As we look back on 2019, it's safe to say one of the biggest cleaning trends of the year has been non-toxic cleaning.

Once a niche purchase you could only make at health food stores, swapping harsh chemicals for natural ingredients is on the rise with non-toxic cleaning products now readily available at most supermarkets.

But switching to natural products can sometimes be just as, if not, more expensive than regular cleaning products, so is there a way to reduce costs?

Enter Krissy Ballinger, a Perth mother of two passionate about non-toxic cleaning and skincare.

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Ballinger founded The Inspired Little Pot, an online community that provides recipes about how to make natural cleaning products at home with minimal products and an even smaller price tag, news.com.au reported.

"I literally just woke up one day – I don't have a grand, amazing story about it — I just woke up one day to the number of ingredients in packets and bottles in my cupboards," she told news.com.au.

"Once I started looking at them, and I thought what is this? I wonder what this is?

"I've always had an interest in health, so it's like the penny dropped and I went, we're nailing the food thing, we're eating so well, I was cooking from scratch and all the rest, so I was shocked that I had never paid attention to ingredients."

Ballinger with her two children Charlotte and Lucas. Photo / Instagram
Ballinger with her two children Charlotte and Lucas. Photo / Instagram

THE CHEAP CLEANING HACK

Since making the switch to DIY natural cleaning products five years ago, Ballinger has been able to save significantly on her supermarket shop.

She spends just $4.70 making her own washing powder for clothes and $5 a kilo on her DIY dishwashing tablets — nearly half what you would expect to spend at the supermarket.

But for those not sure where to start, Ballinger says one natural cleaning ingredient is the perfect "dupe" for expensive fabric softener — and it's probably already sitting in your cupboard.

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"It's such a cliche in the natural cleaning world, but vinegar is actually amazing … just vinegar on its own as a fabric softener. It's what quite a lot of shops will recommend you wash your jeans in now, and it keeps things black-black," she said.

"So straight up you can get a bottle of vinegar for like $1.20 from Woolies versus a bottle of softener, which might be four or five dollars. You're going to save a lot with the vinegar."

A THREE-IN-ONE CLEANING SPRAY THAT COSTS $1

Vinegar can also be used to make a cleaning spray that costs just $1 per litre to make – and contains just two ingredients.

"I soak lemon peels – or any citrus peels – in vinegar for a couple of weeks," Ms Ballinger said.

"I'll pop them in a jar, top with vinegar, put it under my sink and leave it for a few weeks until the liquid goes a beautiful amber colour.

"I decant that into a spray bottle and that is all-purpose cleaning spray, a replacement for sugar soap, surface cleaner."

Vinegar can also be used to descale kettles and kill weeds. Ms Ballinger calls it the "holy grail of cleaning."

When it comes to deep cleaning Ms Ballinger believes there isn't a need for most homes to use high-grade disinfectant products.

"I always say to people that we don't have a need to disinfect. We want a beautiful natural harmony of bacteria in our homes, on our bodies. So by constantly killing germs we're almost weakening our defences," she explained.

"You can just fill a bucket of hot water and a little squirt of Castile soap and just go. Or you can do hot water and a splash of vinegar and just go and mop your floors.

"If you've got a particular area where you're feeling, 'Oh gosh my child has just vomited there', you could spray the area with the citrus cleaning spray, give it a really good wash."


DIY DISHWASHING TABLETS

Costing just $5 a kilo, Ms Ballinger's recipe is nearly half the price of most traditional dishwasher tablets – and seriously easy to make.

Ingredients:

• 300g sodium carbonate (washing soda)

• 250g citric acid

• 200g borax

• 100g fine salt

• 1-2 drops of essential oils (per use)

How to make:

1. Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix until combined.

2. Spoon mixture into moulds and press down firmly until full.

3. Leave to set for 12-24 hours in a cool and dry place. After this time, turn moulds upside down and gently tap the bottom – tablets should fall out easily.

4. Place on a tray or sheet of baking paper and leave to dry for a further 24 hours before storing in container of choice.


DIY SHOWER CLEANER

This is one of Ms Ballinger's favourite cleaning recipes, and the results speak for themselves – just check out the video she posted on Instagram.

Ingredients:

• 30 drops of essential oils

• ¾ cup of citric acid

• ¼ cup bicarb

How to make:

1. Add all ingredients into a bowl and mix until combined.

2. Add enough water to make a paste.

3. Rub the mixture over your shower screens with a cloth.

4. Leave for 20 to 30 minutes.

5. Scrub the mixture and then rinse well and dry.