Here are 50 ways to a more eco friendly home that wont cost the earth:
Cleaning products are undoubtedly expensive but also full of chemicals. You might think chemicals are necessary to shift your household dirt but maybe you haven’t come three non-toxic secret weapons in cleaning: white vinegar, lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda.
They can all be used around the house with sparkling results – on their own or mixed together.
You might think vinegar smells awful and it’s the last thing you want to be spraying around your home. White vinegar DOES smell of vinegar but it’s very mild – not like the stuff you put on your fish and chips – and as it dries it becomes odourless.
Get a couple of spray bottles of white vinegar from your local health shop or online from places like The Ethical Superstore (£1.25 each). Keep one with pure vinegar, the other with a half vinegar, half water combination.
1. For those nasty hard to remove spillages on the cooker, spray with neat white vinegar and leave for a few minutes. You’ll be amazed at how easily they wipe off. You can use it to clean any of your kitchen surfaces. However, undiluted vinegar is acidic and can eat away at tile grout so do a test first to make sure.
2. Make your stainless steel kitchen sink sparkle like new with a spray of neat vinegar. Leave for a couple of minutes and wipe down with a wet cloth.
3. To remove stickers which have been used to “decorate” furniture and other surfaces, moisten with vinegar. Let sit for at least ten minutes, then remove.
4. For spills on the carpet, use a sponge or cloth to soak up as much liquid as possible. Then spray with a mixture of half vinegar, half water. Let stand for about two minutes, then blot with towel or sponge. Repeat as needed.
5. For more persistent stains, use as above but with a mixture of 1 teaspoon vinegar, 1 teaspoon washing up liquid, and 1 cup warm water.
6. To clean windows, spray with half vinegar, half water. Wipe clean with either newspapers (this really works!) or a cloth.
7. Spray on mirrors too but with a soft cloth to polish.
8. Wood or tile floors can be cleaned with a solution of 1 cup of vinegar into your mop bucket for a clean, shiny surface.
9. To remove limescale build-up from showerheads, soak in vinegar overnight.
10. Clean the toilet bowl by spraying with vinegar.
11. Spray tiles and shower curtain with vinegar to help prevent mildew.
12. If you see ants in the house, spray along where you see the trail to keep them away.
13. Wipe your hands with vinegar after chopping. It will remove strong scents like onion and garlic, as well as stains from fruit juices.
14. Clean chopping boards by wiping with vinegar.
15. Remove strong smells from glass jars with a half and half mixture of vinegar and water.
16. You can even boil water with several spoons of vinegar to remove the smell of burnt food from your kitchen!
17. Thought you were stuck with coffee or tea stains on your cups and mugs? Clean with a couple of teaspoons of salt dissolved in vinegar.
18. Add half a cup of vinegar to your fabric softener tray in your washing machine for a natural fabric softener which is especially good for families with sensitive skin issues. It also cleans your washing machine at the same time!
19. The citric acid in lemon juice can be used to dissolve soap scum and lime scale deposits. Wipe a slice of lemon on bathroom taps to make them shine.
20. It’s also great for cleaning and shining tarnished brass and copper. Cut a lemon in half, dip it in salt and you have a powerful acidic scrub!
21. Martha Stewart is one fan of using lemons on wood. Many commercial wood polishes contain d-limonene, which is extracted from lemons and is especially effective at dissolving grease, so it’s ideal for wiping away fingerprints and other oily stains. Make up a solution of two parts olive oil and one part lemon juice, dab a cloth in your mixture and get polishing!
22. Mix lemon juice with white vinegar or bicarbonate of soda to make cleaning pastes.
23. Cut a lemon in half and sprinkle bicarbonate of soda on the cut section of the lemon. Use the lemon to scrub dishes, surfaces, and stains. Lemon juice is great on stains because of its natural bleaching qualities but bear this in mind and test on a hidden area first.
24. Freshen your fridge by leaving a cut half lemon in it.
25. Dirty microwave? Loosen dried on mess by putting a few slices in a bowl of water and cooking on high for three minutes. Afterwards you should be able to wipe it clean with ease and be left with a lovely citrus scent too!
26. If you have dry patches on your elbows, sprinkle some baking soda onto half a lemon and twist your elbow into it, rinse and you should have super soft skin!
27. Rubbing a slice of lemon on your hands after chopping strong smelling foods like garlic, fish or onion will get rid of the unpleasant odours.
28. If you’re cutting up a lemon, don’t throw it away when you’ve finished. Put the leftovers in the dishwasher to give your pots extra shine and leave it lemony fresh. The astringent qualities of lemon also help to cut through grease, which is why it’s the main ingredient in so many washing up liquids.
29. Insects hate the d-limonene in lemon peel which is a natural insect repellent, so if you’ve got a problem with ants or other creepy crawlies leave a few strips of lemon peel nearby.
30. Lemon juice also has anti-bacterial as well as natural bleaching properties so rubbing a slice over a chopping board will help get rid of bacteria, fade patches of discolouration and neutralise strong smells.
BICARBONATE OF SODA
31. Sprinkle on a damp cloth and use where you would a cream cleaner in the bathroom or kitchen.
32. Clean your fridge, freezer and marble, formica and plastic surfaces with dry soda on a damp cloth.
33. Clean your oven with a paste made from salt, bicarb and warm water.
34. Sprinkle smelly or stained plastic containers or flasks with bicarbonate of soda and a little hot water and leave overnight
35. Wash kitchen or bathroom bins with a few teaspoons of bicarb in water. Rinse.
36. Prevent cat litter smells. Cover the bottom of the tray with one part soda to two parts cat litter over the top.
37. Deodorise your fridge by leaving an open pot of bicarb in there. Stir it around every few weeks to freshen and replace every 2 months.
38. Prevent a build-up of nasty smells in your dishwasher – sprinkle some bicarb over the bottom.
39. Oil and grease stains come clean easier with bicarb – add half a cup to your washing machine tub.
40. For a badly burnt pan, sprinkle with soda then just dampen with water and leave overnight. It should come clean easier in the morning.
41. Remove strong smells from your hands by rubbing them hard with soda, then rinsing.
42. Put a couple of tablespoons of bicarb into a bath to help with the soreness of a baby with nappy rash.
43. Use a few tablespoons in the bath of a child with chicken pox to ease irritation.
44. Gargle with half a teaspoon of soda in half a glass of water to freshen your mouth.
45. Make a paste of bicarb and white vinegar to relieve insect bites.
46. Use bicarb and water to neutralise acidic bee stings and to soothe sunburn (use vinegar not bicarb on WASP stings which are alkaline).
47. Bicarbonate of soda works wonders on dirty grills and barbecues. Sprinkle bicarb over the grill, then use tin foil rolled into a ball to scrub.
48. To remove melted plastic bread wrapper from a toaster – make a mild abrasive with baking soda and water!
49. .Dust your carpets with bicarbonate of soda, leave overnight then vacuum in the morning for fresh and clean carpets.
50. For a fresh loo, pour a glug of vinegar (malt will do) down your toilet, followed by a couple of tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda. Allow to fizz up and settle, then flush.