Not only have toilet rolls and hand sanitiser been selling out in supermarkets around the world amid the coronavirus pandemic, but so too have essential cleaning products such as disinfectant as shoppers prepare to embark on a spring cleaning spree during their extra time at home. If you've struggled to get your hands on any cleaning essentials, why not get creative and make your own?
Lynsey Crombie, known as the Queen of Clean, showed how you can make your own cleaning products in her book, How to Clean Your Home and Tidy Up Your Life, and chances are you already have a lot of these ingredients in your kitchen cupboards! Here are 11 handy recipes to get you started…
Fill a spray bottle with 2 teaspoons soda crystals and 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar, then top up with hot tap water. Spray directly onto surfaces and wipe off with a damp microfibre cloth for powerful cleaning.
Mix 120 ml/1/2 cup white wine vinegar and 50 g/ 1/4 cup bicarbonate of soda into 2 litres/8 cups water. Mix until completely dissolved. Decant into a labelled spray bottle. Use this solution for the removal of water marks on shower panels and bathroom chrome fixtures, and to clean windows and mirrors. Spray directly onto surfaces and wipe with a damp microfibre cloth.
Lynsey Crombie shared her recipes for natural cleaning products
WOODEN FURNITURE POLISH
I am often asked about how to clean real wood surfaces. Some of the products on the market are just far too abrasive and can take the colour out of the wood or damage fine polished surfaces. Using a natural cleaner will ensure your wooden surfaces are well looked after. This simple, quick and easy polish won’t cause any damage at all. Simply fill an empty spray bottle with 4 teaspoons olive oil, 4 teaspoons white wine vinegar and 10 drops of lemon essential oil and shake really well. A few sprays and a rub with a soft microfibre cloth and… voila! You will be left with the perfect finish. NOTE: this polish is single use. Do all your woodwork on the same day to get full use of the solution.
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Air fresheners are commonly used to mask bad smells within the home, however they don’t actually get rid of the smell altogether. Many of my natural solutions will absorb and remove the nasty odours for fresher, healthier air.
- Dot bowls of fragrant dried herbs and flowers around the house.
- A mixture of bicarbonate of soda or white wine vinegar with a hint of lemon juice placed in small dishes around the house will absorb unpleasant odours.
- Put 3 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda and 8 drops of your favourite essential oil into a spray bottle and top up with water for a homemade deodorising spray.
- Houseplants help to reduce odours in the home.
- Prevent cooking odours by simmering 1 tablespoon vinegar in 1 cup water on the stove while cooking. Alternatively, simmer some cinnamon or other aromatic spices.
- To remove particularly pungent smells like fish and onions from utensils and cutting boards, wipe them over with vinegar, then wash them in soapy water.
- A halved onion left in the corner of a room will help absorb odours quickly.
- Keep fresh coffee grounds on your kitchen worktop.
- Freshen the sink garbage disposal by grinding up a slice of lemon.
You can make your own fabric spray to refresh your sofas, carpets, curtains, and other fabric surfaces. Half-fill a spray bottle with boiling water, add 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda and a few drops of your favourite essential oil, shake to mix and leave for about 30 minutes for the mixture to infuse. Always spray items from a distance of at least 20 cm/8 inches and be careful around pets and children.
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For the freshest carpet, add 15 drops of your favourite essential oil to 200 g/1 cup bicarbonate of soda. Using a sieve, liberally sprinkle the mixture all over your carpet or rug, leave for a few hours, then vacuum it up. This is one of my favourite tips; I do it myself once a week!
CARPET STAIN REMOVER
Mix equal parts white wine vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray directly onto the stain, let sit for several minutes, then clean with a brush or sponge using warm soapy water. For fresh grease spots, sprinkle cornstarch (cornflour) onto the spot and leave for 15–30 minutes before vacuuming. For a heavy-duty carpet cleaner, mix together 50 g/1/4 cup salt, 50 g/1/4 cup soda crystals and 60ml/1/4 cup white wine vinegar. Mix into a paste then rub into the carpet stain and leave it for a few hours. Vacuum it off.
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This is something I recommend you do weekly to prevent nasty odours and blockages. Pour 100 g/1/2 cup bicarbonate of soda into the drain, then add 120 ml/1/2 cup white wine vinegar and leave for 15 minutes. The chemical reaction will help to break down fatty clogs. Flush with boiling water from the kettle.
Caution: Plastic pipes can be damaged if excessive boiling water is used. If you don’t have metal plumbing, use warm or even cold water to rinse instead.
CROCKERY STAIN REMOVER
Remove coffee and tea stains from cups and mugs by adding 1 heaped teaspoon bicarbonate of soda to each, then filling with boiling water. Leave for about 30 minutes, then drain and rinse. You’ll be amazed by the results!
CHOPPING BOARD CLEANER
Rub a slice of lemon over wooden or plastic chopping boards to disinfect the surface. For tougher stains, squeeze some lemon juice directly onto the stain and scrub in a little salt. Leave for 10 minutes, then rinse clean.
CERAMIC OR GLASS HOB CLEANER
To save your hob becoming a sticky mess, make a point of cleaning it after every use. To remove stuck-on food, wet the area with hot soapy water and sprinkle with bicarbonate of soda. Cover with a damp towel or kitchen paper and leave for 30 minutes, then wipe with a clean damp cloth.
Lynsey's book, How to Clean Your House and Tidy Up Your Life is available now, published by Harper Collins