Keeping on top of the cleaning in your rental is essential, not only so that you have a hygienic space to live in, but as cleaning charges is one of the top reasons for deposit deductions it should help you to get your deposit back when you move on.
It’s so easy to head to the supermarket and choose the ready-made, all-purpose cleaner from the shelf. But before you head to the shops to stock up on cleaning products, it’s worth taking a look inside your kitchen cupboards. There’s a good chance that you currently have plenty of products that can be transformed into cheap, yet effective, cleaning solutions.
If you’re looking for housework hacks to clean up your rental home, here are some inspired ideas.
Cleaning up: where to begin
Before you raid the cupboards for alternative products, it’s worth taking a moment to work out your motives for a good clean up. By doing this, you’ll find it can be a great starting point for how many products you need.
A general clean
As with any regular cleaning jobs you do around the house, you will need to have a regular stock of natural cleaning materials to cover the basics. Having a dedicated stash for key areas such as the kitchen and the bathroom will help with everything from wiping down the surfaces each day to quickly removing grime from the sink.
A deep clean
There are a few reasons to consider switching away from the typical cleaning products and replacing them with natural alternatives:
Cleaning up can be expensive
From anti-bac sprays and solutions, to high-end vacuums and heavy-duty scrubbing brushes, there is a lot to buy to keep the property you live in spotless – and this all impacts on your finances. Even if you buy own-brand products, it can still prove costly over time, meaning its bad news for your bank balance.
Typical cleaning products can be toxic or hazardous
There’s a lot to be said for the cleaning credentials of bleach, but it can be irritating to the skin; affect those with breathing problems, such as asthma; and has the potential to be dangerously reactive with things found in other common cleaning solutions, like ammonia.
As bleach is found in lots of off-the-shelf cleaning products, this is one of the most common hazardous materials used each day.
Plastic packaging is harmful to the environment
We have all shifted towards becoming more environmentally aware in recent years. With supermarkets swapping plastic bags for more sustainable paper options and a charge applied to carrier bags among other big changes, there is a real move towards finding alternatives to plastic use.
You’ll probably be using more tote bags for the weekly shop and looking at your recycling options in the area you live in. By exchanging your plastic bottles of anti-bacterial spray for products you have around the home, you can further help to reduce plastic waste.
Natural cleaning alternatives
So, how do you know which natural materials can be used for different jobs? And how can you create clever cleaning solutions that will tackle every bit of grime?
To begin, take a look at the everyday options before you work out what you’ll need for a deeper scrub. Ensuring your stock cupboard is filled with the essentials early on will help you to take on the bigger jobs.
Here’s a list of the basic ingredients that can act as standalone cleaning products or be combined with other materials to create solutions. Check how much of these you have in your cupboards before you head out and buy them as the chances are, you’ll have a lot of these already.
Lemon juice – As well as offering a clean, fresh scent, lemon juice is nature’s anti-bacterial solution. This strong acid can be used for wiping down surfaces and doing away with stains, making it a great all-rounder.
White vinegar – This is an ideal multi-purpose cleaner for combating some of the common problems that can crop up around the house, including mildew, mould, stains, dirt and grease. Apply some to typically awkward areas, such as around taps and plugholes, to clear away the grime. The smell might be quite strong, but this goes quickly and leaves a beautifully clean space behind.
Bicarbonate of soda – a cleaning super star! Apply some of this to your toilet, oven, fridge and other surfaces and scrub to remove stains and dirt. Mix with a little water and even a few drops of your essential oils to effortlessly clean almost all surfaces in your home. Sprinkle over carpets and hoover back up for a freshening effect.
Salt – Salt acts as a natural scouring solution. Sprinkling some over stubborn stains and dirt and scrubbing can leave the surface clean and clear. Combine it with bicarbonate of soda or white vinegar to enhance its cleaning properties.
Good to have:
Olive oil – For a natural polish, opt for olive oil. In addition to helping to remove stains and grease, it can leave surfaces with a gentle sheen.
Essential oils – Opt for strongly scented oils, such as tea tree, lemongrass, bergamot, peppermint, lavender and citrus fruits. As well as their cleaning properties, they leave a lovely smell behind – making them a good addition to white vinegar. A little goes a long way and can easily replace the need for any traditional air freshener products. Some even have antibacterial and antifungal properties to add to their list of benefits, Tea-tree, lavender, geranium, rose, thyme, oregano, clove, rosemary and cinnamon have all been shown to have strong antibacterial properties, even when tested against such bugs as Salmonella.
Deeper clean alternatives
Now that you know the ingredients you need you can begin to mix them together to create solutions for your deep clean. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
All-purpose natural cleaner recipes
Take an old spray bottle and add the following solution:
Mix together white vinegar and water, using equal amounts of each. Pop in some drops of your favourite essential oil – ideally one with antibacterial properties such as or tea tree, lavendar, rose or lemon verbena to balance out the smell of the vinegar, shake the bottle and you’re ready to go.
After this time, you’ll be able to use it on everything from cleaning kitchen counters to wiping around plugholes.
Combine 500ml of water with 120ml of white vinegar and some drops of essential oil and pour into an old spray bottle or tub.
Add 60ml of white vinegar to your water-filled mop bucket and a squeeze of lemon juice to create a natural cleaner for your floors.
At the bottom of your oven, add some drops of water to some bicarbonate of soda to form a paste. Leave it to work into the grime (for as long as it needs) and once ready, easily wipe it away.
For this, you’ll need to pour bicarbonate of soda down the drain. Next, pour white vinegar down. Leave for 15 minutes to allow the two ingredients to combine and dislodge any dirt, grease and grime that’s clogging up the drain, then, if it’s a metal pipe, pour boiling water down. If you’re trying to unblock a plastic pipe, you’ll need to avoid damaging it, so swap out pouring boiling water for running the hot water tap.
Make the switch to natural eco friendly cleaning power
By moving away from buying products in the supermarket, you can save money while potentially saving the planet, too. From the daily clean up to an in-depth scrub, it’s possible to get the same results without using expensive and harmful chemicals – and your landlord will be glad too.
They’ll be grateful for the effort you put into cleaning. Whether they pop over for an inspection during your tenancy or they’re looking around to check things off the inventory after you’ve moved out, they’re sure to be happy with a dirt and grime-free property.
So, choosing natural cleaning solutions is a win-win situation. Why not give it a try in the property you’re renting to see how effective it can be?