Raid your cupboards …
Instead of rushing out to buy new cleaning products, check for almost-empty bottles squirrelled away at the back of your sink cupboard that you can use up.
You may have other supplies that can be repurposed. Bicarbonate of soda and vinegar are favourites with cleaners, and can be used to freshen up drains or to clean windows or a mattress, among other tasks.
Steve Payne, of the bed retailer Sleep and Snooze, says if you are looking to clean a mattress, first vacuum it, then spritz it with white vinegar. “Don’t worry about the slight vinegar smell – this will disappear as it dries,” he says. “Next, get a sieve and use it to sprinkle a fine layer of baking soda over the mattress. You want the whole surface of the mattress to be covered. Leave the baking soda and the vinegar to get to work soaking up any musty odours. After an hour or two, you can vacuum up all the baking soda, making sure you get into all the crevices of the mattress.”
White vinegar, bicarbonate of soda left for a vacuum cleaner is what you need to freshen up a mattress. Photograph: Andrii Borodai/Getty
Tina Simpson, at Triton Showers, advises using the same two items to give a mouldy shower curtain a deep clean. “Add washing detergent and half a cup of bicarbonate of soda to the drawer and commence a 30-degree wash, stopping before the rinse cycle,” she says. “At this point, add half a cup of vinegar to the detergent drawer and commence a final rinse, before hanging back up in your shower to dry.”
The bathroom retailer Drench suggests that shaving foam doesn’t need to be saved for faces: use it to clean mirrors, streak-free – and with no fogging later. It can also be used on carpet stains as well as glass hobs: “Try covering the electric hob in shaving foam and leave for 15 minutes. Wipe away and the grime will be gone.”
… but take care
When extolling the virtues of these alternatives, people sometimes say they don’t have “harsh chemicals” like purpose-made cleaning products, but they would not work if they didn’t.
Abigail Yearley, a spokesperson for the TopCashback website, says you can clean a microwave or oven more easily “by popping some lemon rinds or juice into a bowl (or baking tray, if cleaning the oven) of water. Heat your appliances and then leave the receptacle to cool. …….