Baking soda, a common baking ingredient is a naturally occurring mineral (known as sodium bicarbonate) with many great cleaning properties. It cuts through grease because it reacts with fatty acids to form mild detergents. It also softens water, removes stains and acts as a whitening agent, therefore great for the laundry. When added to washing and dishwasher powder, it improves the performance and reduces the amount required. Its abrasive quality serves as a gentle scouring powder without scratching your kitchen or tile surfaces.
Fresh lemon juice contains citric acid that can deodorise, remove stains, brighten whites in the laundry or kitchen, clean glass, inhibit mould and disinfect toilets. It cleans bath edges and showers plus grouting on tiles. When used neat (full strength), it will remove grime at the base of taps.
Pure soaps are crystal like flakes of pure soap concentrate made from 100% pure vegetable oils and purified water. They are a natural and biodegradable washing agent. Hot water and pure soap flakes with a little washing soda will perform most cleaning jobs.
Salt is a disinfectant and a natural, gentle abrasive. It is useful for clearing drains and cleaning stained kitchen utensils. It cuts through grease when added to baking soda. It removes burn marks from the edges of dishes and stains from china ware. It whitens discoloured bread boards if used with cold water as a daily scrub.
Soap nut is the fruit of the Ritha, a tree found primarily in India and Nepal. It is completely natural, renewable and biodegradable. The shell contains saponin, a natural surfactant. Put six to eight half shells into a cotton bag and place in your washing machine. They should last four to six washes. When they look darker and soft, remove them and put on your compost heap. Soap nuts can also be ground to make washing powder.
Washing soda is a natural product (known as sodium carbonate) and one of the oldest cleaning products. It is a stronger base than baking soda. Washing soda is preferred for really tough stains like grease or petrol stains on garage floors etc. It is a natural water softener and cuts through grease well. Washing soda can also be used as an effective heavy-duty cleaner for painted walls, hard floors and kitchen surfaces. Though washing soda does not produce fumes in direct air, it is recommended to wear gloves and masks while using it as a cleaning agent. The high alkalinity of washing soda also makes it an ideal stain remover for tough fabrics and clothes.
White vinegar is a very versatile cleaning agent. It contains acetic acid that will dissolve calcium build-up in dishwashers, coffee pots, kettles, sinks, shower screens and windows. It cuts through grease and soap scum and helps to carry away foul odours as it evaporates. This makes it an ideal cleaner and disinfectant for the bathroom and toilet. White vinegar can polish off cup rings and other stains on wood when mixed with olive oil. Vinegar mixed with salt or baking soda will polish up brass and copper. Vinegar is a great household disinfectant and you can mix vinegar, salt and water to use as a cleaning compound.