The Natural Home

Simple, Pure Cleaning Solutions and Recipes for a Healthy House


By Isabelle Louet

By Sylvie Fabre

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$15.99 CAD



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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around April 3, 2018. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

A charming, comprehensive, and easy-to-use guide to cleaning your home naturally and organically, resulting in a toxin-free environment for you and your family.

With The Natural Home, you’ll discover how to clean everything in your house the healthy way with just a few inexpensive, easy-to-find products using tried and true cleaning methods that have been around for centuries.

Organized by product and location in the home, the book includes an in-depth explanation of natural products like vinegar, lemon, and baking soda which can be used to clean most areas in your home. There’s a cleaning guide by room; tips for maintaining materials like marble, stainless steel, and wood; solutions for every stain; natural fragrances for your home; laundry tips; and natural products for pets. Also included are recipes for cleaning products you can make on your own that will help disinfect, whiten, deodorize and remove even the toughest stains in bathrooms, kitchen, carpets, and clothing.

Beautifully designed with two-color interiors and filled with dozens of illustrations, The Natural Home is a charming gift book that shows you how to keep your home sparkling, green, and healthy.



• Easy and effective •


Making homemade products


Baking soda, lemon, oil-based soaps, white vinegar—these all-natural and green products are more popular than ever, as many of us want to avoid introducing chemicals into our homes and pollutants into the environment.

These natural products are not only efficient and economical but they also clean, bleach, disinfect, and deodorize better than store-bought cleaning products. There is every reason to embrace and adopt natural cleaning in order to make your home shine while keeping it free of pollutants.

Using them well

On their own or combined, baking soda, white vinegar, and so on, succeed in all tasks—from the most stubborn limescale deposits to the dullest of windows—given their many cleaning powers. However, to obtain good results, you should take the time to discover their properties and learn to use them correctly. In no way should lemon concentrate be used insteadd of real lemon or salt not left long enough when cleaning a rug. Like a cook, learn to adapt a recipe to your needs. Adjust the dosage to obtain the right quantity, the right texture. Home remedies are not an exact science; they are the result of much trial and error.

It’s up to you to decide

These products do not have the same consistency, or the same properties, nor do they belong to the same families, yet they have the same benefits and cleaning powers. They all remove grease and limescale, add shine, and so on. So there is no need to adopt all of them; choose the one that you prefer—the easiest to use, the one with the best scent, the most odorless, or, more simply, the one already stored in your cupboard. The benefit of this is that you can change products as you please.

Vigilance is key

Whatever the object to be cleaned—fabric, wood floors, marble mantelpiece—be cautious; always carry out a test on a small area to make sure that it can withstand treatment. When in doubt, stop and ask an expert for advice.

In addition, be careful: Although it is true that these natural products make miracles in our homes, they are not all harmless, as is the case with turpentine and soda crystals. They need to be handled with care and kept away from children; mixing them up must be avoided.

To avoid chemicals that pollute our homes and the planet, choose products that have been known to work for centuries. Here are the essentials to have in your cabinet to make your home sparkle and shine.



These are the kings of whiteness when it comes to looking after laundry, furniture, and materials. Bonus: Thanks to their disinfectant properties, they are your best allies for killing mold and germs.

Hydrogen peroxide

Also called peroxide, this antiseptic can be found in pharmacies. It is made naturally with enzymes called peroxidases.

It is used for removing stains, soap residue, and mold.

Instructions: The dosage is mainly one part hydrogen peroxide to 20 parts water for stain removal; 30 parts water for laundry whitening; and 60 parts water for the bleaching of enamel, wood, and large surface areas.

Sodium percarbonate

When it comes into contact with water, it releases “active oxygen” (hydrogen peroxide), which has powerful bleaching and disinfectant properties.

It is used for bleaching and removing stains from fabrics; cleaning and disinfecting floors, terraces, enamel bathtubs, bathroom tiles; and getting rid of mold and soap residue.

Instructions: Mix 1 to 3 tablespoons per quart (liter) of water.

WARNING: To be used with caution. Use gloves and avoid all contact with skin and eyes.

CONTRAINDICATION: Do not use on aluminum or waxed, painted, or varnished surfaces unless you want to strip them down. Sodium percarbonate is combustible and should be kept away from flammable products such as alcohol and essential oils.


They have many virtues, but their specialty is getting rid of the most stubborn stains while protecting materials.

The potato

With its 4,000 varieties, the potato is an absolute treasure trove:

It is used for bleaching, cleaning, removing black stains, descaling, weeding, and adding shine to crystal, mirrors, and tiles.

Instructions: While its cooking water is very effective, the potato is often used cut in two. Sometimes the starch is used.

Marseille soap

This French product can be difficult to find at your local supermarket; however, it can often be found online. Prepared by hand, true Marseille soap is made from at least 72 percent vegetable oil (olive, palm, copra) and caustic soda. It is biodegradable and contains no perfume, coloring, or additive. The inscription “Extra pure, 72% oil” or the name of the soap factory should appear on the soap as a guarantee of its authenticity.

It is used for demisting; cleaning tiles and laundry; protecting paintbrushes; removing stains, including white marks; and so on.

