cleaning products

When it comes to cleaning, polishing or abrading, you don't need a crazy arsenal of products. Below is a list of recommendations for household cleaning, or maintenance aboard a boat. If you must use a commercial cleaner, look for products that contain citrus-based solvents instead of more toxic petroleum distillates.

All purpose cleaner Mix of 500 ml hydrogen peroxide(3%) with 2.5 ml(40 drops) of lavender and lemon essential oils, and 0.6 ml(10 drops) of peppermint essential oil. Leave on surface for several minutes before wiping clean. Store in a dark-coloured bottle.
Chrome Apply apple cider vinegar on a soft cotton cloth to rub it clean. Then, use a fresh cloth with a dab of baby oil to make it shine.
Copper Make a paste of either lemon or lime juice and salt. Rub gently to clean.
Aluminum Cream of tartar and hot water. In a dish, add a few spoonfuls of cream of tartar, and stir in water to create a thick paste. Rub over the aluminum surface with a soft cloth.
Acrylic Use a mild dish soap. Mix about 1 L of water with a few drops of dish soap in a bowl, agitate to create suds. Dip cloth into mix, clean acrylic gently. Wipe with a clean, damp rag, and follow up with a soft, dry rag to collect leftover moisture.
Plastic Use a mixture of 1:2 white vinegar and warm water.
Brass Coat the cut half of the lemon with table salt and rub it over the surface, re-coating the lemon with salt as needed. Buff to a shine with a clean, dry cloth.
Cast iron Immediately after use, clean with plain hot water and a sponge. Stuck on food can be removed with a paste made of coarse salt and water. Dry with a towel, or over the oven at a low flame, and coat with a layer of oil.
Stainless steel Wipe down with freshwater, or use a water/baking soda solution for tough stains.
Fibreglass Dislodge debris with a scrubbing brush, rinse off with fresh water. For rust stains, make a paste of baking soda and water. Use a soft cloth and gently rub mixture onto the stain. Leave for 1 hour. For heavy yellow waterline and rust stains try Grunt emer-gel, a phosphoric acid-based product. Wear gloves while using it, as it is an irritant.
Wood dishes Wash with mild soap and warm water. Dry immediately after washing. Never soak in water or put it away wet. Every month or so, apply a coat of food-grade oil (we use mineral oil, not ideal, there are alternatives though) to keep the wood moisturized.
Wood cutting boards Same basic treatment as wood dishes. Before adding oil, scrub clean with lemon and salt. Sprinkle board with coarse salt. Using a lemon half, cut side down, scour the surface. Let sit for 5 minutes, scrape mixture away, rinse clean and let air dry.
Sails Wash with cool water mixed with dishwashing liquid. Let dry thoroughly before storing.
Mildew Use white vinegar or lemon juice full strength. Apply with a sponge or scrubby.
Head Sprinkle baking soda into the bowl, scrub with a brush.
Sink clog Try a plunger first. If that doesn't clear it, pour 120 ml or more of baking soda down the drain, then add 250 ml of vinegar. Plug it up, and let it sit 10-15 min, then pour more hot water down. Repeat until clear.
Clothes Mix 2 cups of washing soda with the gratings from one 140 g bar of castile soap. Use 15 g for light loads, and 30 g for heavy loads. To whiten, disinfect, deodorize clothes of dish cloths, use sodium percarbonate at a ratio of 15 g per 5 L. It's also possible to use lemon juice as a mild lightener if exposed to the sun.