Thursday, April 19, 2012

Vinegar and other natural cleaning products

There is something quite off-putting about using commercial cleaning products that glow. Their pungent added aromas are usually over-powering and nauseating, they are full of chemicals and have the ability to strip your hands of any natural oils and eventually dissolve your fingers (well almost), consequently they do not come high up the list of products we want to use.

We have always worked towards developing and using more natural products to keep our home clean and bug free...and it seems to be working. Well we haven't come down with the plague yet. The main ingredients we use as cleaning products are: Distilled white vinegar; Bicarbonate of soda; Lemons; Essential oils; Natural soap; Water. Lemons grow plentiful around here and our favoured supermarket now stocks white vinegar for cleaning.

Basic kit of cleaning products
In our basic cleaning kit we have: the anti-bacterial qualities of vinegar, lemon juice, salts and oils; degreasers in the form of soap, lemon and vinegar; abrasives in salt and bicarbonate of soda; dirt removal in soap and salts; antiseptics in essential oils and lemon juice.

All of our floors are tiled or wooden floors here at La Pasera and we have three bathroom areas and a kitchen that is also fully tiled. Hot water, vinegar, soap and lemon in a weak solution takes care of most of the floor and tile cleaning. Bathrooms are cleaned with much the same solution but in a stronger mix. Vinegar is great for removing lime-scale and as we are in a hard-water area, we soon get a build up if we don't clean it off regularly. Bicarbonate of soda or salt help remove stubborn stains that need mild abrasion. A weak, dryish polish of water and vinegar will shine and degrease chrome work and stainless steel. Windows are cleaned with a spray made of water, natural soap and vinegar - polished with newspapers like my Great Grandma used to do, they sparkle in no time.

Vinegar has been used throughout history as a health promoting product. Used for over 10,000 years, it is is well known for its healing, cleansing and medicinal qualities. I bought this book on the ship on the way back to Spain and it is a really interesting read with many tips for using a range of different vinegars. If it isn't already, then vinegar should be trending #vinegarrocks...

Using these ingredients in a variety of mixes and ways enables us to do most of the cleaning. With the
addition of 100% alcohol, fragrant herbs, regular aeration of the house and The Towers (the garage, storeroom and studio), we only occaisionally have the need for bleach and/or a commercial cleaner. You might be curios as to why we have named the Towers as such. Those of you who have visited us will know that is isn't a small space and it towers over the garden from its rear aspect - hence The Towers.

We are still using commercial detergent for the washing but we have cut down the amount by making a 50/50 mix of commercial powder and grated home-made simple soap (by Rita, Luis' Sister). Tackling and thinking about what we use in the dishwasher is the next job in hand. There are a few recipes out there on the web for home-made dishwasher liquid, I'll investigate unless you know of one that works?

We would love to hear about your home-made cleaning products and hear about any cleaning tips - whatever makes life simpler... Get in touch or leave a comment.


  1. False-teeth cleaning tablets are pretty good at getting tea stains off cups (and the teapot if you catch it early enough) - and less nasty than bleach.

  2. I use less powder, but don't add soap. I put a couple of tablesppons of white vinegar in the conditioner compartment of the drawer in the washing machine. Hey Presto, white whites, black blacks (ie no soap/detergent residue) and a clean washing machine to boot!!

  3. Good old fashioned washing soda for the washing machine, also great for those very dirty jeans just soak them overnight and then wash in the machine.


Click link to read more.