Today, the potentially damaging nature of many commercially available cleaning products is common knowledge. Many cleaning fluids can cause skin complaints, are corrosive to the eyes and can cause serious harm to the environment around us.
Many of the household chores that you would use these chemicals for can be completed just as well (if not better!) if you use a more natural cleaning solution.
Soda crystals and white vinegar are products that many people will find in the back of their kitchen cupboard, and these two everyday items can make light work of some hated household chores. Check out our post on where to buy white vinegar here.
1. Unclogging Plugholes
Clogged plugholes can very quickly start to smell if they aren’t treated quickly. Rather than paying for expensive commercial cleaning agents, a clogged plughole can be quickly sorted with soda crystals and vinegar.
First, pour around three-quarters of a cup of soda crystals down the plughole, and leave it for two to three minutes. Pour a cupful of white vinegar down after it and leave for around ten minutes. Finally, flush the plug with a full kettle of boiling water.
For an extra-fresh scent, you can pour a capful of fragranced cleaning fluid, such as Zoflora, down the plughole before flushing with the boiling water.
2. Cleaning Washing Machines
One way to keep your washing machine running at its best is to use soda crystals in every wash. By adding soda crystals, you can use the soft water dose of your usual laundry detergent. If your detergent of choice goes in the drawer, put the crystals in the drum, and vice versa.
Depending on your water hardness, use the following amounts of soda crystals:
- Medium: 25 g
- Hard: 50 g
- Very Hard: 75 g
Using soda crystals softens the water and stops limescale from building up on the internal surfaces of the machine.
You could even opt to use white vinegar instead of fabric conditioner. This naturally keeps the machine fresh, clean, and free from limescale as well as keeping the fibres in your clothing soft.
It is recommended that you deep clean your washing machine once a month. To do this, you can run a hot, empty wash cycle with 500g of soda crystals in the drum. This will eliminate any of the dirt that has built up and clean out any bacteria that has built up.
If you’ve never deep-cleaned the machine before, it might need to be done more than once. If the machine starts to smell worse, or you see black bits of gunk, this tends to mean that the dirt has been lifted from the machine and just needs to be flushed out. Just re-run the exact same cycle a second time to flush out the last of the grime.
After deep cleaning the inside of the machine, you can use white vinegar to clear the bacteria, fungus and detergent build up out of the detergent drawer and the door seals.
This video below shows just how well soda crystals and white vinegar can clean your washing machine:
3. Cleaning Toilets
If you’ve read the small print, you may have noticed that many of the commercially available toilet cleaners are “harmful to aquatic life with long-lasting effects”. All those bright blue or green chemicals that head straight off to the sewers can end up having a serious effect on bodies of water, the environment, and the aquatic life that calls it home.
On top of the damaging effects to the environment, many of these chemicals can be corrosive to the skin and eyes, and so should be handled with the utmost care and kept out of the reach of small children.
Fortunately, there is another way. You can thoroughly clean toilets without using harmful chemicals.
In three simple steps, you can thoroughly clean the toilet without releasing damaging chemicals into the environment.
First, pour some soda crystals into the bowl and scrub using a good, old-fashioned toilet brush. If the bowl has a limescale build-up, use citric acid to eliminate it instead of bleach. Citric acid breaks through limescale very quickly, especially when used in conjunction with hot water. Finish up by wiping the surfaces down with a spritz of white vinegar.
4. Multi-Purpose and Natural Cleaning Spray
With a few everyday ingredients, many of which are likely already lurking in your kitchen, you can make a multi-purpose and totally natural cleaning spray that can make light work of grimy surfaces, stained fabrics, and other nasty cleaning jobs.
Simply mix 1.5 litres of boiling water, 300ml vinegar, 600ml washing up liquid, three teaspoons of soda crystals and 25ml of eucalyptus oil. Pour it into a spray bottle, and you’re ready to go!
5. Chopping Boards
Plastic chopping boards can quite quickly end up stained. Instead of scrubbing at the board for hours on end trying to get rid of the nasty, orange staining, try soda crystals and vinegar!
Make up a solution of soda crystals and water, and wipe across the surface. Let the solution sit for a few minutes and scrub it off. Rinse well with water to remove any leftover crystals and wipe over with white vinegar to leave a clean, fresh finish.
6. Kitchen Sinks and Draining Boards
Kitchen sinks and draining boards can quickly end up with a build-up of food and grime, which can leave your kitchen with a nasty odour. Fortunately, this can be quickly and easily dealt with by using soda crystals and white vinegar.
First, mix up a solution of soda crystals and water. Wipe this over the draining board and leave it for around ten minutes. Rinse away the residue, and wipe over the surface with white vinegar to leave a streak-free shine and eliminate the odours.
7. Removing Stains
Stains in carpet, rugs and other fabrics can all be cleaned with either soda crystals or vinegar. For difficult stains, it can be worth using both methods together.
To clean stains with soda crystals, first, make a paste by mixing it with water. Rub the paste into the stain with a clean cloth. Leave it to sit for a few minutes before wiping away the residues and hoovering once dry.
If soda crystals alone aren’t enough to clean a stubborn stain, you can treat the stain a second time with a solution of white vinegar. Mix up one-part water to one-part white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the mixture onto the stain. Scrub with a toothbrush or nailbrush, and then use a clean cloth to gently rub the surface to remove the stain.