This will be bullet points of things I have learned or been taught.
- Use epsom salts to clean your washing machine. Do it once a month.I am allergic to a lot of products and I have found itching and irritation from using commercial cleaners whereas epsom salts are harmless and good to soak in when you’re in the tub, so it makes sense to use it as a cleaner (funnily enough I find it good to soak in epsom salts and my tub comes out a little cleaner each time and leaves my skin soft).
First, empty your lint filter and clean it thoroughly. I set my machine to full and put in about 1 cup to 1 1/2 in a cool wash cycle on regular. Ideally you should do this on warm or hot but it kills our electricity bill. I don’t really notice much of a decline in cleaning quality when I use cold but if you haven’t done it in a long time you’ll want to use hot water to help get rid of the soap scum and build up in both your machine and it’s pipes and if you’ve NEVER done it, do it on hot and add a cup of bicarb baking soda powder.I only do this once ever 2 to 3 months because I feel that’s what works best for me and also because I use almost all liquid.
If you use powder washing, then you should do it once a month. You can also use the left over water for your garden if you are only using epsom salts. I don’t recommend using it on your yard if you have added bicarb.If you need an extra kick to cleaning out your washing machine without buying commercial cleaners, adding a half to a full cup of bicarb baking soda can really do the trick or even a half a cup of rock salt.
It’s cheap and effective. If you are someone that really needs scents in your cleaner use a few small drops of peppermint oil (pure) or essential oils with disinfecting qualities. You could also use a bit of tea trea oil. This will also disinfect your machine as well as make it smell nice.
- Clean your washing machine once a month by using Epsom salts. I’ve found this far more effective than commercial cleaners and it’s also safer.
- NEVER mix cloudy ammonia with bleach (this includes domestos). It’s toxic and if you plan to mix chemicals, it doesn’t hurt to do a quick google research about it.
- Some of you might find this handy, others might say “well duuuuh”. This will be in bullet points. This is stuff my mother use to make me do and things I do because of allergies while some of it is just common sense.
- Things you can do with Bicarb or Carpet freshener. Use either as a carpet freshener. Freshen and deodorize pet beds by sprinkling it on the area, allow to sit for a few minutes and then dust off or vacuum. Deodorize your car by sprinkling it on the upholstery and floors and letting it sit for 10-20 minutes and then vacuuming it off later.Add to the ashtray if you are a non smoker for a long lasting smell absorber.
Leave it open and it will last a long time as an air freshener for your car. Also give it a stir or shake once in a while. Use either in the bin. Yes the bin. Sprinkle it on the bottom of your bin to deodorize all day and night long BEFORE you place in a new bag. It can also absorb bin moisture keeping it smell free longer and easier to clean. Can last for 2 to 3 days in the bottom of a bin, but I recommend cleaning your bin after each unbagging with with Earth or Pine O Clean wipes.Sprinkle either one on the bottom of cat tray litter before adding litter. Find a small container and put in some of it, leave the lid off and place strategically around the home as either an air freshener or smell absorber.
Put bicarb only in a small container, say about 1/4 cup of bicarb baking soda powder and place in the bottom shelf or top shelf way up the back to absorb smells and keep your fridge smelling fresh or not smelling at all. I have found this to last anywhere up to 1-3 months. Give it a stir once in a while.
- Use denture pills to clean stained coffee cups or coffee pots. Works wonders if you get the whitening one. Also works on pots and pans. I find this to work better than bicarb in some circumstances.
- Boil then let simmer, bicarb in a pot or pan with food that is stuck or brown burnt to the bottom. Things like rice, semolina or polenta that are just messy and hard to clean sometimes. It will loosen it and make it easier to clean.
- Use bicarb as a no smell, all natural abrasion free scrub. Mix into a paste and use with a sponge. Clean bench tops, sinks, toilet and bathroom, microwaves and ovens with this mix.
- Clean bench tops daily to keep ants away. If they still persist even if your kitchen is spotless, find where they are entering and get a cotton wool pad. Add a few drops of peppermint oil and wipe around and near the entry point. It will repell them. Do it daily and they will stop coming in.This is a no kill solution. I’ve also found that having a small container of compost outside is the best way to keep ants out of the home.
In my house it can be spotless but when they persist in entering the home, they are foraging because there’s a large storm on the way and sure enough a few hours later or the next day there’s a lightening storm. These two things have been great at keeping them out of my house. I never could kill ants.
