“If Granny wouldn’t recognise it, don’t use it”

This week I’ve decided to write about  ‘cleaning the old fashion way’.  I am not an ‘Eco warrior’ that ties myself to trees and I’m not saying I don’t ever use harsh chemicals, but I do try and minimize their use as much as possible now.

I simply feel that the old fashioned cleaning methods are just as good and often cheaper that our modern chemical cleaners.

Over the years we have all become more and more reliant on harsh chemicals and powerful cleaning products, in the hope that we can reduce cleaning time and eliminate all germs and bacteria.

I am very guilty of this as I used to proudly call myself the ‘Dettox Queen’, which I now feel very sad about, but we live and learn.

Some products contain chemicals that are toxic if ingested and when these products are used they are also released into the air of our homes and then inhaled or absorbed through our skin.

My opinion is, that this has somehow led to the increase of allergies and intolerances that children and adults now suffer with.  When I was a child most of these allergies were very rare or unheard of.  I also think that by excessively using ‘anti-bacterial’ products, we are also decreasing our resistance to bacteria and reducing our immune systems in ourselves and our children.

I remember there was a discussion on the television not so long ago, about chemicals found in breast milk.  Below is an interesting link regarding this:


Something else that I should also mention is that chemicals can threaten the environment, animal and plant life, when they are leaked out through our drains and into the watercourses below, so I think this is a good enough reason alone for me to reduce my usage of them.


So this is what I use:

Old Fashioned Cleaning Products


Lemon juice – this is a mild acid which has a bleaching and deodorising effect.  It also dissolves grease.  It is an antibacterial and antifungal cleaner.

White vinegar – it’s cheap and harmless to use and is a good multi-purpose cleaner.  It is especially good as a glass and mirror cleaner and removes limescale easily.

Bicarbarnate of soda (also known as Sodium bicarbonate and bicarb, and baking soda) – this can be mixed with lemon juice, vinegar or just water to produce a gentle abrasive paste that is a great stain remover and a multi-purpose cleaner.  It’s good for cleaning tea and coffee stains on cups and cleaning stainless steel items.  It is best known for how good it is at deodorising smells as it absorbs odours and neautralises them, so it is good to use in the fridge, in shoes and to remove odours from carpets.

Lavender Essential Oil – I use this on some pot pourri near my toilet instead of an airfreshner.

Tea tree Essential Oil – This has anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, so I add a few drops to my vinegar spray in my kitchen.

Eucalyptus Essential Oil – This oil is great for removing grease and oil, for example, around cookers.

I must stress it is always best to test these products on small hidden areas when you first use them.


During the rest of the week I will be writing about the different ways that I actually use the above things to clean my home.

I hope someone will find this information useful.



Tonight for tea we had ‘Spinach and Poached Egg Florentine’ served with home grown new potatoes and a freshly picked salad.

The recipe is here:


Spinach and Poached Egg Florentine:

500g Spinach, washed and any thick stems removed

4 Eggs

A little bit of olive oil or a knob of butter to fry

1/2 pint of a plain white sauce

Grated Cheese to sprinkle over the top


Fry the spinach in a little olive oil or with a knob of butter, until just tender

Make the white sauce

Arrange the spinach in an oven proof dish with four wells in for eagg each.

Break an egg into each well and pour over the white sauce.

Sprinkle cheese on the top

Bake for 12 minutes on Gas 5 / 190C / 375F and then increase heat for 10 minutes to Gas 6 / 204C / 400F


Spinach and Egg Florentine


Finally, just before I finish for the evening, I would like to mention a little shop that I have discovered in Leicester today, thanks to a good friend.  The shop is called “Rosy’s” and she sells products that are Gluten free, wheat free and Dairy free.  Obviously this is a big help to me as my youngest daughter is lactose intolerant.  I think it’s important to support specialist shops like this as they are so few and far between and yet as I have already mentioned above, there are so many people that suffer from allergies and intolerances today.

This is a link to her face book page:  http://www.facebook.com/#!/RosysGlutenFreeWheatFreeDairyFreeStore


Thank you for reading my post today.

19 thoughts on ““If Granny wouldn’t recognise it, don’t use it”

  1. Great post, thank you. These are the products I mostly use to clean just about everything in my home. They work perfectly. I share your concern about a link between the excessive use of chemicals in our everyday environment and the proliferation of allergies.

    Do you actually make up your own cleaning products? I have made wool wash and also a paste-style cleanser using bicarb from ‘recipes’ I found on the net. Now, I just need to locate them again and record them permanently. Once I do I will post them on my blog.

    There are far more people trying to do their bit for the health of both our families and our planet than there are tying themselves to trees. Collectively, we can all make a big difference by just changing a few habits.

  2. Very interesting reading about the traditional cleaning products you use. I can certainly attest to the deodorizing properties of bicarb having used it to get rid of the unpleasant smell left on the carpet by vomit. It worked very well. The essential oils sound great and I bet they leave a pleasant aroma too.

    • Thanks. I’m posting a picture today (01-08-12) of my disgusting showerhead before I cleaned it with vinegar and how it looked afterwards. It’s truely remarkable. I think it’s important that people actually see examples to help convince them to try it.

      Hope your cleaning goes well.

  3. I recently wrote a post on my blog about making your own laundry powder. I so agree about reducing the chemical load on our bodies. It makes a lot of sense!

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