We all can clean our houses in the old-fashioned way. In any supermarket, there will be full of aisles and aisles of cleaning products in their brilliantly coloured plastic bottles. Do we need any of them? Nowadays, the internet is awash with recipes for making your own all-purpose cleaners – from bathtub sprays and floor washes, to oven scrubs and window spritzers.
It’s so easy to make your own products. We can do our own cleaning with vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and castile soap – we can clean our whole house with those three ingredients.
Bicarbonate of soda has been valued for its antibacterial properties since the 1920s. Barbara Allred, who was head housekeeper at Sandringham for 10 years, and now lectures at the English Manner household consultancy, has been espousing the virtues of lemon juice – from sprucing up a microwave to stopping mildew – for years.
The biggest difference between supermarket cleaning products and homemade ones is that conventional cleaning products are labelled for one specific task. When making your own, you use the same basic ingredients: vinegar, lemon juice, bicarbonate of soda, plant-based liquid soap and essential oils and vary the ratios, depending on the job.
TOILET: put ½ cup bicarb, 10 drops of essential grapefruit oil and ¼ cup white vinegar into my toilet bowl and scrub as it fizzes. The smell makes me happy. The porcelain gleams.
BATH: use blogger Amanda Watters’ bathtub mix (¼ cup of liquid castile soap, 10 drops of thieves or tea tree oil and one cup of baking soda).
WORKTOP: For an all-purpose spray, make up a solution of equal parts vinegar and water, and add some lemon juice.
OVEN: coat the inside of the oven with a paste of bicarb and water. Left for at least an hour, preferably overnight, it totally works (with a good amount of vigorous scrubbing).
FLOORS: wipe down the wooden floorboards with a solution of 1 tsp castile soap and 10 drops of tea tree oil in 4.5 litres of warm water.
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