Keeping a Chemical-Free Home - Four of Best Natural Cleaning Agents

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We are all aware of the array of chemicals in our cleaning products but we also know that chemicals get the job done! It can be a hard choice to change to chemical free cleaning products when they seem to come with some serious elbow grease and high price tags. You might be surprised to learn that some natural cleaning products not only do a better job but they are seriously cost effective as well. 

Baking Soda (bicarbonate of Soda)

Baking soda is a sodium bicarbonate, a natural substance that maintains the pH balance. Baking soda neutralises both acids and bases, so it actually eliminates odours rather than just covering them up. Baking soda can also act as a very mild abrasive cleaner perfect for removing stains from sinks, counter tops, tea cups and toilet bowls. Baking soda causes dirt and grease to dissolve in water, so it is very effective in cleaning kitchen counter tops, refrigerators, and stove tops. Sprinkled on a sponge or dishcloth, baking soda forms a mildly abrasive scouring powder.

Baking Soda can be used alone mixed with a little water or mixed with white vinegar, lemon juice or citric acid to enhance its cleaning abilities. We have been conditioned to believe that if it doesn't foam then it doesn't clean but this is truly not the case with Baking Soda. To clean sinks, drains and garbage disposal units, sprinkle baking soda around the plug hole and following with boiling water and your sinks will be smelling fresh and clean immediately. Sprinkle baking Soda on your carpets before vacuuming as a natural deodoriser. 

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Citric Acid

Citric acid is a white crystalline powder also used in cleaning products, air fresheners, candles, and personal-care products and in the pharmaceutical industry. It’s used to balance the pH of food and preserve it for a longer shelf life ultimately making it harder for bacteria and mould to survive and reproduce. Citric acid is a chelator or an acid that inactivates water hardness and creates foam, making it especially useful in soaps, laundry detergents, and as a cleaning agent. Since it’s a natural preservative it prevents water hardness it’s chemical composition helps get dirt and grime off of surfaces and out of clothing. Citric acid also prevents water spotting and hard water film. Citric acid is also antibacterial and antiseptic it works great on most surfaces and even hard to clean areas.

Citric acid removes stains and adhesives from stainless steel, kills bacteria, cuts grease, and stains on floors, countertops, and tables. You can disinfect and clean kitchen countertops with a solution of nine parts water to one part citric acid. Descale and disinfect the inside of your washing machine by adding two tablespoons of citric acid to a hot water cycle, and run on the longest cycle possible. Citric acid can be added to Baking Soda in a 1:3 ration to enhance its cleaning abilities. 

Vinegar

To disinfect and clean your wood cutting boards or butcher block countertop, wipe them with full-strength white vinegar after each use. The acetic acid in the vinegar is a good disinfectant, effective against such harmful bugs as E. coliSalmonella, and Staphylococcus. When your wooden cutting surface needs deodorising as well as disinfecting, spread some baking soda over it and then spray on undiluted white vinegar. Let it foam and bubble for five to ten minutes, then rinse with a cloth dipped in clean cold water. Vinegar mixed with Baking Soda can be used for many jobs around the house including cleaning teapots and tea stains from cups and stainless steel sinks. Vinegar can also be used in the bathroom to clean mineral deposits from taps and shower heads, dissolve hard water stains around taps and clean soap scum from shower doors. Spray a mixture of vinegar and water onto the shower screen, leave for five minutes and wipe clean. Follow with undiluted vinegar on a cloth to polish the glass.

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Essential Oils - 9 of the Best for Natural Cleaning

1. Lemon

Loved for its light, clean scent, this essential oil is also a powerhouse in homemade cleaning recipes. Naturally antibacterial and antiviral, lemon is commonly used to degrease stubborn stains as well as freshen the air. Use it to deodorise your fridge, clean the floor or combine 10 drops with 1/2 cup olive oil for a natural wood or leather polish.

2. Tea Tree

Is there anything tea tree oil can’t do? It fights germs, bacteria and viruses in everything from homemade wipes to hand soap to daily shower spray. Tea tree oil is a handy weapon against bugs, too. Add tea tree to a spray bottle with water, shake well, and spray outside and inside the home to deter lice and other pests.

3. Rosemary

Rosemary’s natural antibacterial and antiseptic properties make it a great addition to homemade dish soap and laundry detergent. Essential oils are perfect for homemade air freshener sprays, and the combination of peppermint and rosemary is perfect when when you need to stay focused and on task.

4. Orange

Not only does orange oil have a happy scent, but, like lemon, it’s great against grease. Use 1-2 drops to lift grease or glue from surfaces. 

5. Lavender

One of the best-smelling naturally antibacterial essential oils is lavender. Lavender pairs well with another common natural cleaner, vinegar. Just add 4-5 drops of lavender to your vinegar cleaning mixture for its natural antibacterial properties – and for a nicer scent. 

6. Eucalyptus

This natural germicide is a powerful dust mite buster. Use it with baking soda to deep clean your mattress and add a few drop in your next wash cycle. And with its clean smell, eucalyptus is great for stinky jobs in the kitchen and bathroom. Eucalyptus leaves and essential oil are great in cupboards to deter pests. Also great for removing stickers from glass and ceramics.

7. Peppermint

There are countless uses for peppermint oil around the home. Its cool, invigorating scent and antibacterial properties make it a great addition to spray cleaners and natural deodorant spray. For an air freshener that also deters ants and spiders mix 10-15 drops of peppermint essential oil with 1 cup of water in a spray bottle. Shake well and spray along cracks and crevices or wherever ants are seen.

8. Cinnamon Leaf

Cinnamon is naturally antibacterial and antiseptic. Powerful against mould, it’s a great addition to homemade mould and mildew spray. Ground cinnamon and its essential oil are both effective against pests. Sprinkle the ground cinnamon anywhere that pests are seen or apply pure undiluted cinnamon essential oil to the areas with a cotton swab.

9. Thyme

Thyme is one of the most powerful essential oil weapons against germs. Thyme is effective against salmonella so you can add it to your natural dish soap and kitchen surface spray and use it to clean cutting boards that need a freshen up.

Changing your cleaning regime to a more natural one doesn't have to be painful and costly if you follow some of these simple tips. Try swapping out some of your regular products for some more natural alternatives and see if you can tell the difference. We hope you will make the switch a permanent one after seeing the results for yourself. 

The House Keeper is a Boutique Accommodation Cleaning and Management Service located on the beautiful Gold Coast in Queensland. We service the Gold Coast and Northern NSW region and offer premium housekeeping and property management service for Holiday Lettings. We also offer our customer a Natural Cleaning Service using commercial grade, environmentally friendly and natural cleaning products.