How to clean without chemicals

health and wellbeing

How to clean without chemicals​

words by
lee teusner // go vita tanunda

Cleaning without chemicals is not only possible, it’s just as effective – plus, you’ll breathe cleaner indoor air, and protect your family from toxic ingredients.

Did you know that conventional chemical-based cleaning products are one of the most frequent reasons for calls to poisoning centres?

Non-green, conventional ingredients can contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which evaporate from products, filling your home with fumes.

These VOCs have been shown to cause skin, eye, nose, throat and lung irritation, along with asthma attacks, headaches and dizziness.

They also expose us to chemicals like glycol ethers, which are linked to cancer and impaired fertility.

Phthalates in synthetic fragrances are another concern.

Regular home use of spray cleaners and air fresheners containing phthalates has been associated with a 30-50 per cent higher risk of asthma.

Natural cleaning products however are safer for us and for the environment.

Using natural cleaning ingredients protects our drinking water as well as plants and wildlife, since conventional cleaners have ingredients that cause harm during their production, use and disposal.

To help you on your way to greener cleaning, we’ve compiled some simple tips and recipes to get you started.

TIP 1 – Make the swap

As you use up a conventional chemical-based cleaner, simply replace it with a greener, cleaner formula – or try making your own cleaners at home.

TIP 2 – Stock up on these staples

Bicarbonate of soda – This is great for when you need a mild abrasive. It’s made of sodium bicarbonate, a slightly alkaline substance which cleans by forming a mild detergent when it reacts with grease and grime.

Lemon juice – Squeeze a lemon for a milder and much better-smelling substitute for bleach. It’s also helpful for countering mould growth, deodorising and removing stains.

White vinegar – This is a good substitute for toilet cleaners. You can also use to remove hard water deposits and mould or stains in grouting.

Tea tree and eucalyptus oils – Use these powerful natural disinfectants to finish off after washing or wiping down surfaces.

Salt – This is great for scouring saucepans and barbecue utensils, acting as both a mild abrasive
and a disinfectant.

TIP 3 – Try these cleaning recipes

Soft scrub natural cleaner

A simple all-natural cleaner perfect for sinks, oven doors, and stovetops.


  • 2 cups bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 cup liquid plant-based Castile soap
  • 3-4 drops olive oil


  • Mix and add water until you achieve your desired consistency.
  • Apply with a damp sponge, and buff residue with a dry cloth.
  • Store in a lidded jar.

Eucalyptus Disinfectant

Perfect for keeping bathrooms smelling sweet, or for freshening up a sickroom.


  • 30 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons vodka
  • 250 ml distilled water


  • Combine ingredients in a spray bottle.
  • Shake mixture thoroughly before use.

Vinegar Floor Cleaner

Great for tiles and safe for wooden floors.


  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 2 litres hot water


  • Combine ingredients in a bucket and use to mop the floor.

Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner

This cleaner works well even on old stains and discolouration.


  • Bicarbonate of soda
  • White vinegar


  • Flush toilet so sides of bowl are wet.
  • Sprinkle the sides of the bowl with bicarbonate of soda.
  • Spray vinegar over it until it fizzes lightly.
  • Leave for 30 minutes, then scrub.

Lee Teusner

go vita tanunda
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