Spending more time at home and having more time, in general, has allowed me to do a few jobs which I’ve been procrastinating about for a very long time and deep cleaning is one of them. You know, like sorting the cupboards and draws, getting everything out, cleaning it, checking the labels, and then putting everything back in some kind of order. This time I’m sticking to the order… well, at least trying.
As a big believer of an ‘all-natural’ approach and a minimal waste lifestyle, I like to bulk buy these two natural cleaners which I use at home:
Bicarbonate of soda (sodium bicarbonate), also commonly known as baking soda, is a white solid that is crystalline but often appears as a fine powder. It has many uses around the house and I LOVE to use it to:
1) Deodorise the fridge.
Bicarbonate of soda is an incredible deodoriser. Whether you’ve left fish, meat, or cheese in your refrigerator for too long, cleaning with bicarbonate of soda is sure to help. Just apply a mixture of baking soda and water to the inside of the fridge, rub and then remove with a dry cloth. You can also keep a cup of baking soda in the back of your fridge to absorb the most stubborn smells – just remember to replace it every 2-3 months.
2) Deodorise shoes.
If that nasty odour comes from your shoes instead of the fridge, baking soda can still help! Sprinkle a cup of it inside your shoes and let it sit overnight. Not only will the smell fade away, but this low-cost solution will also help kill bacteria caused by sweat.
3) Clean surfaces.
Kitchen and bathroom cleaning can take a lot of time – especially if you have to deal with sticky countertops, greasy drawers, and delicate surfaces. You can clean them easily if you combine bicarbonate of soda with white vinegar. The fizzing action helps to break down stubborn messes and can power through coffee and rust stains.
4) Freshen the home.
While cleaning with baking soda can help remove smells in specific areas like the fridge, it can also be used to freshen your home in general. Use it as a DIY air freshener by placing small plates of it around your home to absorb bad smells. Just make sure it’s far out of reach of pets or kids!
5) Unblock clogged sinks and drains.
Slow-moving drains in the bathroom and kitchen can be a nightmare. Unclog them by using a solution of bicarbonate of soda, water, and white vinegar. First, pour a full pot of hot water down the drain, add a glass of baking soda and warm white vinegar and let it fizz. Then rinse with hot water again.
6) Refresh mattresses.
I also use bicarbonate of soda to deodorise mattresses. I sprinkle a full cup of bicarbonate of soda to freshen up a mattress. Then I let it sit for a couple of hours and then gently vacuum to clean.
Vinegar is an aqueous solution of acetic acid and trace chemicals that may include flavourings. It typically contains 5–8% acetic acid by volume. The acetic acid is usually produced by the fermentation of ethanol or sugars by acetic acid bacteria.
Standard white vinegar is a clear solution generally containing 4–7% acetic acid and 93–96% water. Some types of white vinegar can contain up to 20% acetic acid, but these are strictly for agricultural or cleaning purposes and not intended for human consumption. I buy 5% or 12%.
Now for its many uses:
1) Clean fruit & vegetables.
I mix up a vinegar solution and use it for washing fresh fruits and vegetables. The vinegar dissolves wax that may be coating the surface of fruits & veggies and also removes pesticide residues. Then I rinse the vegetables and fruits thoroughly with warm water.
2) General cleaning around the home.
I use a solution of half white vinegar and half water (and sometimes only neat vinegar) mixed in a spray bottle to clean the interior of the fridge and many other surfaces throughout the house clean. A quick spray and wipe down removes odours, cleans the interior, and kills off mildew and mould spores and germs. I also use it for cleaning kitchen surfaces, mirrors, tiles, and windows.
3) Clean up pet accidents
Remove odour and pet urine stains by dabbing the stain with a cloth soaked in 1/4 cup of vinegar diluted with a quart of water. Dab the mess repeatedly until the spot and odour are removed, let it dry, and then test for a smell. If you still can smell it, repeat the process. The trick here is that you don’t want to allow the stain to soak into the foam padding of the carpet or furniture. Once the foam is soaked, the odour is nearly impossible to get out.
4) To clean your microwave.
I easily clean my microwave with equal parts of hot water and vinegar. I place the mixture in a small bowl and microwave it for five minutes. The steam loosens any dried-on mess and makes it easy for me to wipe it away. You can also use a small bowl of lemon juice or lemon juice and water to get the same results and as a bonus, it’s the best way to remove any odours and leave it smelling fresh! And you’ll love your bright, shiny, clean microwave again.
Do you use baking soda & vinegar at home? Would you mind sharing your tips?