Nancy Birtwhistle’s eco-friendly cleaning tips and recipes for natural cleaning products

For those inspired to make a change this Earth Day, Nancy Birtwhistle, author of Clean & Green, shares some of her favourite homemade, eco-friendly cleaning products, including her recipes for natural toilet cleaner and natural carpet cleaner. 

4 minutes to read
Clean & Green book cover and Nancy Birtwhistle gardening

Nancy Birtwhistle is probably best known for winning the fifth series of The Great British Bake-Off, but she’s also built up a huge online following of devoted fans – including Gigi Hadid and Jonathan Van Ness –  who love her sustainable, eco-friendly cleaning tips. Inspired to protect the planet for her ten grandchildren, Nancy decided to change how she used single-use plastic and chemicals in her home and began to share her environmentally friendly, innovative ideas and time-saving swaps with her followers. 

Now Nancy is sharing her tried and tested tips in her book Clean & Green. Clean & Green is full of natural cleaning ideas and home-made eco-friendly cleaning products, many of which are faster and easier than the go-to products and methods most of us use now. In this video, Nancy shares just some of her favourite home-made, eco-friendly cleaning products including her ‘Toilet Magic’ natural toilet cleaner and her natural carpet cleaner, as well as her top eco cleaning tips. 

Nancy Birtwhistle’s ‘Toilet Magic’ eco-friendly toilet cleaner

You will need

200g citric acid

150ml just-boiled water

20ml eco-friendly washing-up liquid

10–20 drops tea tree oil

1 pint measuring jug

Small whisk

400ml glass bottle with spray attachment and screw top

Place the measured crystals in a heatproof measuring jug and pour over just-boiled water. Stir until the liquid is clear and the crystals have dissolved, then simply add the eco-friendly washing-up liquid and tea tree oil and mix well using a small whisk. Leave the liquid in the jug to cool completely and uncovered for a few hours then pour into a spray bottle and it is ready to use.

Nancy Birtwhistle’s eco-friendly oven shelf cleaner

You will need

2–3 cups washing soda

Hot water

Sink or plastic box large enough to hold your oven shelves

In a sink large enough to take your oven shelves, or a sturdy plastic box, measure 2–3 cups of washing soda. If your shelves are really grubby, make a double concentrate and use 4–6 cups. Pour in sufficient boiling water to cover your shelves. If you do two shelves your water needs to be about 3 inches (7cm) deep. 

Pop your metal shelves into the hot solution making sure they are submerged and leave them overnight. 

I have found that if the shelves are hot when submerged the cleaning is quicker and more effective, but you may want to avoid shelves being too hot if you are using a plastic box.

The next day lift your shelves out of the brown, muddy water and wipe clean – that’s it. 

You can pour the water down the drain knowing no harm is being done.

Note: If your oven shelves have been sprayed or coated with ‘self-clean’ substances, do not use this method. The chemical coating can be damaged by soaking. This method is not suitable for aluminium trays or shelves. Aluminium can be cleaned using bicarb or washing soda, but long soaks cause oxidization.

Nancy Birtwhistle’s eco-friendly carpet stain remover

You will need

Bicarbonate of soda

Warm water

Small bowl


Mix a thin paste and dab it over the stain, massaging it in circular motions with gloved hands. The residual stain will lift and so will the odour. If you can air-dry the item, even better.

Note: When dealing with carpet stains, never be tempted to give the carpet a vigorous rub and scrub because this can damage the pile. I speak from experience here, as I once dived straight onto a stain with a cloth and a full jar of elbow grease. I rubbed and scrubbed at this stain, only to find when everything had dried that the stain had disappeared but was replaced by a permanently damaged scuffed carpet pile. Remember: however bad the stain, gently does it. 

Clean & Green

by Nancy Birtwhistle

Book cover for Clean & Green

This beautifully illustrated black and white guide contains 101 hints, tips and hacks to help you take small steps at home which will have a big environmental impact. Nancy Birtwhistle shares the simple recipes and methods she has developed since making a conscious effort to live more sustainably, from everyday cleaning and laundry tips to easy oven-cleaner and stain removal tips. These tried-and-tested recipes will keep both your home and the planet clean and green for future generations.

Photo credit: ©Elizabeth Clarke, Pink Feet