After months of darkness and bitter chills, spring is finally here. There’s something about this season – the tweeting birds, the golden sunshine – which makes us want to fling open the windows, pull on our marigolds and make our homes feel blissfully fresh.
There are so many cleaning products available, it’s easy to overlook the power of natural products. However, chemical-free substances can do wonders for your abode, tackling deep-cleaning with a wholesome touch. Natural alternatives can also help to soothe allergies, save money and reduce your plastic consumption.
From lemon to baking soda, white vinegar to essential oils, spring clean your home with these chemical-free products.
Lemons: the hero of all-round cleaning
Naturally powerful because of their acidity, the juice of lemons can cut through grease and grime like the best of chemicals. Their zesty fragrance is the epitome of freshness, making each room bright and inviting.
Cleaning the surfaces
Mix together lemon juice, bicarbonate of soda and water in a spray bottle – add some essential oils to make it fragrant. You can use this on your kitchen worktops and make your bathroom gleam, too. Note: you shouldn’t use lemon if your kitchen tops are made of stone such as granite and marble.
Tackling the microwave
Fill a bowl with water and add either lemon juice or a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar. Put it in the microwave and turn it on for around two minutes. This should loosen any drips and marks, so you can wipe it down easily without any elbow grease required.
Baking soda: the champion of tough stains
Baking soda – importantly, not baking powder – is a type of salt. Otherwise known as bicarbonate of soda, it’s often used in cakes, but it’s also brilliant for cleaning – particularly when you’re dealing with stains.
Cleaning rugs and carpets
Dirty shoes, muddy paws and that coffee mark which you just can’t get rid of – all you need to clean your carpets is baking soda and a spray bottle filled with warm water. Sprinkle, spritz and leave to dry, then vac it up and watch the marks disappear.
Cleaning the oven
Getting into the corners of kitchen appliances may feel impossible, but baking soda clears tough grease like a dream. Simply make a paste with baking soda and water, thick enough so it doesn’t drip. Coat the inside of your oven, leave it overnight and wipe it away in the morning to reveal the gleaming surfaces below.
White vinegar: the perfect polish
Vinegar is the chemical-free cleaner’s dream, useful for just about anything. Just avoid stone surfaces, especially granite and marble, as the acid can damage their natural appearance.
Cleaning windows, mirrors and glass
All you need is two ingredients and approximately 30 seconds. Simply fill a spray bottle with eight parts water and one part white vinegar. Then reach for a newspaper, the wonder tool of window cleaning – it’s soft enough to buff without scratching, but tough enough so it doesn’t disintegrate in your hands. Clean in horizontal and vertical strokes, and make your glass gleam.
This three-part polish recipe is an amazing way to nourish wooden surfaces in your home, from bannisters to coffee tables. Refill a used spray bottle with water, a few splashes of vinegar and spoonful of bicarbonate of soda. Then, spritz on wooden surfaces and wipe down with a clean cloth.
Essential oils: the fragrant secret
Relaxing lavender, soothing vanilla, invigorating peppermint – instead of artificial home sprays, use essential oils to make your home smell fragrant this spring.
Refreshing rugs and carpets
Couple baking soda with essential oils to make your carpets smell fresh. Add around 10 drops of your chosen oil to a cup of baking powder and sprinkle over your carpets and rugs. Leave for half an hour, or longer if you can, then whip round with the vacuum for fresh carpets that make the room feel and smell sublime.
Spring cleaning your sofa
Your sofa is where you go to relax, sinking into the soft cushions after a long day at work – so it needs to feel clean, fresh and inviting. We asked Sofology Furniture Technician Glen Ball how to spring clean your sofa: “It varies depending on material. For example, a pigmented leather is fine to wipe with a damp cloth but a delicate fabric like velvet or chenille can become damaged if it gets too wet. Semi-aniline or aniline leathers, like most fabrics, can become water stained quite easily.”
Glen adds: “A big piece of advice is to blot up any spills immediately, taking care to dab and not rub the stain. After you’ve absorbed as much liquid as possible, always wipe the entire panel from seam to seam, rather than just the affected area, so that it dries evenly. Kettle-boiled water is best (once it’s cooled, of course), and any cloths used must be soft and colourfast.”
For any dirt, Glen recommends scraping off any solid particles first and then tackling the stain with one of Sofology’s care kit products. There’s a version for fabric, leather and also a specialised one for ‘pull-up’ leather.
Looking for more spring-cleaning inspiration?