Trash Talk? You bet! Some of the most time-saving and naturally effective cleaning ingredients are in your trash bin. Since the lifecycle of chemical cleaning products returns back to our surface water, posing environmental risks, it makes sense to empty that “trash” and take another look at how we might use it. The folks at Helpling have compiled a list of favourite natural cleaning ingredients to help you around the house in an environmentally-friendly way.
Distilled white vinegar
Vinegar is such a versatile cleaning substitute, it’s hard to find examples of what cannot be cleaned by this household staple. Store-purchased white vinegar typically contains 5% acetic acid, the main ingredient for tackling grease and bacteria. Vinegar is especially good at decalcifying mineral deposits or cleaning non-waxed floors. Use it to clean your coffeemaker by running a half-vinegar/half-water mixture through the machine; then just run water through it a few times to get rid of the vinegar odour.
Not to be outdone by vinegar, olive oil helps to remove adhesives from wood, plastic, leather or any other smooth surface. It also adds shine to dull wooden surfaces and helps neutralize smells coming from your drains. Pour one tablespoon of olive oil with a little essential oil down your drain to remove the smell. Olive oil can also be used to prevent water marks on your stainless steel kitchen sink. Wipe the kitchen sink with a light layer of olive oil to avoid those pesky water stains.
Lemons act as natural disinfectants due to their citric acid content. Use lemon juice and boiled water to kill household germs on any kitchen or household items requiring sterilization, such as baby toys. Lemons can also be used, instead of bleach, as a whitening agent for dish towels and linens. Soak the whites in a 1-part lemon juice and 4-part water solution overnight and dry in the sunshine the next day. Lemon juice can also be used to remove soap scum and hard water deposits in your bathroom. Apply the lemon juice with a cleaning sponge on the trouble areas and let it sit for a couple of hours before rinsing.
Some of your favourite fruits and vegetables like celery, peaches, blueberries, and greens need thorough washing to get rid of hidden traces of dirt and pesticides. For fruits and vegetables that require washing, soak them in cool water for about 5 to 10 minutes with a few tablespoons of baking soda while occasionally scrubbing with a vegetable brush. Baking soda is also a gentle but effective abrasive and works well for removing grimy layers built up on toasters and other kitchen appliances made of chrome or stainless steel. This layer of film can be removed by dipping a soft damp sponge in a little baking soda and applying to the surface.
Essential oils as a cleaning product work together with their aromatherapeutic benefits. For example, soak the smell of eucalyptus oil into your bedding by adding 25 drops into your wash cycle. Dust mites hate the smell. Essential oils such as lavender or lemongrass oil can be used to clean your windows due to their antiseptic nature. Add a few drops to water to clean grime away from windows.
Used coffee grounds are great for absorbing unpleasant smells from your trash bins, your refrigerator and even your hands after handling onions and garlic while cooking. Place small batches in smelly trouble spots instead of using chemical freshener sprays. Coffee grounds can also be used to help scrub hard to remove leftovers from your dishes. Simply soak your dirty dishes in mixture of warm water and 2 to 3 teaspoons of coffee grounds for an easier wash.
The most unlikely pairing comes from these two: an heirloom oil painting and the soft insides of a piece of bread. First, lightly dust the painting and then dab it with the doughy part of the bread to gently remove accumulated dirt and other particles. The bread easily breaks apart as it picks up the dirt. Use a soft brush to wipe away the breadcrumbs afterwards. Dampened bread is also a good way to pick up small pieces of broken glass.
Salt can be used to scour stains from teacups and coffee mugs and as a grease absorbent. Sprinkle salt on food spills in your oven to keep them from hardening. Before washing greasy iron pans, add salt to absorb the grease and then wipe away. Salt can also be used together with baking soda and vinegar to unclog shower drains. Pour 1 cup of salt, 1 cup of baking soda and half a cup of white vinegar down your bathtub or shower drain. After 10 minutes, pour 2 litres of boiling water.
Helpling is the leading global online platform for professional home cleaners. On the website or the mobile app customers can book a vetted and insured service provider within a couple of click. The innovative online service gives people more time to enjoy the nice things in life: family, friends and leisure activities.
Helpling was founded by Benedikt Franke, Philip Huffman and Rocket Internet in January 2014. The company now has more than 250 employees and offers its service in more than 250 cities in Austria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, UAE, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain and Sweden.