Most people think of eco-friendly cleaning as expensive or an ineffective method of cleaning, however some natural cleaning products are cheap and readily available. Cleaning is a chore to most people and therefore not naturally desirable. This is why shuffling through your cooking ingredients for vinegar, lemon, bicarbonate of soda or salt can add a bit of excitement to cleaning around your home.
Below are some cheap, quick and highly effective eco-friendly tips that will change your perspective of domestic cleaning as well as put a sparkle back into your home. Before you read any further, it is important that you understand the definition of eco-friendly (green) cleaning ingredients. They are natural ingredients that are non-toxic to the cleaned environment and will biodegrade after use.
Only use white vinegar for cleaning – coloured ones may stain. Apart from using vinegar to prevent ice build-up on your car windscreen, getting rid of slugs or keeping cats away. Vinegar is naturally acidic so it can be used as an antibacterial and is commonly used for:
- Window Cleaning
- Kettle Cleaning
- Dishwasher Cleaning
- Toilet Cleaning
- Showerhead Cleaning
- Glass Cleaning
- Microwave Cleaning
- Oven Cleaning
- Carpet Cleaning
- Chopping Board Cleaning
- Polishing Chrome and Metal Surfaces
You can create your own window cleaning solution using distilled vinegar, also known as white vinegar. The white vinegar will efficiently help break down streaks that can accumulate on your windows.
For smaller windows:
Mix one part distilled vinegar to 10 parts warm water and pour this solution into a spray bottle of your choice.
Wipe down the window with a soft, clean, lint-free cloth to remove dust before you spray the solution.
Then use your lint-free cloth to rub the vinegar mixture around the window and focus on the dirty spots on the window.
If needed you can apply more of the vinegar window cleaning solution to the cloth. However, avoid getting any solution on the frame of the window as this may decolour the finish.
For larger window cleaning
Cleaning large windows can be time consuming when using a spray bottle.
When cleaning larger windows you can mix more diluted solutions into a bucket using one part vinegar and ten parts water.
Using this solution you can use a sponge to spread your solutions over the window, this needs to be done quickly to avoid streaks being left on the window.
Once your solution is applied you can use a damp squeegee to clean the solution from the windows by wiping from the top of the window, down to the bottom of the window. You can then wipe the solution off of the edge of the squeegee to avoid dripping.
It does not take too long for the inside of a kettle to get covered in limescale. It is important to keep your kettle free of these minerals as it will gradually slow down the heating process and spoil your tea and when you find them floating with limescale from your kettle. You should be cleaning the exterior of your kettle every week and cleaning the interior of your kettle every few months depending on the frequency of use.
Limescale can be dissolved easily using a solution of a mild acid such as white vinegar.
Start off by filling your kettle with a solution that is equal parts water and vinegar, let this soak for an hour. Once the hour has passed, boil the kettle, then turn it off and unplug the kettle from the mains.
Let the water and vinegar mixture settle and sit in the kettle for another 15-20 minutes then throw it away and rinse the kettle thoroughly.
This process using vinegar cleaning should have got rid of most of the limescale from the interior of the kettle. If there is more limescale to be removed then use a larger ratio of vinegar and leave the solution in the kettle overnight; by doing this you may have to rinse the kettle a few times to make sure there are no more remaining traces of vinegar.
Over time a dishwasher can build up with grease, soap scum and food debris. This build up provides the perfect breeding ground for germs and bacteria which also reduces the efficiency of the appliance. It is advised to clean your dishwasher filter and drain at least once a month. This simple 2 step guide will help you towards a clean dishwasher using white vinegar.
Fill a dishwasher-safe bowl with 1 cup of white vinegar and place it on the bottom of the empty dishwasher.
Set the dishwasher on a hot water cycle.
The white vinegar in this process will break down bits of food, grease, soap scum, residue and any other lingering grime.
Vinegar is an acidic solution which loves to fight stains and bacteria. Instead of using a bottle of chemical cleaner you should use white vinegar.
Spray stubborn stains and brush thoroughly to remove the stains.
You can also deodorise the bowl by adding 1 pint of vinegar and leave for ½ hours before flushing.
Shower heads can also have a build up of limescale. Once again white vinegar is a great eco-friendly solution to removing limescale. Limescale can cause the shower head to get blocked affecting water flow and of course not looking pleasant taking the shine off of your shower head.
- Remove the showerhead from the hose. Make sure that you do not replace the rubber washer when doing this as that is what stops the water from leaking between the showerhead and the hose.
- Place the showerhead in a bucket or plastic container and cover it in white vinegar.
- Leave the showerhead to soak in the bucket or container for one hour however if your shower head is made from brass do not leave it in the white vinegar any longer than 30 minutes.
