Detoxing the House!

Natural Spring Cleaning with Lemons and Soda

by Monica Wilde

I am sensitive to synthetic fragrance - it can really affect my sinuses and even breathing. So I have come to hate the synthetic, often overpowering smell of household cleaning products. Does that mean I have a dirty house? Far from it. I have just discovered that many of the things that I already have in the kitchen do the job just as well, with better results in many cases, and a much nicer, fresher smell!


Baths, sinks and basins: Halve a grapefruit and sprinkle each half with sea salt. Use them as scrubbing pads to tackle limescale stains on enamel and porcelain (be careful not to scratch plastic). You'll be amazed at the difference. 

Hand washing: When you handle things with a heavy scent - like raw fish - the smell can hang around on your hands. Rub your hands with lemon juice to neutralise the smell. You can also mix lemon juice with equal parts of glycerin as a freshly scented deodorising hand lotion.

Mirrors: For a smudge free clean mirror just spray white vinegar (from a plant misting or spray bottle) lightly onto the mirror. Then crumple up newspaper and wipe it all off, using circular motions until dry. For a flawless reflection!

Taps: For a quick clean just spray white vinegar onto your taps and wipe off with a sponge. Instant sparkle! For heavier dirt or rust, rub lemon juice onto your taps and leave it on overnight. Wipe it off with a damp cloth and the limescale will be removed as well as any dirt. 

Tile grout: To brighten your grout up and remove any stains, add the juice of one lemon to 2 teaspoons of salt or cream of tartar to make a scouring paste. Apply it to the grout with an old toothbrush, leave it on for an hour, then give it a little scrub and rinse off.


Countertops: Sprinkle the cut side of half a lemon with bicarbonate of soda and gently scrub your countertop.Then wipe off with a damp sponge. (Don’t use on marble, stainless steel or surfaces that may discolour.)

Cutting boards: To remove food stains and disinfect wooden and plastic cutting boards, slice a lemon in half, squeeze onto the soiled surface, rub, and let sit for 20 minutes before rinsing.

Dishes: To make your dishwashing soap more effective at coping with grease try adding a teaspoon of lemon juice to it. 

Garbage bins: To make your bin smell better, cut a lemon in half and run both pieces around the inside of the lid.

Laundry: Instead of using optical brighteners, add 1the juice of one lemon to the rinse cycle of your machine when washing a normal sized load of your favourite whites.

Plastic food boxes: Rub lemon juice onto the stains caused by foods and leave the box to dry in a sunny place. Then wash as usual. The stains should fade away.