When it comes to cleaning, nothing beats good old soap, water and a little bit (or a lot) of elbow grease. However, because of the fairly hectic lives we all live in now, most of us don’t have the time to buckle down and start scrubbing and would opt to use cleaning agents that would dissolve grease and mold within minutes of its application. Although these products save you a lot of time and energy, they (unfortunately) contain toxic chemicals and substances that recent researches affect both our bodies causing migraines and depression; and our environment, depleting the ozone layer and polluting our rivers and streams. If you would like to clean your house and stay healthy and be kind to the environment at the same time, have a look inside your cupboard – you probably have these five cleaning agents lurking in the shadows, just waiting for you to use.
Although commonly used for baking, baking soda is a very effective multi-purpose cleaner and deodorizer which can be used everywhere: from deodorising rubbish bins to removing stains in your laundry. By combining baking soda with water or vinegar and you will have an even stronger yet still non-toxic cleaning agent that’s cheap as chips.
Lemons are not just for making lemonade or for garnishing dishes. It can also be used as a cleaning agent. Lemons are one of the strongest food-acids and is effective in controlling most household bacteria without causing damage surfaces such as wood and cloth. When cleaning with lemons, always rinse the item with soap and dry with a clean cloth. One thing that you can’t clean using lemon is brass and other brass plated products, but there are other organic cleaning agents that can do this job.
White vinegar is probably the most versatile cleaning agent there is: from polishing brass and copper, to ungluing stickers, decals and price tags. Vinegar, because of its highlevel of acidity, is very effective in killing most mold, bacteria and germs. As with baking soda, mixing vinegar with water or salt or baking soda, can give you a stronger cleaning agent for harder to remove stains and grime.
Grimy windows? Ditch the professional window cleaners, and try to clear your view using cornstarch. Apart from cleaning glass, cornstarch can be used as a shampoo and is effective in removing odor from carpets and rugs – and to some extent – pest control.
Cream of Tartar
Cream of Tartar does not just stabilize meringue, cakes and sauces, if you mix cream of tartar with vinegar, you can use this mixture to clean copper and bronze-coated items. Cream of Tartar can also be used to remove the mineral stains found on kitchen taps and bathroom fixtures.
So before you head off to the supermarket to buy the latest cleaning products – have a look at your pantry. You probably already have all the cleaning agents you possibly need to keep your home nice and tidy.