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Get your (natural) scrub on

Natural cleaning with ReFILL Shop Bude

Disinfecting spray, bleach, surface cleaners, disinfecting wipes—the products themselves and their packaging generate a huge amount of waste and pollute not only our water, but affect our air quality too. Why not cut the plastic and save some pennies by making your own from every day ingredients? Despite what the Hinch crowd might have you believe, cleaning a house naturally is no less effective than using harsh chemicals.

Switching to homemade DIY cleaners might sound like a lot more work, but it’s actually quite simple. You can buy the core ingredients here at ReFILL Shop Bude, and the optional extras you’ll probably already have, or are otherwise easy to come by.

Key ingredients

These items are available to buy in our shop

  • white vinegar
  • coarse salt
  • sodium bicarbonate
  • rapeseed oil
  • castile soap

These ingredients you may already have at home

  • lemons
  • essential oils
  • washing up liquid
  • washing soda (sodium carbonate) – if you don’t have this at home, make your own – cover the bottom of a baking tray with an inch of sodium bicarbonate, and heat in the oven at 200C for 1 hour, stirring occasionally)
  • reuseable cloths
  • spray bottles

18 recipes for cleaning the natural way

Glass cleaner

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Combine the following ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well:

  •  2 cups of water.  Here in Cornwall we have soft water, but if you live in a hard water area, use distilled or filtered so it doesn’t leave residue
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • Lemon or orange peel, or 10 drops essential oil of choice

How to use:

Shake before each use. Lightly mist the window, shower screen or mirror or a soft cloth and wipe down

Tip:  If you have always used shop bought glass cleaner in the past, mix a couple drops of washing up liquid in some of this mixture the first time you clean the windows to remove detergent residue.

You can save even more money and cut waste by using your peelings and leftovers! Save your fresh lemon and orange peels, pour white vinegar over them and leave for a few weeks. This makes a great citrus-infused vinegar that cleans windows and most smooth surfaces.

All purpose cleaner

Perfect for minimalist cleaners like myself! It can be used to clean counter-tops, degrease stoves, shine refrigerators, remove crumbs from tabletops, and even wipe up spills on floors.

Combine the following ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • Lemon peel/ your essential oil of choice
  • Rosemary sprigs

How to use:

Shake before each use. Lightly mist the surface or a soft cloth and wipe down.

Easy peasy dusting spray (wood polish)

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Combine the following ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well:

  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup vinegar (orange-infused for extra cleaning power and scent!)
  • 2 TBSP oil (rapeseed or olive)
  • 10 drops lemon essential oil or essential oil of choice
  • 5 drops cedarwood essential oil or essential oil of choice

How to use:

Shake before each use. Lightly mist the furniture or a soft cloth and wipe down. The dust and grime will disappear leaving a beautiful shine and gorgeous scent.

For high shine, follow with a buff of coconut oil.

Tip: Because this recipe contains oil, it’s not suitable for stainless steel, granite, glass, or walls. Not recommended for unfinished wood or fine antiques.

Some essential oils are bad for your fur babies, so be sure to do your research!  If you don’t have essential oils, you can also use 1 tsp of lemon juice.

Natural toilet bombs

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These are a lot more fiddly, but only have three ingredients and are really worth the effort. We found the recipe on where you’ll find lots of other natural cleaning tips:

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 2/3 cup citric acid
  • Essential oils of preference (I used 30 drops each of lemon and orange)
  • A misting spray bottle with water or vanilla extract

Mix the baking soda and citric acid in a glass bowl. Wear a mask and some latex gloves for this to protect your skin and eyes).

Slowly mist the dry power with water, mixing as you go.

You want to barely wet the powder to get it to stick together in the mold. Literally 1-2 sprays should be enough and too much will cause fizzing .

Add the essential oils and continue mixing.

When done mixing, you’ll need to separate this mixture into single use sizes. You can either use a 1/2 – 1 tsp measure and place them on a piece of parchment paper until they dry, or use a silicon mold.

Let dry overnight and carefully place in an airtight container like a jar or a gallon zip lock bag and use as needed.

How to use:

After wiping over the loo with neat vinegar, drop one in the bowl. Don’t flush until the fizzing has stopped.


To clean cookware: Use sea salt or coarse salt mixed with a little lemon juice and scrub. Also, try baking soda and water made into a paste. This also works well on greasy pans, stained tea cups or coffee mugs, and the cutting board.

Fabric softener: Mix 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water together. Add ¼ cup to the final rinse cycle. Surprisingly, your washing won’t come out smelling like a chip shop! You can of course add a few drops of your favourite essential oils for fresh smelling laundry.

Daily bathroom cleaner: Use undiluted white vinegar and a few drops of your favourite essential oil in a spray bottle. Those with natural antibac properties are great – think teatree, orange, eucalyptus and geranium. Spray, let it sit for 5 minutes and then wipe away

Skip the bleach: You can even make your own disinfectant. Mix 2 cups of hot water with ½ cup baking soda , 3 tablespoons of castile soap, and 25 drops of tea tree oil. Spray, let it sit for 5 minutes and then wipe away.

Air freshener: Just two ingredients – baking soda and essential oils, plus an old jam jar and you can say goodbye to plug ins and unnatural airfresheners for good. This even works against teenagers!

Pierce the lid of the jar 10-15 times with a nail. Fill your jar about ¼ of the way with baking soda and mix in 5-10 drops of your favourite essential oil.

Give the jar a little shake from side to side every so often – you’ll be hit with the loveliest scent! This also works as home made Shake N Vac. Sprinkle on stinky carpets, wait an hour, and hoover it up!

Degunk the microwave: some vinegar into a small cup and mix in a little lemon juice. Put the cup in the microwave, and set timer for two minutes. Leave the door closed for several more minutes. Open the door and simply wipe down all the sides with a warm cloth or sponge—no scrubbing required!

Dishwasher liquid and rinse aid: Never buy expensive pods again! 1 cup of castile soap and 1 cup of water with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Add the ingredients to an old squash bottle. Fill detergent compartment. Shop bought rinse aid can be subbed out for white vinegar – just fill the rinse aid compartment with vinegar as you would normally.

Tumble dryer sheets: To add a fresh, clean scent to laundry, make a sachet stuffed with your favorite dried herbs (lavender, peppermint, and lemon verbena are all great options). Toss it in the dryer while it’s in use, and voila: customized, non-toxic scent!

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