There are a number of ways to clean your house without the use of chemicals. You will probably find some of them already in your cupboards! Safe basic ingredients, such as baking soda and vinegar, are excellent all-purpose cleaners and are fairly inexpensive. Lemon juice is effective against bacteria and hydrogen peroxide can be used to disinfect the kitchen and bathroom.
So next time you desperately need to clean up, use one of these cheap DIY homemade cleaners instead. Here are some of the best ways to use natural cleaning products:
A scented all-round cleaner: Mix together one a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water into a spray bottle (if available), and add lemon or lime peels, mint leaves, or any other fragrant addition. While you shouldn’t use it on granite, you can easily use it on walls, counter tops, rubbish bins and water stains. Using lemon should help increase its cleaning power.
Kitchen cleaner and deodoriser: Add four tablespoons of baking soda to a bowl of water. Use to clean counter tops, ovens and hobs, microwaves, and inside the fridge. Used as a paste it is great on stainless steel sinks as it cleans without scratching, and baking soda can be poured directly down the drain and rubbish disposal unit to get rid of nasty niffs.
An alternative to baking soda is mild detergent, and you can wash stainless steel surfaces with white vinegar followed by olive oil using a very soft cloth. Rub a cut lemon over chopping boards to disinfect the surface or leave for 10 minutes to remove stains.
Marble cleaner: Just two drops of dishwashing liquid to two cups of warm water will clean your stone countertops effortlessly. Wash, rinse completely and buff to dry. That’s it!
Grubby microwaves: Simply heat one cup of water for between two and five minutes and the steam should loosen those pesky tough baked on food spills. To remove lingering odours, add some lemon juice to the cup of water.
Dishwasher and washing machine: Pour a cup of white vinegar into the washing powder/liquid dispenser and use the hottest wash cycle; do once a month to clear the pipes and remove any odours. For dishwashers, place the cup of vinegar in a dishwasher safe container on the top rack of the machine, or sprinkle a cup of baking soda across the bottom.
Laundry stains: To one gallon of hot water add one cup of dishwasher powder and one cup of bleach. White clothing can be soaked for 15-20 minutes in a plastic or steel bowl, or until the stain is gone. Wash as normal afterwards.
Bathroom nasties: To clean the toilet bowl mix 1/4 cup of baking soda with one cup of white vinegar, pour around the basin and leave for a few minutes; scrub with a brush and rinse. To clean the bathtub, use baking soda on a damp cloth or sponge; use white vinegar first if there is significant build up.
Floor surface cleaner: Add one cup of white vinegar to about four litres of water, wash and rinse with clean water. This is suitable for brick and stone tiles – for wooden floors you should test the area first with a very small quantity of solution.
Carpets and rugs: Our old friend baking soda comes to the rescue again – sprinkle across the entire rug or carpet, and let it sit for a few hours before vacuuming. Can also be used to freshen up mattresses and pet beds.
Remove odours from the house: You don’t always need to resort to lighting candles for a scented house. Simmer water in a saucepan and add whatever you have in the house: citrus fruits, mint, cinnamon sticks, or oranges studded with cloves. Do use your candles elsewhere though – place unlit candles in wardrobes, drawers, storage boxes and so on. The fabrics will absorb the scent and you will have a wonderful aroma greet you whenever you want your items.
For your safety do not combine ammonia-based cleaners with any chlorine bleach products, or anything containing bleach, such as powdered dishwasher detergent. The fumes are extremely dangerous. So before proceeding, make sure to read the product labels first, and label DIY cleaners with all the ingredients inside if you are not using it all at once. As with all cleaning products, make sure they are stored well out of the way of children and pets.