It is not often that my name and cleaning comes up in the same sentence, but, sadly, it is a reality that on a regular basis I need to don a pair of rubber gloves and clean (it is also a reality that it is not as regular as it should be) Thankfully, Fergal is a wonderful cleaner so we don’t live in complete squalor when my cleaning sprees are a bit hit and miss.
This list is by no means exhaustive, a quick google of any of these ingredients and the depth and breath of usage will astound you. Why would you ever buy a dangerous health-destroying chemical cleaner again? Most of these are cheap and highly effective. The only caveat to having a clean home, though (as I have sadly learned from personal experience) is that you have to actually clean…
Vinegar: My main cleaning ingredient is vinegar. Plain, cheap, white vinegar. I buy it in an Asian market (I buy 20 litres at a time in 5 litre bottles; and every time the chap behind the counter smiles and nods and says “you like chips, yes?!” !)
Vinegar is a natural disinfectant, and a mild acid, so works brilliantly where there are lime problems (we pour a jug of vinegar into the toilets when we are going away for a couple of hours or overnight. When we come back, we swish the bowl and it is lime free and clean again!)
I have a spray bottle of vinegar, so, in the case of our small wc (it is the downstairs one, used mainly by children, mostly small boys; not all ours. We have noted that with some of those boys their aim is not exactly stellar, in fact, I regularly wonder at the fact they haven’t got themselves in the eye yet) I stand at the door and spray. Everywhere. Walls, floor, sanitary ware (the smell, yes, like a chip shop!, dissipates within a minute) and wipe the whole lot down.
If taps get very lime-y, wrap them in toilet paper before bed, saturate it with vinegar and in the morning they with be sparkling lime free!
Hydrogen Peroxide: a safe bleach, I use it when I want to strongly disinfect anything (the toilet seat, bleugh, Yeuk)
It’s also great for toothbrushes: I put some into a bowl of water and pop all the toothbrushes into it to disinfect them.
It brightens and cleans cloths too, so a good soak in h2o and dry in the sun is excellent
Sodium Carbonate/Washing soda: instead of a cream cleaner: some vinegar and washing soda is fantastic for cleaning.
The best drain cleaner.
Bicarbonate of soda/bread soda: apart from all the cooking and health uses!: an out standing deodorant, for personal use, or for, say, the fridge if it smells whiffy. Also instead of a cream cleaner, use like the washing soda
Borax: I mostly use this for my laundry liquid recipe. A friend of mine doesn’t have lime water problems and uses it to make a super dishwasher powder.
Lillys Eco-Clean: I buy the washing-up liquid in the 5 litre bottle from Lillys Eco-Clean, I keep my washing up liquid bottle always filled with this, and I also keep the liquid soap handwash bottles filled (I also sometimes add 10 drops of lavender oil) It is so mild and non toxic, I’m happy to use it for hands and dishes and anything else that needs good sudsy water!
I have these brilliant glass cleaning microfiber cloths for mirrors and windows
I have a hierarchy of cleaning cloths: when a towel gets beyond its use-by date or torn, I chop it up. Any vaguely decent pieces I use for spills and cleaning. Any bits that look suspect I keep as disposable cloths for cleaning toilets and anything that makes me wince.
Oh, and the household box? The one in the photo is my utilitarian one, I have another beautiful one, the colour of my island unit, sitting on a shelf in the kitchen for aesthetic purposes. These would make a great gift, filled with jars of washing soda, bottles of vinegar, cleaning cloths and brushes: as a recipient of one such present, I can guarantee it was gratefully and delightedly received