You can clean almost all of your house, including some of those stubborn stains in the kitchen, with the use of a few natural substances saving you money.
What you need:
Vinegar is a dilute solution of acetic acid. Vinegar is used as bleach, disinfectant, deodorant, and anti-mould cleaner.
Bicarbonate of soda or baking soda (sodium hydrogen carbonate)
This is an excellent general purpose cleaner which can be used as a powder or as a solution.
Borax (sodium borate)
It is used as a fabric and water softener, stain remover, bleach and disinfectant. Borax is poisonous so please handle it with care.
Tea tree or eucalyptus oil
Tea tree oil comes from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a native plant to eastern Australia. It is one of nature's most remarkable antiseptics and disinfectants. Eucalyptus oil comes from the leaves of eucalyptus trees. Like tea tree oil, it is a strong antiseptic which will kill many organisms. The oil of gum leaves is also used in the treatment of colds and influenza and as an additive to your clothes washing to remove greasy or oily stains.
Cloudy ammonia (ammonium hydroxide solution)
Although cloudy amonia can irritate the eyes and smells obnoxious, it quickly breaks down in the environment. It is a powerful bleach and cleaning agent.
Lemon juice (fresh)
Lemon juice is a weak solution of citric acid and is a mild bleach, deodorant and cleaning agent.
Pure soap is a sodium salt of an organic acid (a carboxylate). Soap is a surfactant or wetting agent which allows water to combine with greasy substances so that they can be removed from dishes and clothing. Pure soap is totally biodegradable.
Very effective abrasive for stubborn dirt and stains.
Dishes: Grated soap flakes, vigorously stirred to form a lather. You can buy old-fashioned soap shakers at some hardware and camping stores.
Ovens, Hotplates: Use cloudy ammonia, or scrub with bicarbonate of soda.
Burnt saucepans: Cover the base with vinegar or damp bicarbonate of soda and leave overnight. Use steel wool and a little water the next day. For stubborn marks boil some vinegar in the pan for five minutes.
Bench tops and sinks: Sponge with damp bicarbonate of soda or borax.
Tiles: Wipe with vinegar on a sponge.
Mirrors: Cloudy ammonia, vinegar or borax solution.
Plastic shower curtains: Scrub with vinegar and hang in the sun.
Baths and basins: Steel wool with damp baking soda or borax.
Mould on tiles: Vinegar, cloudy ammonia or baking soda.
Toilet bowl and cistern: Wipe with vinegar or leave half a cup of vinegar in the bowl overnight.
Floors: Use cloudy ammonia or vinegar.
Washing machines or troughs: Sponge with damp bicarbonate of soda or borax.
Tiles: Wipe with vinegar and steel wool or bicarbonate of soda on a sponge.
Clothes: Grated soap flakes made into a solution. Add a quarter of a cup of borax and 5ml of tea tree oil for greasy clothes. To whiten clothes add a small amount of borax, lemon juice or cloudy ammonia.
Reproduced from Getting Started in Permaculture - Over 50 DIY Projects for House & Garden Using Recycled Materials by Ross and Jenny Mars.
Getting Started in Permaculture is available in print from Green Shopping for just £9.95 or you can download the eBook for just £7.95.