I’m always looking for ways to keep my pets safe and use materials that are kinder to the planet. This article provides my list of DIY eco hacks for home, pet cleaning, and garden sprays that are effective and promote green living – my two favourite products are included: white vinegar and organic Neem oil. These eco-friendly alternatives can reduce your ecological footprint while ensuring a naturally clean and healthier environment for you and your furry friends.
Green cleaning hacks for your home
Cleaning your home doesn’t have to involve harsh chemicals that harm the environment. Here are some eco-friendly DIY cleaning solutions you can make yourself:
All-Purpose Cleaner – Create a versatile cleaner. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and tap water in a spray bottle and shake. This solution is excellent for wiping down surfaces, removing stains, and tackling general household cleaning tasks. The cheapest store for white vinegar is Aldi, which costs 29p, whereas other stores are charging 75p plus now.
Window and Glass Cleaner – this method is old-fashioned and probably used by your Gran. We used it to clean restaurant glass doors when I worked on cruise ships! Combine two cups of water and half a cup of white vinegar, then pour into a spray bottle and shake. Scrunch up newspaper in readiness. Spray the windows. Use a circular motion on the windows or glass surfaces with the newspaper.
Carpet Freshener – baking powder is a beneficial cleaning agent because it contains a mild alkali. Sprinkle baking soda liberally over your carpets and let it sit for a few hours or overnight. Another benefit is the ingredient helps eliminate unwanted odours. All you do is hoover it up.
Washing Machine Compartment Cleaner – my ex-partner’s washing machine compartment hadn’t been cleaned in the five years he owned it. I used white vinegar and squeezed the liquid liberally into the compartment area, leaving it to soak then removed the hardened scum.
Watch my Video: Clean Your Washing Machine Compartment Quickly & Easily
Pet-friendly cleaning & health hacks
Choosing pet-friendly cleaning products is crucial for keeping your pets clean and fresh. We include handmade flea & tick treatments, too. Here are a few DIY solutions that are safe for your furry companions:
Pet Urine Stain Remover – mix one part white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar) with one part water and add a small amount of mild washing-up liquid. Vinegar is acidic so it will kill the bacteria. Apply the solution to pet stains on carpets, upholstery, or hard surfaces and leave it to absorb for a few minutes before dabbing the area gently with a clean cloth until the stain is removed.
Accidents can happen at anytime – a new kitten or puppy, memory, blindness or general old-age incontinence. Read my article about sudden blindness caused by high blood pressure, and recognising the signs of dementia. Both are written from experience.
Flea Repellent Spray – create a natural flea-repellent spray by boiling a sliced lemon in water and letting it steep overnight. Strain the liquid through a funnel and pour it into a spray bottle. Lightly mist your pet’s fur, bedding, and surrounding areas to deter fleas.
Natural Flea Treatment – Search for ready-made home remedy flea killers on Etsy, an online shopping platform that is TV advertised. The platform provides itself on products created by artisans and offers buyers Purchase Protection.
- Cooper & Gracie Flea Shampoo for Dogs & Puppies on Etsy – promises to prevent flea, ticks and mite infestation on your dog, stopping itchiness and soothing and moisturising skin. It is hypoallergenic and suitable for dogs with sensitive skin. 100% natural and cruelty-free. This medicated shampoo for dogs and puppies does not contain chemicals.
- Pipkin & Bella’s Protect My Dog Shampoo on Etsy – a solid vegan-friendly shampoo suitable for dogs and puppies. The bar weighs 110g, and these types of bars last for months. Infused with lemongrass, my favourite neem oil and other human-grade ingredients, the formula promises to protect your dog and soothe and repair skin. **Contains shea butter so avoid it if your dog has a nut allergy**
- Isabella’s Clearly Flea & Tick Repellent Spray for Cats on Etsy- promises to repel ticks and fleas when reapplied every 4 to 6 hours. 100% natural and does not contain chemicals—vegan-friendly and cruelty-free.
- TV advertised Bella & Duke Flea & Tick treatment for dogs on Amazon – apple cider, echinacea, garlic. Add to drinking water
Home Flea Killer – Fill a bowl with warm water or a shallow plate if placed beneath a sofa, and mix in washing-up liquid. Put near areas where you may have been bitten or dark warm places where fleas lurk. I placed mine beneath the bed and sofa. Alternatively, buy organic neem oil – vegan-friendly, cruelty-free and 100% organic. Add a minimal amount to a spray bottle with hot water and shake. Spray around the home and on furnishings. Neem oil does have a unique scent but does diminish.
