Keeping on top of the cleaning in your rental home is essential, not only so that you have a hygienic space to live in but also to prevent one of the most prevalent reasons for deposit deductions; cleaning charges.

Keeping on top of the cleaning in your rental home is essential, not only so that you have a hygienic space to live in but also to prevent one of the most prevalent reasons for deposit deductions; cleaning charges.

Ensuring your home is kept clean throughout your tenancy will help you keep your full deposit when you move on.

It's 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 looking inside your kitchen cupboards. There's a good chance that you currently have plenty of products that you can transform into cheap yet effective cleaning solutions.

Here are some inspired ideas if you're looking for housework hacks to clean up your rental home.

Cleaning up: where to begin

Before you raid the cupboards for alternative products, it's worth working 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.

As with any regular cleaning jobs you do around the house, you will need a regular stock of natural cleaning materials to cover the basics. A dedicated stash for critical areas such as the kitchen and the bathroom will help with everything from wiping down the surfaces daily to quickly removing grime from the sink. 

If you're moving out of your rental, you will likely give the property a deep and thorough clean. For this, you may need more than just the essentials.

Go natural

There are a few reasons to consider switching away from 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 your finances. Even if you buy own-brand products, it can still prove costly over time, meaning it's bad news for your bank balance.

Typical cleaning products can be toxic or hazardous – products such as bleach are effective but can irritate the skin, affect those with breathing problems, and be dangerously reactive with things found in other standard cleaning solutions, like ammonia.

As bleach is found in many off-the-shelf cleaning products, this is one of the most common hazardous materials used daily.

Plastic packaging is harmful to the environment. We've 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 significant changes, there is a real move towards finding alternatives to plastic use.

You're probably already using more bags-for-life for the weekly shop and looking at your recycling options. By exchanging your plastic bottles of antibacterial 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 you can use for different jobs? And how can you create clever cleaning solutions to tackle every bit of grime?

To begin, 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 bigger jobs.

 Here's a list of the essential 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; the chances are, you'll already have many of them.

Lemon juice – As well as offering a clean, fresh scent, lemon juice is nature's antibacterial solution. You can use this strong acid for wiping down surfaces and doing away with stains, making it a great all-rounder.

White vinegar is an ideal multi-purpose cleaner for combating 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 – Apply some of this to your toilet, oven, fridge and other surfaces and scrub to remove stains and dirt. Mix with water or a few drops of essential oils to effortlessly clean almost all surfaces in your home. Sprinkle over carpets and hoover back up for a freshening effect.

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. 

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 an excellent 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.

Natural cleaner recipes

Now that you know the ingredients you need, you can begin to mix them to create solutions for your deep clean. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Take an old spray bottle and add the following solution: Mix white vinegar and water, using equal amounts. Add some drops of your chosen essential oil – ideally, one with antibacterial properties such as tea tree, lavender, rose or lemon verbena to balance out the smell of the vinegar. Shake the bottle, and you're ready to go. You'll be able to use this 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 them into an old spray bottle or tub to create a natural glass cleaner.  

To create a natural floor cleaner, add 60ml of white vinegar to your water-filled mop bucket and a squeeze of lemon juice.

 For a natural oven cleaner, 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 easily wipe it away once ready. 

To create a natural drain cleaner, 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 or grime clogging up the drain. Then, if it's a metal pipe, pour boiling water down it. 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 try it in the property you're renting to see how effective it can be? 

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