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Lemon Juice And Vinegar In The Kitchen? Whatever Next??

May 7, 2008
Spring is in the air and its time to add a little sparkle to your home. Kitchens and bathrooms can always do with a thorough clean, but wouldn't it be nice not to use all those harsh chemicals? Well our grandmothers didn't and they were sticklers for a pristine house, so here are some good old fashioned ways to clean your kitchen and bathroom that won't harm the planet and will save you money.

Many commercially produced cleaners contain chemicals that can irritate your skin and may be harmful when inhaled. As the cases of eczema and asthma increase these products are being increasingly scrutinised. It isn't advisable to ask children to help to clean the house with harsh chemicals, but with natural products, there's no excuse for them not to lend a hand. So you may be able to put your feet up while those chores are done for you!

First up is baking soda, or bicarbonate of soda. This breaks down grease so can be really useful in the kitchen, sprinkled on a damp cloth for general cleaning. You can also add it to vinegar or lemon juice to make an abrasive cleaning fluid to tackle stains on worktops and in your kitchen and bathroom sinks. And it is very good at absorbing bad odours. This makes it useful in fridges, dishwashers, down plug holes, even sprinkled in your bin. Beyond the bathroom and kitchen it is a good deodoriser for carpets - sprinkle some on before vacuuming to freshen things up.

Second is olive oil or baby oil. This is great rubbed on stainless steel kitchen appliances with a kitchen towel - bringing back the shine and getting rid of finger marks.

Then there's vinegar. White wine vinegar is the best one to use. It cleans and deodorises and is brilliant for descaling. Taps often have unsightly limescale in hard water areas. Dismantle them and soak them in vinegar for an hour or so - the limescale will come off and your taps will look shiny and new. Or soak kitchen towel in vinegar and wrap it round the taps and secure with elastic bands. After a few hours you'll be amazed! It's also great for cleaning windows, which you can also rub with newspaper. The windows will sparkle without smears. Mixed with water in equal parts vinegar makes a good general kitchen and bathroom cleaner.

Next is lemon juice which is a great scum remover, so useful in the bathroom. You can even mix it with vinegar for really stubborn stains. Mixed 1:2 with olive oil and decanted into a spray bottle it's a brilliant furniture polish, rubbed on with a cloth. The lemon juice cleans up the dirt and the olive oil provides the shine - what a winning partnership!

Lastly, essential oils can play a useful role in the kitchen and bathroom, and you only need a few drops so a little bottle lasts a long time. Tea tree oil added to soaking tea towels instead of bleach will clean them up but not be as harsh, so they are likely to last longer. Instead of using antibacterial sprays (which can kill helpful as well as harmful bacteria), make your own using a few drops of lavender oil and a few drops of tea tree oil. In the winter these can be added to eucalyptus oil, which will help if anyone in your home has a cold brewing. In the summer add the essential oils to citronella to keep flies at bay.

Whatever natural product you use it's always best to try it out first on an inconspicuous area. There are a few things to watch out for. For instance, dilute vinegar properly when using it on tiles so that the acidity doesn't eat away at the grout. And never use vinegar on marble surfaces, as it will strip away its shine. Similarly don't use vinegar or lemon juice on granite work surfaces.

Using natural, homemade cleaning products can liberate you from harsh chemical toxins, free up your cupboard space as these few ingredients are so versatile, and save you money. So why not give it a go, next time you're planning a spring clean.
About the Author
Expert home improver India Cooper explores the benefits of using natural, homemade products to clean as known by kitchen specialists. To find out more please visit http://www.ratedpeople.com/find/kitchen
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