Natural Light

Natural Housekeeping

Ever since I can remember, I've had allergic reactions to nasty chemicals in perfumes & detergents. As a child, I would break out in rashes from washing powder & anything perfumed, as did my siblings - in fact my Brother was even allergic to freshly cut grass! Little did my folks know about the body & health. My Dad was a heavy smoker & us kids had constant throat & chest infections, we lived on penicillin. Our bodies were continually stripped of antibodies & we all had an inability to cope with any toxins, so my Mum accepted that she had to buy particular brands of various soaps, cleaning & laundry products.  

Today, I still have a problem with strong smelling perfumes, air freshners & detergents, so have just avoided them as far as possible... Even tampons & sanitary towels irritate me, so I've used a Mooncup & reusable cloth pads for a few years now. 

Since becoming veggie over 20 years ago, I discovered that there were alternatives & we began using Ecover washing up liquid & found ACDO was fine for laundry. As time went by, we switched to using mainly Bio D  & still use their products now, as they are completely vegan & probably the most ethical manufacturer of cleaning & household products in the UK. We also like the fact that they are not interested in selling out & refuse to be stocked in any supermarket!

In our business, we also mainly use Bio D products, but as much as I loathe to say it - we've been buying Ecover's professional window & glass cleaning spray, as it does the job much quicker than anything else. I'm feeling more & more uncomfortable with supporting such a big company, who's ethics have become questionable over the years, so although at home we use soapy water & newspaper - at work we need to be quicker, so we may try making a spray with vinegar again, which we have used before.
The other problem we have is that we sell products too & everyone wants Ecover... But perhaps we can persuade our customers to try an alternative.

One problem with buying ready made products is the packaging, we have bought washing up liquid & multi-purpose cleaner in 25 litre tubs & decant as we go along, but we are still left with a huge plastic container in the end... So things will have to change, we need to find an alternative to washing up liquid & have used soap nuts before for laundry & know they could be boiled up to make washing up liquid, but I think it takes ages to do. We have some borax in, so perhaps we'll give that a try... We do make our own cleaning sprays for home use with bicarbonate of soda & lemon juice, so perhaps we'll eventually do this for work too. Bicarb is pretty amazing stuff & is great for many things, so it really is worth always having in & we've even had great results with mildew from a paste of bicarb & lemon juice. 

Going back to soap nuts, they've gone up in price & we didn't find them good enough for work bed linen, so we actually use Co-op value laundry powder at the moment, it smells fresh, cleans well, is vegan, cheap & comes in a cardboard box, which is easily recycled. We don't use fabric conditioner, but use a few drops of white vinegar for softening work towels.

 As time goes on, I expect we'll give up selling the products & just stick to bicarb, lemon juice, white vinegar & maybe tea tree oil for work use when the Bio D runs out... I love the idea of not buying anything in plastic, so it's definitely the way forward for us.

Does anyone else make their own cleaning stuff? 

Anyway, enough about work now - here's how we're feeling today...

Hope you're all having a chilled weekend too!

Kay :)


Kath said…
very interesting Kay. Here in Glastonbury we have a large health store called Earthfare, I take my containers in and refill them each time, so I never get empty bottles from shampoo, washing up liquid etc.
Unknown said…
I agree this is a very interesting post Kay. I certainly want to move in this direction and absolutely HATE plastic bottles.

Thanks for the info.

Sft x
Becky Bee said…
I have been making more and more of our cleaning products because over the years I have found that I am becoming more sensitive to commercial cleaning stuff. So much so that I can't walk down the laundry aisle in the supermarket without my eyes watering. Plus anything highly scented sets off my husbands asthma.

So I now rely on vinegar, lemon, bicarb and soda crystals for the cleaning and use Eco-cloths instead of polish. I have had great success making the Laundry Gloop and using vinegar for softener.

I have to use a bit more elbow grease sometimes but that is preferable to having a cocktail of chemicals around me and my family.

Hope you are having a good weekend.
That's great Kath, we buy mostly from a wholesaler, but our health shop does do refills of Ecover...

