The chemicals you use to clean your home can have a detrimental effect on the environment – not least because they invariably end up in the water supply.
It’s possible now to buy cleaning products marketed as environmentally benign, but invariably they come in plastic bottles – just one aspect of their production process and product life cycle that has an unwanted impact on the environment. The good news is that for most household cleaning tasks, lemons and bicarbonate of soda can be used in place of caustic chemicals. Vinegar, for example, has a host of uses.
Mix distilled white vinegar with water and apply to window panes with a sponge. For best results, finish with a squeegee.
To rid your garden of weeds without polluting your soil, pour full-strength white distilled vinegar on unwanted vegetation. Conversely, if you’d like to keep freshly cut flowers looking good for longer, add two tablespoons of white vinegar and two tablespoons of sugar to the water.
To mop floors, add one mug of white distilled vinegar to a bucket of warm water. Environmentally benign, surprisingly effective and no need to rinse.
Next time the inside of your microwave looks like a crime scene, add white distilled vinegar to a mug of water (same proportion as if you were adding milk to a latte) and boil in the microwave until steam forms on the window – then simply wipe away any food residue.
To remove tarnish from copper and pewter, apply a mixture of one teaspoon of salt, two eggcups of white distilled vinegar and enough flour to make a paste. Apply to the metal and after 15 minutes rinse with clean water before polishing.
To prevent the build-up of soap scum, wipe shower doors with a sponge soaked in white distilled vinegar. No need to rinse.
If your pet wees on your carpet, use paper towels to blot the affected area. Before treating the carpet with vinegar, it’s important to test for colourfastness in an inconspicuous place. If you’re happy the colour will not run, apply a solution of equal parts white distilled vinegar and water and allow to sit for ten minutes. Blot as before, and when the carpet is mostly dry, sprinkle with baking soda to help absorb odours. Vacuum after one hour.
Distilled white vinegar can work wonders removing stubborn glue residue.
Need to soften an old paintbrush? Soak it in hot white distilled vinegar until it softens and then wash with warm, soapy water.
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