Opinion / Science

5 Natural (And Unnatural) Cleaning Solutions

These 5 Natural(ish) and not-so-Natural Cleaning Solutions will save you in your darkest, dirtiest hours.

As Plant Scientists and Chemical Engineers, we’re often asked about natural biological solutions for common cleaning problems. These little trick and tips should help you out of a tight spot – with easy to grab house hold items that are (mostly) free of chemicals.

However, as Plant Scientists and Chemical Engineers, we also know that sometimes the best solution to a messy mistake is an unnatural one, so we’ve included them too:

Carpet Cleaner

You’ve got friends round for dinner. The worst happens – red wine is spilt. As the red stuff sinks in and your mind starts darting around for ideas that might help you out – you give in to the realisation that you’re going to have to deal with this stain forever. Weeks past, but the stain remains in your carpet and on your mind. Is it too late? No, it’s not.


This handy blend of natural ingredients will help you out in a jiffy – no pun intended. Simply combine baking soda, with some cornstarch and crushed bay leaves and cloves (to make it smell nice). Stuff these ingredients in a salt shaker and scatter liberally. Leave to soak with a little water and then scrub away, repeat until the stain is no more!

[It may be expensive and full of chemicals – but the most efficient solution is Folex. Hard to find but excellent.]

Furniture Polisher

With the modern age of IKEA flat packs, polishing furniture may seem like a silly idea but there are still plenty of people who need to look after their high gloss wooden pieces. Sometimes it’s preferable to find a cheaper, nicer smelling alternative, to the usual commercial products. After all, just because you’ve got a a great matching dining room set, doesn’t mean you want your whole house to smell like a museum.


Olive Oil is your friend when it comes to getting a shine up on you wooden surfaces. It may seem counter-intuitive, but smearing and polishing your wooden floors and furniture with high quality olive oil will leave a great shine, without an invasive odour.

[If all else fails – then Method is the product to go for. It doesn’t come cheap, but it’s extremely effective and uses non-toxic, plant based ingredients!]

Pest Control

If you’ve got a major pest issue – we’re talking ants, mosquitoes and rats – it can be all too tempting to reach for the powerful (and harmful toxic ingredients). Poisons, sprays and traps may well be effective at taking down your miniature home invaders, but they also come with draw backs. Little corpses littering your home, harmful toxins that could harm children/pets – the list goes on.


Instead, why not invest in something that will smell a great deal nicer and is guaranteed not to kill your dog? Peppermint is a gorgeous, hardy plant that will not only make your house smell better, but will also deter the aforementioned creatures.

[They might come at a dearer price, but there are plenty of effective ultrasonic deterrents on the market. They usually cost around £20 and get rid of everything in sight, with no dead bodies!]


At some point in your life, you’re going to have a mould issue. Whether it’s as a student, in a dangerously damp house, or later in life with a bathroom that simply isn’t ventilated enough – the black stuff always threatens to darken your walls and fill the air with spores.


Although you may find yourself reaching for the chemicals – more often than not – you can get the job done with the aid of natural ingredients alone. Brew a pot of chamomile tea, let it cool and decant into a spray gun. The active ingredients in this spray will work away at the mold over time.

[Alternatively, you could buy Pro-Kleen’s Mould & Mildew Killer is effective, though it will set you back a fair price.]

Oven Cleaning

Ovens get dirty. It’s a sad, sad fact of life that, at some point, you are going to find yourself scrubbing one – and you’re probably not going to enjoy it. Grease and detritus can stay glued to every side of the oven and it can be a nightmare to get clean. Thankfully there’s a natural solution to this problem.


Mixing up lemon juice, citrus oils and baking soda will create a powerfully abrasive substance that will cut through the grease and filth.

[Cleaning the oven is never a fun job – sometimes it’s better just to call in a professional like these guys: Ovenu Australia]