We have lost touch with some of the less chemically-based, more natural methods of cleaning. From old books – such as Mrs Beeton’s Household Management, and programmes like the BBC’s Victorian Farm, we can pick up some useful tips from the past, though obviously most of us would not want to revive some of more extreme uses of natural products, like cleaning our teeth with soot!
General Cleaning Tips
It is a good idea to tackle a room at a time, and to start at the top of the house and work down; similarly it is good practice to start at the top of each room and work down to ground level. A good clean out is better carried out on a fine day, where windows may be opened and rooms aired. When thoroughly cleaning bedrooms, try and have some help to turn mattresses.
Old fashioned feather dusters reach out of the way corners. Natural cotton white vests and t-shirts can be washed and cut up for dusters. Save old shaving brushes for dusting delicate objects. Old toothbrushes can be used to clean awkward crevices.
Lemons have a multitude of uses. Make a paste with lemon juice and salt and use to clean stained brass. Heavily stained (but not plate) taps can be cleaned with a lemon juice and salt mix also. Rinse well and buff with a soft cloth. Half a cut lemon placed in the fridge helps to neutralise strong odours.
White Distilled Vinegar
This can be diluted well and used to wash mirrors and windows. Finish by polishing the glass with crumpled up newspaper.
Bicarbonate of Soda
Put half a teaspoon in the bottom of a stained teapot and fill with boiling water. Leave to stand. Bicarbonate of soda solution can also be used to clean cups and mugs. You can wipe down the inside of the fridge with a little bicarb. in warm water
Generally, paint work can be cleaned with washing-up liquid and warm water. More stubborn stains can be removed with the use of sugar soap
Dissolved in warm water these are really good for cleaning stained cups and teapots. They can be left to soak overnight.
Again, soda crystals dissolved in hot water provide a traditional, less commercial answer to cleaning your sinks, drains and tiles
Natural Beeswax Polish
Good wood furniture needs to be dusted regularly, but can be polished using a soft cloth and a good Beeswax polish less frequently. This keeps the furniture in good condition and helps to protect it.