Instructions: To dilute it more easily, grate it or make shavings.

Black soap

• Also popular in France, black soap (savon noir) can also be difficult to find in many U.S. stores, so try searching for it online under the name Marius Fabre.

It has not been as popular as its cousin, Marseille soap, because of its dark color, thick consistency, and strong smell.

It is used for bleaching enamel, demisting, removing grease and stains, washing laundry and floors, refreshing sealants and even leather, and cleaning silverware, brass, and copper.

Instructions: In liquid form or as a paste, it is used pure or diluted, according to need. You don’t need to rinse it most of the time.


They have descaling, cleaning, and degreasing properties and have the added advantage of being brilliant at absorbing bad odors.

Natural cork

In addition to being famed for preserving wine and enabling it to age well, it is a very useful tool in the house.

It is used for preserving fruit, deodorizing, and lessening white marks.

Instructions: It is used like an eraser.


While some fortune-tellers use coffee grounds to predict the future, previous generations discovered it had other virtues.

It is used for removing grease, cleaning drains, deodorizing, gardening, cleaning tiles and carafes, polishing off scratches on a wooden piece of furniture, reviving an old parquet floor, removing ashes from the chimney, and even deterring ants.

Instructions: Collect your coffee grounds (including the ones in pods), pour them into a plastic bottle, and store in a dark, dry place. Leave the bottle open so that they do not go moldy with condensation. They will keep for a few weeks without any problem.


It is not only an important part of our diet, but also a useful tool for cleaning the house.

It is used for softening leather, deodorizing, removing stains, making silverware shine, eradicating cockroaches, and stiffening sheer curtains and drapes.

Instructions: Most of the time it is used directly to moisten a sponge.


They are unrivaled in their ability to restore shine to chrome and enamel, while also eliminating limescale.


It is tiny but has maximum strength. It is a cleaning champion as well as a beauty secret and a flavor enhancer in the kitchen.

It is used for bleaching enamel and linens, stripping down sealants, disinfecting, deodorizing, descaling, eradicating moths, adding sheen to metals, polishing copper, and even repelling ants.

Instructions: It can be cut in half or juiced and squeezed onto a sponge, used pure or slightly diluted, depending on the recipe.

See Chapter 4 for more about cleaning with lemons.


Used in feng shui for purifying the home, its small grains also give it impressive exfoliating properties.

It is used for deodorizing; removing stains; descaling chrome; cleaning drains; removing grease from the oven, hot plates, or frying pan; refreshing the color of basketwork; slowing down the burning of candles; and repelling ants.

Instructions: It is sprinkled or combined with another ingredient and is used dry or moistened.


These are the only ones that can save our precious belongings from grease, blood, and varnish stains because they respect the most fragile of materials.

Wood ash

It is rich in minerals (calcium, magnesium, lye, silica). Previous generations used it for housework, as well as for making soap and laundry detergent.

It is used for removing grease, adding shine to silverware and copper, cleaning windows, and making laundry detergent.

Instructions: To be effective, it needs to come from untreated dry wood. Before using it, sieve it until only a fine powder is left and you have got rid of any residue and fragments that could scratch or damage your possessions. It is used either as a paste (mixed with water) or in powder form.

Talcum powder

There are two kinds of talcum powder on the market: a mineral type, primarily made of magnesium silicate, and a man-made type. Neither poses any danger to health, and it is a great ally for removing grease stains, making the house shine, and making sure your skin doesn’t get too dry.

It is used for removing grease and stains, easing the opening of windows, silencing creaks and cracks, eliminating mold on books, and restoring fur.

Instructions: Use dry, as a paste, or lightly damp on a sponge.


One of these products is enough to clean up the whole house, from floor to ceiling, as they are so efficient everywhere.

Baking soda

This is the most famous and the most commonly used of natural products, which, importantly, also happens to be one of the cheapest. This fine, white powder is edible, biodegradable, nontoxic, odorless, antacid, anti-limescale, preservative-free, soluble in water, and a soft abrasive: Clearly it combines many advantages.

It is used for cleaning, softening, descaling, deodorizing, bleaching laundry and sealants, removing grease from floor to ceiling, making silverware shine, getting rid of mold, reviving colors, and so on.

Instructions: Baking soda can be used in powder form, as a paste, or diluted.

See Chapter 3 for more about cleaning with baking soda.

WARNING: Don’t mistake it for lye.

Natural multipurpose clay cleaner

Also called multipurpose natural clay cleaner or multipurpose cleaning clay, this product is primarily made of white clay and soap and comes in the form of a compact, dry, and gently abrasive paste.

It is used for removing stains and grease; descaling; cleaning windows, ceramic and induction cooktops, metals (silverware, chrome, stainless steel, copper); polishing delicate surfaces; renovating tile sealants; reviving whites; and so on.

Instructions: To use it, you just need to scrape some out of the container with a damp sponge and then rinse with clean water, before wiping off with a lint-free cloth.


Toothpaste is gently abrasive and excellent for maintaining the house.

