Monday, August 8, 2011

Cleaning Naturally {Part 2} and a Free Printable

{You can read Part 1 in this series

Part 2 today is about some of the natural cleaning methods I have been using around our home.
Now please don't get me wrong; these things are NOT things I do each day or even each week. Some I use more often than others like my vinegar spray and my bicarb to clean the toilet but other things I mention here might be once-in-a-blue-moon kind of cleaning experiences.

Anyway, the reason I like these are:

* They are less toxic than store-bought cleaners which means they are safer to use in my home

* Because they are less toxic, it means my children can also safely use them and be involved in learning the skills of keeping our home clean and orderly

* They are MUCH MUCH more cost effective!

* They are MUCH better for the environment around us

So I thought I'd break down what I use to clean different areas.
Here goes!

I'm sure many of you already use these but thought I'd write them out here and share what works in our home in a kind of basic way.


My all purpose cleaner around here these days is vinegar and water.
In a spray bottle put 1/3 cup of white vinegar and about a cup and a half of water.
Vinegar is great because it neutralises smells, is an antibacterial and actually CLEANS so many surfaces from bench tops, bathrooms to mirrors and glass!
I have a spray bottle of it in each bathroom hanging over the shower screens plus one in the kitchen.
Because I don't have to worry about nasty chemicals that my children might breathe in when they use these, they can help by cleaning the glass windows or mirrors.



Sprinkle some bi carb soda (baking soda) into the toilet bowl. Scrub away with your toilet brush.
Spray the seat and surrounding areas with the vinegar spray.
The bi carb helps whiten, deoderise and stabalise ph levels which are all great things for the toilet bowl!

In our ensuite, I have a box of bicarb sitting on the window sill with the vinegar spray next to it.
Seeing it there reminds me to actually use it; to pour some into the bowl, swish it around with the brush and spray with the vinegar too.


I use Borax and vinegar to shift really tough toilet bowl stains.
Borax is a natural mineral compound and is apparently a great mould inhibitor. I've also read that it has a Ph higher than baking soda!
You'll find Borax in the cleaning aisle at your local supermarket.
I poured about a half a cups worth into the bottom of the toilet bowl, let it sit there for a while (overnight is not too long) and then scrubbed with the toilet brush.
Once again, I used the white vinegar to freshen the toilet area once I'd finished scrubbing the bowl.


Now I confess to not having the nicest of shower recesses when it comes to mould stains in the grout.
And over the years I have tried ALOT of things to get rid of them. I've even tried to re-whiten the grout with a grout whitener...which did not work!
The number one thing I have learnt is that you can't get rid of the stains without re-grouting but you can kill off any live spores/bacteria there before they do any further damage.
I took some before and after shots of an area on our bath step that needed to be cleaned:

Here is the BEFORE shot...

I applied a thick paste made from bicab and vinegar to the area and left it to dry for about an hour or two...

then I wiped it off with warm water and toothbrush and cloth.
Here is the AFTER shot:

As you can see hopefully from this shot, it came up nice and clean!
However, this has not worked in my shower!I have read about replacing the vinegar with bleach but still haven't tried it as yet.
Keep in mind that the bicarb/vinegar paste will work on less mould-infected areas so if you see that pink coloured mould appearing, use it on there and see if it helps kill off the bacteria and maybe you can avoid the nasty black stuff that I now have! lol!

Below, I also mention a little about cleaning the soap scum ring in the bath and also what I find works best for cutting through nasty soap scum build-up on the shower doors.

Moving on though now, what about the kitchen area?


Well my number one spray for counter tops here is the vinegar all purpose spray that I mentioned right at the top of this post.
Here are some other tips and things I use to clean my kitchen.


Some of you may remember when I posted recently about cleaning OUR VERTICAL BLINDS NATURALLY using cornflour and water and how stoked I was with the result!

I then tried out the spray (a spray bottle filled 3/4 of the way with warm water and 2 flat teaspoons added to the water - shake the bottle and there's your mix!!!) on a different kinds of greasy surfaces and was AMAZED at the result!

Here is my stove splash back after cooking a stir fry in an open wok recently...

and here is that same area after a few sprays of this cornflour and water mix!

What about the stove top after it's had a thorough cooking-workout?
This is how mine looks sometimes after one meals worth of cooking!

and again, here is that same area AFTER using the cornflour spray!

No chemicals floating around the house.
No hard labour.
And it's SO cheap!

It keeps so well in the cupboard.
Once the warm water cools down, you don't need to add more warm water - just use as is.
The important part is just making sure you use the warm water at the start when you make your mix otherwise it will turn too thick and pastey.



The top of the rangehood came up BEAUTIFULLY after using this to cut through the dusty grease that seems to accumulate up there!

The cornflour spray also cleans the top of the fridge too and of course the vertical blinds!

