Showing posts with label Green Cleaning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Green Cleaning. Show all posts

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Extending Dishwasher Powder

by Amanda of Live Life Simply

This year we added a dishwasher to our kitchen. It wasn't a decision that we made overnight. We thought long and hard about the pro's and cons of having one and in the end there was more positives than negatives. We use it every second day. I like having a dishwasher.

I have been experimenting with dishwasher powders and tablets, trying to come up with a way of reducing the costs by making our own. I tried a few recipes I found on the internet and also tried halving the dose of a tablet and powder, but I wasn't getting consistent results. One of my Facebook readers suggested a recipe which I adapted and it works brilliantly for me. Because it isn't made entirely from scratch and still uses commercially prepared cleaner I have labelled it an 'extender'. It is tripling the use of one bottle of powder cleaner - saving us money!

This is the recipe I am using and love:

1 cup of Ecostore Dishwasher powder
2 cups of bi-carb soda
1/2 cup of salt

Store in a glass jar out of children's reach.
Use 1 to 2 tablespoons per load

Many other recipes use citric acid, borax, essential oils, regular dish washing detergent and a 1/2 cup of vinegar poured into the base of the washer. So far I haven't added any of these to this recipe. Unfortunately homemade recipes don't always work for everybody and little bit persistence and trial and error is required. I'd love to read any recipes you have found work for you!

Amanda x

Saturday, 14 January 2012

If Bacteria Won't Eat It...

by Linda from The Witches Kitchen

I read an article this week with the headline "Cosmetic Chemical Hinders Brain Development in Tadpoles". The study, by the very credible Brown University, found that a chemical called methylisothiazolinone, commonly used in shampoo, cosmetics, skin care products, cleaning products, even baby wipes, caused defects in the neurological development of tadpoles, even at very low concentrations. The Good Guide has a list of products that contain methylisothiazolinone, and you will be surprised how familiar they are.

It's been known for ages that methylisothiazolinone is nasty in high concentrations, and for that reason you're not allowed to have more than 100 ppm in cosmetics. It's also been known for over a decade that it causes damage to rat brain cells in tissue culture. But this study found (in their lovely scientific language) that it caused "deficits both in behavior and in basic brain development" in tadpoles, even in concentrations 0.015 of that allowed in cosmetics, and over just 10 days of exposure.

And though I know it's a fair distance between making tadpoles intellectually disabled or damaging rat brain cells when they're not even in a rat, and being dangerous to humans, I'd prefer not to test just how big a distance.

I looked down the Good Guide list. There's a lot of products there. I don't use hair dye but I do use shampoo occasionally. Mostly I find that just rinsing my hair in plain warm water works well - it doesn't need soap of any kind. Aloe vera is so easy to grow and a great hair conditioner. I don't use cosmetics but I do use sunscreen, not daily - I've always been a bit suspicious about it - but at the beach or the swimming pool. I've sometimes wondered if I use it too little. I have lots of sun damage to my skin. But I think I'll go for the slip and slap and skip the slop.

I've read blog comments - not here of course - where people get really scathing about using food products as face mask and cosmetics. It seems bizarre to me. A fresh organic avocado in season from a Farmer's Market is a fraction of the cost of a tiny jar of moisturiser, has no nasty chemicals in it, has done no environmental damage in the production of it, and works a hundred times better both in and on your skin. My Macadamia, Olive Leaf, Aloe and Avocado Face Mask doesn't have or need any methylisothiazolinone.

I don't use many industrial cleaning products. I use my home-made soap, and liquid soap made from it for bathing and hand washing, and cleaning vinegar for floors. Lemon juice and rind for shower and sinks and anything metal. Metho and newspaper for windows. Our toilet is a composting one.

