Hints, Tips & Information for Natural Cleaning
There are many inexpensive, easy-to-use natural cleaning alternatives which can be used safely in place of commercial household cleaning products. Here's some ordinary, environmentally safe products which can be used alone or in combination for a wealth of household cleaning applications.
Nearly all of these products are available to buy on-line HERE in a wide choice of pack sizes to suit all requirements. We also have a wide selection of essential oils available.
Bicarbonate of Soda- An all-purpose, non-toxic cleaner. Cleans, deodorises, removes stains, scours and softens fabrics. For even more useful information about this amazingly versatile substance, click this link.
Vinegar (acetic acid)- Cuts grease, removes stains, mildew, wax build-up and is an excellent water softener.
Castille or vegetable-based soap- Unscented soap in liquid form, flakes or bars is biodegradable and will clean just about anything.
Borax- Cleans, deodorises, disinfects, softens water, cleans wallpaper, painted walls and floors and is also a natural insecticide and herbicide.
Ethanol (ethyl alcohol)- Is an excellent disinfectant.
Caustic Soda (sodium hydroxide)- Is a powerful drain-cleaner. Use with care. Always follow safety instructions.
Cornflour (cornstarch)- Can be used to clean windows, polish furniture, shampoo carpets and rugs, starch clothes, absorb oil and grease.
Herbs and Essential Oils- For disinfecting and fragrance.
Salt (sodium chloride)- An abrasive.
Lemon Juice- Cuts through grease and removes perspiration and other stains from clothing. A bleach alternative.
Washing Soda (sodium carbonate)- Cleans clothes, softens water, cuts grease and disinfects. Increases the cleaning power of soap.
To assist our customers in choosing their preferred 'natural' cleaning products we have prepared a summary of hints, tips and recipes from many useful sources and assembled them below. Enjoy browsing...
To save time and money, make your cleaners in advance and buy the ingredients in bulk for cost savings and to avoid excess packaging..
Make large batches of the recipes and store them in reusable airtight plastic containers and spray bottles. Using a pretty spray bottle or container makes cleaning days more fun and pleasant.
Label all of your ingredients and keep them out of reach of children. While most of these all natural cleaners are not poisonous, some can be harmful or even fatal if swallowed by children or pets.
Add your favorite essential oils or herbs to any of these formulas for fragrance.
All Purpose Cleaners
1) Vinegar and Salt. Mix together for a good surface cleaner.
2) Bicarbonate of Soda. Dissolve 4 tablespoons bicarbonate of soda in 1 litre warm water for a general cleaner.
3) Bicarbonate of Soda on a damp sponge. Bicarbonate of Soda cleans and deodorises all kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
4) Use liquid castile soap and Bicarbonate of Soda or Borax in different ratios. Use a little soap and soda/borax with lots of water on floors, walls and counters. Use more soap, soda/Borax for baths sinks, cat boxes, anything that can be well rinsed.
5) For a general, all-purpose cleaner, try a paste made from Bicarbonate of Soda and water or mix salt and water with a little vinegar.
1) Regular cleaning with plain soap and hot water will kill some bacteria.
2) Borax has long been recognised for its disinfectant and deodorising properties. Mix 1/2 cup Borax into 5 litres hot water and clean with this solution.
3) Mix a half-cup of borax with 5 litres hot water. Add a few sprigs of fresh thyme, rosemary or lavender. Steep for 10 minutes, strain and cool. Or add essential fragrant oils instead of fresh herbs. Store in a plastic spray bottle.
4) 2 tablespoons borax, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 2 cups hot water. Combine the borax and lemon juice with the water in a spray bottle. Use as you would any commercial all-purpose cleaner.
5) Ethyl Alcohol is an excellent disinfectant. Sponge on and allow to dry. Use in a well-ventilated area and wear gloves.
Windows and Mirrors:
1) Use undiluted vinegar in a spray bottle or
2) Equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle or
3) 1/2 lemon juice and 2 cups water in a spray bottle or
4) 1/2 cup vinegar or lemon juice, 2 cups water, 1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil based soap.
