Cleanliness and health. You’d expect the two to go hand in hand but sadly that’s not always the case. A research from as far back as 2004 suggests that the chemicals found in many common commercial household cleaners can be implicated in asthma and other allergic conditions and many of them aren’t very Eco-friendly either.
The good news is that there are alternatives, harmless to both your health and the environment. Better yet, they’re cheaper than commercially produced cleansers. Here’s a round-up of the best three products you can use for your domestic or tenancy cleaning and how to get the best out of them:
Vinegar has long been known as a glass cleaner, use white rather than malt to stop your home smelling like a chip shop.
Windows: A 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water will remove smears, dry with a soft lint-free cloth.
Glasses: 1 or 2 cups of vinegar in your dishwasher will bring your glasses up to a shiny finish, or if you prefer to wash glassware by hand add vinegar to your rinsing water.
Rings on wooden furniture: These are usually caused when hot cups are directly placed on wooden surfaces. Remove them with a half and half mix of white vinegar and olive oil.
Build of up polish on wooden or leather: A water and vinegar mix will remove excess polish. Use a half and half mix for wood, leather needs a weaker solution, one part vinegar to two parts water should do the trick. In both cases dry with a soft cloth when you’ve finished the treatment.
This staple of the well-stocked larder also deserves pride of place in your well-stocked cleaning cupboard. Use lemons to:
Clean shower doors: Cut the lemon in half and use it as your sponge, or extract the juice and apply with a cloth. The acid cuts through gunk and lime deposits in no time and all you need to do after an application is rinse off with warm water.
Shine up taps and shower heads: Lemon (or vinegar) applied to metal taps removes limescale. Both are invaluable when cleaning London homes where hard water leaves scale and deposits which tarnish kitchen and bathroom fixtures and fittings.
Whiten clothes: A cup of lemon juice in the washing machine makes a great alternative to bleach, and it smells much nicer!
As a deodorizer: Perfect for whiffy dishwashers. Put a cup of lemon juice into the dishwasher and run the rinse cycle. You’ll get rid of odours and clean the inside of the dishwasher at the same time.
The ultimate deodoriser – use baking powder to get rid of smells in:
Your fridge: Keep a small bowl of baking powder at the bottom of the fridge to absorb smells and keep the fridge fresh.
Food Containers: Rinse with baking powder and hot water. If rinsing doesn’t do the job fill the container with a baking powder and water solution and leave it to soak overnight.
Rubbish bins: A sprinkle of powder at the bottom of the bin or the bag will keep smells away.
Carpets: Sprinkle with the powder, leave if to work its magic for 15 minutes then vacuum away.
Shoes: Trainers are most likely to need this treatment. Just sprinkle the powder into the shoes, give it a couple of hours then remove
Baking powder can be used as a cleaning product as well as a deodoriser, it’s especially effective against grease:
- Sprinkle baking powder on greasy cooking trays, grills or barbecues or soak them in a baking powder solution before washing to cut down on the scrubbing.
- Mix a baking powder paste and spread it over the inside of oven doors to lift baked on grease.
- Pre-soak greasy stains on clothes before washing or add baking powder to the detergent when you wash, this will keep whites whiter and colours brighter.
Unclog drains: Poor half a cup of baking powder down the drain, follow it with a cup of vinegar and stand back until the foaming subsides. This combination of two natural cleansers is as good as most commercial drain cleaners and will both remove blockages and wash away odour producing bacteria. And it’s fun to watch!
The list of things you can clean around the home using vinegar, lemons and baking powder goes on. Get to understand the properties of each and you could end up throwing away most of your expensive commercial products. Clean your home, care for your health, be kind to nature and save money too – it’s the ultimate win-win-win-win combination!