The internet is awash with natural cleaning hacks. We put them to the test.
1. REMOVING A WATERMARK BY RUBBING WITH A WALNUT
The advice: Get rid of watermarks on wood by rubbing it with pieces of walnut (the nut not the shell).
How it worked: Vigorous rubbing was needed and we went through a few walnuts, but gradually the watermark disappeared. A quick polish with a clean cloth to finish it off.
Worth repeating? Yes, we were surprised at how well it worked, we even tried it on larger surfaces and it did the trick there too.
2. USE OIL TO GET RID OF GREASE STAINS ON STAINLESS STEEL
The advice: Use a smear of olive oil (or similar) on a rag to clean fingerprints and grease smears off stainless steel appliances.
How it worked: Like a dream! It was easier and neater than using the spray-on stainless steel cleaner I have been buying from the supermarket. Trick is not to use too much, you just need the slightest smear.
Worth repeating? Definitely.
3. TOOTHPASTE FOR TARNISHED SILVERWARE
The advice: Put a dab of toothpaste on a soft cloth, rub it onto the tarnish, then rinse with water and dry with a clean cloth.
How it worked: It smelt a lot nicer than your traditional cleaning products such as Silvo, and left a cool touch.
After what did seem like a long time rubbing the butter dish I began to see results.
Worth repeating? For speed, use Silvo. But if you prefer minty smelling fingers and have time on your hands, I’d probably try it again.
4. CLEANING HARD WATER STAINS OFF THE LOO WITH A CAN OF COKE
The advice: The theory is that you pour a can of coke in the loo, leave it for an hour or so then scrub and flush.
How it worked: It didn’t – only a small amount of change. It also put the toilet out of action, which was annoying.
Worth repeating? No! It was a complete fail.
5. BAKING SODA AND SALT TO CLEANING SILVER CUTLERY
The advice: Measure 4 cups of boiling water into an aluminum foil pan on top of the stove. Add 1 tablespoon each baking soda and salt. Bring to boiling point. Add the flat silver. Be sure each piece either touches the aluminum pan or touches another piece of silver which is in contact with the pan. Remove silver, wash and dry. Rub to a soft polish with a flannel cloth.
How it worked: You’ll see the tarnish disappear before your eyes accompanied by a mild sulphuric smell.
Worth repeating? Amazingly quick – though I wonder if all the silver is being removed and not just the tarnish. Do not use this method for hollow ware, flat ware with hollow handles or silver with an oxidised finish.
6. VINEGAR TO CLEAN A DISHWASHER
The advice: Use white vinegar to clean the inside of your dishwasher, rather than a chemical-based product.
How it worked: Cleaning out the food trap and filter on the bottom of the dishwasher, was mildly icky. Putting two cups of white vinegar in a Pyrex measuring jug on the top rack was effortless. Run the otherwise-empty dishwasher on the hottest cycle.
After the vinegar had been through a wash.
Worth repeating? It seemed to do the job. The stainless steel interior was nice and shiny. There was a faint vinegar aroma, which was pretty inoffensive. If cleaning without chemicals is a priority for you, this would be worth doing.
Rating: 3/5 – it did the job, but I’m not sure the job was particularly tough. Hardly a life-changing ‘hack’.
7. LEMON AND BAKING SODA TO CLEAN BENCH STAINS
The advice: Dip a half-cut lemon in baking soda and rub onto your counter top to remove grime and stains. Finish by wiping the surface with a wet sponge and dry. Note: Don’t use on delicate stone, like marble, or stainless steel (it may discolour).
How it worked: I felt a little ridiculous at first and the lemon juice made the bench quite sticky. However, when I looked at the cut side of the lemon before I put it in the bin, dark stains showed it had clearly picked up a lot of the grime and it did give the bench a nice citrus-y smell. But in the end, it did nothing to remove the tough grey stains that I’ve been trying to shift.
Worth repeating? Probably not. Although it did slightly increase the shine of the counter top and removed surface grime, the remedy did nothing to remove the tough grey-ish stains that have been ingrained in the bench after years of use.
8. REMOVE STAINS FROM CONTAINERS WITH LEMON JUICE
The advice: Removing stains from tupperware with lemon juice.
How it worked: Rubbing lemon juice all over the inside of the tupperware and leaving for 24 hours.
Worth repeating? No, this made no difference at all.
9. REMOVE STAINS FROM A CHOPPING BOARD WITH LEMON JUICE
The advice: Get rid of stains on a chopping board by soaking in lemon juice for 20 minutes.
How it worked: We did get results, though it didn’t get rid of stains completely.
Worth repeating? I would certainly try it again (perhaps several applications would eventually get it off?) because it sees one way to clean without using harsher chemicals.