5) Mix 1/2 cup cornstarch with 2 litres warm water. Apply with sponge then wipe with absorbent cloth or towel. Do not wash windows or glass when sun is on them or if they are warm. This causes the solution to dry too quickly creating unwanted streaks.
6) No-Streak Glass Cleaner: 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 litre warm water
Mix the ingredients and apply with a sponge or pour into spray bottle and spray on. Wipe dry with crumpled newspaper, buff to a shine. (Use crumpled newspaper instead of paper towels for lint-free results.
7) Rubbing alcohol or Ethyl alcohol is effective in place of glass cleaner.
8)1 cup ethyl alcohol, 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, mix in a spray bottle.
9) A little washing up liquid, or natural liquid soap in white vinegar, apply to glass and polish with newspaper for a streak-free finish.
Bicarbonate of Soda or Dry Table Salt. These are mild abrasives and can be used as an alternative to chlorine scouring powders. Simply put either bicarbonate of soda or salt on a sponge or the surface, scour and rinse.
Non-Abrasive Soft Scrubber:
1/4 cup borax
Vegetable-oil based liquid soap
1/2 teaspoon lemon oil
In a bowl, mix the borax with enough soap to form a creamy paste. Add lemon oil and blend well. Scoop a small amount of the mixture onto a sponge, wash the surface, then rinse well.
Toilet Bowl Cleaners:
1) Bicarbonate of Soda and Vinegar: Sprinkle Bicarbonate of Soda into the bowl, then squirt with vinegar and scour with a toilet brush. Cleans and deodorises
2) Borax and Lemon Juice. For removing a stubborn stain, like toilet bowl ring, mix enough borax and lemon juice into a paste cover the ring. Flush toilet to wet the sides, then rub on paste. Let sit for 2 hours and scrub thoroughly. For less stubborn toilet bowl rings, sprinkle Bicarbonate of Soda around the rim and scrub with a toilet brush.
3)1 cup borax, 1/2 cup white vinegar. Flush to wet the sides of the bowl. Sprinkle the borax around the toilet bowl, then spray with vinegar. Leave for several hours or overnight before scrubbing with a toilet brush.
4) Denture tablets are an excellent substitute for toilet cleaner. Drop two tablets into the bowl and clean as you would with toilet cleaner.
5) Liquid castile soap and Bicarbonate of Soda or Borax, scrub with a toilet brush.
Drain Opener and Waste Disposal Cleaner:For slow drains, use this drain cleaner once a week to keep drains fresh and clog-free.
1/2 to 1 cup bicarbonate of soda
1 cup white vinegar
5 litres boiling water
1/2 a used lemon
Pour bicarbonate of soda down drain/disposal, followed by vinegar. Allow the mixture to foam for several minutes before flushing the drain with boiling water.
Bath And Tile Cleaners:
1) Bicarbonate of Soda. Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda like you would scouring powder. Rub with a damp sponge. Rinse thoroughly.
2) Vinegar and Bicarbonate of Soda. To remove film buildup on baths, apply vinegar full-strength to a sponge and wipe. Next, use bicarbonate of soda as you would scouring powder. Rub with a damp sponge and rinse thoroughly with clean water.
3) Vinegar. Vinegar removes most dirt without scrubbing and doesn't leave a film. Use 1/4 cup (or more) vinegar to 5 litres water.
4) Bicarbonate of Soda. To clean grout, put 3 cups bicarbonate of soda into a medium-sized bowl and add 1 cup warm water. Mix into a smooth paste and scrub into grout with a sponge or toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly and dispose of leftover paste when finished.
5) Rub the area to be cleaned with half a lemon dipped in borax. Rinse well, and dry with soft cloth.
Porcelain Cleaner:Cream of Tartar. To clean porcelain surfaces, rub with cream of tartar sprinkled on a damp cloth.
