There are several alternatives to commercial cleaning products in most homes, including baking powder, vinegar and lemon juice. But did you know that coconut oil does a lot more than add a tropical flavour to your smoothies and favourite dishes? When used correctly, this fragrant, natural substance can make your home a better place.
1. Furniture polish
Instead of spraying expensive, chemical-laden aerosols over your wooden furniture, you can use coconut oil for similar results. Simply combine 50 grams of melted coconut oil with four tablespoons of white vinegar and two teaspoons of lemon juice. Put your coconut furniture polish in a spray bottle, and you’re good to go. Just spray it as you normally would, and wipe it off with a microfibre cloth.
2. Air freshener
Nothing smells better or sweeter than real coconut oil as it pervades every room in a home. Mix around 50 grams of baking soda with 50 grams of cornflour. Add six tablespoons of coconut oil, and mix it in thoroughly. Put your homemade air freshening mixture in an attractive glass and place it in an unobstructed location in the room you want to freshen up. Not only will it absorb bad odours, it will fill your home with a scent from the tropics.
3. Stain remover
The problem with stain removal is that, on its own, it doesn’t deal with the odours that usually go hand in hand with nasty stains. But you can kill two birds with one stone by mixing a little coconut oil with baking powder — one part of each will make a sweet-smelling paste. Simply apply the paste to the affected area of carpet, and leave it for an hour or so. Carefully remove the paste and vacuum the entire area for a clean, fresh, stain-free carpet.
4. Insect repellent
It seems that bugs and flies hate coconut oil, which is why it makes a great insect repellent during the warm, summer months. Add around 30 drops of peppermint oil to 20 grams of coconut oil in a glass, and place it in the problem areas of your home. If you’re out and about, apply it to your face, arms and hands to keep nasties at bay.
5. Chewing gum remover
If you’ve ever had to remove chewing gum from your hair, you’ll know what a painful and difficult job it can be. If you have children, gum removal might be a regular occurrence in your home, so it’s always best to be prepared. Apply coconut oil liberally to the chewing gum, and let it sit there for around 30 minutes. Removing it afterwards should be a great deal easier.
6. Brighter smiles with a natural teeth whitener
To give everyone in your home brighter smiles without any form of cosmetic intervention, get them to swill coconut around their mouth for 15 minutes, three times a week. Known as ‘oil pulling’, this process whitens teeth, removes bacteria and — according to some research — helps to prevent infections in the mouth.
7. Homemade laundry detergent
You can save money and do your bit for the environment by making your own laundry detergent. Finely grate an unscented bar of soap, and add three teaspoons of coconut oil. Place your homemade detergent directly into the drum with your clothes, and you should be surprised by the results.
8. Soapscum remover
Soapscum is a nasty combination of limescale, soap, dirt and grease. And in most cases it is very difficult to remove without powerful cleaning chemicals. However, a mixture of baking soda, vinegar and coconut oil will create an effective cleaning paste that should bring the sparkle back to your bathroom.
Coconut oil is a natural, pleasant-smelling substance that is as versatile as it is effective when it comes to keeping your home clean and fresh.