- Boil some water and pour down the sink as evenly as possible to melt any fats or oils in your drain. Pour around and in sink drain, 1 cup of bicarb soda and use white vinegar. Pour about a cup or more of vinegar until it foams up and out of the drain. This is an all natural and effective drain cleaner. Let sit for a few minutes and then rinse. It’s good to do this every 1-3 months. Keeps your drains smell free as well.
Some people have written that this works well in the toilet but I find when vinegar is diluted with water, it doesn’t make the bicarb fizz and makes it less effective. You can try but you might waste a lot of vinegar getting it to work right.
- Use polish with beeswax to best preserve and clean wooden furniture. My mother used it on vinyl lounges as well and their life I swear was extended. I have a table and chair set over 15 yrs old and it still looks new and fresh. The chairs are leather or vinyl and the table wood. If you have none, Armor All can be a good substitute.
- Nifty can be as powerful as using domestos but is not as harsh. When using it, to get the best results allow to soak/sit for 10-20 minutes. Does a good job on removing mould. Use in a well ventilated area and be aware that it can and will bleach clothes. Though not as strong it can still whiten things you don’t want white.
- Using static wipes to dust can be excellent if you’re as allergic to dust as I am but try to never use it near the computer or laptops.
- Pre spray your dusting cloth with furniture polish to help stop disturbing dust and making it fly into the air and aggravate your allergies. It will of course still disturb it but it will be far less and amount.
- Open your windows and curtains daily! Various build up of toxins from household cleaners can make you sick and opening a window or two can really help keep your home fresh. Plus sunlight has a lot of benefits in the home. Unless you’re totally all green and eco friendly (very hard to do), things like deodorant, toilet sprays, cleaners, all release various chemicals that can affect your health and even with air vents it can still linger in the home and make you sick.
Allow natural sunlight and fresh air into your home is a must. I also recommend having houseplants. Plants naturally absorb carbon dioxide and other dangerous chemicals and then the plants release fresh oxygen. I also really highly recommend why and the benefits of having houseplants is a must.
- Sunlight soap. Sunlight soap is your friend. Although it’s not the best smelling product it’s extremely gentle on the skin and does a lot around the home. Read the packet for suggestions. Does a great job at cleaning dishes, excellent in the garden. My nana use to mix it in a spray bottle of water and spray her roses with it to keep bugs at bay.I use to great it and make it into an all purpose spray.
If you have stainless steel sinks, get a wet sponge, lather it up in sunlight soap and go crazy. It’s super foamy which is a good thing. Use the scrub side of a non abrasive scotch brite sponge. Rinse thoroughly and you will have shining sinks. It’s gentle and shines. Does a great job on clothing stains. I use to use it to get out grass stains.
- Use bicarb as a fabric softener.
- Use a mixture of bicarb and epsom salts in a tub of warm water to soak your feet in. Particularly good if you have an ingrown toenail or sore redness around the toes. Only add peppermint oil (pure) or pure eucalyptus oil, a few drops, if you want a nice smell. The reason I say this is because you only want something with antibacterial and antiseptic properties.
- Homemade antibacterial fabric softener or garment freshener. Works both ways. Add 1/3 cup or fill the bottle about a quarter or 1/3 into a 1litre spray bottle. Fill with warm water and add a few drops of lemon essential oil or pure peppermint oil. I recomment anything from 3 to 10 drops. Give it a shake, make sure it’s well dissolved and use as a softener or freshener.
- Use steam when ironing to kill dust mites.
- Iron bedsheets and pillow cases to 1. Kill dustmites and germs 2. Save an incredible amount of space and better maintain your linen press.
- Place a small open jar of used sun dried tea leaves in humid linen press to absorb moisture. This is a cheap solution to commercial packaged dehumidifier packets you buy in store.
- Wash curtains and blinds! Horrified at how many people I know with asthma or allergies sick everyday and have not washed their curtains or dusted their blinds in years. If you keep it clean you can run a steam cleaner over them once a week for a quick top up clean.
- Use white vinegar if you have no descaler for your percolator/coffee machine. Run through twice, rinse thoroughly and run through just water at least twice to rid the vinegar.
- Using cream cleanser on your bathtub and bathroom sink at least once a week or once a fortnight will keep it clean and white longer. Usually it works better than the “no scrub” cleaners which are usually harsh on the lungs. To get the best results, put the pug in the tub to save what rolls down the tub walls.
Squirt some cream cleanser around the tub and rub in with a sponge or scrubbing brush. Allow to sit for 20 minutes. Lightly wet and scrub on last time. It will lather up a lot. If you had a lot of soap scum and grime you can let it sit for another 10-20 minutes then rinse. I can get away with once a fortnight. Ajax cream cleanser works best.
