Great on chips and better for cleaning, vinegar is acidic which allows it to cut through grease, grime and mineral build-up (like limescale) with ease. It would take too long to list everything you can do with vinegar, but as long as you keep it away from wooden furniture, natural stone countertops and metal you should be OK.
Getting your ratio right when cleaning with vinegar is key. Too strong and it could damage what you’re supposed to be cleaning. Too weak and it won’t do much other than make your home smell like a crisp factory.
The vinegar smell can put some people off, which is why many websites recommend you use essential oils to disguise it. And make sure you use white vinegar when you’re cleaning. Cider, brown and – worst of all – balsamic will have you needing to clean up after you’ve cleaned!
You can fill up your plastic spray bottle with this all-purpose cleaning recipe and use it as you would any spray-and-wipe cleaning product:
- 3 cups of water
- 1 cup of vinegar
- 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
- 10 drops of lemon (or other) essential oil to make it smell great
Bicarbonate of soda
You’ll find bicarbonate of soda in the baking aisle at your local supermarket, but you can also head to the cleaning aisle and pick up soda crystals, which are a more powerful cleaner than the classic bicarb soda.
Pouring a cup of soda crystals down your drain each week can prevent it from becoming clogged and stop any nasty drain smells. It’s also great for removing stubborn stains on your stovetop or cookware. Simply make a paste with bicarb and water and leave on the burned food overnight. You can also use the same paste to give your stainless steel an extra shine!
Although bicarb soda and soda crystals are mostly interchangeable, try to avoid using soda crystals on anything that could end up in your mouth. Use bicarb soda instead to clean your mugs, cutlery and cookware. And definitely don’t use baking powder instead of bicarb soda! Baking powder has bicarb soda in it, but it also has corn flour and other non-cleaning ingredients, so you might end up with more of a mess than you started with.
Like vinegar, lemons are acidic so they’re an effective cleaning tool too. And, like when they’re accompanying tequila, they’re even better when mixed with salt! Simply cut a lemon in half and dip it in salt to make a great natural scouring paste or dip it in bicarb soda and use it on your countertops, toilet or bathtub.
Lemon is also useful for removing stains from your cutting boards or the insides of your plastic food storage containers. Cut a lemon in half, squeeze the juice over the area, rub the lemon over it and leave for 20 minutes. Your Tupperware will look good as new!
Lemon goes well on fish, but you can also rub your hands with lemon juice to neutralise the fishy smell on your hands after dealing with seafood. Or you could add half a cup of lemon juice to your washing machine for even brighter whites!
It really is that simple, and you could save yourself hundreds of pounds each year by switching out your chemical cleaning products for these natural remedies. And you’re helping the environment while you do it!