Tuesday, 10 June 2014

DIY: Environmentally friendly cleaning product

I used to work with local communities along the coastal area in the Andaman Sea, Thailand over 7 years. Since then, I stop buying any chemical dishwashing and toilet cleaning detergent. And just try to be an environmentally friendly in daily living. Learning by doing, experimenting and practicing from day to day, I

now do my own products such as household multi-purpose cleaning product,the toiletry product, organic fertilizer, and food preservation. 

Do it by yourself cleaning products is an article which I wrote for the Green Fins - Thailand. I share my knowledge by providing a technical supported to dive operators who are Green Fins member in Phuket, Phang-Nga, Krabi, and Koh Tao. Green Fins established in 2004 by United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP). There were 3 countries join the rogramme, of which Thailand, Philippines, and Indonesia. The aim of Green Fins is to protect and conserve coral reefs by establishing and implementing environmentally friendly guidelines to promote a sustainable diving tourism industry. For Green Fins in Thailand which I work as a volunteer, we seek to achieve Green Fins Code of Conduct. At this point, an eco-friendly cleaning product is one of the best practices that we urge the dive operators to improve the Code of Conduct of Green Fins.

Adopt “minimum discharge” and “responsible garbage” policies is one of code of Conduct of Green Fins that we urges members to use environmentally friendly cleaning products on boats and in kitchen cleaning areas. You can make it yourself to reduce your operating cost, and be eco-friendly to our coral reefs. Even you are not Green Fins members, you can help the Earth by do it your own cleaning product as per instruction below. 

Here is the recipe of the multi-purpose cleansing product that Green Fins use:
·   1 kg. of Texapon N-70 or the chemical name is Sodium Laurylether sulfate (SLES). This is biodegradable product for cleaning, which is made from oil palm. Or using mild surface-active agent (surfactant) such as Lauryl Betaine, a synthetic vegetable-derived liquid. Note: If you use Lauryl Betaine instead SLES, you need to add Coconut fatty acid (CDE) 1% - 2% to make liquid more thickness.
·   0.5 – 0.7 kg of Salt (it makes the liquid sticky and cleansing)
·  10 Liter of effective microorganism (EM) mix made with clean water (sour fruit fermented with effective microorganism)
or 10 liter of sour fruit juice (boiled) such as kaffir lime, lemon, orange, pineapple, etc.

How to mix it?

·  Put N-70 or Lauryl Betaine + CDE and salt into a 12 – 15 liter bucket.
·  Then add 1-2 liters of EM mix and stir it in the same direction. Stir until mixed, then add more EM water.
· After that, slowly add salt to make the liquid more sticky and stir until the salt is completely dissolved. You can add coloring and Kaffir lime or orange scent (food grade) to your taste. Leave it covered  over night. The color will clear and then put the cleansing detergent into containers. The mix will yield about 10 liters of cleaning product.

Multipurpose cleansing product is used for:

·  Dishwashing and shower cleaning: mix 1 part cleaning detergent with 0.5 part clean water.
·  Clothes washing: soak clothes with water and cleaning detergent for 20-30 minutes.
·    Car washing: mix 1 tablespoon cleaning product with 1 bucket of water
·    Mirror cleansing: mix 1 teaspoon of cleaning detergent with water

to spray the mirror, then wipe using newspaper.

When the Selective microorganism working, it became white layer

   How to make EM water?

Normally there are 2 ways:

Text Box: www.greenfins-thailand.org
1. Mix up 1 part fruit waste, i.e. kaffir lime, lime, pineapple peel with 0.5 – 1 kg.
brown sugar and 2 parts of clean/ and non-chlorinated water (1 part of fruit : 1 kg of 
brown sugar: 2 parts of water). Cover the bucket and store it for 1-1.5 months or 
 until a white layer forms at the surface of the water (good bacteria).

2. Green Fins purchases dry EM from a laboratory. This kind of bacteria is good for 
making cleaning oil. 1 pack can make 100 Liters of EM water, but you can reduce the 
ratio. Mix up 1 part of fruit waste with concentrated dry EM and 2 parts of clean/
non-chlorinated water (1: EM: 2). Leave it for 5-7 days, then you will see the white layer form on the surface. Use only EM water. You can mix fruit waste with leaves 
and soil (10 parts) to make fertilizer.

Effective microorganism mix can be used as a multi-purpose cleaner:

·    Add some EM water into toilet fluid to reduce the bad smell in the toilet, or use 1 
part EM mix diluted with 20 parts water to reduce the smell from a flush toilet.
·    To clean a dirty floor apply EM mix to the floor or a toilet/shower room and leave 
it for 30 min. Then clean up the floor by adding some cleaning product and brushing. 
The living microorganism contains fruit acid, which is good for cleansing the floor and 
it is not harmful to human health or the environment.

Note: EM is not a chemical acid so it does not bleach your floor and make it as white 
as chemical cleaners, but it’s safe for both human and environmental health when it is released into the water or soil.

Eco-friendly cleaning product training to Green Fins Ambassadors in Khao Lak, Phang-Nga, Thailand
For more information contact: reefwatchthailand@gmail.comthailand@greenfins.net


  1. Yeah I am already using these homemade green cleaning products, I make them myself at my home and they are 100% natural. Well my home cleaner told me about all the recipes to make natural cleaning products and they really work well.

  2. Dude I want to get into making this stuff as I am getting really tired of telling my in-laws to stop washing the families clothes in the fish pond with store bought, (whatever has been advertised on TV as being the best clean) chemical cleaners. Do you know of anywhere that sells eco friendly liquid or powder? I bought a load of all natural eco friendly soap bars but they refuse to use them cos it's too much hassle. Need something to tide me over until I can make some EM of my own.

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  6. It's a nice thing that everybody is doing their share in taking good care of our environment even in the smallest things and using eco-friendly products is a good place to start.

    In my business, I see to it that I use eco-friendly cleaning materials so that I can keep my share of taking good care of our environment. As you see, there are various explanations on these kind of products and one example is biodegradable and degradable.

    I will not explain it in here and instead I will suggest you take a look in this article, Green Product Labels: Biodegradable & Degradable so that you can know more about these two important facts. It's a very informative article, check it out! =)

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