Home is where we return to after a long day to rest and recuperate; it's also a space within which young children spend most of their growing years.
It make sense, then, to put a little effort into keeping the house free from harmful chemical substances. Especially with small children who spend much of their days crawling or playing on the floors, and putting things in their mouths.
Happily, we have more choices today when it comes to safe, non-toxic and earth-friendly cleaning products. Some of these are: Ecover, 7th Generation, Dr Bronners and Organic Formulations.
Otherwise, whip up your own cleaners from the kitchen. Some ideas to get you started...
Making your own natural cleaners is both easy and economical. The main standbys are: vinegar, baking soda, lemon, salt and natural essential oils (for natural fragrance and inherent properties). Keep these items at hand and you'll be able to have a sparkling clean home without harmful chemicals or residues.
(Note: Bleach should never be used with baking soda or vinegar. Please read warning on labels.)
Floors: Use a mixture of vinegar and water. Add a few drops of your favourite essential oils - geranium, tea tree, and pine are some good choices as they also have anti-bacterial properties.
Windows & Glass: Two tablespoons of vinegar to a liter of water will add shine and cut grease. Wipe dry with old newspapers to keep glass surfaces lint-free.
Sinks & Drains: To prevent slimy build-up, pour a cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar down the sinkhole or drain. The vinegar and baking soda will react together by bubbling and fizzing, loosening the build-up. Wait a while before you flush with boiling water.
Grout: Grout is the hard-to-clean strips of cement between tiles. To remove mould on grout, mix three parts of baking soda with 1 part of warm water and stir into a smooth paste. Apply and scrub with a toothbrush.
Toilet bowls & Bathtubs: To clean and deodorise these, sprinkle baking soda and drizzle vinegar over the surface before scrubbing with a brush.
Around the Kitchen
Microwave Ovens: Stuck food and grease in the microwave ovens can be dealt with by microwaving a bowl of water on high for a few minutes. The steam will loosen the stuck particles. Wipe off with cloth or kitchen towels.
Oven cleaner: Mix a paste of salt, bicarbonate of sada and water. Leave for 20 minutes then scrub.
Fridge: Leave a box of opened baking soda in the fridge to keep it smelling fresh. Mildew can be kept at bay by wiping your fridge down with vinegar.
Furniture polish: 1 tb lemon essential oil in 600 ml mineral oil or olive oil.
Ink-spot remover: Cold water with 1 T cream of tartar and 1 T lemon juice.
Laundry pre-soak: Make a paste of washing soda and water, then apply to spots.
Mildew remover. Equal parts of vinegar and salt.
Moth repellent: Cedar chips or dried lavender flowers enclosed in cotton sachets.
Multi-purpose cleaner: Mix half cup ammonia, one third cup vinegar, one quarter cup baking soda and one liter warm water.
Oil stain remover: White chalk rubbed into the stain before laundering.
Rust removal (clothes): Lemon juice and salt rubbed into the stain, then put in the sunlight to bleach.
Winestain remover: Salt.