By Larraine Roulston:
Keeping your home spotless with baking soda and vinegar is easy, economical and environmentally friendly. Baking soda cleans, polishes and refreshes. When combined with vinegar, its fizzy reaction signals a dynamic duo that attacks grime.
Ovens: Burnt foods can be cleaned by spraying the oven with water, followed by applying a layer of baking soda. Moisten dry areas. A few hours later, wipe off all the paste. Another method calls for mixing equal parts water, baking soda and vinegar in a baking pan. Dab on some of the mixture and set the pan on an oven rack. Heat at 100 F degrees for 45 minutes. Scrub clean. In some cases (like cleaning the oven), baking soda solutions require more elbow grease; however, this method will not leave harmful chemical residue on your next meal.
Refrigerator: Wipe with a solution of one quart of warm water and one teaspoon of baking soda. An open box of baking soda will absorb fridge food odors.
Fruits & Veggies: Rinse with water and baking soda to eliminate any waxy coating. Soak nonorganic produce in water with a little vinegar to remove any pesticides.
Kitchen Sink: Wet the sink, then apply some baking soda. Scrub and rinse. Use an old toothbrush to clean around the rim and taps. Soak some cloths in vinegar, line the sink and leave for 20 minutes. Rinse.
Dish Cloths & Sponges: Soak overnight in warm water and baking soda.
Drains: Pour boiling water down the drain. Add 1/2 cup of baking soda followed by a mixture of 1 cup vinegar to 1 cup hot water. Cover the drain to contain the bubble and fizz reaction, and let sit for about 20 minutes. Run hot tap water. Use a plunger if necessary.
Walls: To remove marks, sprinkle baking soda on a dampened sponge and wipe.
Floors: To be used as an ongoing cleaning solution, fill a spray bottle with 1 2/3 cups baking soda, 1/2 cup liquid soap, 1/4 cup water and 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Be mindful not to leave a strong vinegar solution on finished hardwood floors. As well, marble and limestone are sensitive to acidic substances, so vinegar can damage this type of stone if used too often.
Grout: When the grout between tiles loses its luster, mix equal parts vinegar with warm water to dampen the grout. Apply a paste of baking soda and water. A spray bottle could hold this mixture and be used also to moisten the baking soda paste. Allow the mixture to fizz before you scrub with a toothbrush. Rinse with warm water. A rag will clean up excess liquid and paste. To keep your shower tiles and grout looking their best, spray the walls with equal parts vinegar and water. This needs to be done only a couple of times a week.
Cup Stains: Coffee and tea often leave their marks. To clean these, as well as freshen other containers, sprinkle baking soda on a clean sponge and rub. Tougher stains can be removed by soaking the area with a solution of 4 tablespoons of baking soda in a quart of warm water.
Burnt Pot: Bring two inches of water to a boil. Turn off the element and add 1/2 cup baking soda. Leave overnight.
Carpets: To remove stains and odors, pour a little vinegar over the area, followed by baking soda. Wait a few minutes for the stain to be absorbed, then wipe it up.
Larraine writes children’s adventure books on composting and pollinating. Visit www.castlecompost.com