There are many benefits to making your own DIY washing machine tablets, dishwasher tablets and kitchen cleaning products at home. Not only does it cost a lot less than going out and buying them, but you also can often use a lot of the products which you already have lying in your kitchen cupboards.
It is also perfect for those who worry about saving the planet and being environmentally friendly. Washing products come in plastic containers, plastic wrappers and large cardboard boxes – some of which can’t be recycled.
They may also contain chemicals which are harmful to the environment and water supply. You may also be conscious of the fact these same chemicals are being used to clean the clothes, dishes and appliances you use every day. There would almost be no point in shopping for an energy efficient washing machine only to use environmentally damaging chemicals to clean your clothes.
Making your cleaning products is thrifty, economical and a lot safer than spending ridiculous amounts on big brands – and they really work. Here are some of our favourite natural alternatives:
Most modern detergents contain carcinogens, perfumes and sulphates. They can cause skin irritation and are toxic to marine life. Not ideal to be cleaning your clothes with.
- 250ml washing soda
- 250ml borax substitute
- 1 bar natural soap
Grate the bar of soap. Add this to the washing soda and borax and mix well. Store in an airtight jar and that is it.
There is some controversy over the use of borax. If you are in the UK or EU, only borax substitutes are available which should be okay to use. It can be substituted for another 250ml of washing soda if you are still hesitant or cannot find any, though.
Cleaning your clothes is a necessity, but you probably want them to smell nice and be soft, too.
- 30 drops essential oil
Simply fill an old jar with white vinegar and add the essential oils. You can use lavender oil, orange essence or any particular preferences you may have. You may have to experiment a bit to get it smelling the way you like. There will be absolutely no vinegar smell left on your clothes.
Fill up to the line on the fabric conditioner drawer with each wash.
You eat off and with the things you put in your dishwasher, so keeping the cleaning tablets as plain as possible will help keep them safe to use.
- 200g baking soda
- 100g table salt
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 ice cube trays (preferably silicone)
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, and then add the lemon juice through a sieve. Mix with your hands until it forms a clumpy texture. Spoon the mixture into the ice cube trays and compress until firmly packed. Place the tablets somewhere dry to air for at least 24 hours. Once completely dried, remove the tabs and store in an air-tight jar or box.
The salt helps to cut hard water build up. You may have to reduce or increase the amount depending on your particular hard water levels.
Add one tablet to your dishwasher detergent compartment with each cycle. You can also use the above all-purpose fabric conditioner as a rinse aid to make your wash even more budget-friendly.
Modern oven cleaners are powerful, but the fumes are commonly too harsh on your lungs. This cleaner requires a bit of elbow grease but will have your oven sparkling and save you having to buy a new one.
- 100g baking soda
- 3 tbsp water
- Rubber gloves
- White vinegar in a spray bottle
Remove the racks from your oven. Mix the baking powder and water in a bowl. You may have to increase the amount of water you use to make a thick, spreadable paste. Spread this all over the interior of your oven, avoiding the heating elements. Use gloves to ensure the paste is thoroughly rubbed in. Allow to sit for at least 12 hours, preferably overnight.
After this, use a damp cloth to remove as much paste as possible. Use a plastic utensil for any hard to reach places. Spray vinegar on to the surfaces, which will fizz and react with any remaining soda. Wipe again and repeat until completely clean.