Running a family household is hard enough without having to worry about what chemicals are leaching out of your cleaning products and into your kids. Did you know you can easily make your own natural cleaning products at home?

Making your own cleaners at home, with items commonly found in your pantry, is one great way to minimise toxins from cleaning products around the house.

These natural cleaners are much cheaper than store-bought ones, kinder on the kid’s skin, as well as the environment. And the best thing, is that they’re really easy to make. Here’s 4 surprising natural cleaning products that might just help.

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4 Surprising natural cleaning products

1. Limescale in your kettle

Has your kettle become discoloured, with deposits of white grime building up, especially around the spout? This is known as limescale, or water scale. The discolouration comes from a mineral deposits found in ‘hard water’ (most water in New Zealand is hard water).

The chalky colour comes from lime deposits sitting in the underground aquifers that get flushed down rivers. Eventually this ends up in your pipes and taps, and then in your kettle!

In some areas it can build up quite fast. But there is a super-simple solution to this common household problem.

You will need

1/2 cup white vinegar

2 cups cooled boiled water

What to do

  1. Put half a cup of white vinegar into your kettle, plus a couple of cups of water.
  2. Leave it there for several hours, or better still overnight.
  3. Tip it out (don’t forget this step and make tea with it, you’ll only do that once!).
  4. Boil the kettle with some more fresh water before using.

2. Tarnished silver

Tarnished silver used to be a problem my Mum had. Surely this won’t be an issue that I have to deal with? We certainly didn’t get any silverware for our wedding present!

But, you know what, that silverware your parents got on their wedding day, is coming your way (so is that hideous, pink floral Royal Albert tea set!).

All joking aside, silverware is awesome to pull out at Christmas time, and other family gatherings. So you might just want to keep this natural cleaning product idea up your sleeve.

You will need


Boiling water

Handful of washing soda (available from most Supermarkets, or make your own washing soda)

What to do

  1. Scrunch up the tinfoil and place in the sink with the plug in.
  2. Pour over boiling water, add enough to cover whatever you’re cleaning.
  3. Throw in a handful of washing soda, and leave to soak.
  4. Rinse the silverware with fresh water, and dry with a soft cloth.

This surprising cleaning product idea is totally safe, even for the most delicate filigree (and if you don’t know what filigree is, you will once that ‘vintage’ silverware set finds a new home at your place).

3. Burnt on grease on your saucepan

Burnt on food and grease on frying pans and saucepans is a very common problem. The issue is even more delicate to deal with these days, with the modern coatings on a lot of cookware.

Unfortunately, some cookware coatings just don’t last, no matter how careful you are. But you can certainly help to make them last a little longer. Note, put away that stainless steal scourer, you do-not-need-it!

You will need

2 cups of water

1 tablespoon of salt

1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice

What to do

  1. Cover the base of the frying pan with about 2 cups of water.
  2. Add a tablespoon of salt and either vinegar (any type will do) or lemon juice.
  3. Bring the solution to the boil and simmer for 15 mins.

The burnt on food should generally lift off easily, with some gentle scrubbing. But if it’s really bad, you may need to repeat the steps above.

Also a mixture of salt and vinegar on the base of a copper pan will restore its colour with a little gentle rubbing.

4. Removing stains on kid’s clothes

Removing stains from kid’s cloths becomes a constant process in most family households. Sometimes the kids have only had their clothes on for 5 minutes before they’ve stained them! Sometimes you don’t even know where half those stains even came from.

Sure, there’s 101 products in the laundry aisle that you can buy to deal with stains. Some are super-effective, others not so much! There’s even quite a few competing natural, or organic products available. But often these products are very expensive.

Here’s the world’s simplest idea for getting stains out of kid’s clothes. It uses just baking soda and sunlight!

You will need

2 tablespoons of baking soda

1 tablespoon of water

What to do

  1. Add a 2:1 ratio of baking soda to water to a small bowl (2 tablespoons to 1 tablespoon is enough for a couple of stains. But you can make up 2 cups to 1 cup and store it in the laundry for regular use).
  2. Mix the baking soda and water until you have a thick paste.
  3. Gently rub the paste into the stain.
  4. Leave the clothes outside in the sunlight, then rinse off the paste, and wash as normal.

This baking soda and water trick will take out almost every stain.

You may want to check some garments for colour-fastness first though. Just rub a small amount of the paste on the garment somewhere it can’t be seen to make sure it doesn’t remove the actual colour.

I hope these 4 surprising natural cleaning product ideas help you in your household. There really is a natural cleaner for almost any household cleaning problem.

They’re much cheaper than most of the cleaning products found in the supermarket and, more importantly, they’re usually better for you and the environment.

We’d love to know what some of your go-to natural cleaning product ideas are. Add them to the comments below, and we may include them in a follow up article. You’ll also be interested in our Eco-friendly cleaning products article.

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Ingrid is a now-retired Mother of 4, and Grandmother of 11. As well as owning and managing a number of businesses, she's been a Registered Nurse, Plunket Nurse and Lactation Consultant. Her Plunket Nurse career spanned over 20 years, supporting literally 1000s of Kiwi families!

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