IT IS totally unnecessary to use harsh, expensive cleaning and deodorising agents in the kitchen.
Simple substances such as pure soap, salt, bicarbonate of soda, borax, vinegar and other environmentally safe products will adequately take care of all kitchen chores.
Thyme, lemon and lavender essential oil can be used for wiping down benchtops, cupboards, sinks, tiles and paintwork, or anywhere else an antiseptic action is needed. Just add one drop of your chosen essential oil directly to the cleaning cloth or add seven drops of essential oil in half a cup of water.
Salt has excellent disinfectant properties and is ideal for scouring sinks and chopping boards used in food preparation.
Marble flour boards and other food preparation surfaces can be cleaned by first sponging off with clean water, then dissolving salt in lemon juice and rubbing on with a clean cloth.
Laminex benchtops and other kitchen surfaces can be cleaned successfully with a paste of bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. Apply with a non-metallic scourer and wipe off with a damp cloth.
You can hand wash dishes by adding some flakes of pure grated soap to wash water and stirring vigorously until it lathers.
Alternatively, you can use the following biodegradable dishwashing gel: Add half a cake of grated, pure soap and sufficient water to cover the soap, to a saucepan. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and stir constantly until soap has dissolved. Boil nine litres of water and add this and half a cup of washing soda to a bucket, stirring until all the soda has dissolved. Add the soap mixture to bucket, stirring thoroughly until well mixed.
The mixture will set into a soft gel and can be stored for future use.
Use a quarter to half a cup of the gel for washing dishes. This gel will not only remove grease and grime but will still be gentle on your hands.
To wash dishes in a dishwasher, all you need is bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar. Put the bicarbonate of soda in the soap container and the vinegar in the rinse aid.
However, the inside surface of mugs and cups will need the occasional scrub with bicarbonate of soda to remove tannin stains.
Sluggish sink drains can be cleared by pouring half a cup of bicarbonate of soda down them followed by half a cup of vinegar. Plug the drain and let the two substances react with each other. Unplug the drain and pour down a jug of hot water.
For really bad blockages you may need to repeat this procedure a number of times before the drain is completely clear. Finish the treatment by pouring a jug of boiling water and salt mixture down the drain.
To get rid of cooking odours and other unpleasant kitchen smells just burn some incense. And two or three sprigs of spearmint (common garden mint) kept in a glass jar of water in the refrigerator will eliminate offensive smells and keep it fragrant fresh.
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