Tips & Recipes for Green Cleaning & Stain Removal

Most vacation home owners I've met seem to be environmentally conscious and enthusiastic about sharing this with their guests. It's great to see property welcome books that ask guests to conserve water and electricity, recycle garbage, and offer tips on shopping locally. So, it was not difficult to come across suggestions for stain removal using natural products and recipes for cleaning fluids. Here's a few of my favorites:

Water stains on wood
It doesn’t matter how many coasters you provide – if you have wood furniture you will get white water marks on them at some time. This is a great method to remove them (also removes heat rings from wood tables).
 
Place a cotton cloth directly over the stain and using a dry iron (no steam) press down for several seconds on the cloth. Remove and check the stain. Keep doing this until the watermarks are completely gone. It could take a few minutes so persevere.
 
Removing sticky stuff
So you’ve just dashed out to buy some replacement wine glasses and just got back to the property with minutes to spare before your next guests arrive.  It’s not the greatest time to find that you cannot get the sticky price labels off the glasses. 
 
Keep a small bottle of eucalyptus oil in your changeover kit - rub on the sticky residue then leave for a few minutes before wiping off.  Apparently peanut butter also works.
 
Kitchen cleaning antiseptic spray
This is great for all kitchen surfaces
 
Ingredients: 
½ liter of hot water
1 tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon vinegar
 
Mix together taking care since the vinegar & bicarb will fizz, and then add an extra half a liter of cold water. Make sure the preparation is cold and then add: 1 tablespoon of essential oil (a mix of lemon/tea tree/cinnamon) Pour into in a spray bottle
 
Changeover scent 
Avoid chemical air fresheners with this natural alternative
 
If you've ever walked into your property to be met with the odor of fried or spicy food, or that lingering smell of a heavy cologne or perfume, this is a great solution and so easy to prepare.
 
Ingredients:
Essential oils -- buy the pure versions from a health food store bicarbonate of soda or cat litter
 
Mix a small amount of bicarbonate of soda with an essential oil like lemon or grapefruit and suck it up with your (cleaned out) vacuum cleaner.  When you vacuum, the scent of the (natural) essential oils will replace any unpleasant odors. Put a bowl of the mix high up on a kitchen shelf where nobody can see it and it will capture cooking smells.
 
Toilet cleaner
Save your septic system from harsh cleaners.
Put a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda in the toilet bowl, followed by a small glass of white vinegar - it will fizz. Scrub the inside of the bowl with a toilet brush and leave to act for 10 minutes before flushing. You can also add a drop of white vinegar to the pan after flushing for added disinfection and scale prevention.
 
Window cleaner
This is one my grandmother used!
 
Ingredients:
50% white vinegar
50% water
2 drops of citronella oil to repel mosquitoes
Mix in a spray bottle. Polish off with an old newspaper
 
Avoid using any product containing bleach if you supply colored towels.  Somehow guests seem to use this fairly indiscriminately and you’ll risk finding your towels are bleach stained.