Pet Deodorizer – Add a cup of water with half a cup of witch hazel and the odd drops of lavender or tea tree essential oil in a spray bottle. Shake well and lightly spray your pet’s coat to combat odours. Be cautious not to spray near their face. Because we must be careful of essential oils on our pets, I recommend buying from a professional who understands the correct measurements that are safe for pets and follows strict guidelines. Purchasing a ready-made product is cheaper too.
- Handmade by MooDoos on Etsy – a natural deodorising spray to freshen up your pooch and helps condition its skin and coat—a blend of organic essential oils and coconut oil.
Pet Bowl Cleaner – my YouTube video is popular with 3000 views as it shows a quick and easy method of removing limescale from a pet’s water bowl without scrubbing. Limescale looks awful around the inside of your pet’s water bowl, and endless scrubbing doesn’t remove it. It is easy to remove with this method, and you do not need to scrub! In my video I never measure anything – add washing-up liquid, white vinegar and water to the bowl. Leave overnight. Empty the contents the next day and wipe off the scum with kitchen paper. Rinse the bowl several times before filling it with fresh drinking water for your pet.
Watch the Video: How to Remove Limescale from Your Pet’s Water Bowl – No Scrubbing.
Eco-friendly garden sprays
Maintaining a thriving garden doesn’t require harmful pesticides. Here are a couple of eco-friendly alternatives for garden sprays:
Natural Pest Repellent – mix one teaspoon of washing-up liquid and one litre of water in a spray bottle. Spray this solution directly onto plants to deter pests like aphids and mites. Remember to reapply after any rain. You could try adding neem oil to the mix – the combination worked for my raspberry bush, and it is flourishing three years later.
Organic Weed Killer – combine about 4 litres of white vinegar with a cup of table salt and a tablespoon of washing-up liquid. Stir until the salt dissolves and transfer the mixture to a spray bottle. I used white vinegar, washing-up liquid and water. Spray the solution onto unwanted weeds, taking care to avoid desirable plants.
Weed Killer – sprinkling cheap table salt on weeds will dehydrate the weeds, which will start dying off in days but be careful where pets walk. Salt will also affect the pH balance of the soil so avoid pouring it on the garden but it is a low-cost method of killing weeds too.
Boiled Water – boiling water kills weaker weeds, and hardier ones will take longer. Daily applications are required to penetrate the roots but always avoid using boiling water where healthy plants grow. Instead, pour between pathing slabs, along a wall base where weeds pop up between cracks, a patio, and pathways.
The costs for electricity have gradually increased; in 2023, water companies may be increasing prices this summer too. If you have many weeds to kill, this method might be costly.
Protecting you outdoors
Even in British gardens, we can suffer from bug bites during the warm spells, especially when living in the countryside with a woodland garden. it’s not just pets that need protecting against pesky bugs that bite, we do too.
Ready-made Shampoo or Soap Bars containing Neem Oil – My ex-husband and I always used to rub a solid bar of shampoo (containing neem oil ) across our bare skin. Neem oil acts as a deterrent and makes an ideal anti-bug bite solution.
- Neem Oil Soap from Etsy – is a long-lasting solid bar. When dry, rub over the skin before going into the garden. The neem oil will do the rest. Plenty of artisans sell soaps and shampoos containing neem oil so you have a wide range to choose from.
By incorporating these eco-friendly DIY hacks into your cleaning routine, garden maintenance, and personal protection, you can significantly help reduce your own environmental impact while keeping your home and pets clean and safe. Changing to natural alternatives is fulfilling, interesting, safe, effective and sustainable. It contributes towards our health and the planet’s well-being by opting for these natural alternatives.
How else can I be sustainable?
Recycling food scraps into soil conditioner for your garden or pot plants is another way to become sustainable.
Different food scraps can be fed to specialised compost worms, who consume food waste and turn it into fertiliser. All you need is a worm bin, bedding and food. Plenty of worm bins are available at varying prices, or you can make your own.
Subscribe to the Worm Gang on YouTube.
If you are squeamish, the Bokashi bin might be for you. Read my article about Bokashi for beginners. It’s indoor composting, and combined with specialised bran, the micro-organisms start fermenting the food waste and foul smells from your bin. Add cooked and uncooked food every 3 days, sealing the bin lid tightly to prevent too much air from entering your Bokashi bin and rotting the food. The juice can unblock pipes, sinks, septic tanks or feed plants. The fermented food waste can be buried in your garden, creating food fertiliser.
Subscribe to the Bokashi playlist on YouTube.
Neem oil will become solid in the cold. To liquefy, put the bottle in warm water. never put neat neem oil on your pets. Test any fabric before using any products.
Poppy’s Pets has a column in the Withernsea & District Community News