But there's a big list there of products to avoid, and I really am much too busy to read labels that much. I don't want to be that diligent. It really is much easier to just apply my blanket rule: if it doesn't go off, if even bacteria and funghi won't eat it, be suspicious, be very suspicious.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Lime wash

Francesca @ FuoriBorgo

This past week, we've been busy doing some necessary maintenance around our ancient house, which includes giving a fresh coat of paint to the walls and ceilings (here). Some of our walls are colored, and for those I buy eco-friendly paints, which are pricey but something we don't skimp on, for our family and the environment alike. For our ceilings and white walls, instead, we use lime, which is natural and solvent-free, and inexpensive. Also, lime is particularly suited to the thick, centuries-old stone walls of our farmhouse (but it also works on timber and brick). The walls are built of stone, sand, clay and water, and soak up lots of humidity in the cold season; thanks to its porousness and anti-bacterial properties, lime tends to prevent the formation of mold. All this almost for free.


For the ceilings, we use lime putty, which is the easiest lime preparation to handle for painting: I dilute it with water and then apply with a brush. For walls, instead, we make our own inexpensive lime wash: I get a couple of kilos of slaked lime at the building supply store (which the shop clerks usually scoop out of 25 kilo bags and just give me for free), slowly mix it with water, let it sit overnight, and apply the next day. Over a day or two, the lime wash cures to a hard, opaque white layer with a rough texture that I personally really like.

So this is how we use lime and make lime wash. However, I did a little research on lime washing, and found differing opinions on the subject, especially as to whether additives (salt and glue) should be added to the mixture to make it more durable, and whether it's suitable for interiors. Should you want to give lime wash a try, you might read up on it first. Here are some starting points:

All you need to know about lime wash - points out to the importance of using good-quality lime wash and a suitable substrate.
Fias Co Farm white wash recipe - has some safety warnings about handling lime, and is of the opinion that lime wash should not be used for interiors (which is contrary to our experience - see above for information about properly preparing and applying lime wash)

Have you ever used lime on your interior walls?

Monday, 24 January 2011

Houseplants for Clean Air

by Chiot's Run

Many of us spend a lot of time indoors, particularly this time of year here in the northern climates. We can't open windows and the air inside can get a little stale. You've probably hear that the air in our homes can often be more polluted than the air outside, due to cleaning products, chemicals released into the air by furniture and building materials. Formaldehyde is found in just about all indoor areas. It is used in just about everything now, especially pressed wood and particle board but also comes from things like: carpet, clothing, fire retardants, etc. Other sources come from our heating systems and cigarette smoke. This formaldehyde can cause eye, nose, throat and lung irritation, as well as headaches, dermatitis and allergy problems. It is also linked to a rare type of lung cancer. The scary thing is that formaldehyde is only one type of indoor pollution we also have to worry about: benzene, xylene and toluene and I'm sure more we don't know about yet.
My Indoor Garden
Of course you could get a pricey air cleaner that uses electric and that's most likely made out of plastic, which ironically will probably offgas chemicals into your home while it cleans the air. Houseplants do a much better job and do it for free (after purchase of course, but you can get them free often if you know someone that has a few, most are quite easy to propagate). One potted plant will clean roughly a 100 square foot space in the average home or office. I live in a 1000 sq foot home and I have a plant in each room, 15 in the living room, 7 in the kitchen/dining and about 15 in the basement to help clean the air down there.
Houseplants and Clean Air
Certain plants work better than other things at cleaning the air in our homes. Different plants help clean different chemicals out of the air, so it's beneficial to have a variety of plants. You can even have plants that are edible so you get food as they clean the air.
Houseplant and Clean Air
Here's a list of a few plants and the chemicals they each clean out of the air.

Boston fern, golden pothos, philodendron, and spider plants reduce levels of formaldehyde.

Areca palm, moth orchid, and the dwarf date palm can remove xylene and toluene.

Gerbera daisy, chrysanthemum, spider plants and peace lily can remove benzene.

Other beneficial houseplants include: bamboo palm, Chinese evergreen, English ivy, indoor dracaena species and the snake plant (also known as mother-in-law's tongue).
Houseplants and Clean Air
I have always had houseplants (probably because I grew up in a jungle of houseplants). The pothos in the first photo was on the stage at our wedding, and it's been cleaning the air in our various homes for the past 13 years. I also have a dwarf citrus, a few other pothos that I've propagated from this mother plant, baby tears, mother-in-law's tongue, dumb cane, a few ivy plants, aloe, a few succulents, and a collection of herbs including: lemon thyme, seasoning celery, parsley, rosemary, lemongrass, lemon geranium, lemon verbena, and a few more. We have houseplants not just to clean the air, they also provide some much needed green in the our home during the dark snowy winters in Ohio which is good for the soul!

