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DIY tips to clean various surfaces

One of the biggest tasks as the second half of the year begins is cleaning up the household. Monsoon is in its full frenzy and festivals are about to start. Every corner of the house needs to be spruced up and all the surfaces need to be squeaky clean.

There are a plethora of cleaning materials available in the market these days. They come in specific fragrances, purposes and even locations and as per what material needs to be cleaned. However, if you, like me, want some natural organic cleaning solutions instead of using chemicals for your home, you have come to the right spot.

Our kitchen is a treasure trove of ingredients, which if we know-how, can be whipped into a solution for almost all of our issues. These are completely natural, safe as well as save a lot of money.

Here we are going to talk about do-it-yourself cleaning solutions for surface cleaning. We will include surfaces like wall, glass, wood, plastic, granite, marble, bathroom tiles as well as ceramic. We will also discuss what kind of material works best to give you the best cleaning.

There are a few things from your kitchen that are essential for cleaning all types of surfaces. So collecting all these together would be the first step. They are:

1) White Vinegar

2) Baking Soda

3) Lemon

4) Rubbing Alcohol

As some of these may be caustic or cause allergic reactions in some people, it would be advisable to use gloves and masks while doing the cleaning. Any skin irritation needs to be immediately taken care of medically.

Walls

I believe that walls are the face of a house. If the walls of your house are dirty or unkempt, it just kills the interior vibe, however fancy items you have decorated your house with. More than that, it is quite harmful to have dirt on the walls, which can accumulate harmful germs and bacteria, leading to many airborne or contact diseases.

Most companies today make wall paint using a certain fibre ingredient that can withstand water cleaning. So a soap and bucket is the way to go to clean those walls.

However, if you are looking at avoiding even soap, here is another organic way to go about it.

Add 3/4th cup white vinegar to 1 cup water and fill a spray bottle with it. Instead of a cloth, use a sponge to wipe the wall after spraying this solution. It instantly cleans the dirt and grime, leaving your walls squeaky clean. Just make sure that you squeeze out all the water from the sponge before using it anywhere near a plug point or switchboard. You can also add a few drops of an anti-bacterial solution to the mixture to make sure that your walls become bacteria-free as well.

Another tip is the addition of essential oil. Add a drop of your favourite essential oil to the spray and fill your house with a lovely fragrance without ever touching a room spray.

Glass

Window glasses, tabletops, mirrors etc. are some of the toughest spots to clean. This is because even a minute amount of dirt or grime is so clearly visible on the glass. Glass is difficult to clean too because it has small cuts and marks that trap water, which never looks squeaky clean, however well you wipe it.

For simple glass surfaces, mix one cup rubbing alcohol, one cup water and a spoon of vinegar solution in a spray bottle. Spray and wipe the glass surface with a microfiber cloth. This solution works best for tabletops.

If you are cleaning window glass, you have to deal with grime, oil and dirt, which is harder to clean with the above-mentioned solution. Also, windows have a different texture of glass that leaves watermarks after cleaning. Modify the solution to 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol, 1/4 cup vinegar, 1 spoon cornstarch and two cups of water. Pour all these in a spray bottle and shake it well so that the corn starch dissolves completely. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe after spraying this solution. Not only does the corn starch remove oil stains and grease from the window glass, it binds with the water molecules and leaves your windows streak-free.

Adding a drop of your favourite essential oil to the mix can work wonders for tabletop glass as well as car windows. The same solution can be used to clean the screen of your computer or flat-screen television. Just make sure you spray on the cloth and wipe, rather than directly on to the screen.

Using a non-glossy newspaper page to wipe after the window is dry, is a great tip to get your glass to shine.

Wood

If you have filled your house with some gorgeous wooden furniture and curios, you know how difficult it is to clean wood. You cannot use random chemical solutions out of the fear that it may damage the wood. And generic wood cleaners available in the market may not suit all sorts of wood. So organic solution is the only way to go.

Mix half a cup of lemon juice and half a cup of water in a spray bottle. If you are looking to simply clean, just spray this solution to the wooden surface and wipe. The lemon solution will bind with grime and dirt and leave a squeaky clean surface. If you want to also polish old wood, you can add one spoon of olive oil or coconut oil to the solution. Wipe it with a clean cotton cloth after spraying the solution then buff the area with another dry cloth to make it shine.

Some essential oils like lemongrass and eucalyptus oil are said to work on a wooden surface to increase its shine as well as longevity of the material. Adding a few drops of these is highly recommended especially if you are dealing with old wooden furniture.

Plastic

One of the biggest pluses of plastic furniture is how lightweight and compact they are. However, its biggest problem is that they are big stain catchers. Plastic chairs stain even when you have clean hands, the oil on the skin of your palm being the biggest culprit. And if you have outdoor furniture, they will gather dust even when you use them often.

