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SOME FIGGY FACTS ABOUT natural cleaning ingredients…

We’re what you’d call chemically conscious. Yip, this means we’re label readers! We keep an eye on things, especially what’s in the products we use in, on and around ourselves and our kids. We’ve taken steps to pare things right back in our lives and our homes. We’ve ditched unnecessary chemicals and those known or thought to be harmful to people or planet to reduce our chemical load and that of our kids. When it comes to home cleaning we went right back to basics and now clean our homes  with cleaning allies that are effective, known to be safe and it turns out, these are ingredients our great grannies would recoginse! As with any cleaner, store bought or Figgy made, let common sense prevail. Don’t ingest it. Don’t inhale it. Don’t let your kids or pets eat it.

Figgy & Co. guide about natural home cleaning ingredients


  • Don’t under estimate the cleaning power of water – No joke! Water is a solvent so it dissolves, washes away and dilutes a variety of stains and messes. A damp cloth and blotting with water is a good first step in your cleaning regime.

  • Bear in mind, not all tap water is created equal. Depending on where you live in Aotearoa, you will have more or less minerals in your water. These minerals can hamper the washing ability of soap and washing soda, so at times more cleaner may be required.

  • Alternatively, simple additives (such as citric acid, salt and borax ) can counteract the extra minerals and allow the soap and washing soda to get to work.


  • By choosing naturally brewed white vinegar you are saying no to petrochemicals. Natural brewing is a time honoured method of distilling alcohol to produce vinegar- and anything that good sometimes costs a bit extra.

  • Supermarket vinegar is typically 4% vinegar content diluted with water. Our double strength vinegar is 9.9% so to dilute it down to regular strength you need to add 1.4 litres of water to 1 litre of Figgy vinegar- for a total volume of 2.4 litres.

  • Our recipes use vinegar at different strengths. 4-5% is great for general cleaning, 6% is perfect for sanitising and undiluted is great when you need a bit more oomph!

  • One of the reasons Figgy supplies double strength vinegar for you to dilute at home is to keep courier costs down- who wants to pay postage for water?!

  • Although vinegar is only a weak acid it can deteriorate natural marble and the grout between your tiles. It will be better to use a Figgy liquid cleaning soap based cleaner for these.


  • We clean with soap because it has a better track record for people and planet compared to detergents.

  • Not only is Figgy’s soap made for cleaning, its made from fair-trade coconut oil grown in the Pacific Islands. Not only that, each batch of coconut oil can be traced back to the place it was grown! How cool is that!

  • All our soaps are made in Paraparaumu using our own formulations. When it comes to making an effective cleaning soap you need to know what you are doing, and the oil you start with is everything. Coconut oil and palm oil make the most cleansing soaps – just what you need for home cleaning – but if you keen to limit deforestation, like we are, its best to stick to coconut oil . All other oils, like Olive oil, hemp oil and castor oil make moisturising soaps – which are perfect for body because they leave a little bit of oil behind.

  • Soap differs from detergent. Soap is old, first records are from some 2500 years ago where as detergent was first synthesized in 1932. Soap is made from plant oils and traditionally animal fats, compared to detergent which is mass produced using petrochemicals or plant oils. Here at Figgy & Co. we batch make our own soaps following time-honoured techniques.

  • Soap is considered readily biodegradable, in both soil and water. This means it breaks down to smaller component without causing issues to the environment. Many detergents less biodegradable than soap & are harmful to the environment, damaging our waterways, flora and fauna.

FIGGY home cleaning castile soap

  • This is our own special sauce! 100% hand-batch liquid castile soap.

  • Because our Home cleaning castile soap is made from 100% coconut oil we are able to supply it to you in a concentrated form. Other liquid soaps made from multiple oil sources cannot achieve the same level of concentration. A little goes a long way, saving you money, while being hard hitting on grease and grime.

