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by Pat Blackett
Rounding up the ingredients
Common items such as salt, baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice can clean a house safely and cheaply. Vinegar (the white wine variety is the least smelly) tackles grease and provides a mild disinfectant. Lemon juice is a good general cleaner and alternative to bleach. Tea tree oil is a natural disinfectant, particularly good for banishing mould.
The king of natural cleaners is bicarbonate of soda. Mixed with water, it dissolves grease and dirt. Used dry, it removes carpet stains and cleans surfaces. Essential oils are a great supplement to natural cleaning solutions, as they give pleasant fragrances and improve the overall energy of your home.
Try the simple tips below for natural Spring cleaning. Youâ€™ll not only be doing your bit for the environment, youâ€™ll reduce the levels of harmful chemicals to which you and your family are exposed.
- Lemon and orange essential oils are antibacterial and help to cut grease, making them ideal ingredients for a homemade dishwashing liquid. Mix ten drops of each with about 125 ml of unscented natural liquid dishwashing soap and shake well.
- Clean and polish stainless steel by rubbing a thin paste of baking soda and vinegar onto the metal surface. Rinse well with water and dry.
- Bicarbonate of soda removes grease and burnt on stains from pots, pans and other utensils
- Flush drains with a solution of boiling water, baking soda and vinegar, followed by a few goes with the plunger.
- Laurel Vukovic suggests a combination of white vinegar and water for an inexpensive and effective window and glass cleaner. Mix about 170 ml of water with 90 ml of distilled vinegar in a spray bottle and shake well (you can also add two drops of lemon essential oil to give a nice fragrance). Spray onto surfaces and wipe with a clean, lint-free cloth.
- When you spill something on your carpet or sofa rub promptly with a vinegar and water solution, sponge with clean water and dab dry. Pour salt on red wine spills and vacuum when dry. Soda water may also be used to remove stains.
- Try this DIY cleaner by Suzy Chiazzari, author of The Healing Home:
â€˜Mix one tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda or borax powder with one tablespoon of kaolin or natural talc. Add a few drops of essential oils and place in a plastic bag. Shake the bag and leave for 24 hours for the oils to permeate the powder. The next day, sprinkle on the carpet and leave for ten minutes, then vacuumâ€™.
- Clean the bath with a mixture of either vinegar or lemon juice and water.
- Borax and tea tree oil helps to eliminate heavy concentrations of mould and mildew. Dissolve 120g of borax in hot water, let it cool then add the tea tree oil. Apply to mildew with a sponge or brush. Let it sit for a few hours and then rinse well with water.
- To clean the grout between tiles mix 60g of baking soda and 60g of borax and 80ml of distilled white vinegar into a smooth paste. Scrub into the grout with a toothbrush and rinse well.
- Shower nozzles can be de-clogged by soaking in a mixture of equal parts of distilled white vinegar and hot water. Leave for one hour to soak before scrubbing with a toothbrush.
- Borax and lemon juice can clean and deodorise toilet bowls and help remove mineral deposits. Put 120g of borax and 60ml of lemon juice into the toilet bowl. Let it sit overnight. Next morning, scrub with a toilet brush and flush to rinse.
- Silver stains can be removed by wrapping the object snugly in aluminium foil. Make a few cuts in the foil to allow liquid to seep through. Place in a large glass, enamel or stainless steel pot and cover with a solution of water and baking soda (add about four to five tablespoons of baking soda to every litre of water). Simmer gently for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, rinse the silver, dry thoroughly and rub to shine.
- A mixture of extra virgin oil and fresh lemon will clean wood furniture. Combine two tablespoons of olive oil and two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice in a small glass jar. Shake well and apply to furniture using a soft cotton cloth.
- Water spots can be removed from wooden surfaces by rubbing with half a raw walnut.
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