Do you have houseplants? Are they for cleaning the air or for enjoyment?

I can also be found at Chiot's Run where I blog daily about gardening, cooking, local eating, beekeeping, and all kinds of stuff. You can also find me at Not Dabbling in Normal, and you can follow me on Twitter.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Fifty Ways To Save Money For The Holidays

By: Notes From The Frugal Trenches

With the holidays looming, many people fear that the extras aren't possible within their income level or budget so the additional "needs" get dumped on the credit card! There are so many teeny tiny greener changes we can make over the next 8 weeks which will save you hundreds of dollars and maybe pay for the turkey, trimmings and presents :)

1. Stop buying books and magazines and start using the library instead!
2. Don't buy cleaning products and instead invest in vinegar and baking soda [see the Down To Earth blog for tips]
3. Only wash clothes that are dirty, don't wash simply because you've used them
4. Hang your clothes to dry
5. Shower instead of bath and put a timer on
6. Swap childcare with friends
7. Eat vegetarian meals 3 nights a week - eating less meat is certainly greener!
8. Set yourself no spending days begin with 2 a week for the first month then add in another!
9. Use low energy light bulbs
10. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth
11. Turn off all lights in empty rooms
12. Put a sweater and socks on so you can keep the heat lower.
13. Turn down the water temperature.
14. Pack snacks
15. Practice freezer cooking once a month so you have frugal meals handy!
16. Don't use things that are disposable like water bottles
17. Stop buying paper towels
18. Plan a weekly menu
19. Have breakfast for dinner once a week
20. Only shop once a week maximum
21. Try to buy direct from local farms and co-ops
22. Limit or ditch the cell phone
23. Schedule a long walk each weekend (great frugal family activity)
24. Pick your own - in some areas apples are still available!
25. Use what is available free - does your gym have showers and shampoo you can use instead of showering at home?
26. Wash your clothes at lower temperatures
27. Establish a change jar
28. Set yourself no driving days - if you need your car for work, nominate one day at the weekend where you aren't allowed to use it.
29. Set yourself the goal that if you could walk somewhere within 30 minutes you shouldn't take your car.
30. Write down everything you eat.
31. Write down everything you buy
32. Cancel the newspaper subscription
33. Don't eat out. Maybe challenge yourself and see if you can not eat out at all between now and the holidays!
34. Nominate one night a week to be soup night
35. Commit to cutting your grocery bill by at least 10% [I cut mine by 75%]
36. Stop buying soda, juice and alcohol
37. Ditch the cigarettes
38. Have a movie night at home.
39. Rent movies from the library - in most countries that means they are free.
40. See if you can get what you need for free by making use of local adds and enquiring if friends or family are looking to get rid of what you need.
41. Join a book group - usually a free way to have a night out.
42. Turn off all electrical equipment
43. Get back to nature [photographing squirrels is free, green & fun!]
44. Make your own shampoo
45. If you want to purchase something, make yourself wait 48 hours and examine whether you need it or want it.
46. See if what you need you can purchase second hand
47. Wait to do dishes until there is a full load [by hand or machine!]
48. Watch your portion sizes
49. Be your own beauty therapist
50. Ask for the necessities for holiday gifts

Taking a minute to reflect on this list, it is obvious that many of these money saving measures are actually green choices too! I've always found being greener doesn't need to be expensive despite what media reports often say! There are hundreds of every day little steps you can take to green your life, reduce your carbon footprint, enjoy a simpler life and live within a budget!

Have you got any green tips which help save money? Do you find being green expensive or frugal?