1) To clean stainless steel, chrome, fiberglass, ceramic, porcelain or enamel fixtures, dissolve 2 tbsp bicarbonate of soda in 1 lt of water. Wipe on fixtures then rinse.
2) Vinegar and Paper Towels. Hard lime deposits around taps can be softened for easy removal by covering the deposits with vinegar-soaked paper towels. Leave the paper towels on for about one hour before cleaning. Leaves chrome clean and shiny.
3) Remove limescale from taps. Use the remains of a squeezed lemon, or rub on a little lemon juice onto taps and leave overnight or for a few hours.
1) Metal Shower Heads: To remove deposits which may be clogging your metal shower head, combine 1/2 cup white vinegar and one litre water. Then completely submerge the shower head and boil for 15 minutes.
2) Plastic Shower Heads:>!! Combine 1 pint white vinegar and 1 pint hot water. Completely submerge the shower head and soak for about one hour.
Rust Stain and Hard Water Deposit Remover:Apply full-strength vinegar or lemon juice and let stand until spot disappears, rinse. Repeat if necessary.
Mildew Remover:Dissolve half-cup vinegar with half-cup borax in warm water.
Lime Deposits:White vinegar
Dishwashing Soap:Commercial low-phosphate detergents are not themselves harmful, but phosphates nourish algae which use up oxygen in waterways. A detergent substitution is to use liquid soap. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of vinegar to the warm, soapy water for tough jobs.
Dishwasher Powder:Make up a powder for the dishwasher by mixing 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda with 2 tablespoons of borax.
Disinfectant:Mix 1/4 cup borax into 2 litres hot water. Use for wiping surfaces.
Fabric Conditioner:To make your own fabric conditioner, mix equal quantities of water, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar in a storage bottle, take care as the vinegar & soda will fizz up. Add ¼ cup of conditioner to your wash.
1) The first step is prevention. Put a sheet of aluminum foil on the floor of the oven, underneath but not touching the heating element.
2) Clean up the spill as soon as it occurs.
3) While the oven is still warm, sprinkle salt or bicarbonate of soda on the spill. If the spill is completely dry, wet the spill lightly before sprinkling on salt. When the oven cools, scrape away the spill and wash the area clean.
4) Bicarbonate of soda, water; salt; vegetable oil-based liquid soap. Sprinkle water on oven bottom. Cover with bicarbonate of soda. Let sit overnight. Wipe off and apply liquid soap with scouring pad. Rinse.
5) Retard grease buildup in your oven by dampening your cleaning rag in vinegar and water before wiping out your oven.
6) Sprinkle/spray water followed by a layer of bicarbonate of soda. Rub gently with a very fine steel wool pad for tough spots. Wipe off scum with dry paper towels or sponge. Rinse well and wipe dry.
7) 2 tablespoons vegetable oil-based liquid soap, 2 tablespoons borax: Mix the soap and borax in a spray bottle. Fill the bottle with hot water and shake well. Spray on oven and leave for 20 minutes. Scrub off.
8) LAST RESORT ONLY: Fill a small glass bowl with 1/2 cup full-strength ammonia, place in oven and close. Let stand overnight, then wipe loosened dirt with paper towels or newspapers. If necessary, rub surfaces with an abrasive, such as fine steel wool, then wash with warm soapy water and rinse. Repeat process if necessary. Provide plenty of fresh air and wear gloves.
1) To clean exterior and interior walls, dissolve 2 tbs. bicarbonate of soda in 1 lt warm water and wipe all surfaces. For stubborn spots, rub with bicarbonate of soda paste. Be sure to rinse with a clean, wet cloth. (This works well on other enamel-finished appliances as well.)
2) To clean interior fixtures, such as vegetable bins and shelves, wash in hot soapy water, rinse well and dry.
Fragrant Kitchen Rinse
Use any of the following essential oils, alone or in a combination pleasing to you. Add 4 drops of oil to each pint of water. Pour into a spray bottle, store in a cool dark place. Use as a final rinse after cleaning kitchen surfaces.
