"Green" cleaning can really save you money!

by - Saturday, May 26, 2007

These days we're bombarded with advertisements for the latest (and supposedly, greatest) cleaning products on the market: washing up liquids, laminate floor cleaner, toilet limescale remover... The list is endless!

What such adverts fail to tell you is that there are essentially five natural ingredients you can use to keep you entire home clean and bright. Much better for your purse strings, and better for the environment too! So I present to you my list of five essential natural cleaning products, which can save you pounds on your monthly cleaning bill, and make you feel so much better that you're helping to save the planet by using them:

  1. White vinegar: a natural disinfectant and cleaner; can be used to make windows and glass shine! Reduces mineral and lime deposits, and can be used to treat stains.
  2. Lemons: traditionally used for cutting through grease; also great as a deodoriser and fragrancer.
  3. Olive oil: a wonderful alternative to furniture polish (see Tracy's post for a great example).
  4. Bicarbonate of soda: when mixed with water, this forms an alkaline solution which is great for all round cleaning (such as surfaces, fridges, floors, etc). Use neat as a scourer with a kitchen sponge, or form a thick paste for stubborn stains. Combine with vinegar for an extra strength cleaning solution.
  5. Borax: a great disinfectant. Dilute in water to replace your usual disinfectant for mopping or cleaning nasty messes. Can also be used to clean toilets, clear drains and as an insecticide.

And here's some examples of how these essential ingredients can be used for all your cleaning needs:

All purpose cleaners:

  • Dissolve 4 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda in 1 litre of water for an all purpose cleaning fluid.
  • Add a few slices of lemon for a pleasantly fragranced washing-up solution
  • Mix to a paste with water and a few drops of vinegar for really stubborn stains or burnt pans.


  • Mix half a cup of borax with five litres of hot water and clean with this solution (be sure to wear rubber gloves as borax is quite strong and can harm your delicate hands!). For a fragranced disinfectant, add some of your favorite herbs, steep for five minutes and strain; alternatively fragrance with a few drops of your favorite essential oils.
  • 2 tablespoons of borax, lemon juice and 2 cups of hot water can be combined to make a great antibacterial surface cleaner; decant into a spray bottle and use like a regular disinfectant spray (much cheaper than branded chemical solutions!

Glass cleaning:

  • Equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle make a great window cleaning solution (use more vinegar if your windows are really dirty). Buff to a shine with crumpled newspaper.
  • Alternatively, use 1/2 a cup of lemon juice and two cups of water, and apply as before.

Toilet cleaner:

  • Flush the toilet to wet the bowl, and sprinkle with bicarbonate of soda. Spray on vinegar and leave overnight for best results and scrub with a toilet brush to clean and deodorise your loo. For stubborn stains, leave the solution overnight before scrubbing, to make it gleam!

Drain cleaner:

  • Pour 1/2 to 1 cup of bicarbonate of soda down the drain, followed by 1 cup of vinegar. Leave to foam for a few minutes, then flush with boiling hot water. Does exactly the same as expensive drain cleaning solutions!

These are just a few of the ways you can clean your home using inexpensive, natural products. For more ideas, take a look at these hints and recipes.

All of these ingredients are cheap to buy, and could be purchased from your local supermarket (try a hardware store if you have trouble sourcing borax). You can also purchase great value natural cleaning products online from Soap Kitchen Online.

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