Gentle Housekeeping

In 2007 I wrote a book called ‘A Guide to Natural Housekeeping’.

Within the pages were chapters on subjects such as Cleaning Without Chemicals, Recycling, The Wardrobe, Growing Your Own Food and many Others besides.

We even packaged and sold products like Bicarbonate of Soda, White Vinegar, and Epsom Salts. These magical substances are the three most important ingredients in my life as a wife, mother, laundress, housekeeper and cleaner. 

They can replace a multitude of chemical cleaners, mostly sold in un-recyclable plastic containers, promising to change your life, which of course they do, but not in a good way.

So in a series of journals, I will be sharing the best bits of Natural Housekeeping to inspire an alternative way of cleaning, washing and living.

Many of the clothes we sell at Cabbages & Roses bear the label ‘Dry Clean Only’. 

Sometimes this is necessary, but not always. If a garment does need dry cleaning, we recommend using an eco-friendly cleaner of which there are many to be found on the internet.

An alternative to freshen up a garment is to place it in the freezer for a day or two – the cold disinfects the fabric leaving it smelling fresh and clean. 

Likewise on cold and frosty days, hang garments outside and give them a thoroughly good brushing, turn out pockets and leave for the air to de-odorise and freshen. 

We wash our clothes too often, placing jeans, sweaters, knitwear into the freezer does actually work and if we halved the times we washed a garment think of the savings of water, electricity, and washing powder we would make in a year. 

Think of the impact this would have if 7.35 billion people did this???

Concentrating on the magical Bicarbonate of Soda, here are some things that will make life easier, better, more healthy and cheaper by far…...

Cleaning Brass: make a paste of bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice. Apply and leave for a minute before rinsing well.

Carpets: sprinkle bicarbonate of soda over carpets to deodorize them.
Leave for an hour then vacuum.

Cut Flowers: add a pinch of bicarbonate of soda to cut flower water to keep it fresher for longer.

Dustbins: sprinkle bicarbonate of soda into the bottom of dustbins to prevent unpleasant odours.

Kitchens and Bathrooms: when mixed with water, bicarbonate of soda makes an alkaline solution that will cut through grease and dirt on most surfaces in kitchens and bathrooms. 

Used dry with a damp cloth it is effective as an abrasive powder to remove stubborn stains such as inside tea cups and tea pots.

To reduce the amount of washing powder used for each load of laundry and to make it more effective substitute half the normal dose with bicarbonate of soda.

And this is the best one of all:

To Clean Silver: place a sheet of tin foil in a basin. Lay your silver knives and forks and spoons onto the foil. Sprinkle with cream of tartar and a handful of bicarbonate of soda and pour a kettle of boiling water into the basin – leave for a few minutes and rinse and dry with a soft clean cloth.

This is the easiest cleanest and most effective method I have ever used for cleaning silver cutlery and small silver items.

In August this year, Cico Books will be publishing a revised (though not very revised, as all that was written in the first edition is still very relevant)edition of the book.    

It can be pre ordered from Amazon here

Green Housekeeping

or you can find the original version in second hand

editions from £2.19 to £566.98 (I am not sure if the latter figure

is a typing error but although it is a valuable book as far as the planet

is concerned, I would not recommend paying this much!)


Until next time…

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