These days, few people clean their homes without using a multitude of different chemical concoctions, bought from the supermarket. These chemical cleaners are not only expensive, but they are unnecessary, especially for the cash-strapped self-sufficient family.
Natural products make excellent cleaning solutions, at a fraction of the price. What’s more, natural cleaners are kinder to the environment as they biodegrade naturally when washed down the sink. They also don’t release any toxic fumes like many chemical-based cleaners, which can irritate the throat and even bring on symptoms of asthma. The following natural products make excellent household cleaners.
This dissolves dirt, hard water deposits and soap scum from surfaces, and can be used on delicate materials, such as hardwood flooring. White vinegar also acts as a natural deodoriser and absorbs odours rather than covering them up. White vinegar also makes a good fabric softener substitute as it cuts detergent residue.
A solution made from equal parts of white vinegar and water can be used to clean work top surfaces, floors and bathrooms. If you are dealing with a really stubborn stain, spray it with a heated vinegar solution and leave on for 10-15 minutes before wiping it off.
Undiluted White Vinegar
Use neat vinegar for hard water deposits and soap scum. It can also be used to clean the inside of the toilet bowl, shower head and as a clothes softener in the washing machine.
Baking soda may be used as an alternative to scouring powders. Sprinkle it on to a damp sponge and wipe over soap rings in baths and other minor grime deposits. For tougher marks, make a paste using baking soda and water, apply to the surface and leave it to stand for 10-20 minutes.
Baking soda can also be used to free up slow-running drains. Pour 300ml of baking soda down the drain with a small amount of hot water. Let it stand overnight, then flush the drain thoroughly with hot water.
Rubbing (isopropyl) Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol can be used to clean glass, mirrors, chrome fixtures and ceramic tiles. Mix equal amounts of rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol, water and white vinegar.
Ammonia may be used to clean windows and work surfaces. Mix 250ml of rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol with 250ml water and 1tbsp ammonia to make a tough glass cleaner. For an all-purpose cleaner, mix 1tsp ammonia with 1tsp laundry detergent in 500ml water.
Lemon juice is used to dissolve dirt and smudges on a number of work surfaces. For a gentle furniture polish, mix 250ml olive oil with 125ml lemon juice. Shake the mixture well and apply a small amount to a clean cloth or cleaning rag. Spread the mixture evenly over the surface of the furniture and turn the cloth over to polish it dry.
Homemade cleaning products are quick and easy to make, and just as effective as expensive, chemical-based cleaners. Homemade products are made with natural products, so they are kinder to your skin, won’t cause discomfort when inhaled, and are much kinder to the environment.