More tips on living chemical free
Clean the green way. Most cleaning products you find in the supermarket and
hardware shop contain harmful solvents, acids and corrosive chemicals, which
can harm our environment and the health of you and your children. So what does
clean green mean? Try these tips:
In the kitchen
Rinsing dishes before food residue hardens makes cleaning them easier and
uses less detergent. Commercial dishwashing liquids are designed to create
unnecessary suds. Use green dishwashing liquids or dissolved pure soap flakes
in hot water. These work just as well as the commercial options. If you’ve got
some really tough spots of baked-on grease, add a splash of vinegar.
Someone burn the pots and pans? Coat the burnt areas with a thick paste of
bicarbonate soda and water - leave for several hours before washing.
Although prevention is the best medicine (don't overfill pans and scrape up spills
as soon as they're cold enough to handle) if spills do happen use the Heavy Duty
Cleanser recipe at the bottom of this page. Make sure to wear gloves when
scrubbing to protect your hands.
In the bathroom
For general cleaning, use a firm bristled brush with bicarb and hot water.
Most commercial tile cleaners do more harm than good because they contain
chloride, a serious irritant to the eyes, nose and skin.
Wipe or spray vinegar onto the mould, leave overnight and use some elbow
grease and scrub in the morning.
Try a strong solution of vinegar, and apply a thick paste of borax and lemon juice
to stubborn areas. Leave for several hours.
For routine cleaning, use 3 tablespoons of vinegar in 1 litre of warm water. Dry
and polish with crumpled newspaper.
In the laundry
Always try to wash with biodegradable laundry products. However, if these aren’t
working for you, soap biodegrades safely and completely, and is non-toxic. You
can buy it is as liquid, flakes, powder or bars. Bars can be grated to dissolve
more easily in hot water. Look for soap without synthetic scents, colours or other
additives. You may need to dissolve the soap a little in the water before you start
When making the initial switch from detergents to soap, wash items once with
washing soda only. This will eliminate detergent residues that might otherwise
react with soap to cause yellowing of fabrics.
Other laundry tips
Pre-soaking - Soak really dirty items in warm water with 1/2 cup washing soda
for 30 minutes. Rub grubby spots with liquid soap.
Bleach - Use 1/2 cup borax per wash to whiten and brighten colours.
Fabrics softener - Add 1/2 cup vinegar or 1/4 cup bicarb during final rinse.
Static cling - To reduce static cling in tumble-dried synthetics like rayon or
polyesters, dampen hands when folding. Better still use the clothes line.
Dry-cleaning - Try to buy items that don't require dry-cleaning as most dry-
cleaning solvents are toxic. If you must dry-clean, air the clothes thoroughly
before bringing them indoors. Many garments labelled "dry clean only" can be
safely hand-washed using mild soap.
For routine cleaning, use 3 tablespoons of vinegar in 1 litre of warm water. To dry
surfaces, use reusable cheesecloth or crumpled newspaper. If the glass is
especially dirty, first wash with warm soapy water.
Your drains can be kept open, clean and odour-free without the use of corrosive
There are two simple rules:
Never pour grease down the drain
Always use a drain sieve.
In addition, use this preventative measure for routine maintenance up to once a
week: Pour 1/4 cup bicarb down the drain. Follow with 1/2 cup vinegar and plug
the drain until fizzing stops. Flush with 4 litres of boiling water. If you have two
sinks, plug one side before commencing the procedure. Also try this method if
When buying carpet, choose natural materials such as cotton and wool over
synthetics. Buy rugs and carpets that haven't been treated with insecticides and
When rugs are cleaned, make sure no pesticides are used. Avoid commercial
products containing chlorine, formaldehyde and solvents such as
trichloroethylene, methylene and nitrobenzene.
To thoroughly clean and deodorise carpets WITHOUT chemicals, mix 2 parts
corn meal (polenta) with 1 part borax. Sprinkle liberally, leave for one hour and
then vacuum. Cat peed on the carpet? Quick deodorising is easy - sprinkle the
carpet with bicarb then vacuum.
Heavy Duty Cleanser 1
4 litres hot water
1/4 cup cloudy ammonia
1 tablespoon bicarbonate of soda
Mix together. For a stronger mixture, double all the ingredients except
Heavy Duty Cleanser 2
2 tablespoons borax
1 teaspoon soap
1 litre water
This can be stored in a spray bottle.
Use 1/4 cup borax dissolved in 2 litres hot water. Keeping surfaces clean
and dry reduces the need for disinfectants.