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Soap Making Tutorial

by Gavin from The Greening of Gavin

I have been making soap with the able assistance of my good lady wife Kim since January this year, and we find the finished product wonderful to use.   We have also been holding soap making workshops for our Sustainable Living Group free of charge.

As I said, back in January we embarked on the giddy world of lye, vegetable and essential oils, with half a hand of botanicals thrown in. We bought a cold press soap kit from a local soap supplier for $45 that had everything in it to make the first 20 odd bars.  I am a bit of a kit bloke, mainly because I like to have everything supplied to start with and then find the cheap alternatives afterwards.  This is similar to my cheese making hobby.  I started off with a simple kit and it grew from there. 

There are two types of soap making methods that we researched, melt and cold press.  We choose cold press because you do not have to keep going back to a specific supplier to get the necessary ingredients.  Most of them you can buy from local suppliers, like the supermarket in the case of oils and the lye, or caustic soda from the hardware store. 

I have had such a fantastic response on my own blog that I was encouraged to make a video tutorial on the process we used.  We utilise various sustainable harvested vegetable oils and lye to make the soap.  The good thing is that we have the raw materials readily available that are grown in Australia and it is cheap to make as well.  Here is our recipe;

Gavin and Kim's Bubbly Cream Soap Recipe
makes about 1.2kg

300gm Olive Oil
300gm Rice Bran Oil
300gm Coconut Oil
100gm Sunflower Oil
140gm Sodium Hydroxide (lye/caustic soda)
380gm water
25gm Fragrance Essential Oil (the choice is yours)
Soap colouring to your personal preference.

So sit back and enjoy our soap making tutorial.  I hope everyone including those who already make soap in this method gets a tip or two from it.

Part One;

Part Two;

If anyone has any questions, please let me know via comment.  Also, if anyone has any other soap making tips using this method, I am more than happy for them to share.

Friday, 11 December 2009

The Art of Dish Arranging

by Sadge, at Firesign Farm
I was introduced to the art of dish arranging at an extremely young age. My mom started me washing the dinner dishes when I needed to stand on a kitchen chair backed up to the sink. I'd wash, she'd rinse, and I'd watch as she'd put each item into the dish drainer to drip-dry. As I stepped down to a mere stool, I took over the rinsing and stacking while my younger sister washed. By the time I was standing on the floor, I'd begun perfecting my technique.

Dish arranging techniques are individualized visions. Trying to dictate how another arranges dishes can lead to resentment, discord, and outright rebellion. It's far better to allow each to develop his/her own style than to risk losing the services of a dishwasher completely. Even though I cringe when unloading a dish drainer my husband has arranged, no way am I going to say a word. He must be free to follow his own path.

I prefer an orderly approach - plates lined up, graduating down in size, from the far end of the drainer (while at the same time allowing enough space for any pot and pan lids to slip in at the very end to allow for the protruding handles). Bowls, on the other hand, start from the right, graduating up in size. Mugs align alongside the bowls, and glassware, according to fit and drip range required, either on the pegs or with the mugs. Table flatware goes handles down in the nearer hanging bin section, cooking utensils and paring knives (handles up) in the farther one. Judicious arranging of serving bowls and cooking pots above allow for everything to fit while preventing anything from retaining water.

Automatic dishwashers also require dish arrangement expertise, but their very design dictates much of the process, and stifles the creativity and flexibility only available in a well-stacked drainer. I've had very limited experience with automatic dishwashers. There wasn't one in my childhood home (why get a dishwasher when she already had five of them, my mom always said). I was 16 when we moved to a house that did have one, and I left home at 18. Not a one of the various rentals I lived in after that had one, and neither does our home now.

