Naturally clean

Sometimes, especially with children and pets around, you need something more than your washing powder, liquid or capsule to get out unwanted stains.

There are lots of eco-friendly items you can use to tackle stains, all of which you will most likely find in your larder or kitchen cabinet.

lemons

Bicarbonate of soda, or Baking Soda, (same thing different name), lemon and vinegar are key ingredients used in cleaning methods passed down over generations.

Here are some ways they can help clean up around the home.

Bicarbonate of Soda is sadly under utilised in households today, generally used only for baking. It is however a very versatile product with excellent cleaning power.

You can mix it with vinegar, lemon or simply water to create a gently abrasive paste that is a good all round cleaner. Great on surfaces and as a stain remover. It’s very effective on tannin stains from tea and coffee and you can rub it on to stained crockery. It also works on walls or wallpaper to lift crayon marks.

For stubborn stains on clothes, such as mud, blood, red wine, you can spread on the paste and leave for an hour or two or you can soak in a solution of bicarbonate of soda and water and then wash as normal.

Perhaps one of its best properties is its ability to absorb and neutralise odours. As such it’s a great cleaner for the fridge or dishwasher – you can sprinkle some in the bottom of the dishwasher between loads to get rid of the smell. It also masks odours from pet stains and other carpet mishaps, just sprinkle the bicarbonate of soda over the carpet and leave for 10-15 minutes before vacuuming.

Lemon juice is a natural acid, it contains citric acid that is mild and as such is a very useful cleaning agent. It will bleach and deodorise and helps dissolve grease. Try wiping half a lemon inside your kitchen sink. You can use it diluted with hot water to gently cleanse surfaces and use it neat to get rid of strong chopping board smells. It’s also good to reduce odours in your microwave, squeeze into water and put on for a minute or two to release the steam.

It’s also a great stain remover, especially effective at brightening faded whites and bleaching out ink spots. Lemon will remove berry stains from your hands and clean stains off brass, copper and stainless steel.

Vinegar is another mild acid and is effective on solid stains such as soap scum lines around the bath or shower. Use it in the washing machine to give it a good clean once a month, just put a cup full in the machine and run on a basic cycle, without clothes.

Vinegar works on stubborn stains on upholstery and furniture, and on mildew and mould such as on your shower curtain or tiles, stained toilets or pet urine marks on the carpet. Yellow perspiration marks can also be removed by soaking the item in white vinegar, rinsing in water and then washing it as normal.

Most of us know already vinegar is a good glass cleaner but it works well on wooden floors too. Don’t use on marble though as the acid content can damage the surface.

As with all stain removing products, it’s always best to test a small area first.

And a couple of other easy but useful tips.

Natural, direct sunlight helps bleach out stains and also reduces mould and mildew. Air and sunshine cost nothing and are a great way to put the life back into bedding and upholstery, as well as clothes.

Last but not least, a great tip for candle wax or glue on fabric. Place a piece of greased proof paper, or even uncoloured tissue paper, over the wax or glue and iron over the top with a medium iron. The wax/glue will melt onto the paper and lift from the fabric.

We’re sure you have your own favourite natural cleaning tips and home remedies. Why not share them with us.

Photo by Caroline Attwood on Unsplash. Thank you.

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