Friday, October 9, 2009

Cleaning Without Chemicals

Over the years, I've learned more and more about how toxic most of our household cleaning supplies are. While we're shining up the sink or shower, we're polluting our lungs and livers! Breathing fumes and absorbing chemicals through our skin, dumps a load into our bloodstream, and then organs. Here's a few ideas of how to disinfect and shine things up, a healthy way - and save money while you're at it!:

Dishes - Adding a few tablespoons of vinegar to the dishwasher will help even the cheapest brands of soap cut the grease and leave the dishes sparkling. Saves time and money. To remove coffee or tea stains from china, rub it with a little Baking Soda on a damp cloth.

Appliances - Rubbing alcohol will create a shine instead of commercial waxes. Club Soda will both clean and polish at the same time. To get rid of the yellowing on white appliances, mix about 1/4 c. baking soda and 1/2 c. bleach in about a quart of warm water. Spray it down and let it set for 10 or 15 minutes before rinsing and wiping dry.

Clogged drain - If the kitchen drain is clogged with grease, pour a cup of baking soda and a cup of salt down it, then slowly pour in a pan of boiling water.

Cleaning Copper - Use a lemon wedge dipped in salt, or mix 3 Tbls of salt into a spray bottle of vinegar. Spray it on, let set for a little while, and simply rub clean. Worcestershire Sauce also does the trick.

Cutting Boards - Rubbing with a wedge of lemon or lime will take away onion, garlic or fish smell. A paste of baking soda and water will do the trick also.

Pans, Enamel Ware, Casserole Dishes - When food is burnt or scorched on, or just cooked on hard and you don't want to scrub the finish off trying to clean them, sprinkle them with baking soda. Then add some water, the hotter it is the faster it works. Let is stand before washing out. Burned or scorched portions will lift right out but may need to stand for several hours first.

Oven - Sprinkle it with dishwasher soap and cover it for a few hours with a wet cloth or paper towels. Soak the removable parts in water and dishwasher soap.

Crayon - When crayon gets on the Formica counter top, erase it by rubbing with knitting yarn.

Ink - Hair spray is great for removing pen ink, or the purple ink stain from food containers like meat cartons.

Blood - I've never found anything that works better for lifting blood out of fabrics, than Hydrogen Peroxide. Put it on, let it fizz and rinse.

Candle Wax - If it's in fabric, first scrape off all you can, then put a paper towel, brown paper bag, tissue, or some other blotter on either side of the fabric and press it with a hot iron. Be sure the heat is not more than the fabric can handle.

Chewing gum -Freeze it. Put the item in the freezer and then chip the gum off. If it's in someone's hair, you can't very well put their head in the freezer, so get a couple of ice cubes and hold them on the gum until it's frozen and can be crumbled off.

Sweat Stains - Vinegar usually takes out an old stain, ammonia a fresh stain. If it's yellowed, use bleach, or sprinkle it with meat tenderizer or pepsin. Let it stand about an hour, brush and wash.

Glue - Saturate with vinegar. Soak and rinse.

Greasy Garage Floor - Cover the grease with several layers of newspaper. Pour enough water on the paper to get it thoroughly wet. Press it against the floor and let the newspaper dry. When you move the paper the oil will be gone.

Water Rings on Wood Furniture - Rub the rings with mayonnaise or mentholatum and let set for eight hours, or do the same with white toothpaste. Lightly sand with a Scotch pad or something like it, and then re-polish it with oil.

Hard Water Stains - Would you believe it? Tang! Get the surface wet, sprinkle with Tang and let it set for about an hour. Sprinkle Tang in a wet dishwasher one hour before you run it, or add a sprinkle to each washing load to keep water spots off dishes.

Piano Keys - I'm told that plain yogurt is the best cleaner for piano keys. Rub it on and wipe it dry.

Teeth - When you don't have any toothpaste, mix 1 part salt to 4 parts baking soda. I add a few drops of Peppermint oil to improve the taste and give that minty feeling we've grown accustomed to. The salt kills bacteria and the soda is a very gentle cleaner.

Some of these tips I've discovered on my own or picked up here and there from others. Some I took from a great little resource book called "Jumbo Jack's - Helpful Hints Almanac", published by Audubon Media Corporation. Amazon carries them "new and used" from $5.98 and up, spiral bound. It's chock full of great ideas on cooking, cleaning, canning, measurement conversions, food facts, feeding large groups, house plants, gardening, first aid helps, and more. My Mother gave it to me for Christmas. There are a million more ways to clean without spending a lot or using harmful chemicals. If you have some favorite cleaning tips you'd like to share, please leave a comment.

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