Everyone who knows me well knows that I like things to be clean and tidy. I’m also a small business owner and teacher, working long hours and cleaning up after a messy partner (who I love dearly, mess and all) and 3 cats. I’ve been a big fan of clorox wipes for their ease and convenience to quickly clean up a mess. I’ve also collected quite a collection of toxic sprays of all varieties. One to clean the toilet, another to clean the bathtub, a different cleaner for the kitchen and then don’t forget you “need” windex for your mirrors and windows. So many plastic bottles, so many toxic substances, so many paper towels and all those clorox wipes thrown away after one little wipe down. What a waste and how easy it was to turn a blind eye to it all!
I’m not going to lie, I was worried about making a change to my cleaning routine to align with our new zero waste goals, but the only hard part was adjusting my habits. The new routine is simple, easy and reduced my waste drastically.
DIY Non-Toxic Reusable Wipes
The first thing I needed to replace was my beloved clorox wipes. There are tons of people who’ve been doing this longer than I have who’ve come up with great solutions, so I turned to the internet for options. I was skeptical this would work as well as my clorox wipes, but thought why not give it a try.
One day when I pulled a jar of pickles out the fridge for lunch I realized this would be the perfect jar to reuse. I like the wide mouth because I can stick my hand in it and get the last wipe from the bottom of the jar. Once we’d finished eating the pickles, I cleaned the jar, removed the sticky label and cut up an old t-shirt to make my reusable rags to a similar size as my clorox wipes. This is the simple recipe of “cleaning juice” I use for my wipes.
DIY Reusable Wipes Recipe
Pour about 1 finger of white vinegar into your jar
Add water to fill about ⅓ of the jar
Add 15 to 20 drops of essential oils
Close lid and give a good shake
Fold up rags and place them into the mixture
I use tea tree oil for it’s antibacterial and antiviral properties, and lavender as it helps mask the pungent vinegar smell. White vinegar is made from grain alcohol and can kill salmonella, e.coli and other bacteria. It is biodegradable and non-toxic.
“Vinegar, be it white or malt or rosemary-infused, is about 5 percent acetic acid. The acid kills bacteria and viruses, by chemically changing the proteins and fats that make up these nasties and destroying their cell structures. When US researchers tested commercial cleaning products against alternatives like vinegar and bicarbonate of soda, they discovered that neat vinegar killed a range of household pathogens. Science also tells us, for example, that vinegar will kill off the flu virus.”
- ABC Health & Wellbeing by Anna Evangeli & Amy Thanh Ai Tong
I am even more in love with my reusable wipes, those clorox wipes and waste are out of my life for good! It takes me 1 minute to make and is still there for me for quick clean ups.
DIY Non-Toxic All Purpose Cleaner
This one I’m really thrilled about, because it also gives me a way to make the most out of all the lemons I use!
DIY All-Purpose Cleaner Recipe
- Collect your used citrus peels (anything lemons, limes, oranges) in a jar in the fridge
- When the jar is full, add white vinegar.
- Let it sit for about 2 weeks so the citrus juices can dissolve into the liquid.
- Strain the liquid through a sieve
- Pour equal parts of vinegar mix to water into a spray bottle
I use this for so many things - kitchen counters/stove/oven/microwave/fridge/sink, bathroom tub/counters/sink/toilet, windows, mirrors and more. There are a few surfaces you shouldn’t clean with vinegar, so check out this handy list if you aren’t sure. I used the glass spray bottle I talked about in our last blog. It’s the best option I have found for a reusable spray bottle.
You already know why to use vinegar, but did you know that citrus peels contain an oil D-limonene which is a power solvent for dirt especially grease. And who doesn’t love a lemony fresh smelling kitchen!
I have found this mixture works great on cleaning my stove top, but I needed something more for cleaning soap scum off the bathtub. For this I add baking soda. I sprinkle a little baking soda over the surface and then spray my all purpose cleaner and give a good scrub. The baking soda acts as a mild abrasive without scratching the surface, all while keeping my cleaning non-toxic and biodegradable
Rags for All Occasions
Sometimes your old clothes you don’t want anymore are still in good enough shape to pass on to someone else or donate. Sometimes they have holes or stains meaning the materials life as clothing is over. BUT they can always become rags. I now cut up our old clothes to make rags for different clean up situations. Soft materials I use for my face instead of cotton wool squares, and thicker materials I use for cleaning the kitchen and bathroom. Between my rags and newspapers (the free kind/junk mail) I have replaced my need for paper towels.
After all that fear of changing my cleaning routine, I found that I’ve actually made things a lot more simple, saved money and feel just as clean. I should have made this change long ago!
In our next video, we share our Top 8 picks for saving Money while Saving the Planet!
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Glass Spray Bottle
We bought 2 of these Glass Spray Bottles for our DIY Cleaning Mixtures. The sprayers are plastic and these are just notorious for breaking. One has worked really well, and the other did not.
Does Vinegar really kill household germs - ABC News
Does Vinegar really kill household germs - David Suzuki Foundation
Antibacterial properties of Tea tree oil - Medical News Today
FAQ on Vinegar - The Vinegar Institute
Things You Should and Shouldn’t Use Vinegar to Clean - One Good Thing
Limonene Oil from Citrus - Plantae