I would be lying if I said bicarbonate of soda is my favourite thing in the whole world. That honour – predictably – would probably be reserved for chocolate or small furry animals. Or, of course, DJ! But of all the items in my kitchen cupboard I confess I have a newfound respect for good old bicarb and its uses. And not just for relieving indigestion.
Still in spring cleaning mode, I’ve been struggling with trying to make our bathroom gleam. We had a lovely new white enamel suite put in two years ago, but every now and then the bath just starts looking really grubby. I’ve been trying to be greener with my cleaning products and using an Ecover all purpose cleaner. Admittedly it’s not designed specifically for bathrooms – I bought it ages ago for the kitchen and never used it. So I thought I’d use it in the bathroom instead when our previous cleaner ran out – but it hasn’t made much difference. I went over the bath yesterday without my glasses on and thought I’d given it a good clean, but when I stepped into have a shower this morning I realised the bottom of the bath still had a layer of ground-in dirt on it that I hadn’t noticed. Yik. Obviously not enough elbow grease. Tutting, I had another go with the Ecover and a fresh new sponge but it didn’t make much difference. True, for a minute I was tempted just to blitz it with Cillit Bang – awful stuff I know – from the kitchen but when I read the instructions it said ‘avoid ceramics’. Mmm. Probably not worth it.
Anyway. I’d been wondering for a while about trying out an old-fashioned natural cleaner like bicarbonate of soda. I already use a mixture of vinegar and water in an old coffee jar to clean my pet lizards’ tank windows. It’s actually very effective – much more so than the usual window cleaning products, which you can’t use because the chemicals in it are potentially dangerous for bearded dragons. It’s so good in fact that I’ve used it to clean other glass around the house.
So this morning I gave the bicarb a go. I mixed one part bicarb with four parts water and quickly ran out of the mixture and had to make far more than I thought I’d need. I can’t say I held out a lot of hope it would really work, but I was pleasantly surprised. The solution was thick and slightly abrasive so it really cut through the ground-in dirt in the bath (oh dear, I’m sounding like one of those boring cleaning ads already…!) and it was quite literally gleaming by the end of it. In fact, it was so good that I don’t think I’d bother buying a conventional bathroom cleaner again. As long as I can find plenty of bicarb cheap somewhere, because the Supercook bicarb I’d used for making cakes is already running out after a few cleans. But I’m sure I’ve seen a massive bottle of it for sale for a pound in a cheap shop near me. I’ve also read somewhere that you should buy it from the chemist as you get more and it’s much cheaper.
Right. I’m off now to try de-scaling the kettle with vinegar. Oh joy! I’ll let you know how I get on. Do you have any other thrifty cleaning tips? Thanks so much for all your thrifty tips by the way – and keep them coming!