That this is far from the usual state of affairs nowadays was brought home to me very vividly a couple of years ago. My sister and family were visiting for Thanksgiving, and after a day spent in the kitchen and a wonderful meal, we decided her teenage sons, my nephews, should do the washing up. It was a bit of a shock when we realized they had never in their lives faced a sinkful of dirty dishes - a life lesson lacking up until then. They were given a rudimentary lesson and then left to develop their own techniques. It was only right, after all. Dish arranging is a personal quest. By this year, they had the basics down, and are well on their way to realizing their own artistry.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Learning To Be Green

By Frugal Trenches

I've shared here before that the quest to be simple, green & frugal has been a real journey for me. I've shared that I was very hard on myself initially, feeling I had to accomplish it all in a short period of time and feeling I'd fallen short because there was simply no way to accomplish it all, unless anyone wants to give me an acre or two ;)

But lately I've been thinking about some small steps I have taken that have reduced my carbon footprint and acknowledging those changes have really affirmed to me why this journey is so important. Furthermore it has helped me see that small changes really do add up!

I thought I'd share some of the teeny tiny changes I've made and would love at the end if you could share some of yours to!
  • I've switched to low energy light bulbs
  • I've requested electronic bills instead of paper bills
  • I've begun buying fair trade items of food whenever possible
  • I've started buying local produce as much as possible
  • I've switched from shopping at a big supermarket and instead first go to my local fruit & veg shop
  • I've recently had to purchase a couple of gifts and needed a new item of clothing, I went to several charity (second hand shops) and found just what I needed
  • I eat vegetarian meals four days a week
  • I did a small google search on ethical shopping and found out which shops are the best for paying decent wages to their workers in developing nations
  • I purchase green alternatives to washing up liquid, clothing detergent and soap
  • I purchase green friendly toilet roll
  • I purchase vinegar and baking soda to clean
  • I use the library instead of buying books, or purchase them second hand if need be!
  • I take my trusty reusable bags with me wherever I go
  • I try to leave my car at home at least two days a week

These are all very tiny changes, none have made a significant difference in my life but I know they will make a real difference in someone else's life and the lives of future generations! I'd love to know what little steps you've taken and whether they make you feel greener?

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

A Multitude of Uses for Castille Soap

dr. bronners, originally uploaded by Doug Gaveld I.

Julie has already given us some great information on cleaning with lemons and getting stains out of laundry and today we'll talk about the many uses for pure castille soap.

As you start to research homemade soap or shampoo recipes you are probably going to notice that castille soap is almost always an ingredient. That's because it's so versatile and because its readily available in most health food stores, natural food stores and online.

So what is castille soap? Originally an all-vegetable based soap was made in the Castile region of Spain from local olive oil. Now a days "Castile" refers to any vegetable oil-based soap, versus animal (tallow) fat-based soap. Dr. Bronner's makes a "Pure-Castile" guaranteeing that what they are using is a real ecological and simple soap, not a complex blend of detergents with a higher ecological impact due to the waste stream during manufacture and slower biodegradability.

What can use it for?

1. Soap you can use it as is as hand soap or body soap. I find the full strength to be a bit much so I dilute mine with water. I save some money and it is just as effective.

2. Shampoo

3. Toothpaste. I have never tried this but supposedly you can use a couple drops and it works. Has anyone tried this? Thoughts?

4. Laundry. 1/3 to 1/4 of a cup in a regular load of laundry.

5. Pet shampoo.

6. Aftershave.

7. Vegetable/fruit rinse.

8. Pest spray. 1/4 oz to 1 Qt water.

9. Massage oil. I got this from Dr. Bronner's site and I have to say I'm not sold on using soap as a massage oil.

10. Cleaning- counters, floors, etc 1 part castille soap to 40 parts water for light cleaning or 1 part castille soap to 20 parts water for heavy duty cleaning.

11. Dish soap.

12. Shaving lather.

13. Bubble bath

14. Carpet Stain remover. A drop or two on a clean damp towel should do the trick.

15. Cleaner/Disinfectant. 1 part white vineger 3 parts water and a squirt of castille soap and off you go.

16. Face Wash.

17. Clean makeup brushes. I imagine you could use it on things like paint brushes as well.

18. Wood cleaner. A drop on a microfiber cloth will do the trick.

19. Foot soak. A capful of soap into a basin of water will ease your tired feet.

20. Backpacking. Because it is so versatile and biodegradable you can take one small bottle with you and use as needed without worrying about what you are putting into the water.

