extra elbow grease) and did take some extra effort to wipe up all the bicarb.
#3 Brass/Copper Cleaner
I imagine this one to work on any metal, but I first tried it on these old copper measuring pots. The tutorial said dampen a sponge or cloth in vinegar, sprinkle with salt and scrub the area required. The salt acts as an abrasive and the vinegar softens dirt. With this one you have to rinse thoroughly and dry immediately but just look at the difference – amazing!
#4 Lemon tap/metal cleaner
I had half a lemon previously juiced for last nights dinner, dipped in baking soda and used to scrub all the marks off the taps. It was so effective. Even when using normal cleaner I can end up with streaks. I simply wiped off with a damp cloth and look how shiny it is!
#5 Oven Cleaner
Now this one had me most dubious. Ovens are notoriously hard to clean and even using full strength chemical oven cleaner I’ve still never been able to get some marks out. But I thought I’d give it a go as this one seemed quite popular. The hack stated to mix bicarbonate of soda with a little water at a time to form a thick paste. Apply this paste to burnt on areas and scrub it in. Leave overnight and spray with vinegar in the morning. The fizzing action was really satisfying and I thought of all the bubbles flaking off the dirt flakes. I left it for 15 minutes and then wiped clean – it was definitely cleaner but still didn’t get off the most stubborn stuff. Considering my normal cleaner can’t do this anyway, consider me impressed!
A lot of these swaps were easy and further research online shows many other uses for those three main ingredients, from cleaning jewellery, room freshener and carpet cleaner! Considering these all pretty much did the same job as my previous products, without lots of plastic and harsh toxic chemicals down the sink, I’d say they are successful.
Contact us if you have any other useful tips and we’ll share them on our social media!