- Using bleach on porcelain tubs and toilets will erode the enamel and make it porous. A lot of “no scrubbing no wipe” cleaners can also do the same damage. Even though they say good for tubs, quite often they are not and are really meant for showers and tiles. Once it becomes porous it becomes harder to keep clean.
- For an easy microwave clean you need a Pyrex jug or microwave safe container. Preferably something that can handle boiling water. Add 3-4 tablespoons of bicarb to one cup of water. Stirring is optional. I like to stir. Place it in the microwave. Turn on microwave for 2-3 minutes. Let sit for a few minutes to allow the steam to do it’s job. Use a damn cloth or sponge and wipe clean. Sponge works best. You can use the leftover mix to clean your bench tops when it’s cooled down.
I was surprised at how effective this was. I HATE cleaning the microwave. No one (including myself) uses microwave lids or protectors so it gets EVERYWHERE and you all know how hard that food much can stick the the walls of your microwave. I kid you not I tried this and it was a very easy wipe and clean. The only part that needed a bit of elbow grease was the roof part with a few stubborn parts.
I just re-cooked it for 1-2 minutes and let sit. It was easier to remove the second time around.I also changed over to the non abrasive scrubbing side of my scotch brite sponge. It took me maybe 10 minutes to clean. Usually it takes longer because I tend to put off cleaning the microwave because of how difficult it can be. I also love this method for safety reasons.
I don’t like to use chemicals on things I cook with. I always worry I haven’t rinsed it off enough and I might make us all sick or poisoned.On the back of the box it gives similar instructions to do this with the oven. I haven’t tried this on my oven but I plan to. If it worked this good in the microwave with the burned chunks and grease, I have high hopes for my oven.
- Use baking paper instead of greasing pans can not only be healthier but make cleaning up a lot less messy and easier.
- Mixing about a tablespoon of cloudy ammonia in a foaming bottle with 3 tablespoons of cheap dish washing liquid (I recommend homebrand lemon) a few drops of eucalyptus solution (not oil, it makes it go funny) or peppermint oil with tea tree oil or solution, makes for a great carpet cleaner and good for cleaning drains.
Also works well on cleaning white goods. I use this often to clean my washing machine lid and sides. My cats love to sit on it and make it dirty so it’s a daily item for me. I find it can smell nice if you use a little less ammonia. The oils or solutions are to deter bugs such as fleas and also for smell. The dish liquid just isn’t enough when ammonia is added.This mix is also super effective on hard stains on the floor. Eg hardened dropped food that might have been left by family members. Squirt some foam on the area, allow to sit for 5minutes then wipe. If that didn’t work, reapply and let sit for longer. Keep pets and children away until it’s cleaned.
- Buying a sizable tub, big enough to soak 2-4 queen bed sheets is often a very cost effective investment when it comes to hand washing and soaking larger items. It often ends up being a much gentler option when you need to use hot water but at the same time you are trying to save electricity.Our hot water system is a joke and we’ve had it replaced 3 maybe 4 times in one year. I’m glad I bought such a tub.
I can soak a decent amount of clothes for however long in stove boiled water without making my bills higher and still getting a good clean. After it’s cooled I tend to handwash all I can and then put it through a cool rinse cycle.Things like curtains I like to soak in boiled water. It takes 200 degrees celsius to kill dust mites and I am hyper sensitive to those. I soak it in an anti dustmite solution by Bostistos or Sard soaker. I’m paranoid when it comes to dust because I’m so allergic it. I like to add pure eucalyptus oil to my sard soaking items to make sure to kill dust mites and other germs as well as use it for the wonderful smell. It makes my whole house smell lovely.
- Eucalyptus oil or methylated spirits can remove left over sticky tape glue from tables and walls.
- Methylated spirits, besides cleaning glass streak free can also remove permanent marker from walls and tables.
- Stings from stinging nettle can be removed and relieved by rubbing methylated spirits to the area.
- If you’re feeling lazy with any item you don’t want to wash after cooking, even though you know it will go hard, fill to the top with water and leave it. That way when you wake it will be moist and an easy wipe off. Adding a squirt of dish liquid doesn’t hurt either 😉 Save yourself the pain of scrubbing and just fill it to the top until you’re ready to tackle it in the morning.Highly recommend doing this after using the rice cooker or slow cooker. It really saves on a burdensome clean later.
Surprisingly this is all I can think of for now. I’m sure I will add to this list another time. One last note, I have come to find pinterest an amazing source for homemade cleaning tips and remedies. Some of their recipes are great while others… not so great or safe. If you plan to make homemade cleaners, PLEASE remember to research what you’re mixing and if it’s safe to do so!