Spring is in the air and it’s time to start freshening up the house after its winter slumber.
Long periods spent at home have given even more reasons to clean than usual – and National Spring Cleaning Week at the beginning of March gave us the perfect nudge to tackle those muddy pawprints, sticky finger marks and old coffee cup rings.
But if you haven’t got around to pulling on the Marigolds and ordering in gallons of bleach yet, why not consider natural alternatives to your usual cleaning products? It’s better for both the environment and our health, as exposure to too many harsh chemicals can cause headaches, fatigue, eye irritation and breathing problems.
Baking soda: An old favourite this, and most of us have it in the cupboard. It's a mild abrasive cleaner that’s good for cutting through grease and grime and removing stains from sinks and worktops. It also neutralises odour – sprinkle some on the carpet before hoovering, and into the bottom of your bin when you change the bag. Keep an open box of baking soda at the back of the fridge and replace every three months or so.
Vinegar: Diluted in water, white vinegar cuts through grease and grime making it great for cleaning bathrooms and leaving windows streak free. It’s also good for descaling the dishwasher. Be careful, though – don't use vinegar on granite, marble, stone, or your iron!
Lemon: Natural lemon juice is the enemy of mildew and mould – and it smells good, too. Create a wood polish by mixing half a cup of warm water with a few drops of lemon oil and applying to a damp cloth. Wipe the wooden surface over and then dry with a soft cotton cloth.
Cornflour: Mix one part cornflour to two parts water to make a paste that’s perfect for polishing silver, or use the same blend to scrub your pots and pans. You can also use it to absorb grease stains from clothing if you rub it into the spot and let it sit for 12 hours before washing.
Salt: You can use any type of salt for cleaning – although you probably want to save your finest Cornish sea salt for supper! Pour salt mixed with hot water down the kitchen sink regularly to deodorise and prevent grease building up, and mix it with vinegar to create a good general-purpose cleaner. It’s also great if you’ve accidentally burnt a pan – just add three or four tablespoons of salt to the pan and let it soak with a little hot water before scouring away the burnt-on food.