How to make your own natural cleaning products

From a salt scrub for your chopping board to vinegar and lemon for your work surfaces, natural health expert Harriet Birrell’s DIY cleaning products are nasty-free and easy to make.

eco cleaners
Before you go shopping, label your jars with what you plan to put in them. This will help you get exactly what you need, saving on cost and waste. Image: Nikole Ramsay and Ed Sloane

Making your own home cleaning products can be quick, easy and affordable. Once you have the core ingredients in your pantry (think everyday items such as lemon, coarse salt and vinegar), you can mix, top up or replace your potions within minutes, ditching harsh, drying detergents at the same time.

A quick tip: store your mixtures in clear jars and upcycled containers in a cool dry space to help them last longer. Opt for durable varieties such as glass, ceramic pots and stainless-steel lunchboxes for longevity (lakeland.co.uk sells a wide selection).

Clearly label your DIY mixture with the product name and the date you made it. (Use a permanent marker, or simply write it on a tag and tie it around the top of the container.)

Arrange frequently used items within easy reach on kitchen shelving to see everything you have to hand in one place. Most of these ingredients will last for six months before having to be replaced.

But feel free to make in smaller batches to save on space.

The recipes here will arm you with everything you need to create a calm and clean home.

This is an edited extract from Home by Natural Harry by Harriet Birrell, which is published by Hardie Grant, price £16.99. To order a copy for £14.95 until 7 February, go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3308 9193. Free p&p on orders over £15.

Chopping board cleaner

Cleaning your boards periodically with this simple mixture helps lift out stains, and it’s a great way to give them a quick refresh. For a similar chopping board, try heals.com.

chopping board cleaner
Nikole Ramsay and Ed Sloane

MAKES enough to clean one average-sized chopping board

INGREDIENTS
1 tbsp coarse salt
Half a lemon

  • Sprinkle the salt over the surface of the chopping board. Squeeze the lemon over, then scrub the wood to lift out stains. Rinse well and stand upright to dry.

Surface spray

Not only does this help to disinfect all kinds of surfaces, but it smells amazingly fresh with bursts of eucalyptus and lemon. It’s great for cleaning up after a meal as it helps eliminate cooking odours.

surface spray
Nikole Ramsay and Ed Sloane

PREP TIME 2 minutes
MAKES 500ml
EQUIPMENT amber spray bottle and funnel (250ml)

INGREDIENTS
250ml filtered water
240ml cleaning vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon, strained
20 drops lemon essential oil
10 drops eucalyptus essential oil

  • Combine all ingredients in the spray bottle. Attach the lid and give it a shake. Store in a cool, dark place.

TO USE Spray over the surface to be cleaned and wipe it with a clean cloth.

Cream cleaner

For stubborn grime, grease and rust stains, this natural dish liquid is just as effective as the store-bought versions, and the basic ingredients means that you can quickly whip up a new batch whenever it runs out. Add a few drops of lemon essential oil to lend a fresh scent.

cream cleaner
Nikole Ramsay and Ed Sloane

PREP TIME 2 minutes
MAKES about 230g
EQUIPMENT 1 medium bowl, mixing spoon and airtight jar

INGREDIENTS
180g baking soda
20 drops lemon essential oil or juice (optional)
10 drops eucalyptus essential oil (optional)
3 tbsp pure liquid castile soap, plus more if needed

  • In a bowl, combine the baking soda and essential oils. While stirring, slowly pour in the castile soap and mix until it becomes a smooth paste. Transfer to a small airtight jar or similar container to store. It can dry out over long periods: if that happens, add more castile soap and mix.

TO USE Add a teaspoon or more to a clean cloth. Run cream over the surface to be cleaned, lightly scrubbing away dirt. Rinse or wipe the surface.

Get the kit

Stylish utensils that will make you want to do the cleaning!

household cloth

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Household cloth, £10, goodhoodstore.com

storage box

Box, £20, gardentrading.co.uk

dustpan and brush

Dustpan and brush, £24, nordicnest.com

glass storage jars

Storage jars, £18 for three, johnlewis.com

dustpan and broom

Dustpan and broom, £164, nordicnest.com

saucepan brush

Saucepan brush, £9, conranshop.co.uk

utensil jar

Utensil jar, £34, labourandwait.co.uk

carpet beater

Carpet beater, £41, manufactum.co.uk

sponges

Bundle of sponges, £15, libertylondon.com

toolbox

Toolbox, £28, conranshop.co.uk

basket

Utility basket, £12, gardentrading.co.uk

sponge

Sponge, £2, goodhoodstore.com

storage jars

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Storage jars, £19 each, johnlewis.com

brush

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Brush, £15, conranshop.co.uk

chalkboard stickers

Chalk board stickers, £4.49, gingerray.co.uk

microfibre cloths

Microfibre cloths, £3 for two, nordicnest.com

dish brushes

Dish brushes, £4 each, labourandwait.co.uk

storage jars

Bamboo storage jars, £19 each, totem.store

feather duster

Feather duster, £47, manufactum.co.uk