A Classic Home cleaner
The two oldest cleaning agents still in use appear to be soap and bicarbonate of soda, combined with a little water. These both stay in use because they work in different, perhaps opposite ways.
Soap is essentially fat and ash, though modern variations use oils and other substances to create a more refined product. It works as a cleaning agent by making many substances soluble in water. But as a fat/oil it is of limited use in removing other greases.
Bi carbonate of soda has also been used as a cleaning agent for decades, with similar sodium compounds used for centuries before that. It is an alkaline like soap, but unlike soap it is not greasy. This makes it useful for removing many grease-like stains.
- Crayon marks, especially on hard surfaces like wall, can be removed with a paste made of bicarbonate of soda and warm water.
- Coffee and tea equipment can be cleaned with bicarb and warm water. Stubborn stains may require soaking overnight.
- Kitchen sinks can be cleaner by scrubbing with bicarb of soda; use an old toothbrush or something mildly abrasive. For difficult situations mix vinegar and bicarb of soda and clean after 20 minutes.
- Silverware can be cleaned with bicarb of soda paste; just mix bicarb with water.
- Greasy grills from stoves or BBQs can be cleaned with bicarb of soda and vinegar. Leave the grill soaking in the solution overnight.
- Fridges and whitegoods are sensitive to some cleaners; harsh products ruin the finish. A Dilute mixture of bicarb of soda and water solves almost all problems.
- Fridges or cupboards that produce a bad odour can be remedied with bicarbonate of soda. After removing the source of the smell any open containers of bicarb will remove lingering odours.
- Oil spills on hard surfaces like concrete can be cleaned up with bicarbonate of soda.
Some of these cleaning properties are in such common use we might forget that bicarb of soda is most often used for cooking. The fact that it is edible shows it is non-toxic (at lease in moderate doses), making it a safe cleaning option.
Always use rubber gloves when combining vinegar with bicarb. Though non-toxic the smell is unattractive.