Natural Cleaning Products

Lemons are useful for many household chores and can help keep your home clean and sparkling. Making your own cleaning products may seem like a lot of work, but many of the suggestions in this chapter are extremely quick and easy, and use everyday ingredients that you will most likely find you already have in your storecupboard.

Making your own products is fun, and quite addictive. It will allow you to take control over your own environment, as well as saving you money. We all have busy lives, and it may seem easier to pick up a different brightly- coloured bottle for each of your household chores, but consider the benefits of leaving them behind in the store.

Greater control

Store-bought products often contain a cocktail of harsh chemicals which can be absorbed into the skin and breathed in. By making your own products you can be sure that only safe, natural ingredients are being used. You can also control the strength of the product by diluting as required, meaning that you can use the same product at different strengths for different tasks around the home.

More cost effective

Many of the ingredients used in natural cleaning products are easily available and inexpensive. The most commonly used ingredients storecupboard staples like lemons, vinegar and baking soda (bicarbonate of soda).

Environmentally friendly

The use of natural products is often referred to as ‘green cleaning’. Making your own products cuts out the levels of pollution that are made during the production of commercial cleaning products, as well as reducing plastic consumption. Not all of the packaging for store-bought cleaning products is recyclable. Some commercial cleaning products may contain ingredients that are tested on animals.

Safer for pets and children

If you know that there are no ‘nasties’ in your cleaning products, you do not need to worry so much about other family members – especially pets and children – accidentally coming into contact with them. This also applies to any family members who might suffer from allergies – homemade natural products are unlikely to cause asthma attacks or irritation to the skin and eyes.

Create a nicer atmosphere

Homemade products that contain essential oils may have additional beneficial effects on your mood. Think of it as combining a deep cleaning session with an aromatherapy treatment for the whole family!

Using lemons in natural cleaning products

Lemon juice is one of the most effective natural cleaning agents. It contains high levels of citric acid, and has a low pH level as well as antibacterial properties. Note that it is fine to use bottled lemon juice instead of fresh lemon juice for household tasks. This is available from most grocery stores and is very useful to have to hand.

• Before cleaning any area with your homemade lemon products, test a small area first.

• Lemon juice may damage natural stone and brassplated objects.

Air-freshening

Lemon has a pleasing smell and its scent is used in many commercial cleaning products. It can be used on its own, or in combination with other natural ingredients, to get rid of a variety of unpleasant or unwanted smells around the home.

Mood lifter

Half-fill the bowl of a ceramic diffuser with water, add a few drops of lemon essential oil (Citrus limonum) and light the nightlight (tea light). The vapour of the oil is said to help lift the spirits, clear the mind and improve concentration.

Room spritzer

Add a few drops of lemon essential oil to a spray bottle halffilled with water, shake well and spray to make the air in a room smell fragrant.

Wardrobe freshener

Leave thinly pared strips of lemon peel to dry out well over several days, then put them in your wardrobe or chest of drawers to scent your clothes.

Pot pourri

Add strips of dried lemon peel to a bowl of fragrant dried flowers or leaves for a pot pourri to scent a room. Sprinkle the contents of the bowl every couple of weeks with a few drops of lemon essential oil to refresh the aroma.

Pomander

Make a wonderfully scented pomander by studding a lemon with cloves, then tying some ribbon around it so you can hang it up.

Kitchen deodorant

Deodorize the drain of your kitchen sink by putting the juice of a lemon into a glass of water and pouring the lemon water down the plughole.

After cooking

Remove the odour of fish, onion or garlic from your hands by rubbing them with fresh lemon juice.

Vacuum clean

Freshen your vacuum-cleaner bag by sprinkling a few drops of lemon essential oil on to a paper tissue and putting this into the bag.

Cool down

Keep your fridge smelling sweet by putting half a lemon on a saucer.

Fresh air

Make your air humidifier smell good by adding a few drops of lemon juice to its water container.

Dispose of odour

Make a waste-disposal (garbage disposal) unit smell fresh by putting the peel of a lemon through it and rinsing with water.

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