I've also taken to the soap scum ring in the bath with it and it shifted it extremely well.
I did try to use it on the soap scum on the shower doors and it did work to a degree but not as good as the CHUX MAGIC ERASERS do! They are incredible on cutting through the soap scum on the glass doors in the shower however they are expensive and I have seen warnings around about NOT letting children or people with sensitive skin handle them. That makes me slightly nervous because there must be something in there that is quite dangerous. I must say though that for now, I keep a stash in my cleaning box and I can't find anything that compares to them. My biggest tip is just don't let the kids use them, wear gloves or if you don't at least wash your hands well afterwards to get rid of that chalky residue.
I'll post another shot below of how the Magic Erasers are wonderful for taking permanent maker off walls!


We don't have too many fancy pieces of silverware but we do have these lovely old forks. I picked them up from the op shop a while ago but they were quite tarnished with black marks on the prongs.
I picked up this cleaning tip over at RHONDA'S BLOG 'DOWN TO EARTH'. Click on that link and it will explain how she got hers clean. It's super easy + cheap too!
Thanks Rhonda for the tip :)


Place a bowl of vinegar in the oven (fridge/microwave/whatever you are wanting to deoderise) and leave it there overnight.  The vinegar absorbs the bad smells like fish etc.


I must say that when my oven is semi-clean, all I do to keep it that way is the following:
1. Wipe down the oven with a cloth while it is still warm (not hot of course but just warm!)
2. Then if there is some baked on stuff say on the inside of the glass door, I put some cooking salt straight onto it and let it sit for a while until the oven cools right down. The salt, with a little elbow power, acts as an abrasive.
3. Rinse the area well and wipe clean.

Ok so that's what I use when the oven is semi-cleaned. But when it's got real baked on stuff in there, the only thing I have found to work brilliantly is SELLEYS OVEN PLUS HEAVY DUTY GEL. I would love to find something less toxic that REALLY works (I've tried heaps of natural things when it is really bad and nothing seems to shift it like this gel stuff. Anyone got any ideas to share for when your oven has REALLY baked on bad? Please share!)


We have this great wooden chopping board that came from Ikea a while back. It has a lip over the edge and can be moved to sit over the stove top easily to create more bench space. However, it gets so much use that I needed to work out a way to clean it well.

I must say here that I never cut raw meat of any kind on this board.
Ok so to clean it, I do use a little warm water intitially but i try and wipe it dry straight away. Too much water can warp a board's shape and undo the glue.
I then deoderise it by rubbing a half a lemon over it. You can also use bicarb soda with this but I usually just use the lemon. It leaves it smelling nice and helps to lift stains too.


The best thing I ever did with dusting was ditch the feather duster which just seemed to spread the dust everywhere in the air and invest in some microfibre cloths.
I bought these from Coles (supermarket here) for about $5 a pair. I hung one of them on a hook on the side of our freezer which is also where we store our vacuum cleaner and broom and dust pan and brush. It's kind of a concealed area but still accessible....especially to the children!
Dusting is one of their daily rotational chores and the microfibre cloth is easy to reach, easy to use and doesn't make them sneeze! These are also machine washable so just chuck them in the machine when they are very dusty and they'll come up like new again!


Well as I said earlier, I do use the Chux Magic Erasers to clean my shower doors of soap scum but I also keep them on hand for times when, say, I don't put a permanent marker up high on top of the computer desk, leave the room then return to find your two year old has pushed a chair to the computer desk, climbed up it and reached with all her might until she has said marker in her hand, takes off the cap and doodles on the wall and computer desk to her heart's delight!

Like what happened here:

(notice that she got crafty on the desk top too?! )

I was so MAD - mostly at myself for leaving the marker around.
So here is the AFTER shot once I had gone through 2.5 boxes of chux magic erasers!
At least it got it clean!!!


I rub some tea tree oil into a cloth or onto a tissue to take off sticky labels from jars and other places. It really removes that residue very well and then I just rinse it off under warm water.


We have a couple of whiteboards in our home and so far the best thing I've found that cleans them is alcohol free baby wipes. Wiping them regularly would probably help too but um...i kind of forget that bit! lol!

Ok, so I don't know about you, but I tend to read these kind of posts and then either:
a) get overwhelmed by what is shared or
b) forget it as soon as I've read it!

Please don't be overwhelmed! As I said at the start of this post, I don't use all these cleaning ideas every day - but I do use them when I need to.

I thought I'd try and help out by putting these things into a little pdf which you can print off.

If you do print this off, can you leave me a comment just so I know that you might have done that? I'm keen to see how many people print off the printables that I have shared.

Well, more to come another time.
Have a lovely day!



Diane said...

Great ideas for cleaning. Years and years ago I read Don Aslett's Clutter's Last Stand and he has a cleaning solution that has ammonia in it (even though ammonia doesn't smell too good, it is not toxic like bleach - bleach and ammonia can have a fatal effect) and it looks like this...
Maybe the ammonia will have the added oomph for the shower grout.

1/2 cup baking soda
1/3 cup household ammonia
1/4 cup white vinegar
7 cups warm water

I make half quantity in 2L container,and swish around to mix. Do not mix this cleaner with anything containing bleach.

