In my view, natural is always best. In addition to routine maintenance cleaning (which is done as and when), add a 3-step declutter- deep clean- energize program. You can do a yearly/biyearly session in spring and autumn or you can just do these sessions in small doses all year round. It does not matter.
In this article, I want to specifically go into home cleaning products. Some may surprise you!
1. Toothpaste: Who would have thought, that brushing your taps with toothpaste will make them shine again? Toothpaste is great for removing watermarks from wooden furniture, just put some on a dry cloth and rub the wooden surface. Leave to soak in for a while and then polish off with another dry cloth. 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 it 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 the 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 otherwise scratched.
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 set for 10 minutes. 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 you drink a limescale mixture with every cup of coffee or tea you make. So it is important for both your and kettle’s health to start descaling!
The best way to do this is to fill your kettle with white wine vinegar and leave it to stand overnight. In the morning bring the kettle to boil and discard the water. IMPORTANT: add a post-it note to the kettle saying DESCALING! You don’t want anybody else to forget and use the descaling vinegar brew for their morning coffee. (has happened in my house!). Now fill the kettle with fresh water, boil, and discard again (to get rid of any smells). Fill again and now the kettle is back in action. If you do this on average every 3 months – you can keep it in a virtual new shape for a long time.
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 ever in doubt always test on a small unseen 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. Microwave the lemon water 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 it 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 marvelous 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: If you find it hard to stomach the vinegar smell, you can try cola instead. Put 750ml of the fizzy drink into your kettle and boil it. This should be sufficient for most kettles – please make sure you never fill it beyond 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 a mild limescale buildup.
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 surroundings. Your toilet will sparkle again.
7. Clean your drains with washing-up liquid: Over time, kitchen drains can start to clog up with fatty deposits creating an unpleasant smell. Once a drain is totally blocked you may have to employ a heavy-duty drain cleaner, which won’t be very environmentally friendly. Here is a quick way to keep your drains from blocking in the first place. Squirt the amount of a small cup of liquid washing up liquid down the drain, then boil a whole kettle and slowly pour it after the washing up liquid. Leave to stand for a little and repeat the hot water another 2-3 times. This should be enough for a routine clean.
If you have already some build-up, you may want to repeat this process on a few occasions.