Many household cleaning agents are harmful to environmental and human health. The overpowering artificial smells, colours, chemicals and anti-bacterial agents can have an impact on indoor air quality, affect our breathing and eyesight, and even help create 'super-bugs'. The effect is often worse on young children and pets. Rather buy environmentally friendly alternatives, or try making your own affordable and 'green' cleaning products.
Get involved in the ACTION:
- All-purpose surface cleaner (kitchens, bathrooms, etc): Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda onto dirty surface and scrub with damp cloth or scouring pad. For tough dirt, add coarse salt and rub hard. (See also: drain cleaner, oven cleaner, silver cleaner.)
- Carpet cleaner: Hang rug outside and beat with a broom. For spills, sprinkle corn meal generously over affected area, leave for 15 minutes, then vacuum. For dirty spots, beat together 70 ml liquid soap + 80 ml water until foamy and spray onto affected area, then rinse with vinegar.
- Carpet deodoriser: Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda or corn starch onto carpet (approx 250 ml in a medium-sized room), leave for at least 30 minutes, then vacuum.
- Disinfectant: Use mixture of 40 ml liquid soap + 20-30 drops tea tree oil + 500 ml water.
- Drain cleaner: Pour 125 ml of bicarbonate of soda into smelly drain, followed by 500 ml boiling water. For extra action, add vinegar and cover tightly (to contain the fizz), then flush with a couple of litres of boiling water. (See also: all-purpose surface cleaner, oven cleaner, silver cleaner.)
- Floor cleaner: Use mixture of 70 ml white vinegar + 1 litre warm water, in a spray bottle. Dampen an old towel or cloth and mop floor.
- Oven cleaner: Make a paste of bicarbonate of soda + water. Apply to surface and leave for 12 hours. Wearing gloves, scrub with a scouring pad, then wipe clean with a damp cloth. (See also: all-purpose surface cleaner, drain cleaner, silver cleaner.)
- Silver cleaner: Place tarnished silver ornaments, cutlery etc into a cleaning tub/bowl lined with aluminium foil. Pour in boiling water + 250 ml bicarbonate of soda + a pinch of salt. Leave for 10 minutes, to allow the tarnish to transfer onto the foil. For small items such as rings, rub with toothpaste or bicarbonate of soda paste (using old toothbrush or soft cloth). (See also: all-purpose surface cleaner, drain cleaner, oven cleaner.)
- Stain remover: Sprinkle lemon juice or vinegar onto grease/mould/stain, leave for 5 minutes then scrub with a brush (an old toothbrush is good for small spots on delicate surfaces), then rinse.
- Window cleaner: Use mixture of 10 ml white vinegar or lemon juice + 1 litre water, in a spray bottle, plus old newspaper. Spray glass surface and rub clean with newspaper.
Need MORE INFO?
Go to the Rhodes University ENVIRONMENT front page. Suggestions/Questions? Contact environment(at)ru.ac.za