There will always be a place for certain cleaning agents in any home, but we sometimes rely on them when there are natural alternatives close at hand. Take a look in your fridge and kitchen cupboards, and the chances are you’ll already have several foods that can be used for everyday household cleaning.
Safe, environmentally friendly and often cheaper than specialist cleaners, these foods can work wonders in your home – if you know how to use them.
1. Baking soda
Baking soda isn’t just for making cakes and pastries, it can also be used to remove stains and unwanted odours in your home.
The abrasive, absorbent properties of baking soda can cut through dirt, grease and grime without any health or environmental consequences. A paste of baking soda and lemon juice, for instance, can be used to clean everything from your oven to your shower. And just a light sprinkling is often enough to neutralise the smell of a pet’s urine.
The table salt you probably have in your kitchen cupboard can be used to scrub pans clean, or to remove soapscum and limescale from your bath. Mix it with water, and the saline solution is great at removing protein. Use a saline solution to remove blood from upholstery and carpet.
Create a paste of salt and grapefruit, and you’ll have a very effective cleaning agent – capable of cutting through significant accumulations of grease. Cleaning your oven with a paste of baking soda, grapefruit juice and salt can deliver great results when given a few hours of contact time.
4. Potato peel
Rust rings in your bathroom from metal containers such as hairspray and deodorant can be tricky to remove. But a little potato peel could be the key to removing them naturally.
Dip the potato peel into a solution of water and baking soda, and scrub the affected area. The combination of starch from the potato and baking soda should make light work out of rust removal.
Before you turn to furniture polish for the wooden items in your home, try a little tea. Dip a micro-fibre cloth into some cold, black tea, and gently polish your wooden furniture in small sections – you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results.
Bonus tip: Green tea is a great way to remove unwanted odours from many areas of your home. Place some green tea leaves in your fridge to keep it smelling fresh at all times.
Lemon has many natural antiseptic and antibacterial properties, which makes it a powerful multi-purpose cleaning agent. Used with baking soda to make a paste, lemon juice is capable of removing grease, limescale, grime and carbonised food.
The ancient Egyptians used vinegar for cleaning purposes, thanks to its ability to kill germs.
Create a solution of one part white vinegar and two parts water, and keep it in a sterile spray bottle. This simple solution can be used to clean windows, glass, bathtubs, cooking ranges, kitchen worktops and a wide range of other household surfaces.
Several everyday herbs – many of which you probably already have lying around your kitchen – have significant disinfectant properties. The likes of basil, ginger, peppermint, rosemary, sage and thyme can kill bacteria when used with water and white vinegar to create a solution.
Some cleaning jobs in the home don’t need expensive, potentially caustic cleaning agents. With these everyday foods at your disposal, you can keep your house clean cheaply – without harming the environment.