Long before commercial cleaners were invented in the early 20th Century many of which are derived from petroleum by-products, cleaning was carried out using natural products such as lemons, vinegar, natural soaps, and fullers earth. The discovery of soap is subject to conjecture, one suggestion is that the animal fats from sacrificed animals on Sapo Hill in Rome, leached through the clay and further downstream on the Tiber the Roman housewives found clothes were easier to wash. Other similar anecdotes can be found across Europe during that period 2500 BC.
Fullers earth was used to absorb oils from clothing and was used in the cloth finishing process, it is still used in some “dry-shampoo” products today. Soap was brought to Europe by Arab traders in the 7th Century and an industry was developed primarily in Spain, Italy and France. Castile soap from Spain and Marseille soap from France were particularly highly regarded. It wasn’t until the 12th Century that soap was produced in the UK.
In recent years there has been a return to using less harsh chemicals and more natural gentle methods of cleaning our homes. It is relatively easy to make a natural cleaning kit for the house:
LEMONS – the juice of lemons is natures bleach and disinfectant all rolled into one. Lemons have anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties making them perfect for natural cleaning
VINEGAR – it is only the white vinegar that can be used for cleaning, wine, sherry or balsamic do not work as natural cleaners. Vinegar has a number of uses from removing labels, cleaning windows, removing limescale and suppressing weeds.
BICARBONATE OF SODA – ancient Egyptians used Bicarb in a variety of ways including mummification. More modern uses are as an exfoliant, cleaning solution, to absorb odours and much more.
SALT – an essential to all live on earth, salt has many more uses that just as a seasoning. Combined with Bicarb your whites will be restored to their original brightness. Salt and lemon will remove mildew.