Using harsh chemical cleaning products can be damaging to the environment and to your health. Cleaners that use natural ingredients free of toxins are a great idea for every home if you’re worried about the chemicals that may be coming from the typical cleaning products available.
1. All-purpose cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons borax) into 2 litres of water. Store and keep. Use for removal of water deposit stains on shower stall panels, bathroom chrome fixtures, windows, bathroom mirrors, etc.
2. Bathroom mould cleaner: Mould in bathroom tile grout is a common problem and can be a health concern. Mix 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide with one teaspoon liquid dish soap in a small squeeze bottle. Squeeze the mixture on grout or tile that is in need of a good cleaning and leave it on the area for five minutes. Or squeeze onto a soft sponge and use for cleaning your tub or bathroom shower tiles. Scrub then wipe away the cleaning mixture, rinsing with water. For deeper cleaning, allow it to sit for several minutes, or use a second application
3. Carpet stain cleaner: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray directly on stain, let sit for several minutes, and clean with a brush or sponge using warm soapy water. For fresh grease spots, sprinkle cornstarch onto spot and wait 15 – 30 minutes before vacuuming. For a heavy duty carpet cleaner, mix 1/4 cup each of salt, borax and vinegar. Rub paste into carpet and leave for a few hours before vacuuming.
4. Wool cleaner (Wool wash): Mix 2 cups of grated soap, 1/2 cup methylated spirits, 1 tablespoon eucalyptus oil, and 1 cup of hot water in an airtight jar and shake well. Add two tablespoons of the liquid to your washing machine on the gentle or wool cycle. Add a cup of vinegar to the fabric softener section. Store in the jar with the lid firmly sealed until all used up. If you’d like to add a fresh scent, try a few drops of a scented oil such as lavender or similar.
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5. Drain cleaner: For light drain cleaning, mix 1/2 cup salt in 4 litres water, heat (but not to a boil) and pour down the drain. For stronger cleaning, pour about 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain, then 1/2 cup vinegar. The resulting chemical reaction can break fatty acids down into soap and glycerine, allowing the clog to wash down the drain. After 15 minutes, pour in boiling water to clear residue. Caution: only use this method with metal plumbing. Plastic pipes can melt if excess boiling water is used.
6. Furniture Polish: For varnished wood, add a few drops of lemon oil into a 1/2 cup warm water. Mix well and spray onto a soft cotton cloth. Cloth should only be slightly damp. Wipe furniture with the cloth, and finish by wiping once more using a dry soft cotton cloth. For unvarnished wood, mix two teaspoons each of olive oil and lemon juice and apply a small amount to a soft cotton cloth. Wring the cloth to spread the mixture further into the material and apply to the furniture using wide strokes. This helps distribute the oil evenly.
7. Removing water rings on wood: Water rings on a wooden table or counter are the result of moisture that is trapped under the topcoat, but not the finish. Try applying toothpaste or mayonnaise to a damp cloth and rub into the ring. Be careful not to run too vigorously so as not to mar the finish. Once the ring is removed, buff the entire wood surface.
What’s your favourite DIY tip for around the home?