Supermarket big brand cleaning products include an array of chemicals that don’t break down in the sewage works – even if the water utility companies leaves them there for a long time rather than just allowing the sewage to spill into our waterways and shores. This includes parabens (preservatives), phthalates (perfumes), triclosan (an antibiotic), phosphates, plus unnecessary animal testing and basic ingredients from fossil fuels or palm oil.
This is a sustainable action that can save money – making your own cleaning products at home. Here’s the first recipe in a series, for glass cleaning spray:
- white or spirit vinegar (not distilled) – 250 ml
- water – 250 ml
- surgical spirit – 15 ml
Ideally you can salvage an old spray bottle to re-use for storing and spraying your glass cleaner. Despite big brands never offering refills for these spray bottles, they actually last many times longer than they are ever used for.
This is just as effective as anything you can buy to remove fingerprints, smudges, and other dirt and grime from glass surfaces. It is also safe to use on mirrors and windows.
The last trick – used old newspaper to clean windows and mirrors, it’s practically as good as a professional chamois leather.
Toilet cleaner. This is a more difficult product to get right, because it uses both baking soda (an alkali) and white/spirit vinegar (an acid) and as every chemist knows, if you put an acid with an alkali you get a strong reaction as they cancel each other out. So the ingredients have to be kept separate. This is no doubt why supermarket toilet cleaners are based on bleach, because it is a lot easier to sell bleach in bottles than baking soda and vinegar separately packaged.
This is the commonest set of instructions:
- Put 250g baking soda into the toilet (buy it in bulk, not in expensive pots from the baking aisle)
- Pour in 125ml of white/spirit vinegar (it will fizz)
- Let it sit for 30 mins
- Give it a good scrub with the toilet brush, and flush it away
If you really want to remove stubborn stains, limescale or other dirt and grime, leave it longer. There is a safety precaution though: do not mix in bleach as well when using this homemade cleaner. It will cause a chemical reaction that produces toxic gases.