There you go I thought of 20 different uses, are there any I missed? If you use castille soap I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Homemade Soap- Better or Worse than chemical laden store bought brands?

by Badhuman

Clothes Line V, originally uploaded by Shilashon.

I like to read product reviews before I try something but I always wonder how long they used the product before reviewing. I know I'm guilty of trying something a couple times and then offering up my opinion only to find after weeks or months of use that I don't really like it as much as I thought I did. So I decided to give an updated review on the various soaps that my husband and I have been using for the past year and a half.

We first made our own bar soap in February of 2008. It's a relatively simple process but it is time consuming and you will want to purchase equipment explicitly for soap making so you don't get lye in your soup pot! We found ours at a local thrift shop. Our first batch was unscented and my husband and many of our friends found the lack of smell disconcerting. I still don't really understand why the absence of smell is a problem but for the second batch we made this winter (one batch lasted the two of us a year) we added citrus essential oil. I can smell it but just barely, it is enough that my husband is happy. We use it for hand soap, body soap, and shampoo. At first my hair which is thick and curly went a little crazy and I had to use leave in conditioner to tame the frizz but after a couple weeks it calmed down and my hair is now wash and wear again. I think the bar soap is pretty much perfect for all uses but my husband disagrees and would prefer a liquid soap for body and hands. Eventually we will give that a try.

Soap wasn't our first attempt at personal toiletries though, shaving cream was. Another simple but time consuming project this lasts a very long time. My husband is in fact still using that first batch made in February of 08. It makes a thick and creamy shaving cream that works well with straight razors but doesn't foam up they way a storebought brand would. My husband did need to purchase a shaving cream brush to apply it to his face and neck. I'm not entirely sure why, I think it helps smooth it out on his face for more consisten coverage. I stopped using shaving cream entirely and just use soap and water.

In stark contrast to these successes have been our utter failure at finding an effective eco friendly or homemade dish washer detergent. We've tried Method, Seventh Generation, Phosphate Free Palmolive and a mix of borax and washing soda with varying degrees of success. None of them worked really well and none of them gave consistent results in different dish washers. My best advice is unfortunately to experiment and find out what works for you.

What we do use borax, washing soda and grated fels naptha soap for is laundry soap. Mix

1 cup grated Fels Naptha Soap
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup 20 mule team borax

You can use the same ingredients and make a liquid laundry soap but the powdered version takes up a lot less space to store and is certainly easier to prepare. I use 1 tbs for a regular load of laundry, 2 tbs for J.'s heavy duty (and often really dirty) work clothes. I use cold water for everything and line dry it. The clothes come out clean with a faint "soapy" smell. We've been using this for almost six months now and I don't see any need to switch. Unlike the soap and shaving cream this is super easy to make. And all three cost pennies on the dollar to make versus what it would cost to purchase at the store.

Do you make any of your own soaps?

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Cleaning your house with... lemons!

Bu Julie,
Towards Sustainability

My apologies to those of you in the northern hemisphere, but here in Australia it's citrus season, and traditionally, no Aussie backyard is complete without a lemon tree! Although they are becoming far less common than they used to be, it is still not unusual to see large grocery bags groaning with lemons being given away in offices and over the back fence.

So, once you've satisfied your cravings for lemonade, lemon curd, lemon meringue pie and every other variation of lemon possible, did you know that lemons are a fantastic addition to your simple, green, frugal cleaning arsenal?

Tip: To get more juice from your lemons, microwave them briefly before juicing, or roll them briskly on the counter top with the palm of your hand to warm them up.

Meyer Lemons

Lemon juice is quite acidic, hence the sour taste. If fresh lemons are unavilable, oftentimes you can substitute vinegar for the lemon juice in some of the cleaning solutions, as it also acidic. The citric acid in lemons makes fresh lemon juice a natural mild antiseptic and mould killer. It is also a terrific grease cutter and deodoriser, so you could try any the following hints and tips.

1. Make an oven cleaner. Use a paste of 1 part lemon juice and 1 part rock salt to clean your oven. Apply the paste thickly and leave for 5-10 minutes. Wipe away with a coarse cloth and hot water, rubbing gently to remove tough grease spots.

