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10 Green Cleaning Tips

Our Chairperson Sarah De Rees, came up with these useful environmentally friendly AND cheap cleaning tips!

Four simple ingredients from your cupboard make for excellent cleaning products.  And the winners are: bicarbonate of soda, white vinegar, salt and lemon juice!  As natural products they have no horrid chemicals and for those of us who are also concerned about our wallet, are much cheaper than the cleaning products you can buy off the shelf.

Why are these natural products so good?

Bicarbonate of soda has deodorising and mild abrasive properties which makes it ideal for cleaning and removing bad odours. 

Vinegar is an acidic liquid, obtained from the fermentation of alcohol and as a household cleaner is much better than other cleaning products. It is an antiseptic and very cheap.  Also, since it does not have any harsh abrasive effects it is ideal for cleaning windows, glass, mirrors, metal and removing mildew and mould.  

Lemon juice is a natural anti-bacterial and has a natural bleaching effect.  This makes it a really useful surface cleaner.

Combine these four and this is what you can make sparkle (however you might want to check the products on an unobtrusive area before use to check that the surfaces won’t be damaged):

  1. Oven cleaner: mix a large amount of bicarbonate of soda with water to make a thick paste, spread over the oven surfaces and leave to soak for 30 – 60 minutes.  Clean off and admire the shine!
  2. Clean windows using half a cup of white vinegar in half a bucket of water.  Apply with a cloth and then buff the windows using crumpled sheets of newspaper or simply an old t-shirt.  Stubborn marks can be removed using warm black tea.
  3. To remove tough marks and stains from the inside of your microwave, put fresh lemon juice and 300ml of water into a dish in the microwave and heat on full power for 5 to 10 minutes.  You will be able to just wipe the dirt away.
  4. Did you know that furniture polish is usually made of petroleum distillates and solvents, both of which are hazardous and poisonous?  Instead you can make your own environmentally friendly polish by mixing 2 parts olive oil with 1 part lemon juice, which can just be rubbed into the wood and creates a lovely smell and sparkling shine. 
  5. Blood on textile or carpets: simply wet the area with water and sprinkle with salt.  The salt will draw out the blood and makes for easier cleaning after.
  6. Shower Curtains - Put a few large bath towels in the washing machine along with the shower curtain and add 1/2 cup vinegar.  Make sure to remove the shower curtain before the spin cycle and hang it up immediately.  Also, soaking a shower curtain in salt water will prevent it from mildew.
  7. Cooking pots – ah, how easy it is to burn sauce and make it a difficult job to clean the bottom of that cooking pot or oven dish.  Using hot water, vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to clean your pots and pans will make the job so much easier and leaves them sparkling.  If that doesn’t quite do it, first poor some normal (not diet) cola in the pot and let it boil for 10 to 15 minutes.  This will really lift the grime.
  8. Odour removal from drawers or cupboards - Fill the drawer with ground coffee and leave it overnight
  9. Limescale Remover & Toilet Cleaner - Use white vinegar in a spray on taps, tiles, the toilet bowl and shower heads. You can also use a drop of lemon juice to make it smell nicer. For cleaning the toilet, you can use vinegar instead of bleach.
  10. Multi-surface cleaner & Air Freshener - Make up a spray with 50% white vinegar and 50% cold water. Add 5 drops of your favourite essential oil to make it smell lovely. Tea tree oil is antibacterial, lavender is relaxing and lemon is uplifting and antiseptic. The spray with essential oil can also be used as an air freshener but do not spray near delicate fabrics.