7 household cleaners you can make and use at home

Your cupboards are stocked full of effective and affordable household cleaners. Here's how to put them to use in your home cleaning routine.

7 household cleaners you can make and use at home

1. All-purpose powder cleanser

  • Bicarbonate of soda used alone is a highly effective, non-scratching abrasive cleaner. It's also an essential ingredient in many other household formulas.
  • Store it in a clearly labelled flour or icing sugar shaker.
  • Apply to stubborn stains on baths, sinks, countertops and other surfaces, just as you would a commercial powder cleanser.

2. All-purpose liquid cleanser

Ingredients:

  • Two litres (eight cups) of hot water
  • 30 millilitres (two tablespoons) of cloudy ammonia
  • 30 millilitres (two tablespoons) of white vinegar
  • 500 grams (two cups) of bicarbonate of soda.

Combine all the ingredients in a glass or plastic screw-top jar or squeeze bottle. Shake until the bicarbonate of soda is dissolved, then store for future use.

3. Wood furniture cleaner

  • Combine equal parts of linseed oil, turpentine, vinegar (preferably brown) and denatured alcohol.
  • Use sparingly on a lint-free cloth.
  • Add a few drops of lemon essence, eucalyptus oil or lavender oil for a pleasing fragrance.

4. Beeswax furniture polish

  1. Melt 125 grams (1/4 pound) of purified beeswax.
  2. Remove the container well away from the heat source.
  3. Add 375 millilitres (1 1/2 cups) of turpentine. Never add turpentine to a container on the stove. Its fumes are highly flammable.
  4. Mix well and allow to set. Store in an airtight tin.
  5. For a more liquid mixture, use more turpentine. For a thicker, yellower polish ideal for old pine furniture, use yellow (non-purified) beeswax and 175 millilitres (3/4 cup) of turpentine.

5. All-purpose deodorizer and disinfectant

For a natural deodorizing and disinfectant action, add a few drops of tea tree oil to the toilet, garbage can and other germ-prone containers after you've cleaned them.

6. Air fresheners and deodorizers

  • Place dried lavender, potpourri or other naturally fragrant materials in bowls throughout the house to act as natural air fresheners.
  • After cleaning floors, add a pleasant fragrance by using scented oils, such as lemon, lavender, eucalyptus or tea tree, in a final pass.
  • Charcoal left to stand in an open bowl absorbs most household odours. It can also be wrapped in muslin and placed in the fridge or bathroom.

7. Carpet cleaner and deodorizer

  • Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda over carpets and rugs an hour or so before vacuuming for a cleaning, deodorizing action.
  • For general stain removal and cleaning, combine one litre (four cups) of warm water with 50 millilitres (1/4 cup) of cloudy ammonia. Apply to the carpet on a clean, pale-coloured cloth.
  • Use a firm blotting motion rather than a scrubbing motion.

Making up your own household recipes is an excellent way to save money. Plus, when you prepare a cleaner, you have the satisfaction of knowing that your product contains only natural substances.

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