Pots and Pans:1) Burned, and crusted on foods; Soak or boil a solution of 2 tbs. bicarbonate of soda per lt of water in each pan. Let stand until particles are loosened, then wash as usual. Use a mild or moderate abrasive if necessary.
2) To clean a greasy pan easily, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda to the water in which it is soaking.
Copper pan cleaner:Sprinkle surface of pans with coarse salt. Rub salt into stains with the cut half of a fresh lemon.
No-Stick Cookware:To remove stains from non-stick surfaces, pour a solution of 1 cup water, 2 tbs. bicarbonate of soda into a pan, simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Do not allow mixture to boil or to boil over the side of the pan. Wash in hot soapy water, rinse and dry. Apply a light coating of cooking oil.
Baking Dishes - Enamel, Ceramic or Glass:Soak in hot soapy water, then scour with salt or bicarbonate of soda and rinse thoroughly.
Dishes:1) Use liquid or powdered soap instead of detergents - which are often petroleum-based. In dishwashers, use equal parts borax and washing soda.
2) Use bicarbonate of soda and liquid soap
Drinking Glasses:1) Occasionally soak drinking glasses in a solution of vinegar and water to really get them clean. Makes them sparkle!
2) When a quick dip for crystal glassware is needed, prepare a solution of bicarbonate of soda in tepid-cool water (l level teaspoon to a litre) and brush with a soft toothbrush. Very good for glass coffee makers and thermos jugs/flasks too.
Spot-free Dishwasher Rinse:Add 1 cup of white vinegar to the rinse compartment of your automatic dishwasher. Wash dishes as usual.
Coffee/Tea Stains:To remove coffee stains from cups or counters, rub with bicarbonate of soda paste.
Waste Disposal:To eliminate waste disposal odors and clean and sharpen blades, grind ice and used lemon and/or orange rinds until pulverized.
Kitchen Safety: Fire
1) Emergency fire extinguisher: if a greasy pan catches on fire, turn the heat off and try to cover the pan. Sprinkle powdered bicarbonate of soda over the fire. (Fill a large coffee tin with baking soda and keep it near the stove.
2) An oven fire is easily extinguished by closing the door after shutting off the heat.)
1) A great non-toxic carpet stain remover is club soda. Soak spot immediately with soda and blot until the stain is gone.
2) Pet Urine on Carpets: Dab area with toweling to absorb as much as possible, wash spot with liquid dish detergent, and rinse with 1/2 cup vinegar diluted in 1 lt warm water. Lay towels or paper towels over the spot and weight down to absorb excess moisture. Let stand 4 to 6 hours, then remove toweling, brush up pile and allow to dry completely. Use an electric fan to speed drying.
3) Red wine stains can be removed from carpet by rubbing bicarbonate of soda in and vacuuming.
4) Sprinkle cornstarch onto carpet, vacuum.
5) To remove grease spots from carpets, first soak up the liquid with a sponge, then rub a liberal amount of bicarbonate of soda into the spot. Let it absorb overnight. Next day, remove the excess and vacuum the area.
6) To remove grease spots from carpets, first absorb excess with a sponge, then rub a liberal amount of corn starch into the spot. Let sit overnight, then vacuum.
7) Dry cornstarch sprinkled on rug and vacuumed.
4 cups bicarbonate of soda or cornstarch
35 drops Eucalyptus essential oil
30 drops Lavender essential oil
25 drops Rosewood or Ho Wood essential oil or any combination of your favorite essentail oils
Measure 4 cups of bicarbonate of soda into a bowl, add essential oils. Break up any clumps that form, stir until well mixed. Before vacuuming sprinkle powder from a shaker type can or jar. Let it sit on the carpet for about 15 minutes then vacuum.
Herbal Carpet Freshener
1 cup bicarbonate of soda, 1/2 cup lavender flowers.
Crush the lavender flowers to release their scent. Mix well with bicarbonate of soda and sprinkle liberally on carpets. Vacuum after 30 minutes.
Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda on carpets before vacuuming for a natural rug deodorizer.
Furniture Polish and Scratch Covers
1) This polish should to be made fresh each time you use it.
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon water
Extract the juice from the lemon. Mix with oil and water. Apply a thin coat on your wood surface and let sit for five minutes. Use a soft cloth to buff to a deep shine.
2) Use 3 parts light mineral oil and 1 part olive oil and a drop of lemon juice.
3) Use a little olive or lemon oil and some beeswax.
4) Hide wood scratches by rubbing with the meat of a walnut.
5) Use a soft cloth and wipe with a bit of mayonnaise.
6) Rub furniture with a cloth dipped in cool tea.
7) Mix 2 parts olive oil with 1 part lemon juice. Apply mixture to furniture with a soft cloth and wipe it dry.
8) 1/8 cup linseed oil, 1/8 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup lemon juice. Mix ingredients, using soft cloth, rub into wood.
9) To remove water stains on wood furniture, dab white toothpaste onto stain. Allow the paste to dry and then gently buff off with a soft cloth.
1) A pencil eraser removes heel marks from a floor.
2) For greasy, no-wax floors:
1 cup vinegar
1/4 cup washing soda
1 tablespoon vegetable oil-based liquid soap
9 litres hot water
Combine all ingredients, stirring well to dissolve the washing soda. Mop as usual.
Stainless steel:Clean with a cloth dampened with undiluted white vinegar.
1) Use toothpaste instead of toxic silver cleaner to clean and brighten even your best silver. Use an old soft bristled toothbrush and warm water.
2) Rub with a paste of bicarbonate of soda and water.
3) To magnetise tarnish away, soak silver in salted water in an aluminum container; then wipe clean.
4) Soak in boiling water, bicarbonate of soda, salt, and a piece of aluminum foil.
5) When a quick dip for silverware is needed, prepare a solution of bicarbonate of soda in tepid-cool water (l level teaspoon to a litre) and brush with a soft toothbrush.
Brass:1) Mix equal parts salt and flour with a little vinegar, then rub.
Chrome:1) Rub with undiluted vinegar.
Copper:1) Rub with lemon juice and salt, or hot vinegar and salt.
Stainless Steel:1) Rub with a paste of bicarbonate of soda and water.
Aluminium:Using a soft cloth, clean with a solution of cream of tartar and water.
Windshield Wiper Frost Free Fluid
Mix 3 parts vinegar to 1 part water and coat the car windows with this solution. This vinegar and water combination will keep windshields ice and frost-free.
Car Soap1/4 cup vegetable oil based liquid soap, and hot water. Mix in pail. Wash your car on the lawn instead of your driveway to reduce runoff to the street or storm drain.
Car Wax1 cup linseed oil, 4 tbsp. caranuba wax, 2 tbsp. beeswax, and 1/2 cup vinegar. Put ingredients in top half of a double boiler or saucepan. Heat slowly until wax has melted. Stir, and pour into a heat resistant container. After wax has solidified, rub it on the car with a lint-free cloth. Saturate a corner of a cotton rag with vinegar and polish the wax to a deep shine.
Candles/Wax:Sponge with a piece of cotton dipped in rubbing alcohol.
Decals/Gummed Labels/Price Tag Remover:Use vinegar to remove stick-on hooks from painted walls. Saturate a cloth or sponge with vinegar and squeeze the liquid behind the hook so that the vinegar comes in contact with the adhesive. In addition, vinegar can be used to remove price labels and other decals from glass, wood, and china. Paint the label or decal with several coats of white vinegar. Give the vinegar time to soak in and after several minutes the decal can be rubbed off. (NOTE: Use these methods only on washable surfaces and washable paint)
1) Use lemon juice, vinegar, or sprinkle with borax and scrub with scrubbing brush.
2) 1/2 tsp. washing soda, 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil-based liquid soap, 3 tbsp. vinegar, and 2 cups hot water. Mix in spray bottle, spray and scrub, wipe clean.
