There are so many cleaning products out there, and lots of them are so expensive. I use as few as possible – I don’t want my house full of chemicals, and I don’t want want to pay the huge advertising costs of big business. If you cut the expensive stuff, and make some of your own, you save so much money and you and your family don’t have to inhale a nasty cocktail of chemicals that could be damaging everybody’s health, as well as the general environment.
Air fresheners – these don’t ‘freshen’ your air. How could they? All they do is mask smells with synthetic perfumes. They make me cough and give me a headache! If there is a bad smell, open the window for a bit.
Furniture polish – if you are lucky enough to own top quality wooden furniture, use a bit of beeswax on a cloth. If not, a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water in an old spray bottle will clean surfaces just as well.
Glass and mirror cleaning – again, vinegar works a treat with a cotton cloth or a bit of newspaper.
Bleach – OK, I admit to using this! Just a bit down the loo every now and again. If you want to be truly chemical free then white vinegar is OK, but I have found it isn’t as effective as the hard stuff. I buy the cheapest bleach from Aldi for 55p.
Bathroom and kitchen cleaning – If you want the natural approach then bicarbonate of soda is your best bet. Just sprinkle some onto a scourer, scrub away, then rinse off. If you have some really grubby areas, mix it into a paste with a little sea salt and a bit of washing up liquid. I managed to find a large tub in a chemist in town for about a fiver a few months ago but this has run out now and I haven’t seen it since, so if anybody knows somewhere good for bulk buying it, please share! I also use good old fashioned cream cleaner. The Tesco version is only 78p.
Floors – half a cup of baking soda dissolved in hot water is a good floor cleaner. I use a capful of disinfectant in a bucket of water from time to time to clean the floors too. The Tesco Value stuff costs 30p a litre.
Oven – I can’t abide the strong oven cleaners you can buy. I don’t even think they work that well and they make the house smell awful. If you have to use them in a well ventilated room, they probably aren’t that good for you! I found out by accident that soda crystals are great for cleaning ovens. I made a strong solution and was trying to scrub the old grease from the glass oven door when a friend rang. After half an hour of chat I went back to my cleaning to find that the grease came off really easily. So this is how I clean my oven now – sponge it on, leave it for a bit, then give it a good scrub with wire wool. Soda crystals are also really good for unblocking drains. It isn’t always easy to find, so I buy 2 or 3 packs at a time when I see them. They cost about £1 a pack.
You really don’t need lots of different products or to spend lots of money!