Clean house? Yes, naturally.

Cleanliness is nothing to be made light of – especially in our homes. If you like your home squeaky-clean and have a keen eye for even the tiniest speck of dust, this article is for you.

Have you ever thought that, every time you do your laundry, detergent and water will end up somewhere?

Some of the chemical agents that can be found in the conventional detergents are great at making that difficult stain magically disappear. But, on the other hand, they might condition the normal functioning of the aquatic environment, affect the photosynthesis of plants or even limit the entry of oxygen into the water, jeopardizing biodiversity in the oceans.

The list of ingredients that can harm the environment can be extensive and include unusual expressions such as phosphates or synthetic surfactants (chemicals that, for example, increase the wetting capacity of detergents) derived from oil.

Purchasing biodegradable and less toxic products is always an option. After all, there are already numerous solutions available in supermarkets for all types of cleaning.

The environment appreciates it

If you look carefully, you can find ecological and biodegradable alternatives. The European Union, together with experts in sustainability, industry, consumer organizations and NGOs, has defined criteria for certifying environmentally responsible products through the EU Ecolabel seal. Pingo Doce's Ultra Pro brand already has environmentally friendly alternatives with the EU Ecolabel certification.

But if you want to take it a step forward, there is another alternative: to make your own natural cleaning products, which allows you to know exactly what’s inside the bottle. And how can you make your own natural cleaning products? Check out 5 easy recipes, with ingredients you’ll possibly find lying around in your pantry.

5 homemade cleaning products to protect your home (and the Planet)

Laundry detergent
  1. Laundry detergent

If you think that to make a natural detergent for your clothes you will need an infinity of products, then you are wrong. You’ll just need water and three other ingredients, and the result is a detergent that will make your clothes clean and fragrant, that can be used both in the washing machine and also handwashing.

This is what you’ll need:

  • 50 g of soap (blue, Marseille, coconut, or other natural soap)
  • 3 l water
  • 3 tbsp baking soda
  • 10 drops of essential oil (citrus is most recommended, but lavender, jasmine or ylang-ylang also work well)

Grate the soap with a cheese grater and dissolve it in 1 l of boiling water. Add the baking soda and the essential oil; stir and let the mix rest for an hour.

Add 1 l more of lukewarm water and stir in again. Strain the mix in order to remove the soap residue, and add the 1 l of the remaining water, cold. Pour into a jar and you’re ready to start doing your laundry in a more natural way.

Multi-surface citrus detergent with disinfectant properties
  1. Multi-surface citrus detergent with disinfectant properties

Two items that are most certainly found in every household are oranges and lemons. After consuming them, the peels often end up in the bin. So, why not give these peels a new purpose and turn them into a homemade natural cleaning product, with the disinfectant properties (and scent) of citrus fruits?

For that you’ll need:

  • Citrus peels
  • Vinegar
  • Water

In a jar, gather all the peels of various citrus fruits. Then, fill the jar up to half with vinegar, and the remaining with water – making sure to leave some space for eventual fermentation gases.

Keep this mix in a cupboard for three weeks and after that pour the liquid (without the peels) into a spray bottle. Now you have a ready-to-use multi-surface cleaner, all natural, that can be used directly without the need to dilute, on floors, kitchen areas, bathrooms, and various surfaces.

But be careful, acidic products (such as this disinfectant) shouldn’t be used in marble!

Vinegar window cleaner
  1. Vinegar window cleaner

Don’t let yourself be fooled by thinking vinegar is only good in salads, and that its smell will linger when used for anything else. Not only does vinegar not leave a smell, but it is also very effective in cleaning glasses and mirrors.

The ingredients needed are:

  • 2 glasses of water
  • 1/2 glass of apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 glass of rubbing alcohol (minimum 70% vol.)
  • 1 to 2 drops of orange essential oil

Mix all the ingredients directly in the jar or bottle that you’ll use to keep the homemade product and shake. And it is ready to use!

To use, spray the window cleaner onto a cloth and then use directly on the glass. Avoid using in very hot days, since this mix dries rather quickly, and might leave some spots.

  1. Degreaser

The biggest fear of anyone that ventures into making homemade cleaning products is possibly not being able to find a product that can successfully get rid of all the dried grease from that baking tray from the usual Sunday roast. But for every problem there is a solution, and this one has the added bonus of not polluting the planet.

To make a natural kitchen degreaser you’ll need:

  • 30 g baking soda
  • 125 ml white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp of natural dishwashing liquid
  • 0.5 l of hot water
  • 5 drops of lemon essential oil

Mix all the ingredients in a jar or jug and shake firmly. To use your homemade degreaser more easily, just pour some into a spray bottle, apply where needed, and wipe with a cloth – like you would normally do. For harder and drier greasy spots, spray thoroughly and let sit for about 5 minutes before you wipe it out.

Multipurpose detergent
  1. Multipurpose detergent

Are you looking for a simple, easy, and quick recipe for a natural all-in-one cleaning product? This is the answer to your prayer: a homemade multipurpose detergent that you can use on your bathroom, floor, surfaces, to wash your car or even to be used as an insect repellent – and you can apply it in plants, too!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1 l of water
  • 50 g of saponaria nuts (also known as Soap nuts)
  • 2 to 6 drops of one or more essential oils (optional)
  • Vinegar (optional)

Bring 1 l of water to a boil and add the saponaria nuts. Let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, while making sure the heat is not too high and causing the water to evaporate. Add the essential oil and the vinegar, and let cool. Strain the mixture and pour it into a jar or spray bottle for easier application.

Et voilá – the planet will most definitely appreciate it.