These days, there are hundreds of chemical cleaning products in the supermarket, all promising to make your surfaces sparkly and germ-free. However, they can be both pricy and bad for the environment.
To help you save the planet and your bank balance, here’s a round-up of cheap, natural cleaning products to use in your home.
They should save you a bit of time, too – as you probably own most of them already!
The citric acid in a lemon can cut through grease, bleach out discolouration and chase away bad smells. For example, you can…
- Rub half a lemon across a chopping board to remove smells and kill germs.
- Combine lemon juice and hot water to make a gentle, all-purpose kitchen cleaner.
- Use half a lemon to remove stains from steel cutlery.
- Sprinkle a little salt around your taps – then rub a lemon over the surface to remove soap and scale build-up.
Just remember that acid can corrode certain surfaces, particularly marble, granite, chrome and silver plate.
It’s also the acid in white vinegar that makes it such an effective cleaner. Just don’t use the coloured equivalents, like malt or balsamic! White vinegar can be used to…
- Clean a clogged-up shower head. Put some heated white vinegar in a bowl and soak the shower head in it. The vinegar should get rid of any limescale build-up.
- Clean windows. Add a splash of white vinegar to a bucket of hot water to get a streak-free finish. Then polish with scrunched-up newspaper for extra sparkle!
- Clean the toilet. Pour undiluted white vinegar around the toilet bowl (as you would bleach) and leave at least 30 minutes before flushing.
- Loosen tough oven dirt. Make up a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water, spray it onto the dirty surface, and leave for a few minutes before cleaning.
Bicarbonate of soda
Bicarbonate of soda is also a cheap and excellent natural cleaner. For example, it’s great for…
- Keeping smells at bay. To keep your fridge or cupboard fresh, leave a small, open bowl of bicarbonate of soda inside.
- Cleaning acid-sensitive surfaces. Unlike lemon juice and vinegar, it won’t corrode worktops made of marble or granite. Make a gently abrasive paste by mixing with a little water.
- Keep drains free from blockages. Once a week, pour down a little bicarbonate of soda mixed with water, and rinse clear.
- Remove tea and coffee stains. Soak stained mugs in a mixture of bicarbonate of soda and hot water.
Finally, avoid buying chemical polishes and waterproofing agents by using the oil you already have in your kitchen cupboard. For example…
- The olive oil you use for cooking can double as a great furniture polish. Just pour a little onto a soft cloth and add elbow grease.
- Finally, were you dosed with horrible-tasting castor oil as a child? It has its household uses, too – making an excellent re-waterproofing treatment for leather soles.