What makes natural cleaners work?

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We are constantly raving about natural, DIY cleaners, and for good reason. You can find out more about what makes them so amazing here. In this post, we would show you how these products actually work, and what gives them their unique cleaning properties – enabling you to reduce waste whilst making you home fresher.


As you may tell by their sourness, lemons are acidic. This property means they are perfect for removing mineral deposits and alkaline deposits – including limescale. They react with and remove the deposits from the surface and leave your taps, sinks and other surfaces looking cleaner than ever! As well as this, it has been stated lemons have some incredible antibacterial properties – essentially, due to its low pH, it creates an environment hostile for bacteria ( too acidic for them to function). However, it should be noted that it does not kill the bacteria! Therefore, a disinfectant will still be needed to kill and get rid of any unwanted microbes. As an added bonus, the amazing natural fragrance lemons have is the perfect boost for any room and ensures the surface is both fresh and smells amazing.

White vinegar

This one works in a very similar way to lemons. It is the acidity of white vinegar that makes it such a brilliant cleaner. White vinegar usually has a pH of around 2.5 – which is low to give it the antibacterial and cleaning properties it has. This also makes it perfect to dissolve any residue on surfaces such as glue or -once again- mineral deposits. It’s also not coloured so won’t stain surfaces that are being cleaned. You can learn more about vinegar and cleaning here.

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide’s (H₂O₂) acts as an oxidising agent. But what is this? Well, chemically, it means it accepts electrons. But what has this got to do with cleaning? Well, by oxidising varying compounds it can act as a disinfectant – meaning it destroys bacteria – and bleaches colour from some fabrics. It is important to understand however, that many store-bought hydrogen peroxides are diluted with water.

Baking soda

Baking soda is a salt – however, its pH is higher than neutral just slightly – giving it the ability to act as a base. This means it can react with acids and work to alter acidic compounds. For example, many odours are acidic and as a base, and with its properties, it can absorb odours to prevent them ruining the nice, fresh aroma in your home. 

As well as this, it reacts by an acid-base reaction with vinegar – which can be quite an exciting reaction to observe! More importantly for this post, it is a reaction very useful in cleaning – for example, creating a paste to remove tough dirt buildup in bathrooms, sinks, ovens and more. As well as unclogging drains! It may be slightly abrasive on some surfaces – so make sure you test your paste on a surface before using it to clean the whole area.