Fresh lemons.

In my view natural is always best and now that the spring clean is  round the corner here are a few top tips for
‘organic house cleaning’.

1. Toothpaste: Who would have thought, but brushing your taps with toothpaste will make them shine again. It is also great for removing watermarks from wooden furniture. Just put some tooth paste on a cloth and rub the wooden surface. Leave to soak in for a while and then polish off. Normally the watermarks should have completely disappeared. I suggest you try a small corner before attacking the whole of your furniture, especially antique furniture.

If you have a piano and the keys have gone yellow, just brush them with a toothbrush and tooth paste and they will be white again, just like your teeth.

Use toothpaste to repair CDs or DVDs with minor scratches. Dab some toothpaste on the back of the CD or DVD and gently spread in a circular motion. Delicately rinse with water and a tissue.

2. Baking powder: Sprinkle baking powder into  your sink and leave them for around 20 minutes. Then put white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the baking powder with the vinegar, finally rinse off with warm soapy water and your sink will sparkle again.

Another good use for baking soda is when you burnt food in a pot or pan. Don’t scratch the surface, by trying to scrub the burnt food off. Just sprinkle some baking soda into the pan and add some water and bring to the boil. The burnt food will come off quite easily and you can wash pan and pot as normal. In severe cases you have to repeat the baking powder boiling a few times. But it will save you many pots which would have been useless or scratch otherwise.

If your oven needs a good clean combine 5 teaspoons of baking soda, 5 drops of washing up liquid and some water to create a paste.  Coat the inside of the oven with this paste and leave overnight. The next morning again spray it with vinegar and leave for another 20 minutes. Then you can sponge it off with water.

Have you got stains on your glass hob? Start by mixing baking soda and water in a small dish. Spread the paste over the stained area and let it to set for 10 minute, then clean it off with soapy water. Or pour lemon juice/white vinegar over the baking soda paste to release tougher stains. Use a dry cloth to wipe off any remaining streaks.

3. White vinegar: I can’t believe when I look into some kettles what amount of limestone they contain. This is not good for the kettle and it is certainly not good for the body, as take in limescale with every cup of tea. So it is important (not just for your kettle’s health, but also for your health) to descale your kettle, coffee machine, egg cookers, etc. on a regular basis. The best way to do this is to fill your kettle with white wine vinegar and leave overnight. Then bring it to boil and discard. Now fill the kettle with fresh water, boil and discard again (to get rid of any smells). Now the kettle is ready to use again and you can keep it for much longer !

You can also descale your taps and shower heads by placing kitchen towels soaked in white vinegar over them, again leave overnight and rinse off in the morning. Some stone surfaces like marble or granite don’ like vinegar, so if in doubt always test on a small corner.

4. Lemon: Dried on food that won’t easily wipe off inside your microwave? Cut a lemon in half, squeeze the juice into a glass bowl containing half a cup of water and pop the squeezed lemons in as well.

Warning: never place anything metal inside a microwave. Place the bowl inside your microwave and turn it on for 3 minutes. After the ping, leave it for a further 5 minutes before removing the bowl. Now wipe clean the food splashes with a damp cloth for a sparkling interior.

To make your place smell fresh and clean take a small saucepan, fill to about two-thirds with water, slice a lemon and add a few sprigs of rosemary.

Add 1-2 tablespoons of vanilla extract and let it simmer for a marvellous smell around your house.
5. Cream of tartar: to get rid of any stickiness on your extractor fan and cooker hood mix a tablespoon of cream of tartar and a few drops of water. Rub the solution onto the area firmly with a sponge and wipe with a damp paper towel.

6. Cola: Put 750ml of the fizzy drink into your kettle and boil it. This should be sufficient for most kettles but make sure you don’t fill beyond than the ‘max’ level.Pour away the hot liquid and rinse thoroughly with water. Repeat this until the limescale has gone. Personally I don’t think it is as efficient as white vinegar, but it will do for mild lime scale. Colas are also brilliant toilet cleaners, just pour some cola into your toilet and leave for a while whilst you clean the toilet seat and other surrounding. Your toilet will sparkle again.