How to clean without the chemicals

Since the sun is shining ( AT LAST) and we are technically in the full throws of spring it seems a good time to talk about spring cleaning.  Having dogs (and cats – I live in a zoo, honestly) I’m paranoid about my home smelling like a puppy farm, but with everything in the shops packed with a shit storm of chemicals it’s time to start looking at some natural methods.


There is another, more selfish reason for me starting to look at natural remedies, both myself and Scooby have extremely sensitive skin. We’ve just about managed to get all of Scoob’s fur back so the last thing I want to do whilst he has a thick coat is start using cleaning products that will irritate his skin further – bald is not that cool when you’re a dog.

With most household cleaners containing carcinogens, endocrine disruptors and neurotoxins it’s even more important to me now to find ways of keeping the house smelling nice and being CLEAN without causing us any harm.

I found this particular piece interesting from

To demonstrate an idea of how pervasive these substances can be under your kitchen sink, 2-butoxyethanol is a good example. Although the signal word for this chemical is “Danger!”, it is found in no less than 108 household cleaning products as well as countless auto, hobby/craft and exterior home maintenance products.

According to the Material Safety Data Sheet from one leading trigger spray cleaner degreaser, exposure to this chemical is reportedly associated with chronic blood and bone marrow damage. It affects the central nervous system, blood and blood-forming organs, kidneys, liver and lymphoid system. It is an eye and skin irritant. Exposure is generally through the lungs, skin, and mouth with 75% of total exposure attributable to the skin. Even vapors from this chemical can be absorbed by the skin. Under existing EPA guidelines, this chemical is considered a neurotoxin and a possible human carcinogen and has been found to cause cancer in animal testing. Symptoms of exposure to 2-butoxyethanol include central nervous depression, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and prominent headache.

It is important to stress that even products that may be perceived as healthy because their names include the words “green”, “citrus”, “lemon” or “orange” may contain this ingredient

So with cleaning products being the most toxic things in our home, here are 5 home-made cleaning potions I’ve been using lately.

Want a fresh carpet? 

Remember Shake ‘n’ Vac? I don’t know if you can still get it but this little mixture reminds me of it. It’s quick, easy to make and leaves your carpets looking clean and smelling gorgeous.

Simply mix together ½ cup of Bicarbonate Soda, 10-20 drops of essential oils, a tablespoon of washing powder. Then shake the powder on to your carpet, leave 10 minutes before vacuuming through. Fresh smelling carpets without the chemicals.  I use a kilner jar with holes pierced in the top for my shaker.

Get your windows looking crystal clear

My granddad was a window cleaner so really I have no excuse for dirty windows (although trust me, I’ve a whole book full of them).   I found this handy tip courtesy of

After creating your own window washing solution with 2 cups of water, 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon liquid dish soap (mixed and added to a spray bottle), clean windows and dry with towel. Then, use a pad of crumpled newspaper to buff the clean, dry glass. The printer’s ink will give your windows an extra sparkle.

Wood Polish

This tip was from one of my favourite magazine “The Simple Things

Makes 200ml

10ml Rapeseed or Olive Oil
100ml Vinegar
A few drops of Essential Oils

Shake the oil and vinegar in a jar. Wipe on with one cloth and polish off with another.

Drain Freshener 

Other tip from The Simple Things (do you see why I love it now?). It’s so easy to whack industrial strength bleach down your drains – with little thought to what it could be doing to the environment.

Try this single use freshner

250g Bicarbonate Soda
1 Litre of Boiling Water
A few strips of unwaxed lemon peel, or a few drops of lavender oil.

Pour the bicarb. soda down the sink or drain followed by the boiling water (mix the lemon or lavender in with the water). 

 Get rid of carpet stains

Anyone with a dog or cat will tell you how carpet stains are pretty much the bane of your life. I had one (Cream, it was stupid I know) carpet totally ruined by muddy paws and things dragged in from the garden.

But a tip from Apartment Therapy has lifted the stains and left me with pretty normal looking carpets.


After blotting stain with paper towel, mix one teaspoon dish soap with one teaspoon vinegar dissolved in 2 1/2 cups warm water. Apply to stain and rub gently. Rinse with warm water. Blot dry.

If you’ve got a tip then please do share it below…

Author: Rachael

I'm a journalist and creative consultant. I write about how busy women (just like you) can live, work and eat - better.

3 thoughts on “How to clean without the chemicals”

  1. Greetings! Very useful advice within this post!
    It’s the little changes that will make the
    greatest changes. Thanks for sharing!

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