Bicarbonate of soda is absolutely brilliant at getting rid of smells, and not in an overpowering way. It doesn't really have a smell of it's own, it just sort-of sucks them up. Scientific stuff, hey?
You don't need to know why it works, just that it does. I've used it in all sorts of ways over the years. Sprinkling over a toddler's mattress after an unsuccessful nappy-less night, sprinkling in smelly man-trainers (weirdly, cat litter works for this too, I'm told!), you can even pour some in an egg cup and put it in your fridge, to keep it smelling fresh. But, right now, I'm using it for those blooming annoying Thermos flasks, that are infinitely comforting, if you cycle or walk a lot at this time of year, but are near impossible to keep clean! There always seems to be a lingering whiff, especially if it's abandoned in a bike-pannier for a day or two (tssk!). So, I throw in some bicarb, add hot water and leave it for half an hour to do it's thing. Pour it out, give it a good rinse, and the niff is gone. No fancy products required!
Vinegar is really gentle but effective, particularly against limescale. We get a lot of limescale and it really bugs me. It's just so irritating, the way it just sits there, making your bathroom look tatty, even after you've just cleaned it. The trouble is, it clings to the more delicate surfaces, like stainless steel, and is really tricky to remove, so in order to avoid scratches and marks, it's easy to reach for expensive cleaners. Try this first though, you might be surprised... soak some kitchen towel in vinegar, and wrap it around the limescale-y area. This works particularly well for taps, because it moulds to the surface and stays put, giving it a chance to work. If it's a larger, flatter surface, you can just pour it directly on. Leave for as long as possible, at least half an hour, and then rinse thoroughly. Repeat, if it's really stubborn and you should find it comes right off.
I've got a new home-remedy in my armoury that I've only recently discovered. You're not going to believe this one! Here are some before and after pictures, then I'll reveal my new secret weapon!
This was an ill-chosen white rug that lives in the children's room. Everything from blutac to artist pastels had ground their way into it.
I don't know why this carpet is lighter in the second picture. I suspect the sun came out, as there is a big window out of shot. Anyway this is our dining room carpet and the thoroughfare to the back door. Need I say more?
So what is this miracle product?! WD40! Seriously, you can buy it in bike and car shops, or some major supermarkets and you just spray it on and use a sponge to rub out the marks. This is for spot-cleaning, I wouldn't recommend it for a whole carpet, but I've been amazed by the results! As with all my cleaning tips, they work for me, and I've never had any problems, but to be on the safe side, test on an inconspicuous area first. Happy cleaning!!