  • You may see some cleaning recipes (not ours) that call for combining liquid castile soaps and vinegar. Be aware (without boring you with the science) that this will promptly return your soap back to its original oil form and be counter-productive to your cleaning.

  • Example of use: Limitless! Anywhere you may have used detergent, use this. It is also the cornerstone of most of our Figgy recipes.


  • Coconut soap is well known for its superior cleaning qualities. Our Figgy bar soap (like the Figgy home cleaning castile soap) is made from 100% coconut oil. It will lift grime, oils and mess fabulously well around the house. While many people will be able to happily use it for hand and body washing, some may find it drying.

  • If you have grated soap before you will know what a pain it can be- well not anymore! Our Figgy bar soap is a breeze to grate and blend down to a fine powder when adding to your DIY cleaners.

  • A special property of 100% coconut soap is that it will form a rich lather in salt water making it the ideal companion on any fishing, camping or seaside adventure – come home smelling sweet.

  • Example of use: dishes by hand and blasting stains in the laundry and saving the day with carpet and sofa messes!


  • Softens water to allow cleaning, deoderises and freshens living spaces.

  • Our baking soda switches between food and technical grade. Please do not use it as a food, its stored alongside out other DIY powders and we can’t rule out inadvertent cross contamination.

  • Example of use: make up to a paste for an effective but gentle scrub cleaner.


  • Baking Soda’s big brother. Does a great job of soften water for deep cleaning. A strong alkaline cleaner that removes grease and grime.

  • Can be a mild skin irritant, so wash hands thoroughly after use.

  • Example of use: key component of laundry powder and soaks.


  • Oxygen bleach is handy dandy dry hydrogen peroxide! Oxi active bleach breaks downs to washing soda and hydrogen peroxide (a safe and all-natural sanitiser) in water. Safely lifts a wide range of organic stains (blood, fruit, tannins).

  • When activated by water oxygen bleach will release a multitude of tiny oxygen bubbles – this is your cleaner going to work.

  • For the same reason be sure to store your oxygen bleach in a dry container, so it doesn’t get damp and activate early. We recommend moving your oxygen bleach out of the paper bag it arrives in.

  • Example of use: fantastic for safely soaking clothes and garments.


  • A naturally occurring mineral deposit that cleans, deodorises and has anti-septic properties.

  • This product is safe to use as an additive to cleaning products. It should not be confused with Boric acid as this is quite different, but the two are often lumped together. Using Borax in the context that Figgy advocates, it requires no more special care than any other cleaner or ingredient. If you would like to read more check out the Crunchy Betty Blog for an everyday practical view on Borax.

  • Example of use: beneficial additive to laundry powders and controlling mould.


  • Adding essential oils, those delightful little vials of botanical goodness, allows your cleaners to take on a whole new dimension! Essential oil has been used for many millennia for the purpose of healing, soothing, fragrance and cleaning. Just as every plant is different – so too are the special properties of its essential oil.

  • Getting to know just a few essential oils and what they do, will open the door to a whole new world. You can use essential oils one at a time, or blend to suit your own needs. Some people are drawn to the strong and intense oils such as lemongrass, peppermint or clove. You only need a few drops of these oils. Others like more subtle oils, such as lemon, rose and lavender. A few more drops are needed to achieve the same fragrance level.

  • Regardless of your preference it’s important to remember that essential oils are active and should be used with common sense.

  • More information about essential oils can be found at Aroma Web.


  • Used to remove mineral build up from appliances and glass. A beneficial sanitiser that will remove microbes and odours. Used as an additive to make cleaners work better, Citric acid binds with minerals in water to stop them interfering with the cleaning properties of active ingredients.

  • Example of use: reduces water spots on glass, descale appliances with a hot wash.


  • Use non-iodised table salt for cleaning.

  • Another beneficial additive that makes your cleaners work better by reducing the interference of minerals in your water.

  • Example of use: use as a scrub, or mix with water to clean your veges.