AIR FRESHENER: Simmer vinegar or herb mixtures in water
AUTOMATIC DISHWASHER DETERGENT: Mix 250ml (1 cup) borax with 125ml (1/2 cup) baking soda. Does a reasonable job and it’s phosphate-free.
DISHWASHING: Write to the manufacturer and ask if their dishwashing liquid is phosphatefree, or Use pure bar soap (rub on a cloth or sponge), or Dissolve 15 ml (1 tablespoon) of washing soda In the sink with hot water.
FOR BURNED ON FOOD - Dampen spot slightly and sprinkle liberally with baking soda. Leave overnight. Scrub with a plastic scrubber (Works on the bottom of the oven too).
CHINA CLEANER: Scrub cups or mugs with a little baking soda and a dampened cloth to remove tea and coffee stains.
DRAIN CLEANER: Use a basket strainer to catch food scraps. Don’t pour fat down the drain! Collect fat in a container and let it solidify. Scrape the fat into the garbage (not the compost pile). Wash and reuse the container.
BRASS and COPPER: Use lemon juice or a slice of lemon sprinkled with baking soda. Rub with a soft cloth, rinse with water and dry.
OVEN CLEANER: Clean after a spill using a paste of baking soda and water Or mix 30ml (2 tablespoons) of dishwashing liquid soap and 15ml (1 tablespoon) borax in a spray bottle and fill with warm water. Spray the solution in the oven, leave for at least 20 minutes. Use fine steel wool or a plastic scrubber for tough spots. Repeat the process If necessary - spread newspaper on the floor, the solution drips. Does a good job with no toxic fumes. (It won’t work if your oven is really dirty but it’s perfect for keeping the oven clean).
SCOURING POWDERS: Sprinkle baking soda, borax or washing soda on kitchen sinks, bathtubs, counters (wherever you would normally use a scouring powder). Scrub with a damp cloth or plastic mesh scrubber.
To determine if a carpet’s colour is affected by a wet solution, test any cleaner on a small area of carpet. Never sataurate a carpet with a solution.
CARPET and RUG CLEANER: Sprinkle cornstarch on dry carpets or rugs to absorb dirt and grease, and after 5 minutes vacuum thoroughly.
CARPET and RUG DEODORIZER: Sprinkle baking soda liberally on dry carpet or rug. Leave at least 15 minutes then vacuum thoroughly - or mix 250ml (2 cups) cornmeal
with 125ml (1 cup) borax and sprinkle on carpet. Leave for 15 minutes or longer Vacuum thoroughly
CARPET and RUG SHAMPOO: Mix 125ml (1/2 cup) of liquid dishwashing soap in 500mI (2 cups) of boiling water. Let It cool. Whip the jelly. Apply with a damp sponge or cloth to a small area and rub gently. To rinse use a clean cloth with a solution of 500mI (1 cup) white vinegar and 1L (4 cups) water. Wipe dry with another cloth. Repeat If necessary
SPILLS: Clean spills immediately; apply soda water with a damp sponge.
STAINS: Mix 50ml (1/4 cup) borax in 500mI (2 cups) of water in a spray bottle. Spray on stain and wipe from the carpet with a damp sponge, or use undiluted white vinegar or lemon juice.
FLOOR POLISH FOR WOODEN FLOORS: Melt 30ml (2 tablespoons) paraffin wax in the top of a double boiler. Mix the melted wax with 1L (4 cups) of mineral oil, cool and store in a glass jar. Label clearly. Apply with a soft cloth or applicator, dry and polish.
FURNITURE POLISH: Use olive oil to polish wood that has been stained but not varnished or painted. Spread a little on the wood, dry with a clean cloth.
FOR VARNISHED OR LACQUERED WOOD: Mix 30ml (2 tablespoons) olive oil with 15ml (1 tablespoon) white vinegar and 1L (4 cups) of water in a spray bottle. Spray furniture lightly, dry with a clean cloth. Label the bottle clearly.
UPHOLSTERY CLEANER: Vacuum or brush regularly. Make a shampoo with 90mI (6 tablespoons) soap flakes, 500mI (2 cups) boiling water, 30ml (2 tablespoons) borax. Cool the mixture. Shake vigorously. Use only the suds. Apply with a soft brush or cloth In a circular motion on a small area. Wipe suds off with a damp cloth.
DRAlN MAINTENANCE: To capture lint, secure a nylon (a knee high works well) with a wide rubber band over the washing machine hose outlet into the laundry tub. After several loads it’s necessary to remove the nylon, turn it inside out and pull off the lint. Replace the nylon on the hose.