2. Clean your copperware. Use a paste made from lemon juice and table salt to clean copper pots. Rub it on with a cloth and then buff with a clean cloth to shine.

3. Clean your silverware and brassware. Rub on straight lemon juice to bring back a shine to your silverware or to buff your brassware.

4. Clean and freshen your dishwasher. Cut a lemon in half and stick it on an upright in your dishwasher tray or add ¼ cup lemon juice to the soap dispenser before running a cycle, to remove grease deposits and make your saucepans shine.

5. Remove soap scum, calcium and lime deposits from your stainless steel or porcelain sink. Rub the cut surface of a lemon over the boards and taps and leave for a minute or so. Then buff with a clean cloth. For tough stains, soak a cloth with juice and leave to sit over the stain or deposit to soak.

6. Clean the interior of your microwave oven. Add a few tablespoons of lemon juice to a glass of water and heat for five minutes on High. Let the steam soak for a few minutes, then wipe the interior with a cloth.

7. Remove coffee stains from cups. Rub coffee cups with a paste of lemon juice and salt to remove stains.

8. Remove dried cheese from a grater. Rub with half a lemon until the dried cheese softens and comes away.

9. Remove stains and odours from your hands. Rub your hands with a paste of lemon juice and salt to remove beetroot and berry stains or onion and garlic smells.

10. Remove odours from your refrigerator. Leave a cut lemon in a shallow bowl in your fridge to remove odours.

11. Remove stains from Laminate and Formica counter tops. Rub the cut surface of a lemon on your counter tops and dry with a clean cloth. For stains, let the juice sit for a few minutes, sprinkle with bicarb soda and then rub gently and rinse with clean water.

12. Freshen and remove stains and odours from your cutting boards. Rub with a cut lemon or a paste of lemon juice and salt and then wash clean with hot water.

13. Clean your windows and shower screens with lemon juice (the juice cuts through soap scum). Buff dry with scrunched up newspaper to make them sparkle.

14. Use lemon juice to whiten the ivory handles on your old cutlery.

15. Add a teaspoon of juice to your humidifier to eliminate household odours.

16. Run a couple of fresh lemon peels through your garbage disposal unit to clean and freshen it.

17. Dry your lemon peels and store them in an airtight container. Throw them on a fire and enjoy the fragrance, scatter around entrances and kitchen window sills to deter ants and cockroaches, use them in pot pourri, add them to your vacuum cleaner bag to scent the house while you vacuum or hang them in a muslin bag in your wardrobe to help repel bugs from clothing.

18. Make a furniture polish. Mix 2 parts olive oil with 1 part lemon juice. Add a few drops to a clean cloth and rub gently on your timber furniture, then buff with a dry cloth. Make up the mixture fresh each time.

19. Make an all-purpose spray cleaner.
Cleaner #1 - In a spray bottle, mix two tablespoons lemon juice, ½ teaspoon liquid soap, ½ teaspoon washing soda, and one teaspoon borax in two cups of hot water. Shake until dissolved.
Cleaner #2 - Mix lemon juice, vinegar and water in a spray bottle.

Lemon juice is also a natural bleaching agent, which makes it also very handy in the laundry.

20. Apply lemon juice to ink stains immediately, leave to soak and then wash as normal in cold water to remove the stain.

21. Apply a paste of lemon juice or salt or cream of tartar to rust stains on colorfast clothing and then leave to dry in the sun. Repeat if necessary to remove the rust stain.

22. Whiten tennis shoes by applying lemon juice and then leaving to dry in the sun.

23. Add ¼ cup lemon juice to the rinse cycle of your washing machine to brighten your whites.

24. Make a homemade bleach from a mixture of lemon juice and bicarb soda - soak for half an hour before washing.

25. Use a paste of lemon juice and salt to remove mildew stains from fabric - scrub and then dry in sunlight.

So, there you have it! Twenty-five ways to use lemons to clean your home, although I'm sure there are more, so what are your favourite ways to use lemons around the home?