Most cleaning requires simple solutions and a little “elbow grease”. Keep a stock of baking soda, white vinegar, cloudy ammonia and pure soap in your cupboard. These can be combined to make environmentally safe cleaners. With a little know-how you will soon be able to clean almost everything.
Adhesive Label Stains
Rub area with eucalyptus oil, methylated spirits or peanut butter.
Use fine steel wool and plenty of soap in hot water.
Never wash coloured aluminium in dishwasher, nor use washing soda or baking soda to clean article.
Fill the saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add onion skins or lemon peel or rhubarb.
Soak small objects in cloudy ammonia for 5-15 minutes.
Remember to open windows or place the bowl outside to dissipate fumes.
Intricate patterns may need a scrub with a toothbrush. Rinse and dry with soft towel.
Brass and Copper Bowls
You will need:
- Cider vinegar
- Baking soda
- Half a lemon
- Petroleum jelly
Make a paste of the cider vinegar and baking soda in a bowl and rub it over the article using half a lemon. Soft steel wool can be used sparingly on badly tarnished spots. A toothbrush helps to clean difficult areas. Rinse and dry then finish with a thin coat of petroleum jelly, to protect from tarnishing quickly.
Brass Bed Head
Wash with cloudy ammonia and soapy water. Clean using a mixture of 600ml of water, 1 heaped teaspoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of vinegar.
Lastly, polish with oil of lemon (available at essential oil/ pot pourri shops).
Fire tools and surrounds can be cleaned with fine dry steel wool. The secret is to rub the steel wool one way only to prevent scratching. Do not use water.
Clean with Worcestershire sauce on a soft cloth. Use a toothbrush for difficult to get at spots. Coat with petroleum jelly when dry to protect article from tarnishing.
Wipe over with white vinegar or methylated spirits on a cloth. This works especially well on greasy tiles behind the hot plates and walls where there is over-splashing and condensation. Use baking soda first if badly splashed. Grouting will come clean with epsom salts scrub.
Cooking Trays, Cake Tins, etc.
Cooking trays will stay cleaner if they are wiped or washed while they are still hot. Wipe with oil before storing.
Can be cleaned with Worcestershire sauce.
Dish-washing by Hand
Try to buy an old fashioned wire soap shaker or improvise, e.g. a metal tin with a fitted lid. Punch holes in the sides. Place a cake of pure soap inside, or just use a cake of pure soap without shaker.
To make expensive dish-washing liquid go further, dissolve:
- ½ cup washing soda
- 1 cup soap flakes
in 2 cups of water by bringing it to the boil slowly. Add half a bottle of dish-washing detergent and leave to set in one litre bucket or container. This will set into a soft gel. I place the bucket under the hot tap in the sink and let the water run over it when I commence washing the dishes.
A thicker mixture can be made using two cups of flakes to two cups of water. After boiling, tip mixture into a one-litre milk cartoon. When set this can be cut into soap cakes for use in your soap shaker.
Buy “green” dish-washing liquid.
Dish-washing Solutions (for dishwashers)
Place baking soda in the soap container and vinegar in the rinse aid, or mix vinegar and soda together and place in the soap container. This washes dishes well but the inside of cups and mugs may need an occasional scrub with baking soda or salt.
Dish-washing solutions are highly caustic and very polluting. Never store them where children can reach as permanent damage to the throat can occur if even a small amount is swallowed.
To clean drains and clear minor blockages place:
1 cup of washing soda on the outlet, then pour boiling water through
a handful of baking soda on the outlet followed by half a cup of vinegar.
Avoid tipping oil or fat down the drain as it end up on our beaches. Put it on the compost heap or dig it into the garden .
If you live in a flat pour your excess fat into milk or orange juice cartons and put them into the rubbish. The rubbish removals company will drive your junk along with the oil in the cartons to the local damp yard away from the sea.
Clean with toothpaste to prevent scratching.
Cover the blackened base with a cloth dipped in cloudy ammonia and leave to stand overnight, covered with a plastic bag. Wash using baking soda if necessary.
Glasses will sparkle if you rinse them in water that has lemon peel, white vinegar or cloudy ammonia in it. A tea towel in the bottom of the sink is a good idea when washing your better glasses, to prevent chipping.
Stained bottles and vases will benefit from a good soapy soak, before adding small bits of steel-wool and shaking to the mixture or swilling with vinegar and sand or salt.
Don’t tip this mixture down the sink as sand or steel wool will clog up the pipes. Tip outside onto the garden.
For example, wrought iron lacework. This can be soaked in paraffin oil then rubbed with steel wool.
Add 1 cup of vinegar and 2 cups of water. Bring to boil them rinse well. Outside of copper kettles can be cleaned with Worcestershire sauce.
Laminex Benches and Table Tops
Use Baking soda, a fine scourer and a damp cloth. Give a final wipe with vinegar to remove any fine white particles of baking soda. Toothpaste will remove some marks on Laminex. A chamois sports towel makes an excellent cloth. Wash regularly in the washing machine and it will last for years.
Mix a teaspoon of borax in a little water and dip half a lemon into this mixture. Rub marble with the lemon.
A comprehensive solution on how to clean your oven can be found here .
As you can see you don’t need expensive commercial cleaners to have your kitchen clean and tidy. Trust the tips above and your kitchen will shine again!