I have been trying to be better about watering my plants in the polytunnel. I bring the Little Paddler in and sit her down in the dirt while I water and weed. Sometimes she takes it upon herself to help me. She’ll prune the tomato plants. I don’t think they necessarily need pruning but what do I know? When she’s not helping she is playing in the dirt and loving it. She loves the feel of it on her fingers and between her toes. She’ll taste it and examine it and pick it up to throw around. Her clothes will change colour and her face will be streaked in mud. But that’s ok with me. When Little Paddler comes in on an evening covered in muck I can be pretty sure she has had a great day. It’s clean dirt and I reckon a dirty child is a sign of a happy child.
I am less at ease about the dirt in the house. Don’t get me wrong. My mom would always say that if people were coming to visit, then they were coming to see her and not her house. If they were coming to visit so they could search for dust and cobwebs, then they weren’t welcome. I wholeheartedly agree. My problem lies with the fact that the Little Paddler is mobile. We likened her to Gollum from the Lord of the Rings with one leg tucked under her and the other one straight in front. She creeps and crawls around at lightning speed especially if the bathroom door is open. And oh my, does she love the bathroom. She loves investigating the drawers. And sure isn’t the toilet bowl the perfect height to pull yourself up with? While you’re up and standing, why not have a good look into the toilet bowl. (She looks with her fingers, not her eyes.) Lately she has taken a shine to the shower tray. The wetter it is, the better.
I fear that no longer will a perfunctory clean be enough. I am going to have to sterilise the place without using the typical harsh cleaners and chemicals. Tall order? I thought so. But I have to say, the good old reliable combo of bread soda and vinegar worked a minor miracle on my bathroom. Is there nothing these two things can’t tackle? And in case you are wondering, the place does not smell like a chip shop afterwards. You could always add essential oils of your choice to the mixes if you were really worried. Also, I’ve opted to spare you the trauma and me the embarrassment of publishing photos of my bathroom.
So here are recipes I found great for cleaning.
The basic ingredients needed are:
– bread soda
– lemon oil
– washing up liquid (eco friendly naturally)
– optional extras: tea tree oil and grapefruit essence oil
– deck scrub
– old cloth rags
– newspaper (black and white print – definitely not colour or glossy)
– spray bottle
– washing machine
Grouting – I would start with the grouting before the tackling the tiles
Sprinkle baking soda onto the grout. Rub it in. For grouting between wall tiles, I dipped a wet toothbrush into bread soda and used this to rub the bread soda onto grouting. Spray with vinegar and let it fizz for a while. Use the toothbrush to give it a good scrub. Add a bit of water as needed but not too much or you lose the exfoliating effect. Wipe up or mop.
1 cup of vinegar
4 litres water
For floor tiles simply mix together and mop.
My wall tiles were fairly encrusted with mineral deposits from our well water so I wet the deck scrub and sprinkled bread soda straight onto the bristles and gave the tiles a quick rub before spritzing with vinegar. I let this fizz away and then scrubbed with the deck scrub again before rinsing off with vinegar and water mix.
10 drops lemon oil
1/2 cup bread soda
1/2 cup of vinegar
kettle of hot water
There’s no way around it. You’ll have to pull the hairs out of the drain first.
Then I would put about the essential oil down the drain (helps make everything smell better). Pour the bread soda into the drain first and then the vinegar. It helps if you can get the plug onto the drain as soon as the vinegar goes in. This helps the fizzing reaction work its way down where you want it as opposed to all back up into the sink. Leave it to work away for about half an hour and then flush the drain with a kettle of hot water.
Simply rub equal parts bread soda and vinegar onto taps and rinse
Mirrors – also works for windows
4 tablespoons of vinegar
12 drops of lemon oil
1-1.5 pints water
Mix everything up in a spray bottle to spritz glass. Use a sheet of newspaper to dry and polish the glass.
Sneaky tip my dad taught me for cleaning windows. Dry one side with vertical motions only and the other side with horizontal motions. This way if there is a streak, you can quickly identify which side of the glass it’s on.
Tubs / Shower Trays / Sinks
1/4 cup washing up liquid
1/4 cup vinegar
optional: 5 drops of tea tree or grapefruit essence oil
Mix everything together in a spray bottle. Spray over the tray or tub and leave sit for an hour before wiping away.
Heads up – my shower curtains were rotten. No amount of chucking them into the washing machine did anything. This was unbelievable. I kid you not. I was nearly blinded by how white the curtains were.
Lay the shower curtain out flat and wet the surface. Sprinkle liberally with bread soda. Spray with vinegar. Leave it all sit for an hour. Put into washing machine with full dose of powder and an extra towel or two. The towels help act as a loofah to lift off the mildew that the bread soda and vinegar reaction has eased away.
1/4 cup bread soda
1 cup vinegar
Sprinkle the bread soda around the inside of the bowl and into the water before adding the vinegar. Let it work away for half an hour or so before scrubbing.
I also came across a recipe for a fizzy toilet bomb. I am so intrigued. But I need to find citric acid for the experiment. Keep you updated.