Here’s how to extend your spotless cleaning beyond the inside of your house.

(On the topic of outside, another benefit of washing and cleaning this way is that all your cleaning water is safe to use on your garden. So divert your waste water pipes from washing machine and dishwasher to run out over your lawn or beds, and pour out your dish and bath water onto pot plants etc, or use it to flush the loo. Really grimy water can go on the compost heap. Conserve precious water and cut down your water bill.)


Car wash

  • Mix a cup of vinegar in a bucket of warm water for a very effective car wash.
  • Vinegar will also remove water marks and help keep windows frost-free.
  • Polish chrome with neat vinegar and a soft cloth to bring to a brilliant shine.
  • Wash in the late afternoon, otherwise dry with a soft cloth. (If you can, wash your car on the lawn so it gets a watering too.)
  • Add some vinegar to your windscreen wash water to keep your windscreen clean between washes. (Windshield washer products are listed as the one of the most dangerous poisons of all by the AAPCS.)

Car interior

  • To clean and deodorise car upholstery, sprinkle with bicarb fifteen minutes before brushing or vacuuming.
  • Sprinkle stains on upholstery with vinegar and wait a few minutes, then rub or brush. Rinse with a damp cloth and blot dry.
  • Pour some bicarb into car ashtrays to absorb car odours. Replace after a month or so.
  • For how to clean leather or wood car interiors, see leather care and furniture polish.

Car wax

(This is one very rare job that uses extra ingredients – sorry!)

  • Place a cup of olive oil, half a cup of vinegar ,four tablespoons carnauba wax, and two tablespoons beeswax in a saucepan.
  • Heat ingredients on a low setting until the waxes have melted, while stirring.
  • Pour into a container and allow the mixture to set before use.

To clean a car battery

  • Be sure to disconnect the battery terminals before cleaning.
  • In a small bowl, make a thick paste by mixing three tablespoons of bicarb with one of water.
  • Use an old toothbrush to apply the paste and scrub away corrosion.
  • Pay careful attention to the battery connector wire heads, the insides of the “o” ring, and the battery connection pegs.
  • After cleaning, wipe with a clean damp cloth or towel.
  • Allow to dry thoroughly before re-connecting the terminals.
  • (If you inadvertently spill any battery acid on your clothing, wash with a strong solution of bicarb and water. This will neutralise the acid and prevent damage.)

Braai/barbeque cleaner

  • Sprinkle bicarb (and salt if it is very greasy) over the grid and leave for five minutes (or longer) before scrubbing with a damp brush. Rinse clean.
  • Also use bicarb and a damp brush or cloth to clean the exterior surfaces. Bicarb will not scratch shiny surfaces.

Pet care

Wet wash

  • First apply a bicarb solution (a tablespoon in a litre of water) and rub all over your pet’s skin.
  • Then rinse and follow with a vinegar solution. Use a cup of vinegar to a bucket of water, or a half vinegar half water solution if your pet has itchy skin or fleas.
  • Don’t rinse out the vinegar solution, just allow to air dry.
  • This will eliminate bad smells, soothe itchy or flaky skin, condition fur and deter fleas.
  • For a fresh smell, extra cleaning power, and a stronger flea deterrent, soak some citrus peels in the vinegar for a few days before using it to wash your dog. Do not use citrus on cats though; it is toxic to them.
  • For very dry, itchy or flaky skin conditions, rub coconut (or olive) oil into your pet’s skin on the affected areas 20 minutes prior to washing.

Dry wash

  • If your pet won’t submit to a bath, or if you’re in a hurry, you can do a dry wash by simply sprinkling a mixture of bicarb and cornstarch (one part bicarb to 5 parts cornstarch) over her fur and brushing through. This will clean, absorb and loosen grease and grime, and neutralise odours.
  • Follow up by spraying your pet’s coat lightly with vinegar. Brush through again if you can. This will get the fur shining, improve condition and deter fleas.


  • Add a sprinkling of bicarb (or salt and bicarb) to cat litters to neutralise odours and keep germs at bay.
  • Add a little vinegar (preferably apple cider vinegar) to your pet’s drinking water to deter fleas, improve condition, relieve itchy skin, ease arthritis and hot spots and prevent kidney stones (especially in cats).
  • Spray your pet’s bedding with vinegar or sprinkle with some bicarb once a week to keep fleas away and eliminate odours.

Pool toy cleaner

  • To clean the slimy mildew that can accumulate on pool and bath toys, mix a solution of a quarter cup of bicarb to a litre of water.
  • Use the solution to wipe down toys.
  • Small toys can be soaked in the solution and rinsed clean.
  • For really dirty toys, sprinkle bicarb directly onto a damp sponge and rub clean.

Swimming pool

  • You can replace chlorine in your pool with hydrogen peroxide (100 volume, or 30%, so handle with care). You will need a large dose to start with (about 20-30 litres for an average pool, to shock the water). Thereafter the water must be tested once a week using test strips. Add a cup whenever the concentration drops below 30 parts per million. Peroxide quickly breaks down into harmless water and oxygen and so will not irritate skin or eyes.
  • To maintain your pool’s alkalinity, use bicarb. The doses are as follows:
pH: >7.2 7.2 – 7.5 > 7.5
Add per 10,000 gallons of water: 1.5 kg 1kg do not add


  • Check out the rest of household cleaning for other jobs round the home you can easily and cheaply get done without exposing yourself, others or the environment to harmful chemicals.
  • Pamper your body too.

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