At some stage most Mums have questioned the use of strong chemicals to clean their house. While we all want germ-free surfaces for our little ones to play on, ‘going green’ can be expensive, and often we find ourselves with a cupboard overflowing with cleaning products. It seems like there’s one for every surface of the house.
For those who want to regain some cupboard space and save some money in the process we have compiled our list of Top 3 homemade cleaning products. They’re incredibly easy to use and you probably already have these items in your pantry!
The master of all cleaners. It contains 5% acetic acid, which kills bacteria and viruses.
2. Bi-carb soda
Bi-carb soda (and Baking Soda) works as a gentle scourer. When it’s mixed with grease it forms glycerol, the cleaning agent used in soap. And when it’s mixed with our home cleaning favourite, vinegar, it creates carbonic acid.
Lemon is one of the best little cleaners around. It is high in citric acid, and has antibacterial qualities. It is also a natural bleacher, which can be great for stain removal but be sure to test on a small area first as it may damage some surfaces.
Armed with just those three items there is almost no cleaning job you can’t take on.
Many commercial mould removers contain bleach. This will kill some mould but others it will merely mask. It removes the colour of the mould but leaves the growth. Strong bleach can also damage grout and tiles, making them more porous and more susceptible to fungi growth.
To kill mould the natural way mix eight parts vinegar with two parts water in a bucket. Arm yourself with a microfiber cloth or a toothbrush for hard to reach spots and get scrubbing. Unfortunately there is no short cut with mould removal. A bit of elbow grease is the only way to remove it.
To clean shower screens rub a cut lemon over the surface then rinse off. If you have tougher scum you can use bi-carb soda as a scourer. Unlike other scourers, bi-carb dissolves in water and its particles are so small it won’t scratch the glass. Simply sprinkle a little on a sponge and wipe down the glass. Rinse off, or use a squeegee for a streak free finish.
Clean the toilet
An easy alternative to expensive toilet cleaners is to throw a cup of bi-carb soda into the bowl. Leave it for an hour then add a cup of vinegar. Leave that for five minutes, then flush. No need for scrubbing unless the bowl is really bad.
If your bowl needs a really good clean, it’s time to get the kids involved. Make a bi-carb and vinegar paste in a bowl. It will fizz like crazy, which they’ll love. Use the paste to scrub the toilet as usual. Handy hint: This paste also makes a great drain de-clogger.
Vinegar is the wonder-liquid of all household cleaners and it makes an excellent all purpose cleaner. Put it in a spray bottle with 2 parts water and use whenever and wherever required. Some people love the smell, while others can’t stand it. If you’re one of the latter just throw some lemon peel into the bottle. After about two weeks the vinegar smell will have gone.
Dishwasher and microwave cleaner
These appliances get a real beating in any household but keeping them fresh is easy. To give your dishwasher a clean out simply fill a cup with vinegar and run the dishwasher on a hot cycle with no other dishes.
To clean your microwave put some lemon peels in ½ a cup of water in a microwave safe bowl. Put the microwave on high for 5 minutes or long enough for the water to be boiling. The steam will loosen any splatter and the lemon will disinfect and remove odours. Simply wipe out the machine.
Jennifer Chandler is a full-time Mum, part-time copywriter, part-time children’s clothing shop owner and occasional house cleaner (her own that is). She is not trying to be the world’s best Mum, just the best Mum she can be.