Minimising our load on waterways and in our homes with some old fashioned knowledge, a little elbow grease and a warm spring breeze.
Is there anything sweeter after a long cold Melbourne winter than opening up the house to a warm spring breeze. (Even more so if there’s blossom or jasmine outside that window). Well if you’ve been ignoring the itch to do some spring cleaning then let us inspire you with some good old remedies using the cheap and non-toxic duo of bicarb soda and vinegar. I’ve scoured (sorry) the internet for useful ideas, though I’m sure you’ll have your own too – let us know your DIY tips and we’ll share them round. Grab a microfibre cloth, open the windows and lets go.
Bicarb or baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a little legend for cleaning and deodorising all kitchen and bathroom surfaces – the sink, fridge, crusty or greasy pans, bathroom tiles and even the toilet bowl. It’s a handy all-purpose, non-toxic cleaner and you can really use it however it suits you. Sprinkle it on then wipe with a wet cloth, make a paste by combining with a little water, or dissolve the bicarb in warm water and spray onto surfaces to wipe before rinsing with a clean cloth.
Left in an open dish in the fridge it will absorb any unpleasant odours.
I haven’t tried it in the washing machine, but 1/2 cup (or 1/4 C for front loaders) in the wash is said to brighten and whiten.
A bicarb paste with water is a mild abrasive cleaner, but you could also add salt to the mix as an extra abrasive if you need it. Just watch you’re not scratching things. Soak food-crusted kitchen pots or stoves with this paste, it’ll be easier to clean them after it has soaked for a while.
Vinegar is a useful grease-cutting, stain removing assistant. And of course it also cleans your windows and mirrors like the streak-free pro that it is, especially when buffed with crumpled newspaper. Use it undiluted on a cloth to wipe grime and grease from kitchen surfaces, or mildew-inclined areas. Clean and deodorise the toilet with a sprinkle of bicarb into the bowl, a squirt of vinegar then scrub with a toilet brush as usual. (If you’ve ever cleaned household drains with bicarb and vinegar, you’ll know how they fizz up together like something in the school science lab).
* Bicarb in the bath along with epsom salts and essential oils is the most wonderful soak for tired limbs and aching muscles.
** I use cut lemons to wipe wooden cutting boards, especially if they’re garlicky. I let the lemon soak in, give them a scrub and rinse in hot water and leave them in the sun for a day to refresh.
***If you’re out of dishwashing liquid, throw a lemon half into the sink with super hot water.
There are loads of great non-toxic cleaning products available these days, and we have some excellent (even probiotic!!) options in the webstore, as well as microfibre cleaning cloths and non-plastic Eco Store scrubbing brushes. For more comprehensive advice on cleaning specific surfaces and stains, you could check out these sites here and here.