HOMEMADE CLEANING PRODUCTS
50/50 water and vinegar
– NEVER use vinegar on marble, granite, stone, stone tile, egg stains, or irons. Some surfaces need special attention, so research the needs of your home’s surfaces before you clean.
– Good for: floors (test on a small spot first), bathroom fixtures, windows and other glass, microwaves, stainless steel, chrome, door handles, electronics, jewelry, fruit and vegetable wash, deodorizer (spray into empty trash can and let dry), dishwasher rinse-aid, etc.
● You may wish to dilute this mix and add lemon for hardwood floors.
– Options for adding scents:
● Lemon rinds with fresh rosemary sprigs (let infuse for 1 week before using)
● Orange rinds with peppermint essential oil (let infuse for 1 week before using)
● Fresh eucalyptus sprigs with tea tree oil (let infuse for 1 week before using)
– Use undiluted vinegar for spots that are very difficult to clean.
SURFACE SCRUB CLEANER
– Perfect for kitchens and bathrooms. Tip: For exceptionally tough jobs spray with vinegar first – full strength or diluted – let sit and follow with the scrub.
– For hard water locations, like Paris: baking soda or salt (or combination of both) with 10-15 drops essential oil to scent. Mix and store in glass. To use, sprinkle and add water.
– For locations with soft water: 2 cups baking soda, ½ cup to 2/3 cup liquid Castile soap (avoid those that contain sodium lauryl (laureth) sulfate (SLS) or Diethanolamine (DEA)), 4 teaspoons vegetable glycerin (a preservative), (optional) 5 drops of essential oil such as lavender or tea tree. Mix and keep in a sealed glass jar for up to 2 years.
DISH SOAP & DISHWASHER LIQUID
Three distinct options:
– Simple: A damp cloth and a bar of palm-oil-free Castile soap are perfect to hand wash dishes.
– DIY liquid soap: Dissolve 70g of grated palm-oil-free Castile soap in 2 liters of boiling distilled water. Apply to damp cloth to wash dishes, and to create hand/body wash or shampoo.
– Commercial options: Liquid soaps that are petroleum-free, biodegradable, or phosphate-free.
WOOD FURNITURE POLISH
Two DIY recipes:
– No vinegar:1 cup olive oil and ½ cup of lemon juice.
– With vinegar: ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ cup white distilled vinegar, 20-30 drops lemon essential oil (2 teaspoons lemon juice may be substituted for lemon oil but then must then be stored in refrigerator).
How to use:
– Mix well. Moisten a clean, dry cloth with the polish and rub wood in the direction of the grain. Use a soft brush to work the polish into corners or tight places.
Other tips for wooden furniture:
– To remove water spots, rub them with toothpaste. To remove scratches use equal parts lemon juice and oil, and rub this into the wood with a soft cloth.
NATURAL LAUNDRY CLEANING
There are many DIY recipes for laundry, but you must be careful to choose an option that will be good for the type of water in your location (hard or soft or in-between). Most DIY recipes include a “soap” of some kind as an ingredient, but soaps may leave a residue in a laundry machine, or may not leave your clothes sparkling clean (especially with hard or cold water). Commercial products contain detergents (not soaps), which dissolve easily in cold and hard water.
One AAWE Member has tried many options, and she has had much success with this recipe:
– 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of washing soda [cristaux de soude] added directly in the detergent section of the washing machine.
– 3 reusable soapnuts [noix de lavage bio] that go into a small bag that tumbles with the clothes.
Classic DIY laundry cleaning recipes:
● Dry recipe: Ingredients (for places with hard water): 1 cup grated palm-oil-free Castile soap, 1 cup washing soda, and 1 cup baking soda. // Mix ingredients together in a mixer and store in a glass container. Use 1 tablespoon per load (2 for heavily soiled laundry).
● Liquid recipe: Dissolve 70g grated palm-oil-free Castile soap in 2 liters of boiling distilled water. Store in a glass container. // To make laundry tabs: pour the dissolved soap mixture into a silicone ice cube tray and store in the refrigerator. // May be used in the washing machine, to clean upholstery or to hand-wash dry cleaning.
– One fair trade and natural detergent-based laundry cleaner is Dr. Bronner’s“Sal Suds”.
– Always buy eco-friendly products that are petroleum-free, biodegradable, or phosphate-free.
DIY laundry softener: vinegar + drops of essential oil
Where to find the tools:
– Organic [bio] food stores often sell: wooden brushes, alternative sponges, rubber gloves
– Trésorerie (10th): glass spray bottles, sustainable wipes and cleaning cloths, wooden brushes, alternative sponges, stainless steel supplies, and other home goods with minimal packaging.
– Other stores that may have a few items: Hacéa (14th), Merci (3rd), Maison Zero Déchet (18th)
Where to find the ingredients:
– Organic [bio] food stores & the Trésorerie (10th)
– Day by Day sells most ingredients in bulk (7th, 15th, 17th, 92000, 92100, 92160, 94220, and more)
– Hydrogen peroxide is found in pharmacies and home improvement stores
Compiled by Tammy Sas-Mayaux for the AAWE Environmental Task Force. Sources: Ariana of Paris-To-Go.com, Bea Johnson of ZeroWasteHome.com , and WomensVoices.org