- Once the hour has passed take the showerhead out and rinse it with water.
- If there are still any remains of limescale on the shower head then this can be removed with a scrub of an old toothbrush.
- Rinse again with water and polish with a soft cloth.
- Once these steps are completed you can reattach to the hose and turn on the shower to flush out any remaining limescale.
You can make your own glass cleaner that does not include any kind of chemicals or toxins that can be pricey and dangerous; you can use vinegar to clean your glass instead.
- Mix 3 tablespoons of white vinegar with ½ tablespoon of detergent and 1 cup of water.
- Fill the spray bottle with this solution.
- Mix the solution thoroughly in a spray bottle, some recommend the use of newspapers (old ones of course) to polish the window. We will recommend a proper glass cleaning cloth or a microfiber cloth for the best polish.
By using vinegar for glass cleaning you will save money and also the environment by not using harsh chemicals or fumes. Vinegar effectively removes any fingerprints, smears, window grime and leaves no streaks, an ideal eco-friendly window cleaning solution.
Splashes in a microwave are very annoying. You can create your own microwave cleaning solution using water and vinegar:
- Mix 4 tablespoons of vinegar with a cup of water and place in the microwave for 1 minute. The vapour softens the hard stains and kills bacteria lurking about.
- Carefully remove the hot dish from the microwave.
- Wipe off any dirt with a clean cloth or paper towel. Use the vinegar to wipe down the oven after use to freshen and neutralize the odour.
- Take out the turntable and wash it as you would with any other dish, or run it through the dishwasher.
Cleaning your oven is a chore that many shy away from, many oven cleaning products consist of strong harsh chemicals that only damage the environment while also being dangerous to our skin and health. White vinegar and baking soda is a great eco friendly and safe alternative to cleaning the oven. You can clean your oven with two items that are most likely laying around your household. Here is how you can make your oven cleaning solution using vinegar and baking soda:
- Take out all of your oven racks, trays and removable parts to clean separately.
- Mix baking soda and water in a bowl together until you get a spreadable paste.
- Spread the paste along the walls of the oven, make sure to avoid putting any of this paste on the heating elements of the oven.
- Leave this paste overnight to settle in and receive the best result.
- The next day you can wipe away the baking soda using a clean damp cloth, It is okay if there is still some baking soda left in the oven, as long as the majority of it has been removed.
- The next step is to spray vinegar onto the walls of the oven using a spray bottle. The vinegar will react to the remaining baking soda and foam when it comes into contact. This foam is then to be wiped off with a damp cloth.
- You can use a similar method for cleaning your oven racks. Sprinkle some baking soda over your oven racks and then spray with vinegar. Wait for the solution to foam and then soak in hot water for a few hours; this will help to loosen any grease allowing it to be scrubbed much easily.
Carpet stains are a nightmare, red wine and coffee are something we all dread spilling on our carpet; however, vinegar is a great solution for removing dirt, stains and odour from your carpet. What you will need is a glass or ceramic container such as a bowl or a glass; baking soda, washing powder, vinegar, warm water and something to scrub with.
- Pour half a cup of warm water, then add 4 tablespoons of white vinegar, 1 tablespoon of baking soda and washing powder.
- Mix this solution thoroughly until it boils.
- The mixture can then be poured into a spray bottle to be able to spray the solution onto the carpet area.
- After applying the solution to the carpet, leave it for half an hour.
- Then wipe it away with a paper towel or a clean cloth.
- You can also vacuum the carpet to remove any remnant of mud or any other dirt.
Chopping Board Vinegar Cleaning
Harmful bacteria can be lingering on chopping boards, whether it is wooden, plastic or glass. Your chopping board is used for cutting raw meat and fish so it can start to develop a smell and even a breeding ground for E. coli, salmonella and staphylococcus.
Vinegar provides an eco-friendly solution to effectively cleaning a chopping board. Distilled vinegar can fight against common food-related illnesses such as E. coli and salmonella.
It is extremely simple to clean your chopping board with vinegar.
- Apply distilled white vinegar to a cleaning cloth or paper towel
- Thoroughly wipe down your chopping board with the cleaning cloth that is coated in distilled vinegar
Polishing Chrome and Metal Surfaces
Chrome and metal surfaces: vinegar is king when it comes to polishing kettles, toasters and other equipment with an aluminium shell. For the best results, use a microfiber cloth. Spray undiluted vinegar onto the cloth and wipe the surface in a unidirectional pattern. Do this a few times and you can get addicted to it.
Purchase White Distilled Vinegar
I hope these tips have got you inspired and excited to go green as you clean your homes and offices. Vinegar can be applied to cleaning most parts of a house, so feel free to explore. You can purchase distilled white vinegar from The Cleaning Cabinet.