I found that the best way to keep grout nice is to clean it on a frequent basis (twice a week) hence our shower grout is rarely clean!!!


lusi said...

Thanks Diane! That's a great tip! I'll have to try that!!!
Hope you are well :-)
Love Lusi x

Traci said...

Hey Lusi, it is great to have you check in on me. Thanks. I have taken a bit of a blog blogging and I haven't even been reading blogs for a short bit. I'm not sure when I will resume maybe soon. Just taking life a day at a time, evaluating our journey. Many things to consider.

It's great to see your face. I pray all is well with you across the sea. I'll be checking in here again soon friend. Many blessings to you and your house lusi:)

Shalom my friend,

Leah-in-the-Kia said...

sooo good! I am printing this right now, thanks so much for all he hints, i actually used your cornflour mix on my range hood the other day, worked great! How are you feeling? I hope your birth goes well and quick like your last ( I have very fast labours too and dialate with out a lot of warning until I am just about to give birth) and I hope your hubby can get home quickly from work if you start in the daytime! Best wishes Lusi
love Leah

Karen said...

A tip for wooden boards that we learnt in school was to rub them down with sandsoap - I don't know whether you can still buy it. I spray bleach on the mould in the shower - seems to be the only thing that kills it for me.

Stay well - not long until you welcome your new little man :)


lusi said...

Hi Traci!
I TOTALLY understand and have taken many a blog-break over the years I have been sharing in cyberspace. Thinking of you and sending my love across to you lovely one!
Much love x

Hi Leah!Yay am so glad the cornflour mix worked well for you and hope you might be able to get some use out of these that you've printed off on the sheet. Let me know what works well at your place! All is going well here thanks :) Just so looking forward to little bubby making his appearance - whenever that may be. Sounds like you and I are very similiar when it comes to dilating very quickly too. It's all in Yah's (God's) hands :)
Thanks for thinking of me! Love to you Leah :)

Hi ya Karen! Thanks for the tip about the sandsoap - I'll look into that one :) And the bleach too seems to work for lots of people I know too. Thanks for sharing what works at your place.
Hope you are well!

Love to you all,
Lusi x

C & B said...

Hi, We are homeschooling family, my kids with a few diet issues which is how I initially stumbled on to your blog. Thanks for the download. I love homemade cleaning products and much prefer to use them when I can. Thankyou!

lusi said...

Hi there! Glad you made it here! Having children with dietary issues can be so challenging. Hope that journey is going well for you. Hope the cleaning download proves helpful!
Lusi x

Karen L said...

Thanks Lusi for going to all the trouble to put this information into a PDF file for us to print off. As I was reading through it I was thinking of ways I could remember this post to come back too and then found you had put it all in the PDF (which I might add has now been printed off and staples in my diary)
You are a precious gem. Thanks.

lusi said...

Oh yay Karen! Am so glad that the PDF was helpful- thanks for letting me know mate!
Love to you as always!
Lus x

Zarna said...

I saw a really great vinegar additive that is also completely natural. I'm in the process of making some for us to use.
Get the skins (white and peel only no pulp) of oranges and pop them into a jar or bottle and cover with vinegar. Shake every few days for a couple of weeks. Once the vinegar is orange, strain out the orange and use the orange vinegar 1 part to 3 parts water in a spray bottle as a spray & wipe substitute.
It would be great for sticky messes, and stubborn messes. Those goo-gone style things and that mechanic hand wash stuff are both normally strong in citrus oil. (You can also use lemon or mandarin, tangello, lime etc, anything citrus)

lusi said...

Zarna what a great tip! Thanks so much for sharing that mate. I'm going to write that one down and try it!
Hope you and your fam are well :)
Love Lusi x

Stace said...

Im printing this off as I type Lusi!!!
I have been away for some time now and have just caught up on SO MUCH that has been going on in your life!!! I have truely missed reading up about you all!!
CONGRATULATIONS on the safe arrival of your newest little bundle of absolute JOY!! I saw the video of the photo's... I cried like the biggest baby!!!! ITS SO PRECIOUS!!!!!!!!! Thankyou so much for sharing it!!!! Brings back many of my own memories!!!!
I am so happy to see you are all well and as always - loving each other and having the most amazing experiences together!!!! I really wish I was even HALF the Person / Mum / Wife that you are Lusi, I truely ADMIRE you!!!!!
You are an extremely AMAZING person with a truely blessed family!!!!
I will remember to keep stopping by so I dont miss anything else again!!!!
Much Love to you all!!!
Stace xxx

Anonymous said...

Thanks for compiling this list! I have been looking for some natural cleaning tips, and having them all neatly in one place does help me to not feel overwhelmed by making the change.

lusi said...

Hi Stace! Thanks so much for your beautiful comments. Sending love to you :-)

Glad the tips were helpful Emily. Thanks for letting me know :-)
Love Lusi x

Carolyn said...

Thanks so much for the printable and cleaning tips. Also, I love the wrap you use in your hair. So beautiful!


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