Thursday, 26 August 2010

Cleaning Naturally

All responsible parrot owners are aware that most cleaning solutions, like bleach for example are harmful to parrots. On top of that, using any sort of synthetic air-freshners or something like Febreeze can even kill them. So how can you keep your house clean, smelling nice and your parrot healthy and happy? I have complied a list of natural solutions which at times do a better job than store-bought chemical products.
White Distilled Vinegar:
1. For general use make up a spray bottle with half water and half vinegar to clean bathrooms and kitchens. To add a fresh fragrance add a couple of drops of pure non-toxic essential oils. Lemon, orange or rosemary will work well.
2. To disinfect a smelly dishwasher put a small bowl of vinegar on the bottom rack and run through an empty cycle
3. To remove limescale from your kettle pour in a mixture of half vinegar, half water. Boil it up and leave overnight. In the morning tip out the mixture and boil again with fresh water to clear the vinegar residue.
4. To clean shower heads, pour vinegar into a small plastic bag, knot the handles over the shower head, secure with a rubber band and leave overnight. Rinse with water in the morning to reveal lime-scale free shower head.
5. To unblock a drain put two Alka Seltzer tablets down it, followed by a cup of vinegar. After 10 minutes pour down hot water. The chemical reaction between Alka Seltze and vinegar should shift the blockage.
6. To remove perspiration stains from clothes soak them in warm water and distilled vinegar. Test first on a small piece of fabric if soaking deeply coloured items.
7. To wash windows make up a solution of equal parts of white vinegar and water. Soak a piece of crumpled newspaper in the solution and apply the solution to the windows  in circular motion. If desired wipe it clean with a squeegee.
8. To polish leather sofas mix one part white wine vinegar and 2 parts cheap olive oil. Apply with a soft cloth, leave for 10 minutes and then buff with a clean duster.
Bicarbonate of Soda
1. For clothes washing add 50g of Soda Crystals to your detergent in the washing machine to shift grease, blood, ink, tea and coffee stains from cotton an linen. To shift difficult stains pre-soak in a strong soda crystals solution first.
2. To soften water in the hard-water areas add about 25-50g of soda directly to the detergent drawer and add detergent at level recommended for soft-water areas. Check for colour-fastness first.
3. To clean burnt-on food soak pans, ovens dishes, etc. in a strong, hot solution. (Strong solution is 1 pint/500ml of water to 1 cup of soda)
4. To remove grease from work-tops, floor or wall tiles, oven hobs and hoods make up a mild solution of soda crystals and warm water. Spread the solution on the surfaces with a sponge, let it stand for a few minutes and then rinse. (Mild solution is 1 pint/500ml of water to 1 tablespoon/20grams of soda
5. To keep drains clean put about 500g of soda crystals down the drain, then sluice down with boiling water. (from personal experience: I had bad smells coming from the kitchen drains for awhile and no amount of bleach helped. After putting soda down the drains 2 or 3 times the smells were gone and haven't reappeared!)
7. To get rid of grease on oven doors, make up a paste of 2 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda and a small amount of water. Scrub the doors using a sponge and the paste.
8.To remove stains on teacups, spoons etc. put 1 teaspoon of soda in each cup, add water and leave to soak. If cleaning spoons, just drop them in the cups too. Rinse once soaked. If stains still remain just give a little scrub with the hard side of the sponge.
9. To get rid of smells in the fridge put a cup or a small bowl filled with soda crystals at the bottom of the fridge.
10. Sprinkle a little bicarbonate of soda in trainers to get rid of smells.
11. To remove smells from the carpets and sofa's fabric sprinkle with soda crystals and vaccum as normal
12. To remove crayon stains off the walls make up a paste of equal parts of bicarbonate of soda and water. Rub them on the marks and then wipe with a clean cloth. This method works best for white or light-coloured walls.

1. Put half a lemon in your dishwasher to give dishes an extra shine and nice smell.
2. To clean chopping boards and remove unwanted smells rub them with a halved lemon. To tackle stronger smells and stains, squeeze the juice over the boards and leave for 20 minutes. Rinse.
3. To make a simple air-freshner mix lemon juice and water in a spray bottle
4. For a natural wood furniture polish combine 1 part lemon juice and 2 parts olive oil. Rub it in with soft cloth.
5. To get rid of bad smells in a microwave, wipe any stains first with clean water or vinegar solution. Then put half a lemon in and microwave it for 30 seconds. Discard the lemon.

1. If your dish bubbles over in the oven or on a stove sprinkle salt all over the spill to soak it up. Once the surface is cool just wipe off the soap.
2. To clean crumbs and small bits and pieces off the bath or other small mats glide a lint roller or a wad of masking or sticky tape over them.
3. To give your clothes a fresh smell soak them for a couple of hours in a solution of half a bucket of water and 2 aspirin tablets.
4. To remove red wine spills off the carpet apply a dab of shaving cream on the stain and then rinse with cold water.
5. To remove watermarks and scratches off the wooden furniture rub them with a halved Brazil nut.

Where to buy: All of the above mentioned products are available from most supermarkets.
White/distilled vinegar is available from oil/vinegar aisles.

Soda Crystals can be found in the detergents aisle of the supermarkets and the bicarbonate of soda - in the baking section.
I have been using DP Soda Crystals, which cost £0.91 from Tesco for 1kg bag. It is a wonderful and very versatile product which is safe to use around birds (just keep them away from ingesting it of course!)

Dri-Pak has a few other products which can be used safely an easily around your birds. For more info see

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