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Natural Solutions

A book of recipes for everything from home made cleansers to first aid, perfume, home made gifts for kids and blokes and poodles.


An extract:

How to Clean Problem Bits in Each Room in the House.


Burnt saucepans

Fill with sorrel or rhubarb leaves and water - but don't leave more than overnight. 

Leave aluminium saucepans out in the sun and wait for the burn to blister off the base. 

Add one teaspoon bicarbonate of soda to one glass of water; bring to the boil. Allow to cool and stand overnight then scrub lightly. Repeat if necessary. Or rinse, dust the moist burnt bottom with salt and leave in the sun for a few days till the burnt bit cracks off.

Horsetail (Equisetum spp.) is extremely rich in silica, hence the efficacy of chopped horsetail in scouring pans, cleaning milk pails etc. Simmer the horsetail for about twenty minutes in the saucepan, leave to cool, then swill around with your hands and a scourer. Hopefully the horsetail will have oozed its way under some of the burnt bits and will help them to flake off.


Drain Cleaner 

Unclog drains with a quarter of a cup of bicarbonate of soda followed by half a cup of vinegar; wait till the fizzing stops then pour a kettle of BOILING water down the drain. If this fails try pouring down half a cup of washing soda - this is best for sinks clogged by grease. If that fails either buy a wrench and undo the join under the sink, and investigate - or call a plumber. 

Try a plumber's mate. They can be bought very cheaply and have no known side effects. Ask the friendly person at the hardware store how to use it - or at least hope there is a knowledgeable customer behind who'll help. (It's amazing how much instruction you can get from other shoppers if you ask.)

Electrical cords

Make sure power is turned off. Clean off stains with a dab of eucalyptus oil on a dap cloth. Wipe off residue. 



Bring 4 cups white or cider vinegar to the boil with 4 cups of lavender flowers, lemon grass or the content s of 10 chamomile tea bags. Cool and strain.

Wipe the fridge out with this herbal vinegar, then rub with a Wettex dipped in vanilla. Wipe the rubber seals every few months with a cloth dampened in methylated spirits; this both cleans them and keeps them supple longer.

Leave a few dishes of bicarbonate of soda or charcoal to help absorb odours. Replace when they get whiffy.

When you defrost the freezer, wipe it over with a little glycerine on a damp cloth. This makes the ice come off more easily next time.



Add a few drops of vinegar to rinsing water to make glass sparkle.

Scratches on glasses can be rubbed back with jeweller's rouge or very fine sandpaper. For bad scratches use the fine sandpaper first, then the rouge. (This can be bought at jeweller's supply houses - or from a friendly silversmith.) Be warned, though - this process is fiddly and a lot of work to get a good result.

Stained jars or vases can be cleaned by filling with half sand and half hot soapy water, shake well. A litle vinegar can also be added. 

Glass jars- very grubby ones

Fill with a mixture of wood ash and water. If they are very dirty add a little sand. Shake or swirl round well.



Use the all purpose cleaner above. A slightly warm oven is easier to clean. NB very grubby ovens may need thre or four lots of cleaning. 

Soak greasy oven racks in half a cup washing soda to a sink full of VERY hot water. Wash again in soapy water and dry with old newspaper.

Smelly ovens can be freshened by putting in a few lemon or orange peels and baking in a moderate oven with the door shut for 10 minutes.


Stove tops

DON'T use scouring pastes or steel wool - they'll scratch. Use the all purpose cleaner above and cloth - and repeat several times if needed. in bad cases, squirt a little detergent onto the slightly warmed surface, and leave to penetrate for a few hours.


Tea Towels (very grotty ones)

Add one tablespoon borax to one bucket of hot water to wash teatowels to remove grease and smells or soak overnight in soapy water, 

Wash in very hot soap and water, rinse and then simmer in water in which bicarbonate of soda has been dissolved for half an hour. Rinse well.


Tiles: Cooking Oil Residues on Kitchen Tiles

Use the all purpose cleaner above. In very stubborn cases, leave an electric jug nearby so the steam can play on it for a few seconds. Use the all purpose cleaner.

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