Are Natural Cleaning Materials As Good As Commercial Cleaners
What They Work
1. People have used baking soda, salt, vinegar, soap and alcohol to clean, sterilise and freshen up their homes for centuries. And now we know how they work to keep disease at bay: they kill the germs that cause infections and rot things down, and they remove the grub and grime that the bacteria feed on. And they really do get things clean and gleaming. If you add in some essential oils, they do an even better job of scenting the home and killing germs.
2. I did a quick comparison at my local supermarket of a box of baking soda and a bottle of vinegar vs a squirt bottle of spray on cleaner (for the bathroom, I think). The baking soda and the vinegar combined were still cheaper than the one bottle, and they would have lasted longer. Plus, I can use the baking soda and the vinegar for cooking and for first aid, which I can’t with the bathroom spray cleaner.
They Aren’t Harmful to You
3. Chemical cleaners always leave my skin cracked and (if I make the mistake of breathing in too hard around them if I use them) and my head aching. I’m not alone, and some people have even worse reactions to the harsh chemicals used in commercial cleaners than I do. You don’t get these reactions with natural cleaners, with the possible exception of soap, which can dry out skin if you don’t rinse it off.
They Aren’t Harmful to the Environment
4. If you flush them down the drain, natural cleaners will break down easily and quickly. Also, manufacturing them isn’t harmful to the environment. I’d hate to think what’s involved in the manufacture of some of those commercial cleaners, but vinegar, essential oil and alcohol are all plant based products, while salt and baking soda are naturally occurring minerals that can be extracted with minimal damage to the environment.
5. Many natural cleaning products can be used for more than one purpose. To take one example, my trusty bottle of dilute vinegar (a 50:50 dilution with water) with a dash of tea tree oil is good as an air freshener in the lav, for getting glass and mirrors gleaming, and for cleaning down the porcelain bits of the loo, too. You can’t say that for, say, commercial air freshener or glass cleaner.
They Don’t Clutter Up Your Cleaning Cupboard
6. Because natural cleaning products can multi-task, you don’t need a billion bottles shoved under the sink (for homes without small children) or up on a high shelf (homes with small children). In fact, you probably don’t need to keep them in the cleaning cupboard at all, as half of them have uses in the kitchen.
Making Your Own Is Satisfying and Makes You Feel Good
7. Making your own is satisfying and makes you feel good. Making your own stuff that works and is cheap helps you feel a bit more independent, clever and resourceful. And as you’re using natural stuff, you are also doing your bit to stop humans wrecking the planet – more brownie points.
You Can Personalise Your Cleaners
8. A dash of essential oil usually goes a long way towards enhancing the disinfecting powers of a home-made natural cleaner. And if you don’t like the smell of, say, tea tree oil, you can easily substitute lavender oil. Or eucalyptus. Or pine. Or lemon. Or…
You Create Less Waste
9. If you make your own natural cleaners, you probably end up re-using the bottles and jars you keep them in once you’ve made them up. This means that you’re creating less waste, unlike the commercial cleaners, which need a new bottle each time (and even the refill packs create more waste, as you go through them really quickly).