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How to Save Money
There are many inexpensive homestyle creations we can use as effective and environmentally friendly cleaning agents.

Homestyle cleaners

The purpose of cleaning is simply to reduce dirt, dust, bacteria and moulds from surfaces. To achieve this there's a wide variety of cleaning products available from supermarket shelves. But many of these cleaning products are expensive and contain potentially harmful chemicals: you should ask yourself whether you need them.

Well here are a few alternative ideas for you try using substances you already have in your pantry or fridge. For example, try these common household cleaners:
  • Ammonia - good for cutting grease and stripping polish off floors;
  • Baking soda - a real multi-purpose product, excellent as a deodoriser and also scours, polishes and helps remove stains;
  • Bleach - use it to remove mould as well as a whitener;
  • Borax - an alternative bleach;
  • Cornstarch - a good deodoriser for carpets and rugs;
  • Ketchup - its acidity helps clean copper;
  • Lemon juice - another great grease fighter and whitener;
  • Salt - an abrasive for use with other scouring products;
  • Vegetable / olive oil - use it to polish furniture;
  • White vinegar - cleans glasses, also removes mildew, grease and wax.

How to Save Money

And these common ingredients can be mixed together to create a variety of effective cleaning products:
  • All-purpose cleaner - mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda with 500mls of warm water in a spray bottle. Add a squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of vinegar to  help cut grease.
  • Surface cleaner - make a soft scrubbing paste by mixing some baking soda with liquid soap. Make only what you need as it dries up quickly.
  • No-streak glass/window cleaner - mix 1/4 cup white vinegar and 1 litre of warm water. Use newsprint to clean the window.
  • Non-toxic toilet bowl cleaner - flush to wet the sides of the bowl then sprinkle 1 cup of borax around the toilet bowl and drizzle with vinegar.  Leave for several hours (or overnight) before scrubbing with a toilet brush.
  • Laundry - for a great fabric rinse add 1/4 cup of vinegar to the final cycle.  This helps rinse detergent completely from clothes.  To brighten clothes, add 1/2 cup of lemon juice to the rinse cycle. Reduce the amount of laundry detergent per load by adding 1/2 cup of baking soda or borax to the wash.

    How to Save Money

Other tips
  • To help unclog drains - try pouring one or two cups of baking soda into the drain followed by ½ cup white vinegar. Cover tightly for one minute. The reaction between the two products will create pressure in the drain and help dislodge the obstruction.
  • Furniture polish - use 1 part lemon to 2 parts olive oil and apply a thin coat. Rub in well with a soft cloth.
  • Carpet deodoriser - sprinkle the carpet liberally with baking soda. Wait 15 minutes, then vacuum.
  • Steam cleaning machines - they use water and electricity to produce high temperature (120C) pressurised steam (3-4bar) that is able to clean and disinfect virtually any surface. Water at this temperature is a powerful solvent and the fabric attached to the steam head helps remove the dirt released by the steam. They are very versatile and can save up to $300 a year in cleaning chemicals.
  • Microfibre cleaning cloths - this recent addition to the cleaning scene is made from minute fibres that trap dirt, dust and moisture from surfaces.  They can replace or greatly reduce the need for cleaning chemicals.