Kay :)
Thanks Sft, glad the post has been helpful!

Kay :)
That's brilliant Becky - I'm interested in how you make your laundry gloop...

Kay :)
just Gai said…
We use Ecover, refilling our old bottles at our local deli. I'd be interested to know why you are unhappy with the company. Our deli also sells Bio D which we've used on occasions. I always assumed they were much of a muchness.
Catherine said…
I have had chemical allergies now for close to 20 years. Perfumes, scented cleaning products, etc. Why does everything have to be scented??? And why do some people have to bathe in their perfume! Gaaak! Well...don't even get me started.

I use baking soda, lemon and vinegar as much as I can. I have very few scented products left in my house and very few chemical cleaning products. Slowly but surely.

I feel your pain my friend!
xo Catherine
Thanks Gai - Bio D is just a more ethical company. Ecover lost their vegan approval a few years ago & it was suggested that they were using ingredients tested on animals, amongst other things... But basically, they are a massive company & are now trading worldwide - so we would rather give our money to a smaller independent company.

Kay :)
That's great Catherine - it's good to know that people are turning their backs on the nasties & using good old fashioned ingredients instead!

Kay :)
Pattypan said…
I have recently been looking into this and have converted to using lemon vinegar for general cleaning. It was spurred on by a post on Just Like My Nan Used to make blog wherein Narelle makes her own lemon or orange vinegar from the remains of left over orange and lemon peels and white spirit vinegar. I was a bit suspicious at first,worried that the place would stink of vinegar, but I have been pleasantly surprised and the house smells lovely fresh and clean when I come in now. I use this regularly as it is much less harmful and with having the two cats and Missy (Missy has very sensitive skin) in the house I am always very aware that I have to keep the house clean but that I don't want to poison the family pets. Carpet sprinkles or fresheners such as shake and vac are not good for the animals at all. So for a general clean I use the vinegars (either lemon or orange), and for a deep clean I use the steam cleaner which is brilliant on the mattresses. I have very sensitive skin which flares very quickly and often with no reason and one of the chief offenders is the elastane that they use in bras and knickers; I often come up in red wheals as a result (I end up bathing with chammomile infusion to help lessen the flare up when this happens) and if this happens I end up having to throw the undies out as once it irritates that's it. I am allergic to latex anyway (they stitched my gum up with it after having a tooth out and my face swelled to twice the size. I am going to try the lemon vinegar as a softener for my towels next - will let you know how I get on. Rhonda on the Down to Earth blog makes her own detergent, which is gentler and gloopier, but I think a lot of the more commercial companies tend to use too much washing soda and borax in the detergent, which can end up causing irritations and flares. How about a home made soap powder scented with chammomile must be gentler with pure soap.

Take care and hope you are keeping ok.

by the way love the clip, Satchmo and we have all the time in the world from the James Bond movie.



PS. I hate plastic bottles or unneccessary packaging too. Why we cannot go back to paper bags rather than plastic packaging I don't know.


Anonymous said…
I have been making all of my own cleaners and laundry supplies for years. Wouldn't go back to overpriced, over packaged store bought products for anything.
Karin said…
Gai, the other thing with Ecover is that the parent company also ran the Group4 security companyg, which may still be the case, and which some people don't want to have anything to do with.
Karin said…
Kay, I use BioD window/glass cleaner with an E-cloth or a window scrim and think it works fine. It's the Ecover loo cleaner I think works better than others (while wondering if it is therefore worse for the environment), but I don't like to have a dirty looking loo.
Thanks for that Pattypan - That sounds awful! I think all these new improved smelly things are definitely getting worse & the fabric going into underwear is terrible.

Kay :)
Thanks Mel - I would love to know how to make laundry liquid or powder... Any chance of a recipe on a future post?

Kay :)
Thanks Karin - we used to use the Bio D one, but it does smear a bit - especially on shower doors. We found the Ecover techno spray just works really well every time & never leaves any smears... It's a time limit thing for work, plus we clean some posh places that have to left sparkling! Some of the owners took some convincing to let us use eco-friendly products, but we haven't let them down yet!

Kay :)