How to spruce up your home with natural cleaning products
Over the past year, eco-friendly cleaning products have soared in popularity. Environmental concerns when it comes to cleaning have also influenced 45% of consumers, with searches for ‘natural cleaning products’ even increasing by 20% over the past year.
But did you also know that you can save over £80 across the year by opting for products that are already sitting in your cupboard?
tombola - whose 160,000+ community regularly share cleaning tips - has priced up the savings you can make by ‘going natural’ to provide tips on sprucing up your home for less, as well as avoiding some common mistakes.
Brits and cleaning: How much do we spend?
tombola recently discovered that 28% of the British public spend 470 days cleaning over their working lifetime - the equivalent of 34, two-week holidays. A recent study also revealed that the average yearly spend on products is £130 - or a staggering £8,450 over our lifetime. That’s a lot of time, and money, spent on taking care of the home.
So, with that in mind, tombola has been looking into ways we can save on our products (and our time) by sharing tips on cleaning items that you might already have stored in your cupboards.
How to save £81 by using natural cleaning products
Not only are natural products great for the environment, but they can also help you save money.
tombola’s research discovered that you could save up to £81 by opting for natural products. If we were to calculate that over a lifetime, that’s a huge saving of £3,185.
Using baking soda and vinegar can save you £55
Baking soda and vinegar have long been lauded as effective home cleaners and, together, they can make quite the partnership. But they can also save you up to £55.
Clean your oven in 30 minutes using baking soda and vinegar
tombola can reveal that cleaning the oven is Britain’s most hated chore, but it doesn’t need to be. To clean your oven, you can mix the two into a paste, spread over the inside of the oven and door and leave for 30 minutes (or, ideally, overnight) before wiping down.
This can cost as little as £2, or £48 cheaper than the price of paying for someone to clean your oven.
Unclog your sink in 15 minutes for as little as £2
You also don’t need an expensive drain cleaner; you can just use baking soda and vinegar - saving you an average of £7 every time you need to unblock the drains. All you need to do is combine the two - keep the ratio one-part baking soda to two-parts vinegar - plug the sink and leave for 15 minutes before draining with hot water.
Spruce up your microwave in three minutes for just 15p
For anyone who regularly uses a microwave, you’ll be all too familiar with lingering odours. It’s a good rule of thumb to give it a clean every week but it needn’t be hard work. All you need is a lemon, water and a microwavable bowl.
Lemon juice has antibacterial and antifungal properties, and it smells great to boot. You just need to fill a microwave bowl about halfway with water. Slice a lemon in half and pop into the water; give it a good squeeze so some of the juice is released and then microwave for three minutes. Make sure to be careful when removing the bowl from the microwave.
However, it is important to note that in some instances, you may need to use stronger products if there is a build-up of grease. But these natural ingredients should allow you to keep on top of your home.
Emma Reed, a blogger who specialises in eco-friendly cleaning, says: “When making the move to cleaning your home with eco-friendly cleaning products and you begin to research recipes and tips, you may be left feeling slightly overwhelmed, but my top tip here would be to look at the common factors in these recipes – the ingredients. Yes, the key ingredients are usually just the same handful over and over again with white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, castile soap, citric acid and cooled boiled water as well as essential oils being the most popular. When you realise this, it will begin to make everything feel far simpler. Source these ingredients and you will be able to make almost any household cleaner that you require.”
For those that are taking care of the cleaning, you could be making the job that much harder with some of the below mistakes. So, Emma Reed and tombola are sharing advice on how to avoid common cleaning problems that could be adding hours onto your schedule.
How to avoid common cleaning pitfalls
Emma Reed says: “Eco-cleaning is so simple and safe plus you can tailor each product to your own needs. If you keep your cleaning products simple you shouldn’t run into too many issues, however, there are a few things to consider.”
1. Be careful when mixing products
“Don’t mix particular products together. White vinegar should never be used alongside bleach as when mixed, they create a toxic chlorine gas which can be very dangerous. White vinegar and castile soap cannot be mixed as these will just congeal and won’t be beneficial for cleaning.”
2. Use tin foil to clean dirty pans and even keep your bananas fresh
You might fall into the trap of believing that tin foil is just for food, but it has a lot of uses. If your pans are a bit dirty, you don’t need to leave them to soak overnight. Wet the pan, sprinkle baking soda, grab some tin foil and use it to clean the pan, washing afterwards (this is for use on non-stick pans).
Similarly, if you want to keep your bananas fresh a bit longer, wrap foil around the stems for an extra couple of days enjoyment.
3. Don’t clean your windows on a sunny day
Vinegar makes for a great natural substitute for cleaning windows as it is cheap and doesn’t streak. But it’s best not to do it on a warm day as it could actually streak. The sun will dry the cleaning solution before you’ve had a chance to get to it, leaving you with streaks on your not-so gleaming windows. If you do choose to clean your windows on a very warm day, clean small surface areas.
4. Don’t go overboard on your baking soda or vinegar
There’s a common misconception that natural cleaning products don’t work, but they can pack quite a strong punch. So, be careful not to add too much of either when creating homemade solutions as you could be left with a volcano…
5. Allow your products to sit
It’s important that you allow your products to do their work, rather than just wiping away. For instance, let the baking soda and vinegar paste sit in your oven for a minimum of 30 minutes, or overnight if possible. If you allow them to sit, not only are you getting your money’s worth, but you will notice the difference.
6. When cleaning your toilet, let the toilet brush dry
You can clean your toilet with baking soda and vinegar and scrub with the toilet brush. But did you know that a wet toilet brush can hold a lot of bacteria? So, it’s best to let it dry before placing back in the holder. For best results, it’s also recommended that you change your brush every six months.
7. Don’t forget your shopping bags
If you regularly use the same bags when going shopping, they could be overdue a clean. One tip is to hand wash them with hot water and soap, spray with hydrogen peroxide and leave to air dry. Then, they’ll be as good as new and ready for the next ‘big shop’.
8. Don’t ignore your home’s touchpoints
It’s easy to focus on certain elements when cleaning your home and forgetting about touchpoints, such as light switches, door handles and remotes. But it’s important to clean them as often as possible to avoid spreading germs. You can do this by rubbing with a microfibre cloth each day.
9. Don’t forget your washing machine
For many of us, our washing machines are working overtime. They can also carry dirt, skin cells, pet hair and more that can get trapped. But you can solve that with your trusty vinegar for as little as £0.80. All you need to do is add your vinegar and set on a wash cycle. Don’t forget to leave your door open after you have finished washing or drying loads to avoid any build-up of odours.
If you are looking for even more cleaning hacks, we’ve got you covered with tips on even how to make your bed in just five minutes.