Making your own cleaning products is a great way to cut down on waste and unnecessary chemicals. It’s easy to make using things that you probably have at home, and will save you money in the process. On top of this, it’s also a great way to reuse and repurpose empty, clean bottles you’ve collected. We’ve shared a few tried and tested DIY cleaning recipes below: DIY nappy wipes, a general all-purpose cleaner, and a drain cleaner.
Cleaning and disinfecting
As we are in the middle of a pandemic, we want to briefly acknowledge the difference between cleaning and disinfectant products. Cleaners remove dirt on surfaces and some, but not all germs. Disinfectants kill germs, including bacteria and viruses. Furthermore, it is best practice to clean first, then follow up with disinfecting. This article by CHOICE has some great information about cleaning and disinfecting against coronavirus.
DIY cleaners in early learning centres
This is a topic that is sure to raise debate and we’d love to hear your thoughts! Do you make DIY cleaning solutions for use at home and/or childcare? Remember we are talking about DIY cleaners, not disinfectants.
DIY cleaning solution recipes
Meagan’s Nappy Wipes
Our team member Meagan shares her DIY nappy wipe solution below. Meagan says “during my daughter’s cloth nappy days, I used to make my own nappy wipe solution to spray on a small terry towelling cloth.” Whether it was the cloth nappies, the solution or something else, Meagan was delighted that her daughter rarely got nappy rash.
Meagan recommends the following recipe adapted from Wellness Mama:
- 2 cups boiling or distilled water (cooled down)
- 1 tablespoon of pure aloe vera juice
- 1 tablespoon of pure witch hazel
- 1 teaspoon of liquid castile soap
- 1 teaspoon of calendula
- A few drops each of lavender and tea tree oil.
Mix well and transfer the solution to a spray bottle. Shake before use and store next to your stash of cloth wipes so you can spray and wipe bub with no fuss!
All-purpose DIY cleaner
Alexis Marks has been making her own cleaning products for years. Alexis is the Lead Educator of the 1-2 year old group at Essendon Kids. She started doing research on cleaning chemicals after frequently getting headaches after using commercial cleaning products. With the help of some books (listed below) and other DIYers, she started experimenting with different recipes using ingredients she had at home.
Alexis’s super simple general all-purpose cleaner recipe is as follows:
- Equal parts water and white vinegar
- Lemon essential oil (you chose the number of drops depending on how strong you like the smell).
Alexis says that “you want to look for pure essential oils that have antimicrobial, antibacterial and/or antifungal properties.” For example, peppermint, cedarwood, eucalyptus, lavender, tea-tree, lemongrass or lemon. And just be careful with some surfaces as the acidic nature of the vinegar can damage surfaces such as marble and granite over time.
Of course you can’t go past a mix of eco-friendly detergent or liquid soap mixed with water for another cheap and effective all-purpose cleaning option.
All-purpose DIY drain cleaner
To unblock drains at home, Alexis uses a combination of bicarb, vinegar and boiling water. Pour equal amounts of bicarb soda and vinegar down the drain and let it all bubble up. The wait for 15 minutes and pour boiling water down the drain. Alexis swears by this method! For fat, oil or grease drain clog, try environmentally-friendly dish detergent and hot water.
Off-the-shelf eco-friendly cleaning products
If you’re not quite ready to make your own cleaning products, there are plenty of off-the-shelf environmentally responsible options to choose from nowadays! Tri Nature is a brand we’ve seen used in lots of early learning centres. They promote their products as being plant-based, eco-friendly, grey water and septic safe, safer for kids and pets, and without toxic chemicals. For bulk buying of many of the ingredients we’ve listed above, check out N-Essentials. Thieves has a popular essential oil blend with beautiful scents of lemon, clove, cinnamon and eucalyptus that you can combine with water. In addition, Happy Human also has some great cleaner solutions. We are in no way affiliated with any of these companies 🙂
- Waste Not – Make a Big Difference by Throwing Away Less by Erin Rhoads
- Low Tox Life by Alexx Stuart
- Down to Earth by Rhonda Hetzel
- The Empowered Educator weighs in on the debate around eco-friendly cleaning products in childcare and shares her insights – Effective and Safe Green Cleaning at Home and Daycare.
- The Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia also has a list of disinfectants that have an effect against COVID 19.