Hello, my name is Emily and I am a scrubber.
Quite a few of you mentioned that you'd like to see us making some natural household cleaners. Now, I'll be honest, I'm not too keen on the idea, we've got full hands making the 150-odd Pure Nuff products we already make, but I do make most of my own stuff for home so I thought I'd share some recipes here for those that are interested.
First up, if you're going to go au-naturel at home, invest in a steam cleaner. Yes they're pricey, but it's a workhorse. I haven't done the maths on this one, but I have an idea that if I counted up what I used to spend on cleaning products, it likely paid for itself in a year and half - and I've had Steamie now for seven years, so this will cost in eventually. Most of the harshest chemicals you have at home to deal with the super mucky jobs (dirty ovens, grubby grouting, tile scum, that sort of thing) can be dealt with by your new friend. They've got special attachments for nasty jobs like grout and oven racks for instance and in my humble opinion, they're the business. And if you're going to leave things like bleach behind, you're going to need something that can actually deal with the bacteria and grease that occurs in life, steam does that. Steamie isn't just for floors and ovens though, it's also incredibly useful for the rest of the bathroom, all hard floors, kitchen counters, mattresses, pillows, curtains, upholstery, rugs and the bane of my life, dog beds. When you kill the bacteria, you kill the smell, so there's just no need for perfumey masking of odours, get to the root of the problem, don't just cover it.
You'll need a cloth to wipe up the grime Steamie pushes out on some jobs though, like kitchen surfaces for example and this is a good time to have a chat about microfibre cloths. Yeah, got to ditch them if you're going plastic free I'm afraid. Sorry. They shed those itsy microfibres like a labrador in Spring and our water filtration systems aren't up to the job of filtering out those teeny fibres. So out they go to sea - or, another terrible option - back into our drinking water. I've gone Full Nan with this one, most of my cloths now are squares of old Tshirts that weren't any good for the charity shop. They're cotton, absorb well, wash really well and I don't seem to run short of them thanks to my other half who seems to spend most of his free time running through gorse if the state of his clothes is anything to go by. Hoodies are also superb cleaning cloth material, I bet we've all got at least one of those that we shouldn't be wearing any more... One hoodie will give you a years worth of cloths for all your tough jobs, that and couple of old Tshirts for dusting and polishing and you're good to go.
But I also want my house to smell of something nice, so some scented product are still called for. I make a window cleaner, some bomb-type products to make the loo smell nice (which also look pretty in a jar) and a rug & upholstery freshener. The one thing I still buy is a furniture paste made from beeswax and turps and little else and that comes in a jar (I don't have turps, I don't want turps in my nice glass mixing jugs but wood loves it). I'll pop the recipes for each of these products here for you.
Loo Fizzers Recipe: 200g each of bicarbonate of soda, citric acid and cornstarch, mix all these together in a big bowl and spritz a couple times with water in a spray bottle (go easy, you don't want this puffiing up) and stir thoroughly again till the mixture starts to clump together. Add about 10 mls of your favourite EO (I like citruses for this, they're cheap and pungent) stir thouroughly again and quick as you like, get the powder mix tamped down into ice cube moulds, packing as hard as you can. Allow these to dry out and gently tap out of the mould, pop your dried cubes into a jar or other tightly sealed receptacle and use as you feel necessary.
For windows, I mix cooled boiled water (about 300mls or so, this is not an exact science) with about the same of white vinegar - then polish this off with old newspaper. Decant this into a old spray bottle and off you go, it's easy streak-free squeazy.
To freshen up upholstery and carpets I mix about 300g of cornstarch at a time with about 10mls of EO (I like grapefruit, it's fresh and clears the air) and seive and seive and sieve until I've got a powder mix with no clumps at all. I put this in a shaker jar; sprinkle this on the rug, brush it in gently (I use my dustpan brush) and leave for half an hour or so. Finally, vaccum up all the powder and you're done!
What do YOU use at home for plastic free cleaning?