Lime Deposits:You can reduce lime deposits in your kettle by putting in 1/2 cup (125ml) white vinegar and 2 cups water, and gently boiling for a few minutes. Rinse well with fresh water while kettle is still warm.
Paint Brushes:Soften hard paintbrushes in hot vinegar for a few minutes. Then wash paintbrush in soap and warm water and let dry.
1) To remove rust from tin-ware, rub with a peeled potato dipped in a mild abrasive such as bicarbonate of soda or salt.
2) Aluminum Foil. Briskly scrub rust spots on car bumpers with a piece of crumpled aluminum foil, shiny side up.
3) Sprinkle a little salt on the rust, squeeze a lime over the salt until it is well soaked. Leave the mixture on for two to three hours. Use leftover rind to scrub residue.
1) Olive oil with a few drops of lemon juice can be applied to shoes with a thick cotton or terry rag. Leave for a few minutes; wipe and buff with a clean, dry rag.
2) Cold Pressed Nut Oil, Olive Oil, Walnut Oil, or Beeswax: Apply oil/wax to leather then buff with a chamois cloth to a shine.
3) Lemon Juice. Good for black or tan leather shoes. Follow by buffing with a soft cloth.
4) Vinegar; Remove water stains on leather by rubbing with a cloth dipped in a vinegar and water solution.
5) Petroleum Jelly. A dab of petroleum jelly rubbed into patent leather gives a glistening shine and prevents cracking in the winter.
6) Vinegar. To shine patent leather, moisten a soft cloth with white vinegar and wipe clean all patent leather articles. The colour of the leather may be slightly changed.
7) Art Eraser and Sandpaper or Emery Board. Dirt marks on suede can be rubbed out with an art eraser. Then buff very lightly with an emery board.
6 Tbsp Cornstarch
3 Tbsp Bicarbonate of soda
20 drops Rosemary essential oil
20 drops Tea Tree essential oil
5 drops Lemon essential oil
5 drops Clove essential oil
Mix all, then put 1-2 Tablespoon in each shoe/sneaker and rub it in. Allow the powder to sit in the shoe overnight.
Stain and Spot Removers:
1) Concrete Grease Spot Remover: To remove grease from concrete flooring sprinkle dry cement over grease. Allow it to absorb the grease, then sweep up.
2) Ink Stains: Use a non-aerosol hair spray to remove ink stains.
Tar Remover:Food grade linseed oil. Wet rag with linseed oil and rub hard
Vinyl Cleaner:1 tsp. to 1/4 cup washing soda, and 1 cup boiling water. Dissolve the washing soda in the boiling water. Apply with sponge, wipe off with a damp cloth.
Roll up a piece of white bread and use it to "erase" marks on wallpaper
Air Fresheners/Deodorisers:1) Place cloves, cinnamon sticks, allspice or other favorite scented spice in a pot of water , simmer for 1-2 hours
2) Put a few slices of leftover orange or lemon rinds in a pot of water, simmer for 1-2 hours
3) Place bicarbonate of soda in an open container of your choice. Good for cupcoards, fridges and other small enclosed spaces
4) 2-3 slices of white bread absorbs fridge odours
5) Place lemon slices in an open bowl in the kitchen
6) Lemon and bicarbonate of soda spray: Dissolve bicarbonate of soda in 2 cups hot water, add lemon juice, pour into spray bottle, spray into air as air freshener
7) Place unscented cat litter in bowls to absorb room odours
8) Vinegar in a cup or bowl rids rooms of odours
9) Charcoal placed in a bowl rids rooms of odours
10) Simply light a match for a few moments or burn a candle (scented or unscented). The flame from either will "eat-up" bad smelling gases in the air
11) Pour vanilla extract into a shallow dish and set in an out of the way place
12) Spin-Fresh Bathroom Deodoriser
Add a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil to the inside of the cardboard toilet tissue roll. With each turn, fragrance is released into the room.