They are offered to us in dazzling colours and packaging, the super cleaners and stain wonders. Some cleaning cupboards almost resemble a chemistry lab. And, let’s be honest, don’t you find those skulls on some of the packaging a bit scary? That makes cleaning almost life-threatening, well, or at least harmful to health. Especially if you’re thinking about cleaning in a more environmentally friendly and, above all, cost-effective way, you should look for alternatives. One good idea is to fall back on tried and tested household remedies. After all, our grandmothers and great-grandmothers managed to clean the place without using chemical pesticides. We explain how it works.
Well-tried home remedies: The basic natural cleaning products
The very first things you should put in your cleaning cupboard are the following:
- Citric acid
- Baking powder
All of these make wonderful cleaners when mixed with warm water.
Vinegar and citric acid: The miracle weapon against limescale
Vinegar or citric acid are particularly good for removing all limescale stains. If the smell of vinegar stinks to you, you can use citric acid or the peel of untreated citrus fruits instead. Simply mix the household remedy of your choice with warm water and off you go. Especially in the bathroom, you can use it to counteract limescale and it also works great as a toilet cleaner or for cleaning windows. You can even use vinegar to descale your kettle by filling it halfway with vinegar and boiling it once. Rinse the kettle well and boil new water once or twice more, then the vinegar smell should have dissipated.
Soda: The fat must go
Soda (as well as baking powder) really help when you need to remove grease. Grease, for example, likes to accumulate on top of kitchen cupboards. Again, mix the soda with warm water and the grease is easily removed. Soda is also perfect for removing burnt-on food from pots. To do this, add soda to the pot and let the whole thing simmer on the cooker for a bit. The encrustations will then come off all by themselves, without any annoying scrubbing.
Baking powder and baking soda make everything white again
Even if white laundry has a slight grey shimmer, you don’t have to buy expensive cleaning products. Grandma used to simply add baking soda or baking powder to the wash cycle and the laundry would shine again. Just try it out. A paste made from baking soda and water also helps to get dirty bathroom grout clean again. Simply apply the paste and start scrubbing, preferably with a toothbrush. Baking soda and baking powder are also perfect for getting the insides of thermos flasks clean again. If you use bicarbonate of soda, one tablespoonful is enough, whereas with baking soda it should be more like two. Put bicarbonate, soda or baking powder in the thermos flask, pour hot water over it and leave it to soak for several hours. Then rinse well to neutralise the taste.
Additional tips and tricks
As you can see, with the above-mentioned home remedies you can carry out your normal flat cleaning without any problems and, above all, without the use of chemicals. But there are also other tried and tested tricks and tips to help you clean.
Coffee powder: Home remedy number one for bad smells in the fridge. An open bowl of ground coffee neutralises and makes it smell wonderfully fresh again.
Fishy cutlery? The smell of fish from the last feast still clings to your knife and fork? Rub the cutlery with lemon peel and rinse it again afterwards.
Salt for the shower curtain: If the shower curtain no longer looks quite so glamorous, you don’t have to throw it away straight away. Soak it in cold salt water for 30 minutes and hang it up, but without rinsing off the salt. This will prevent mold at the same time.
Onion on glass: You can get rid of stains on a table with a glass surface by treating it with half an onion. Rub in and then wipe off as usual.
Removing red wine stains: Salt not only helps to get the shower curtain back in shape, but it also helps remove red wine stains. Quickly apply the salt to the fresh stain, wait a short while and then brush it out. If you want to be on the safe side, apply citric acid to the stain before treating it.
Beating dust out of the carpet: Grandma used to put the carpets upside down on the snow to clean them in winter and beat them properly. If you don’t have an open space in front of your front door, you can instead place a damp bed sheet on the floor in your home and tap away. The dirt remains in the sheet, which then goes into the washing machine.
Just like in grandma’s time
Generally speaking, tried and tested home remedies produce similar chemical reactions to store-bought cleaning products. However, they are nowhere near as aggressive and do not cause allergies.