As we try to improve our carbon footprints, it can be useful to find ways to clean our homes with more care to the environment and our homes. Where possible, we can reduce the need for harsh and abrasive chemicals by working with more natural solutions. Naturally, one of the biggest appeals surrounding shop-bought cleaners is the convenience:- i.e. the premade and readily available. But this, needn't deter you from being more eco-friendly. Our collection of recipes are for products that can be made ahead of time and are long-lasting. We will focus on using ingredients easily available from our kitchen cupboards and larders or those which are readily accessible.

An All Purpose Cleaner

"Oranges and Lemons say the bells of St Clements."

Apart from being a popular food, citrus fruit of oranges, lemons and limes are a fantastic, organic way to clean your home. Check out our guide on cleaning white ceramics using lemons here. Once you've eaten your oranges you can use the discarded peel to create a versatile cleaning liquid. This product is sweet smelling but is also safe around pets and children, since it is non-toxic.  It works wonders on cleaning up greasy and smeary surfaces such as shower cubicle glass and kitchen worktops.

You will require one mason jar or any glass jar with an air-tight seal. Orange peel from five or six oranges - a fun way to get the family involved during the 'preparation stages' and some white vinegar.

Step 1: Prepare your orange peels, these can be placed in the jar however you wish - chopped, sliced, straight from the orange it doesn't matter, repeat until the jar is filled.

Step 2:  Boil 2-3 cups of white vinegar and pour over the orange peels. Whilst boiling is optional, it can help the peels to soften more quickly.

Step 3:  Leave the process to infuse for as long as possible. We recommend letting it sit for several weeks or up to a month. BUT if you're unable to wait, or you have to get started straight away, you can speed up the extraction process by placing the sealed jar in a water bath for up to twenty minutes. This process is similar to how you might make pickles.

Step 4: When your vinegar has infused as much of the orange peel as possible, strain it using a mesh strainer and pour the liquid into an empty, clean spray bottle.

Spray bottles can be found in most homeware and garden centres. Aim to have 1-1/2th cups full of vinegar in the bottle, filling the remainder with water.

Wiping the Dirt Away

A more eco-friendly approach to disinfectant wipes is to repurpose older rags and cloths.

Step 1: Find any discarded clothes or towels you no-longer use or which are past their best and a seal-proof container. For example, a former baby-wipes box will be perfect.

Step 2: Evenly cut the cloths into even squares, aiming for between 15-20 squares. These should be able to fit neatly into the container.

Step 3: In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of water, with 1/4 cup of vinegar, and your choice of essential oils, stirring until well mixed. Depending on the scent you are aiming for you can use olive oil, lavenders, peppermint, oranges and lemons as desired.

Step 4: When the mixture has infused together, add in each cloth, immersing them in the liquid.

Step 5: Wring out the cloths of any excess liquid and use on your surfaces as many times as necessary. Be certain to launder these when you are done, to ensure the cloths stay clean and fresh. Store them in the container when not in use and re-use as many times as you can, replacing the cloths periodically as they start to fray or ladder.



Removing Mould & Mildew

Cinnamon has a delightful smell, akin to that of Christmas and festive baking. It is also very useful for removing mould and mildew in the house. To make the essential oil you should use a darkened spray bottle, as this preserves the natural ingredients for longer and quickens the infusing process.

Step 1: Place your cinnamon sticks in an airtight sealed jar and pour some olive oil into the jar, filling almost to the top. You should aim to have no more than an inch of space in the end.

Step 2: Seal the jar and shake this, a few times an hour on a daily basis before leaving on a warm, sunny area for a few weeks.

Step 3: After a few weeks, the sticks should have released their oils into the olive oil and can be safely removed. By leaving that inch in the beginning, you can retrieve these without messy fingers.

Step 4: Pour the oil liquid into a dark coloured spray bottle and add 2/3 water. Shake well before using.

For particularly difficult stains add some rubbing alcohol onto your cleaning cloth and scrub with your elbow grease to lift the stain.

With all natural remedies, whilst they are chemical free, it is best to always keep these out of the way of pets and children whilst cleaning.

Do you have any top tips for a clean, shiny bathroom or are you a pro at keeping a showhome style kitchen? Or have any cleaning questions?  Let us know, in the comments section below.  At the House of Enki, we're here to help to design the luxury kitchen and bathrooms of your dreams.