Homemade cleaning remedies

Inexpensive ways to clean your home
Inexpensive ways to clean your home Photo: Getty Images


With kids comes a whole new set of cleaning challenges. Sticky fingers, crayons, toilet accidents, sauce stains and discarded food are part and parcel of raising small people. Tackling the mess can mean litres of extra cleaning products.

Fortunately there are a multitude of solutions that don’t involve expensive, toxic chemicals. Even better, plenty of the things needed can be found in the kitchen cupboard (or bought very cheaply) and tend to be much kinder to the environment:

1. White Vinegar

The all rounder of the family friendly cleaning world, there is no end to this gem’s talents. Mix with water (half and half) to wipe down grotty walls. Add a cup to a bucket of warm water to get windows spotless and wooden floors shiny and streak free. You can even add half a cup to the wash to soften clothes.

NB. Don’t confuse with brown vinegar unless you want your house to smell like a chip shop.

2. Lemon Juice

Not just perfect with gin, lemon juice has natural bleaching properties that make it ideal for neutralising odours and disinfecting surfaces. Mix with bi-carb of soda to keep tabletops and walls germ free and citrus scented. 

3. Soda Water 


Soda water needn’t be confined to the drinks cabinet. Simply pour over any carpet stains and watch in wonder as the water fizzes away the stain. Once the fizzing stops, wipe clean.

4. Toothpaste

Toothpaste does a brilliant job of removing crayon or texta marks from walls. If your kids use the wall as a canvas for their latest masterpiece follow these simple steps:

  • Gently scrub white toothpaste over the marks with an old toothbrush
  • Wipe clean
  • Remind your kids they’re not Banksy.

5. The Sun

Bolognese sauce is ideal for freezing but tends to leave plastic tubs an unappealing shade of brown. I give the tubs a good clean and place out in the sun to bleach the stains.

Optional extra: keep an eye on the process via a comfy lounger and a good book. 

6. Rice

The kids’ drink bottles always manage to have bits of hard to clean gunk and muck in the corners and lids. Add a tablespoon of uncooked rice to a tablespoon of hot water, pour into the bottle and shake vigorously until the bottle is clean. Rinse and clean thoroughly before using.

7. Nail Polish Remover

Not for the faint hearted. Nail polish remover is the hard-core solution for stains that are seemingly impossible to shift. I mix two parts water to one part nail polish remover to deal with stubborn texta marks on tabletops and even in the bath.

NB. For the love of your 100% wood table, please spot test before use!

8. Eucalyptus Oil

A big helper in a small bottle, Eucalyptus oil smells terrific and is perfect for zapping nasty odours. A capful swirled around the toilet bowl will leave the bathroom smelling super fresh. Add a small amount to a cleaning cloth to wipe down the inside of toy boxes and fridge shelves. 

Eucalyptus Oil is also great at removing lollies and gum stuck to furniture. Gently dab a little oil over the mess, and then rub off once the sticky substance hardens.

Just like this handy article, the all new Kia Rondo is full of smart solutions. Find out more.