So what are the best cleaners to use for tiles, carpets, kitchen surfaces, bathrooms, and so on?
Acid is a common ingredient in many cleaning products, but the natural acid found in lemon juice is much milder – it’s even safe enough to eat! Citric acid is particularly great for removing rust from metal. A top tip is to mix lemon juice with coarse salt, creating a thick and effective scouring paste.
Lemon juice can be used anywhere, but it’s especially good in kitchens. It can be used to clean grout between your kitchen tiles, to wipe away germs from countertops, and tackle limescale on your taps. For stubborn kitchen stains, mix with a little cream of tartar, which acts a safe and natural bleaching agent.
Essential oils are about much more than just their aroma – they’re actually very good natural cleaning products. Peppermint oil, tea tree oil, and eucalyptus oil have great antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, so they’re ideal for killing germs and bacteria in your home that could make you feel unwell.
Remember that essential oils are very strong, so take care not to use too much. Just a single drop of peppermint oil is as potent as 30 cups of peppermint tea! These oils are very good for cleaning bathrooms, especially for scuffed floors, toilets, and shower screens that are prone to scum build ups.
Like lemon, vinegar is also acidic, which makes it great for cleaning the home. Opt for distilled white vinegar, rather than coloured vinegars like malt or apple cider. White vinegar won’t stain, and it’s one of the best types of vinegar for tackling mould, mildew, and harmful bacteria like E. Coli and salmonella.
Vinegar is perfect for using in moisture-prone areas where mould can form, like the kitchen and bathroom. Simply spray onto walls, showerheads, or windows and leave for 15 minutes (or overnight for more stubborn stains). Don’t worry about the smell – the odour will disappear as the vinegar dries.
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is the ideal natural cleaner for two reasons. Firstly, it has mild abrasive qualities which means that, when made into a paste with a little water, it’s very effective at lifting stains. Secondly, it’s highly absorbent, so by sprinkling onto carpets you can easily ‘soak up’ any bad odours.
As well as baking soda, you could also use washing soda (sodium carbonate). However, this is a bit stronger, so it’s best to wear gloves for protection. Sodium carbonate is very effective, but should only really be used for very difficult stains, like grease and oil spills on concrete garage floors, for example.
Toothpaste isn’t just good for cleaning teeth – it’s great for cleaning the home, too, especially chrome and acrylic surfaces. Toothpaste has mild abrasive properties (that’s how it removes stains from tooth enamel), and it’s also a strong antibacterial agent, so it’s a good choice for getting rid of nasty germs.
Use regular toothpaste, rather than whitening gels which often have chemicals which could damage the items you’re cleaning. For hard to reach areas, apply the toothpaste to an old, stiff-bristled toothbrush which may be easier than using a cloth. Wipe, scrub, and buff, for a clean, crystal clear finish.