Ideally, a bucket of warm water with baby soap mixed in it is the way to go. Just pour the water and scrub away at the dirt and dust. But if you want a completely natural solution, add a cup of white vinegar and 1/4 cup of ammonia to a bucket of warm water. Use a simple cotton cloth or sponge to dab this solution all over the plastic. Then use a non-metallic scrubber to lightly scrub the plastic surface. The vinegar-ammonia solution works super-fast in removing any oil, grease or grime.

Similarly, if you are looking to clean kid’s toys, just dunk them in the bucket full of the solution and leave it for 15 minutes. Make sure you lay them out to dry in the sun or wipe them clean with a cotton cloth, after.

Granite

Granite is great for kitchen counters, vanity tops and other such surfaces because of their ability to handle high stress resistance. However, granite has small porous surfaces that inevitably catch dirt, grime and thereby bacteria, causing great harm. Hence it is essential that granite surfaces are wiped down on a daily basis, and cleaned thoroughly as often as possible.

Most generic granite cleaners available in the market only clean at a surface level. They are not able to reach the porous texture of granite properly and thereby leave a lot of dirt and bacteria behind. Mix half a cup of rubbing alcohol and half a cup of white vinegar with one and a half cup of water. Squeeze half a lemon into it and fill it up in a spray bottle. The white vinegar works wonders in binding with the oil molecules, degreasing the granite surface completely. Use a microfiber cloth or mop to wipe down after spraying the solution. The lemon and rubbing alcohol act as an anti-bacterial and keep the harmful bacteria at bay.

If you are not able to get your hands on white vinegar, you can use any generic liquid dish soap in the same solution.

For kitchen granite cleaning purposes, essential oils of basil, lavender and cinnamon work best. They polish the granite better and leave your kitchen smelling heavenly.

Marble

The biggest problem with marble-flooring or countertops – is that they have these grouts and crevices that are huge dirt catchers. No matter how you clean them, they never get that newness or polish. Marble tabletops on the other hand always fall prey to water spots and water rings.

If you have beautiful marble flooring, which has black grouts, due to years of dirt and grease accumulation, baking soda is your best bet. Simply mix a cup of baking soda in a cup of water, line the dark grouts with the paste and leave for a few minutes. Pour the rest of the paste into a bucket of water, add half a cup of white vinegar to it, along with a spoon of anti-septic liquid. Use this mixture to mop the marble floor. You will see your marble floor gain its newness back.

There are quite a few chemical solutions available to clean marble countertops. However, these rob the beautifully natural stone of its lustre, leaving it dull and ugly. A spoon of lemon juice and half a cup of vinegar in two cups of water, along with a drop of your favourite essential oil, can not only clean the marble countertop but also leave its beauty as it is.

Corn starch works well on white marble countertops or tabletops. Just dust the corn starch over the surface, leave it for a while, spray a bit of warm water on it and then wipe it off. Voila! Clean, shiny, pure white marble.

Bathroom tiles

The exact same solution of marble works on bathroom tiles as well. You might want to add a bit more of the anti-bacterial liquid and essential oil so that your bathroom tiles look great and smell good.

The difference here is that instead of a mop, you should use a plastic scrubber to remove stains from your bathroom tiles. Plastic would not scar your tiles or leave marks but will ensure quick and effective cleaning. Dousing your bathroom tiles in rubbing alcohol for a few minutes in a simple but effective way to remove stains and kill bacteria.

However, if you are looking at hard stains on the bathroom tiles, including pests like ants or spiders, mould and mildew, a solution of sodium tetraborate or borax is the way to go. But be extra careful as this solution is a bit caustic. It would be advisable to wear proper rubber gloves and marks while using this solution and to keep it away from children and pets.

Ceramic

One of the best ways to ensure that your ceramic does not stain is to clean the surface as soon as the spill or dirt happens. Ceramic has a tendency to let dirt or grime get comfortable quite easily. This includes odour too. So it is quite possible that while your ceramic may look clean, it may smell bad.

This is why it is always best to use warm water with lemon juice and white vinegar to clean ceramic. The combination of lemon juice and white vinegar is best to not just remove dirt and stain but also the bad odour.

The ceramic floor also has grouts that become the biggest attraction for dirt and grime. They accumulate over the years and rob the ceramic of its beauty. Mix hydrogen peroxide and water in equal parts. Just apply this solution on the blackened grouts with a toothbrush or a paintbrush.

A simple water and rubbing alcohol solution works best for ceramic. Just mop and clean with the solution and you will have a great looking ceramic flooring back.

Everyone loves a clean and great smelling house. And people would be even more surprised to find that you have achieved this by going completely natural, also saving a whole lot of money in the process. Happy cleaning!

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