Essential Natural Cleaning Tools I Would Never Do Without
1. The multi-purpose spray. This is made from water and white vinegar in about 50:50 proportions, plus about 10 or more drops of tea tree essential oil. This spray gets used all the time for all sorts of home cleaning jobs. I use it for cleaning kitchen surfaces, cleaning glass and mirrors, cleaning the front of the refrigerator and the microwave and even for cleaning the toilet – that tea tree oil and the vinegar makes the spray a germ-killer. And when it’s not cleaning day, the multi-purpose spray can also be used as a toilet air freshener that is free from VOC and artificial (and potential carcinogenic) fragrances.
2. Soft cloths. Soft cloths are the best ally for any cleaner, professional or not. Often, a good rub with a soft cloth is all the cleaning that some items need (this tends to be the shower head). Soft cloths can be dipped in water and used as dusters, and they can also be used for buffing and polishing. Soft cloths also cut down on waste compared to paper towels, as they can be washed and reused after a cleaning job, with the exception of polishing boots and shoes, which requires a dedicated rag or three. The other great thing about soft cloths for cleaning is that they cut down on waste another way: you can make them from old towels, old sheets and other tattered items rather than throwing these away. Soft cloths can be used any way that you use tissues or paper towels, but are much longer lasting.
3. An Enjo microfibre mitt. This is the only “brand name” cleaning product I use, but you can’t beat it for cleaning up greasy surfaces. The green Enjo mitt – the one designed for greasy work – is great for cleaning oil spills and spatters off the top of the stove after a beginner cook has been frying things without putting a lid over it, and is also great for cleaning off the barbecue.
4. Old toothbrushes. You can’t beat old toothbrushes for getting into odd nooks and crannies. Even professional house cleaners tend to have an old toothbrush or three in their cleaning toolkit, especially if their work involves cleaning toilets.
5. Soap gel. Soap gel is great for cleaning floors, cleaning cars, cleaning carpets and cleaning the inside of toilets, as well as for handwashing woolens and other delicate items. Soap gel is very simple to make: all you have to do is to save up those useless little slivers of soap left over at the end of the bar or else chop up a bar of cheap soap. Pour boiling water over the bits, then leave the mix to melt and cool to a gel. Soap gel can also be used as shampoo and as an aphid deterrent. I have also tried using it for washing dishes, but this doesn’t work too well in a hard water area, and the items have to be rinsed thoroughly, preferably in water with a splash of vinegar in, before drying, or they get soap spots. Soap gel works best in warm water rather than cold.