WHY? The harsh chemicals used in detergents, cleaners, bleach, and air fresheners can have serious long-term consequences on our personal health and our environment.  These chemicals leach into the soil and rivers, continuing to poison the environment.  Our 26 acres contain some of the only remaining Lowland Broadleaf Forest in the Khao Sok region, and it is our responsibility to take care of it.

If we use traditional bathroom cleaners, we expose ourselves to chlorine and ammonia every time we enter the bathroom, as the chemicals soak into our skin and the residue can enter into our lungs with the help of the hot water.

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, supplies with chlorine and ammonia (two extremely common ingredients in household cleaners) irritate eyes, skin, and the respiratory system.  Direct contact can cause chemical burns, and long-term exposure can cause neurological disorders and corrosion of the lungs, kidneys and liver.  We decided to get rid of these and other harmful substances around the resort, and you can do the same!

HOW to start your own sustainable cleaning:

All-Purpose Citrus Spray (from Easy Green Living)

½ cup distilled white vinegar

1 tablespoon Citra-Solv cleaner

½ teaspoon Liquid Soap (we get ours from Ocean Blue Recycling, made from recycled veggie oil)

1 ½ cups warm water

½ teaspoon essential oils (we use oils from Lemongrass House)

Glass Spray (also from Easy Green Living)

¼ cup distilled white vinegar

½ teaspoon liquid soap

1 ¾ cups water

8 drops essential oils
Oxygen Bleach (from Ehow)

1 Cup hot water

½ Cup Baking Soda

½ cup 3% hydrogen peroxide

We're able to use the home made oxygen bleach in the bathrooms and with our whites.  It's all-natural and though it can be a mild irritant, it's nowhere near as harmful as chlorine bleach.  The 'magic soap' we get from Blue Ocean Recycling can also be used as dish soap, kitchen cleaner, and even a laundry detergent!  The power of these cleaners comes from natural stuff like vinegar and citrus oil, which are known for their cleaning properties and have been used as household cleaners long before the advent of industrial chemical cleaners.
We are so happy with our new cleaning supplies that we want to do more.  Next up, natural mosquito repellent. After that, the search continues.

Do you do your own sustainable cleaning at home?  Any recipes you want to share?  Tell us in the comment section below!

Nick Grady-Grot
Nick Grady-Grot Nick Grady-Grot has been in Thailand since 2013 working on conservation and sustainable development projects at OJH.