There are plenty of pricey chemical cleaning products out there, all promising to make your surfaces sparkly and germ-free (until the kids go and make a mess again!) but there is a cheaper alternative – that’s probably just sitting in your cupboard, waiting for those magical cleaning fairies to come out of hiding.
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.
But seeing as they’re eternally unavailable (sigh!) how about we let you in on the secret to saving money with these cheap, easy, natural house cleaning tips?
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
- Use to clean your microwave. Place lemon slices in a microwave-safe dish with one cup of water. Heat on high for three minutes, let sit for another three minutes then wipe down.
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
- De-scale a furry kettle by boiling up a solution of half water and half vinegar. Leave overnight then rinse thoroughly for a cheaper fix than shop bought kettle descalers.
Bicarbonate of soda
Bicarbonate of soda is also a cheap and an excellent one of our natural house cleaning tips. 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. This trick also works on bins.
- 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.
- If you're looking for natural house cleaning tips to keep your drains free from blockages this is a great one. 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.
- Freshen up your room by deodorising your carpets – add a few drops of essential oil such as lavender or orange, sprinkle on the carpet – leave for half an hour and vacuum up!
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.
- If you spill something in a hot oven, cover the spill with salt. When the oven cools the spill should just lift off.
- Use to clean cast iron pans – sprinkle and wipe clean. Rinse with hot water and brush with oil.
- Mix with lemon or lime juice to clean brass. Sprinkle salt directly into an empty squeezed-out lemon half and rub down the metal. Rinse off carefully and buff with a cloth to shine.
- Give your kitchen sink some attention by keeping the drains running smoothly. A bottle brush will help you clean inside, and once a month put a handful of soda washing crystals down followed by a kettle full of boiling water to prevent blockages.
- Mix one cup of soda crystals and with one cup of finely grated soap for an alternative to washing powder. This is better for the environment and costs less than 15p a wash.
- One of the natural house cleaning tips that is a great way to make your windows and mirrors shine. Wash your windows with a mixture of warm water and a drop of vinegar. Scrunch up newspaper, add elbow grease and see the sparkle.
- Keep moths at bay. They hate the smell of ink so wrap your delicates in newspaper to keep them protected.
- Bust the rust with this handy tool. Soak any small objects that need de-rusting overnight and give a good scrub in the morning.
- The citric acid in the coca cola makes it a brilliant window cleaner.
- Got a blackened saucepan and it seems impossible to remove that ground on black film on the bottom? Restore it to as good as new – just pour enough coke to cover the blackened area by an inch and put on the hob on a low heat for an hour or so then wash as normal.
- Remove grease stains from clothes with some coca cola – a cheap solution is to empty a can of coke into your wash along wish your usual washing powder.
- Clean your toilet – empty some coke to your toilet bowl, leave to work its magic and scrub off.
- If your varnished wooden floors need a revamp use cold tea. The tannin brings out the colour of the wood.
- Whizz up a banana skin in a liquidiser and it transforms into a brilliant paste that's great for shining silver. You can also use it to polish brown leather shoes.
- Cut a spud in half and dip in baking soda and it will make a surprisingly good scourer, which works especially well at removing rust.