Everything is going up: petrol prices, groceries, electricity tariffs… so we’re all having to find ways to make each rand go further…

Cleaning products can make up a surprisingly large part of a household budget. But quite often you can substitute those expensive – and sometimes chemical-packed – cleaning products with simple products you have lying around home that are just as effective (if not more so).

Here are a few tips provided by cleaning experts from on-demand cleaning service, SweepSouth, that can help you keep your home spic-and-span, without breaking the bank:

Vinegar

Sitting in your cupboards right now is one of the most versatile cleaning products you didn’t even know you had: vinegar.

Vinegar’s acidity makes it a useful alternative for a range of tasks around the home in general, and specifically the kitchen. A simple 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water can be a substitute for everything from tile cleaners to window and mirror cleaning products.

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Pure vinegar can be used for heavy-duty jobs like cleaning greasy stove tops, removing coffee stains from coffee mugs, or cleaning the dishwasher.

Bicarbonate of soda

Lurking among your baking products is another invaluable cleaning product you may not be aware of. Similar to vinegar, the acidic properties of bicarb make for a great cleaning product.

For instance, a small pot of bicarb left in the fridge will absorb strong food odours so they don’t linger or affect the taste of nearby foods.

A clean sponge sprinkled with bicarb can even be used to clean those curry stains from your favourite tupperware or get your walls clean when kids have decided to give you an unrequested hand at redecorating your home.

Pure vinegar can be used for heavy-duty jobs like cleaning greasy stove tops, removing coffee stains from coffee mugs, or cleaning the dishwasher

Salt

According to the Salt Institute, a European salt stakeholder body, there are more than 14 000 uses for salt.

Salt, in fact, has affected if not outright shaped world history according to New York Times bestseller Salt: A World History. In your home though, salt can do wonders for your cleaning budget.

Instead of a pricey drain cleaner, regularly pouring a mixture of hot water and salt down your drains will keep them smelling fresh and stop grease building up. A paste of salt and vegetable oil will clear up white rings left on wood by wet glasses.

But by far, salt’s most invaluable use is as a stain remover. For a wine spill, after blotting up the wine, leave a pile of salt on the spill to pull the remaining wine from the fibres of your favourite item of clothing or tablecloth.

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Dishwashing liquid

Dishwashing liquid is likely already a trusted cleaning item, but using it to only clean dishes overlooks many of its other possible uses.

A spoon or two of dishwashing liquid in a bucket of water will do wonders for cleaning tiles, linoleum or vinyl flooring.

Designed specifically to deal with greasy food, a food spill on your favourite item of clothing can be handled by rubbing a spot of dishwashing liquid into the stained area before being tossed in the laundry. It can even be used on delicate fabrics like silk and wool. Dishwashing liquid makes for an effective general cleaning product. Pour a little bit of soap into a spray bottle filled with warm water and you’re good to go.

A clean sponge sprinkled with bicarb can even be used to clean those curry stains from your favourite tupperware

Lemons

The citric acid found in lemons makes for a great cleaning product. For example, half a lemon kept in your fridge changed once a week will keep it free of food odours, while half a cup of lemon juice poured directly into the toilet bowl and swished with a brush will keep it fresh.

Salt can also be used with some of the other items listed here to give you that extra cleaning power:

  • For instance, salt poured on half a lemon will clean up your braai griddle or rack in a jiffy.
  • A few drops of lemon juice added to dishwashing liquid will also help cut through the greasiest of dishes.
  • A mixture of two parts vinegar, two parts olive oil, and one part lemon juice makes for a wonderful furniture polish.