* Neem tree oil, which can be used as an organic pesticide or as a means of killing bacteria (some people recommend neem oil as a natural toilet cleaner), has a tendency to solidify in cold weather. To get it into a useful form, dunk the container of neem tree oil into a bowl or bucket of boiling water. This will melt it into a useful liquid. However, this solidifying factor means that neem oil can be blended very easily into acne-fighting creams and soaps, if you want to try making your own.
* A lot of the gunk you try to clean up in the bathroom comes from something that is a cleaner in its own right. If some child has got toothpaste all over the bathroom sink, use the toothpaste to clean off the rest of the soap scum, etc. If it can clean your teeth, it can clean the basin! Add a bit of water to re-soften the toothpaste if it has hardened.
* If you stop and think about it, you don’t really need to use masses of cleaning product to sanitise the water in the bowl of the toilet – whatever you put in there will go down the drain next time you flush. This applies to commercial chemical cleaners and to natural toilet cleaners. What is best for cleaning the bowl is something that will get the grime off.
* Never wash an Enjo cloth or any other microfibre cleaning cloth in the same load as towels or flannelette sheets or the cloth will be ruined by picking up fluff and lint from the other things. Wash the cloth by hand or in with things that don’t shed fluff. However, if your Enjo cloth is full of grease, it’s best to soak it in warm soapy water first, as that gunk will come out of the cloth and go onto your T-shirts.
* Put a few drops of essential oil on the filter of your vacuum cleaner or on the vacuum cleaner bag. Then, when you vacuum, you will fill the house with fragrance. Avoid those shake-on vacuuming scents like the plague – they, like other artificial household fragrances, are some of the worst toxins we expose ourselves to (hair dye is the other).
* Ice can be used as a cleaning product – use it to freeze stuck chewing gum solid so the gum is easier (at least slightly) to crack off the hair or the carpet it has got stuck onto. The same applied to pine gum.
* The easiest way to remove spills and stains on the carpet is to prevent them. Confine eating and drinking to one or two rooms only, and have a “drip sheet” to put down if you have a large number of small, messy guests who need to eat somewhere that is usually a non-food room.
* Pine gum does not wash out very easily. However, if you put a pine gummed item of clothing in the wash, it will scent the rest of the load with a nice conifer smell.