The same way we intuitively know that cotton bed linen is preferable to synthetic, reducing or eliminating the use of toxic chemicals in your home is a no-brainer. What’s more, chemicals actually leave a film on your surfaces that acts as a magnet for dirt and dust. So apart from leaving a residue that can be harmful to your health, it also makes the job of cleaning your home harder.
Here are twelve natural cleaning tips that will help keep your home chemical free, and make your space feel truly clean and fresh.
You will need:
- Bicarbonate soda
- Coarse salt
- Grape seed oil
- Cinnamon sticks, cloves or dried lavender
1. Cleanse your rugs
Take your rugs outside and dust or beat them. While they’re outside, vacuum the floor beneath. Re-position the rugs and sprinkle with bicarbonate soda. Leave for at least one hour (three or four is ideal) and vacuum. This will help remove odours and dislodge specks that will then vacuum easily away.
2. Purify the air naturally
Ditch the air freshener. Most air fresheners are made using chemicals and other artificial ingredients – not things that you would willingly breathe. Instead, sprinkle rose petals with essential oils, Light an all-natural scented candle, or boil a pot of water with apples, cinnamon and cloves.
3. Clean glass and mirrors using vinegar
Add ½ cup vinegar to one litre of water in a spray bottle. Spray on bathroom mirrors and windows, and wipe clean using newspaper or an old t-shirt (or any other lint-free fabric).
4. Freshen your mattress
Remove your mattress protector and wash it. Sprinkle the surface of your mattress with bicarbonate soda, allow to sit for 3 or 4 hours, and vacuum. Flip and repeat, and replace the protector on the flipped side of the mattress.
5. Air your wardrobe
Cull your winter clothes and air your wardrobe. If you have things to keep for next season, wash them and then store them in boxes with cotton pouches of cinnamon sticks and cloves or lavender. The pouches will keep your clothes smelling fresh and will keep moths at bay.
6. Flush your drains
Hair and soap scum can build up quickly in drains, even when using a drain protector. To prevent blockage, pour 1/2 cup of bicarbonate soda down your drain, followed by 1 cup of undiluted white vinegar. Let it sit for 20 minutes before flushing it with water.
7. Whiten toilets without bleach
Pour one cup of bicarbonate soda in the toilet bowl and allow to soak for an hour. Follow with one cup of vinegar, let sit for five minutes, and flush.
8. Make bathroom tiles shine
Mix 1L of water with 1 cup of bicarbonate soda and 2 cups of vinegar. Use the scour side of a sponge to apply the solution, and rinse with water.
9. Disinfect countertops
Wash kitchen countertops with vinegar and lemon (be sure to pass the juice through a sieve, so you’re not left with lemon pith on your benches!). You can also clean stainless-steel appliances using this solution.
Tip: If you’re preparing in advance, let the skin of five lemons soak in one litre of vinegar for up to two weeks. Once drained, this solution will work as a powerful natural cleaning agent that will cut through grime, disinfect, and combat odours without streaking.
10. Clean the oven with bicarbonate soda paste
Sprinkle a ½ centimetre thick layer of bicarbonate soda on the bottom of a damp oven. Spray or sprinkle water on the parts that are still dry. Let it still for a few hours, and wipe away the powder, along with the grime and oils with a cloth.
11. Clean and freshen your dishwasher
Place 2 cups of undiluted vinegar in a dishwasher safe bowl on the top shelf of the empty dishwasher, and turn on a hot cycle. It will help clear pipes and tackle musty odours. You can replace the vinegar with two halved lemons.
12.Care for Kitchen utensils
Wood has natural anti-bacterial properties, but it doesn't hurt to give your kitchen utensils a little TLC every now and then. Deep clean your chopping board and wooden utensils by rubbing them down with coarse salt and half a lemon to get rid of odours. Rinse, dry, and slather with a light oil (grape seed works well). Let it sit overnight, then towel off the residue. If you’re using plastic chopping boards, consider switching to wood for a healthier option for your home.