FABRIC FRESHENER: For items such as diapers: soak in 125ml (1/2 Cup) of borax or baking soda: leave for at least 2 hours and launder as usual.
FABRIC SOFTENER: Add 50ml (1/4 Cup) of white vinegar to the final rinse cycle.
LAUNDRY: Use soap flakes or nonphosphate detergent. If you have hard water or heavily soiled clothes, add 75ml (1/3 cup) washing soda, or 125ml (1/2 Cup) borax with the soap. Experiment with the amounts - use the least amount of each to get the best results.
SPOT OR STAIN REMOVER: Most stains (including ring-around-the-collar) can be removed by scrubbing with a paste of soap flakes and warm water before laundering.
AIR FRESHENER: Leave a potpourri mixture of herbs (peppermint, cloves etc.), or Baking soda in a small basket or jar in the bathroom (Out of the reach of children).
BASIN, TUB and TILE CLEANER: Sprinkle baking soda washing soda or borax on surfaces. Scrub with a plastic mesh scrubber or sponge.
DRAIN CLOG PREVENTION: Use a hair trap in sinks showers and bathtubs.
CLOGGED DRAIN: Use a Plumber’s helper (plunger) or mechan ical snake. If using a plunger, fill the sink with water, hold a rag in the overflow outlet and then plunge the drain. If using a snake, push the snake into the drain and move it up and down to break the clog. or pour 50ml (1/4 cup) of baking soda and 125ml (1/2 Cup) white vinegar down the drain and cover tightly for a minute by stuffing a rag into the drain. The bubbling reaction should loosen the clog, then flush the drain with boiling water. If necessary, repeat the process.
GROUT MOULD AND MILDEW CLEANER: Moisten a cloth with vinegar OR Use an old toothbrush to scrub the tile grout to remove any mildew and mould. This helps to prevent new growth. Or - Use DISINFECTANT solution.
GLASS and MIRROR CLEANER: Mix in a spray bottle ½ white vinegar and ½ water. Spray on the window or mirror: dry with a rag or crumpled-up newspaper rather than paper towels.
TOILET BOWL CLEANER: Use ALL-PURPOSE CLEANER OR sprinkle baking soda or borax in the bowl. Dampen with a little water to make a paste and scrub with a toilet brush, or make a paste of lemon juice and borax. Let stand for 2 hours. Scrub thoroughly.
TOOTHPASTE: Mix together 3 tbsp baking soda, 1 tbsp salt, 3 tsp glycerine, 1 tsp peppermint, and a bit of water to make into a paste
CLOSET DEODORIZER: Use a cloth bag filled with cedar chips, dried herbs or flowers.
SILVER CLEANER: Line the bottom of the kitchen sink with aluminium foil. Fill with hot water and add about 1/4 cup of table salt, rock salt or baking soda. Put the silver into the sink and wait for 2 or 3 minutes. Presto! The tarnish is attracted to the foil. Wash the silver in warm soapy water, rinse and dry. Use an old toothbrush and toothpaste to remove tarnish from crevices or to clean small silver pieces
Spills and thrills
Common stains and their solutions, from Spotless 2
- Baked beans or soy sauce on cotton: Rinse in cold water, wipe with a cloth soaked in white vinegar, wash and dry in the sunshine.
- Chewing gum on cotton: Remove as much of the gum as you can with a knife/scraper, then wipe with a few drops of tea tree oil on a tissue, rubbing in a circular motion. Pick off the little gum balls that form, continuing until all the gum is removed.
- Yellow curry stain from cotton: Put a few drops of lavender oil on a cloth and wipe until removed. Wash and dry normally.
- Foundation makeup on synthetic clothing: Wipe with methylated spirits, then massage dishwashing liquid into the stain and rinse in luke-warm water. If there is a faint shadow, wipe with white spirits on a cloth. Wash and dry normally.
- Lipstick on cotton: Soak a cloth with white spirits and wipe over the offending lipstick mark, and wipe with a damp cloth. Wash as usual.
- Old car grease or engine oil on overalls: Rub stain with baby oil and as soon as the stain starts to loosen and spread, massage in dishwashing liquid with fingers. When it feels like jelly, rinse.
- Wax on cotton: Place several sheets of paper towel on top of an ironing board and lay the wax-stained garment on top. Put several more sheets on top of the stain and apply a warm iron. The wax will melt into the paper towel. Keep changing the paper until all wax is removed. If there is a greasy mark, wipe with a little tea tree oil before washing normally.