Stop.

Before you carry on and read any more of this article, click here for our simple print-and-keep guide to effective eco-friendly sanitation, which includes a list of the key ingredients you'll need for the recipes below.

Gentle scouring cream
1/2 cup baking soda
Liquid soap
18 drops essential oil

Add essential oils to baking soda and blend. Next, incorporate the liquid soap, several drops at a time, until a creamy paste forms.

Window cleaner
2 cups water
3 tablespoons vinegar
1/4 teaspoon liquid soap
36 drops essential oil

Wooden furniture polishing oil
3 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 teaspoon jojoba oil
10 drops lemon essential oil

Carpet deodorsing powder
1 cup baking soda
18 drops essential oil

Carpet cleaner
1 cup baking soda
1 teaspoon liquid soap
18 drops essential oil

Microwave cleaner
It’s easy to clean baked-on food and spills from you microwave! Partially fill a measuring jug or coffee cup with water and add a slice of lemon. Boil the water for a minute, and then leave the door closed and let the steam loosen the mess. After 10 minutes, open the door and wipe away the grease.

Homemade leather conditioner
1 teaspoon of household ammonia 4 teaspoons of white vinegar, 2 cups water. Mix ingredients together. Apply mixture, dry with a soft cloth, and then wipe on castor oil, using a soft cloth. Rub on leather shoe cream in the appropriate colour. Buff well. Or try a solution of two parts linseed oil and one part vinegar – test on a hidden area first to be safe.

Restore the shine to a roasting pan
Mix bicarbonate soda and distilled white vinegar into a thick paste. Apply to the stain with a kitchen cloth and scrub in a circular motion, adding more vinegar if the paste becomes too dry. It does take time, but the results are more than rewarding. Follow with a rinse in warm water and towel dry.

Remove coffee and tea stains from cups
Squeeze a wedge of lemon into the cup and fill with boiling water. Leave to soak overnight, then empty. Wrap a damp cloth around your finger, dip it into some sodium bicarbonate and rub the stains in a circular motion.

Deodorise your dishwasher
Cut a lemon in half, remove the pips and skewer the cut side of each portion onto the spikes of the upper plate rack or place in a muslin or cotton bag. Once the cycle is finished, remove the lemon halves and admire the miracle of citric acid at work. The same process done once a month – without dishes – will help to keep your dishwasher fresh.  Fighter

Remove rust from kitchen utensils
Happy campers will know that sometimes utensils will get slightly rusty. To remove rust from knives or other kitchen utensils, stick them in an onion for about an hour. Move the blade back and forth to help the onion juice do its work.

Old toothbrushes for cleaning
Don't throw away your old toothbrush, use it to get into small areas for cleaning. Use around bathroom taps to remove built up grime. Clean tile grout with a paste of sodium bicarbonate and refresh and whiten.

Keep old sock for a cleaning mit
Great for occasional dusting around the house. Pop your hand into the sock and wipe away dust from large surfaces. Also great for dusting delicate items - hold it in your hand while you dust. Use for dusting Venetian - wood and aluminum blinds.

Air freshener
Don't fill the air in the your home with chemicals. Making your own room freshener is a breeze. Use the juice of three lemons and a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and fill with water. For a longer lasting spray, add several drops of lemon essential oil to a bottle of distilled water.

Non-toxic cleaner for nursery
Make an anti-bacterial spray with grapefruit seed extract (available at health food stores). It's a safe and effective way to sterilise toys, change areas and just about anywhere your little ones can get their hands on. Add 1/2 cup of grapefruit seed extract to 500ml of warm water and place in a spray bottle. Make a fresh batch every time you wish to clean!
 
Janice Andersen is our Decor and DIY expert. Ask her a question here, or visit www.homedzine.co.za for more.

Do you have any 'secret' recipes that you'd like to share? Pop your cleaning-savvy ideas in the box below.