Next time you visit a grocery store, take a look at just how many different cleaning products are on the shelves. It seems these days there’s a different chemical concoction for every household chore, from cleaning the windows to the oven. The average household probably has an entire cupboard full of sprays and bottles perceived as essential for keeping the home clean.
But, all these products cost money and in these uncertain economic times it makes sense to cut back on superfluous items in the weekly shop. To my mind, a lot of the cleaning products on the supermarket shelves aren’t the necessities the manufacturers would like us to think they are. Go back a couple of generations and you’ll find our grandparents managed to keep their homes sparkling clean using cheap, basic ingredients such as baking soda and white vinegar. As well as being effective for a wide range of jobs, these simple ingredients are safe and non-toxic, so they won’t pollute the environment like many modern products do.
Here are my top tips for going green and saving money by making your own cleaning products:
1. Multipurpose Cleaner – This simple cleaner can be used on various surfaces around the home, from kitchen counters and bathroom vanities to stovetops. All you need to do is mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
2. Windows – The above multipurpose cleaner is effective at cleaning windows too. Spray it on and wipe over the glass, then use a dry cloth or even scrunched up newspaper to buff to a shine.
3. Bathtubs and sinks – Spray undiluted vinegar onto tubs and sinks. Then sprinkle baking soda onto a damp cloth and wipe over the surfaces before rinsing with water. The baking soda acts as a scourer to remove soap scum and limescale deposits, the vinegar gives shine.
4. Drains – To unblock a slow-moving drain, pour down half a cup of baking soda followed by half a cup of vinegar. Leave it for about 10 minutes (it’ll fizz and foam!) before flushing through with a kettle of boiling water. To prevent future blockages, regularly pour about half a cup of washing soda down the drain and rinse it through with hot water.
5. Stainless Steel & Chrome – Bring back shine to stainless steel sinks and chrome bar stools by wiping with a damp cloth sprinkled with baking soda and then buffing with a dry cloth.
6. Furniture Polish – As a natural and effective alternative to synthetic spray polish, mix up a small amount of olive oil and a couple of drops of lemon juice. Rub this onto wooden furniture, wait a couple of minutes and then polish with a soft, dry cloth.
7. Upholstery – Prevent greasy food spills from staining sofas or upholstered dining chairs by immediately rubbing gently with a 50-50 mix of baking soda and salt. Leave overnight and then vacuum up.
8. Oven Cleaner – Instead of using a harsh chemical oven cleaner, mix up a thick paste of baking soda and water. Spread it all over the inside of the oven and leave it overnight to loosen grease and grime before scouring the next morning.
This is a guest post contributed by Caroline Smith of Get Bar Stools. Caroline enjoys finding ways to save money and being green at the same time. She has written money-saving and home decorating articles for a number of websites.”