A few months ago I took over cleaning our house and I started reading about natural cleaning alternatives which I wanted to start using. I began to phase out our previous cleaning products and replaced almost all of them with just one: vinegar.
For the kitchen and bathroom, I use vinegar for almost all jobs and a little baking soda for some extra shine. And the best thing is, it works great.
And what works for me could work for everyone else, I thought. So in this post are some ideas of things you need to clean your kitchen and bathroom naturally, aside from vinegar.
Upcycling or reusing old rags
Getting my hands on some rags for cleaning was one of the first things I did. And I was lucky because just at that time my daughter had stopped using nappies and her reusable nappies were in no state to pass to another baby. So I tore them apart and ended up with a good collection of small cloths. They work great for all jobs.
What I like about using rags rather than cloths is that I can use many in one cleaning job and then wash them. On a normal cleaning day, I go through at least four rags. I use them and then throw them in the wash. They are used to being washed frequently and I don’t feel bad about using multiple.
But, of course, I was lucky with my collection. But rags can come from anywhere really. The best ones come from old t-shirts, towels, washcloths, tea towels, sheets, and pillowcases. Cotton is the best because it absorbs water and dirt and holds it. Once you have a large piece, cut to the size you need. You will probably find that a little goes a long way so don’t start cutting up too many towels quite yet.
Time and elbow grease
One lesson I learned pretty quickly was that when you start cleaning with vinegar (or natural products in general) you need time. I often spray everything in my bathroom liberally and then let it sit for anything between 15 to 60 minutes. Vinegar works wonders with time but you need to give it that time. If I just wipe something down like the sink, I spray and wipe but if something is dirty I let it sit.
It’s important to realise the time component because commercial cleaning products are most often designed to work instantly.
Speaking of commercial cleaning products, when you go natural you will also need more elbow grease. What I mean with that is that not all stains will be washed away after just spraying it with vinegar. A little scrubbing is necessary sometimes.
For very demanding jobs I tend to use baking soda rather than vinegar (or as a second treatment). Baking soda is slightly abrasive which makes it perfect for the bathroom. My bathtub shines perfectly after a scrub with baking soda.
Other cleaning equipment
Aside from rags, time and elbow grease, there are a couple of other items which can help with natural cleaning.
A refillable spray bottle
I have a simple refillable spray bottle which I use for vinegar. One actually sits by the kitchen sink for regular use on the kitchen counter, table, and chopping boards. The other bottle is for the bathroom.
I get a 2 little bottle of vinegar from the supermarket and then refill my spray bottles. And they make distributing the vinegar a breeze.
My baking soda is stored in a reused glass jar. I have one sitting in the bathroom anyway because I also wash my hair with baking soda, so it’s within reach. I have also considered using a shaker for baking soda when it comes to cleaning because it would allow me to distribute it more evenly. At the moment I either make a paste or I use a spoon to get the baking soda onto my vanity.
Window cleaner and brushes
For our shower screen, mirror, and bathroom walls I have found a window cleaner very handy. This way I can spray (with my vinegar spray bottle), wipe (with my rag), and dry (with the window cleaner) without much effort.
And for the toilet, I use a brush. I’m not the biggest fan of brushes because not only are they made of plastic but I also tend to wreck them because I work them too hard. But, honestly, for the toilet, they are hard to beat.
And that’s about it. I don’t use too much more to clean my entire house.