The first item to finish in our house... (drum roll please) was floor cleaning liquid. Usually I buy cleaning products from German company "Frosch", which claims to be all natural and biological. The price for a bottle: 1,99 euro. I get about 100 washes out of a 1 liter bottle (using approx. 10ml per wash).
The Internet is full of different recipes for natural floor cleaning products. All of them list vinegar as a main ingredient. Some then add alcohol, few drops of washing up liquid and essential oils. I've only added white distilled vinegar to keep the recipe as pure as possible.
My floor washing recipe:
150 ml white distilled vinegar (cleaning vinegar)
4 liters warm water.
Price: At 0,02 euro per wash Frosch is a clear winner. Price of handmade cleaning liquid (0,08 euro) goes even higher if you add essential oils and alcohol.
Preparation time: Both of them very quick.
Cleaning quality. I've used them on laminate. Both worked well, although I didn't have very dirty floors. For more stubborn stains a sponge or pre-soaking would require. None of the results were perfect. Both Frosch and homemade liquid left little streaks here and there, even though I really tried to keep my mop dry. I guess a solution for that could be to use a swiffer mop and a spray bottle with solution. I'll try that in the future, wait... I can't buy one... hmm... Anyone can lend me one?
The smell. Frosch smelled nice, like a lovely walk in an eucalyptus forest (not that I would know... but I guess that's what the manufacturer was going for). Home-made stuff - vile. It didn't last very long, maybe half an hour at most, but take that into account and
a) ventilate well
b) don't wash your floors right before guests come.
The chemical bit. This is where it gets complicated. You'll have to take into account that without lab access all my research is based on what I could find online. I couldn't find any negative information about white distilled vinegar but I could find plenty about Frosch ingredients. First of all, what really pissed me off, is that on the bottle in the ingredient section not all the ingredients were listed. You have to look online for the full list. Looking closely at the list I saw BENZISOTHIAZOLINONE, METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE (2 friends you don't really want in your house). Admittedly, on the bottle it does say "less than 5% of...". But... is 5% little? Was it tested on adults? I have a baby that eats everything of the floor. Is it harmful? When searching for effects of these chemicals I found:
Benzisothiazolinone. It is a known human immune system toxicant, and also is classified as irritant for skin, eyes and lungs. It is widely used as active ingredient of many home cleaning products. (Wikipedia).
Methylisothiazolinone or MIT, sometimes erroneously called methylisothiazoline, is a powerful biocide and preservative within the group of isothiazolinones, used in shampoos and body care products. Though long considered safe for use in cosmetics, two recent in vitro studies have shown that MIT is neurotoxic, causing damage to rat brain cells in tissue culture. (Goodguide)
This was a difficult one.
I'm surprised that a home-made solution was way more expensive. Also, what surprised (and unsettled) me, was that even thought it's organic and natural it doesn't mean "there are no chemicals" inside.
I will definitely keep a bottle of vinegar among my cleaning products. Now I know there's an alternative to store-bought liquids, so if I run out of it, I don't need to run to the store straight away.
I will maybe use the home-made liquid. The smell of vinegar did really put me off. I guess it would work better in the summer with all the windows open. I might try and add some essential oils to see if it helps with the smell.
I will probably use the home-made cleaning liquid a bit more now, while my baby is crawling a lot. If you have children and pets the chemicals are something to think about.
Do you prefer self-made floor cleaning solutions? Do you have any secret recipes which smell good ;)?
Looking forward to hearing from you.