It doesn’t take a cupboard full of cleaning products to keep a house clean, nor do you need to buy expensive “eco” products. With just a few simple items and a little time, you can keep your place looking great.


  • No need for special bathroom cleaning products, you can easily clean a bathroom with vinegar, a scrubbing brush/old toothbrush, a reusable cloth and an old tea towel.
  • Vinegar is cheap, leaves no soap scum, fights mould and has the best finish that we have seen of any cleaning product (works well on mirrors too). Just use one part vinegar to three parts water.
  • Same with the toilet; vinegar, a cloth, an old tea towel and the toilet brush is enough to freshen up the toilet without special toilet cleaning products. A toilet brush is enough between cleans.


  • Use a dishwashing stick to wash as you go and avoid big piles of dishes. For stubborn stains, soak them in a bit of water and dishwash detergent for a minute to remove them with ease. Keep a scourer on hand for really stubborn food bits.
  • Save time and let your dishes air dry in a dish rack. Even in a cool house in winter, our dishes still air dry in a few hours.
  • Bench and stove tops can be freshened up with a little dishwash detergent and a cloth.
  • A little ash mixed in with some leftover grease or fat makes a great cleaner for ovens and pots with stubborn stains.


Use one of these to do dishes as you go, saving time and hot water



  • If it doesn’t look dirty or smell dirty, it doesn’t need a wash. Non soiled clothes can be freshened up by hanging them on the washing line. The sun’s UV apparently aids this process.
  • Stains can be removed before washing by applying some dishwash detergent to the stain to soak for 5 minutes and then rubbing the stain out using another part of the garment.
  • Laundry powders are designed to work in cold water so cold washing is enough (plus it’s less harsh on your clothes).
  • If you only occasionally get grease on your hands from working in the garage, you can use your powder based laundry detergent in place of hand degreaser to clean them. Gently use a nail brush for stubborn stains.
  • Outside of drying a doona in winter (which can be done at a laundromat), there’s no need to use a clothes dryer. A washing line works well and gives your clothes an extra freshen up.


  • For carpet free homes, a broom and dustpan works well. It may take a little longer (not much though), but it saves time in setting up and packing away.
  • If using a vacuum cleaner for carpet, get an entry level commercial unit; they are reasonably priced, more durable and don’t have gimmicks like a retractable power cord which is bound to fail over time.
  • A mix of dishwash detergent and water works well for mopping floors so there’s no need for floor cleaning products.


An entry level commercial grade vacuum cleaner is more durable and not very expensive



  • A tiny bit of dishwash detergent in a bucket of water is great for cleaning windows.
  • Use a bit of old newspaper dipped in the detergent water for the initial clean and then quickly rub over the window with a dry piece of newspaper to get a streak free finish.
  • Best to clean windows on a cloudy day (or at least when they are not in direct sunlight) to avoid streaks from the detergent water drying too fast on the windows.

Extra tips

  • You can put worn out clothes to good use by cutting them up for cleaning rags.
  • Greywater friendly dish and laundry detergents are better for our water ways and are not much more expensive than conventional detergents so they are worth the extra money.

As you can see, all you need is vinegar, dishwash detergent, laundry powder, some reusable and washable cloths/rags and some old newspaper to manage the cleaning tasks in your home. These products are “eco” friendly without spending a fortune.

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