Natural cleaning products
Clean your home and yourself with products that are good to the environment and to you. This list is posted by WWF South Africa and offers a selection of fairly comprehensive, all-natural cleaning solutions for every home.
- Scour badly abraded aluminum vessels with whiting (Calcium carbonate, found in paint stores) and soap jelly (click here for the recipe). Use very fine steel wool.
- Brighten a discolored aluminum pan by boiling it in one of the following solutions until the discoloration disappears:
- 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 1 litre water
- 2 teaspoonful of cream of tartar to 1 litre water
- Mildew and other stains can be removed from grout with a solution of 1/2 cup of bleach and 1 cup water. Let stand 5 minutes and rinse with clear water.
- Wash with washing soda (sodium carbonate)
- Wash with borax (sodium borate)
Ceramic Tile Cleaner
- Prepare a mixture of 2 tablespoons of trisodium phosphate (TSP) and 4 litres of water.
- Apply to tile and grout with a brush or cloth.
- Mop up dirty water with sponge or cloth. Needs no rinsing unless higher concentration of TSP is used for heavy cleaning.
To keep drains clean:
- Cover drains with screens. Flush pipes with 250g of washing soda in 2 cups boiling water, then rinse. Do this once a month.
To unclog drains:
- Mix 1 cup each of baking soda, salt and white vinegar. Wait 15 minutes. Pour in drain and flush thoroughly with boiling water. Use a rubber plumber´s snake if drain is seriously clogged.
- Regular laundry soap releases chlorine, phosphates and petroleum-based chemicals into the environment and onto your skin.
- Buy a natural alternative (Check out our Green Directory) or make your own and avoid the unnecessary packaging. Here’s how:
- Add 1/4 cup baking soda or 1/4 cup white vinegar (also removes static cling)
- For wooden floors mix equal parts white vinegar and olive oil or linseed oil.
- Follow the grain of the wood in long strokes and buff to a shine with a clean mop or rag.
A basic no wax no rinse floor cleaner:
- Start with a quarter cup of vinegar to 4 litres of water in a bucket and experiment with amounts.
- CAUTION: Vinegar will damage natural stone and pull up floor wax
- For trouble spots, soak in vinegar and then wipe up. (Remember this is not for wax floors as vinegar strips wax)
- For a soft scrub, sprinkle baking soda on the offending area and wait a few minutes before scrubbing with a sponge.
- Boil the item in soda water (sodium bicarbonate solution) for a few minutes to clean. Remove rust from iron with steel wool or scouring powder.
- Before storing untreated iron or steel pots and pans, coat with salt-less fat or oil, wrap in paper and store in a dry place.
Regular laundry soap releases chlorine, phosphates and petroleum-based chemicals into the environment and onto your skin. Make your own and also avoid the packaging! Here’s how:
- 1 cup white vinegar, 1 cup washing soda, 1/4 cup liquid castile soap (add 3 drops of vitamin e oil – optional)
- For stains: pre-treat by soaking in water with lemon juice, borax or white vinegar
- Vinegar also acts as a natural fabric softener – add half a cup during the rinse cycle to help lift dirt from your clothes and break down your laundry soap more effectively.
- Wipe away grease and spills after using the oven. Wipe away charred spills with a non-metallic bristle brush. If the oven is wiped out after each use, there will not be a need to use harsh chemicals for cleaning.
- To remove baked on grease and spills, scrub with a baking soda, salt and water paste. Or sprinkle with dry baking soda, then scrub with a damp cloth after 5 minutes. (Do not let baking soda touch wires or heating elements.) Scour racks and burner inserts with steel wool.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
- Clean with borax and lemon juice.
- Pour 1/2 cup liquid chlorine bleach into toilet bowl. Let stand for at least 30 minutes, then scrub with a long-handled brush and flush. Remember, never mix ammonia and bleach.
- Salt and water
Window and Mirror Cleaners
- Remove surface soil with a paper towel or soft cloth. Then apply the cleaning liquid with a cloth or sponge. Rub dry and polish with a newspaper or cloth.
- On windows rub the inside in one direction and the outside in another to determine which side the streaks are on. Avoid spilling the cleaner on painted or varnished woodwork because it can damage the finish.
- Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar to 1 quart water. Apply with a wadded-up newspaper.
- Mix 3 tablespoons of ammonia, 1 tablespoon white vinegar and 3/4 cup water in a clean spray bottle.
- Mix 1/4 cup cornstarch, 1/2 cup ammonia, and 1 cup vinegar in a jar. Wear gloves, if necessary, because vinegar is a mild acid. It will remove rust or lime deposits on the outside of windows.