To transform toothpaste into a cleaning product, choose the simplest type of toothpaste. Forget the ones with flavorings or that are rich in fluoride or other minerals. Alternatively make your own paste.

It is used for removing stains; descaling; removing streaks on glasses; adding shine to silverware, chrome, gold, and copper; cleaning the enamel of the bathtub, sink, and toilets; eliminating mold; reviving the soleplate of an iron; cleaning the refrigerator’s and freezer’s sealants; removing scratches or traces of pencil on the wall; preventing condensation; filling holes; and renovating shoes.

Instructions: It is used as a paste applied on a sponge.

White vinegar

Colorless and nontoxic, it replaces all detergents, grease removers, and other chemical weed killers at home and in the garden. The only drawback is its smell, which is strong, persistent, and stings the eyes (without irritating them) but it evaporates rapidly, thankfully.

It is used for cleansing, descaling, removing grease, peeling off deposits, cleaning drains, softening laundry, removing stains, and adding shine to mirrors, metals (copper, brass, and chrome), and porcelain.

Instructions: Use pure, diluted in water (50/50), combined with salt or baking soda, cold or warm.

See Chapter 2 for more about cleaning with vinegar.


• Don’t use it with bleach, as this combination releases toxic fumes.

• Make sure you always open windows when you use it, especially if you heat it up. Its strong smell can cause coughing and eye irritation.

• White vinegar should never be used on marble surfaces.

Storing baking soda and white vinegar in the cabinet is a first step but using them on a daily basis is even better. To achieve this and to swap chemicals for natural products, you can make your own grease removers, cleaners, and other disinfectants in advance.



The advantage of some natural products is that they combine beautifully, but remember to follow the rules.

Vigilance is key

To avoid accidents, be it with natural products or not, respect safety rules:

• If you make your own laundry detergent or any other cleaning product, never store them in water or soda bottles or in food or candy boxes. They can be toxic if swallowed in large quantities. Choose household product bottles that are easily identifiable.

• Label homemade products carefully and legibly. List their components. If someone else uses them instead of you, they must know what they are using.

• Write the date it was made. Products’ shelf life varies.

• Do not try to save time by mixing products. The result would be disappointing and, above all, could be dangerous; you might create a chemical reaction that produces toxic fumes.

• Dangerous or not, always store house-hold products out of the reach of children as well as pets. The ideal thing is to keep them in a cupboard high up.

Careful with essential oils

Oils should always be handled with care. You should follow instructions (wearing gloves, avoiding contact with skin, using the right dosage); otherwise they can quickly become toxic and harmful. You should also avoid using them near people with allergies, children, and pets.

A little piece of advice

Like a cook, learn to adapt a recipe to your needs. Adjust the dosage to obtain the right quantity, the right texture. Home remedies are not an exact science; they are the result of much trial and error.


Homemade laundry detergent has numerous advantages: It is effective on laundry, is good for the washing machine, and is economical. The only disadvantage is that you have to make it. But once you’ve got into it, there’s no going back.

Fabric softener

You need:

3 quarts (3 liters) white vinegar

½ quart (½ liter) water

2 tablespoons baking soda

15 drops essential oil (lavender or tea tree)

Mix all the ingredients in a container until you obtain a smooth liquid. Pour into an old bottle previously rinsed and dried. Use a capful for a medium load.

Laundry detergent for whites

For 2 quarts (2 liters) of laundry detergent, you need:

2 quarts (2 liters) water

6½ tablespoons Marseille soap shavings (for removing grease and cleaning)

3 tablespoons baking soda (for bright whites and colors)

1 tablespoon white vinegar (for preserving colors, softening linen, and descaling the washing machine)

(Optional) 5 drops true lavender essential oil (to disinfect and perfume)

In a large pan, heat the water. When it is simmering, add the Marseille soap shavings, baking soda, and vinegar. Mix everything until it dissolves and leave to cool for at least 1 hour. Pour the solution into a bottle, then add 1 quart (1 liter) of lukewarm water and the (optional) essential oil. Shake well. The following day, have a look: If it is still thick, add 1 quart (1 liter) of water.

Ivy leaf laundry detergent

Ivy leaves contain saponin (5 to 8 percent), surfactants with detergent and foaming properties.

You need:

30 to 50 common ivy leaves

1 quart (1 liter) water

1 tablespoon baking soda

Clean the leaves with clean water. Crumble them or cut them into pieces in a pan. Add the water and cover. Bring to a boil for about fifteen minutes. Add the percarbonate on medium heat and mix until completely dissolved. Remove from heat. Leave to stew overnight with the lid on. Filter through a sieve covered with a fine muslin by pressing the leaves hard to extract all the active components. Pour into a bottle carefully labeled with the name of the product. Use about a cupful per wash.


On Sale
Apr 3, 2018
Page Count
320 pages

Isabelle Louet

About the Author

Isabelle Louet is the French author of 1000 Ideas: A Feng-Shui House and Preventing Domestic Accidents.

Sylvie Fabre is a journalist working for Maxi, Féna Hebdo, DS Magazine, and Julie in France. She has spent more than fifteen years looking for the best tips to make cleaning easier.

Learn more about this author