By Larraine Roulston:
To make our homes sparkle, manufactures of cleaning products have done a good job convincing us to clean, deodorize and disinfect using their products. Household cleaning chores, however, do not require toxic chemicals. Simple, chemically free and much less expensive solutions are right at your fingertips.
A nontoxic cleaning kit includes borax, baking soda, salt, vinegar, water, olive oil and a dash of lemon.
ALL-PURPOSE CLEANER — Mix a 50:50 solution of vinegar and water. Pour into a spray bottle.
BRASS — Use a mixture of salt and lemon juice. Rub briskly.
A lemon rind dipped in salt will also help.
BURNED POTS — Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 cup vinegar with water, and bring to a boil in the burned pot. Repeat if necessary.
CHINA CLEANER — Place a little baking soda on a damp cloth to remove stains from plates and cups.
COUNTER TOPS & TILES — Wash with a solution of 2 or 3 tablespoons of vinegar in a bowl of warm water.
DISINFECTANT — Add 1 cup of borax to a small pail of water.
DRAINS — Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 cup of vinegar to pour down the drain. Allow 15 – 30 minutes before following with 3 cups of boiling water. As an alternative, use a 1/2 cup of borax followed by 2 cups of boiling water. To maintain clean drains, pour 1/4 cup baking soda down the drain and rinse with hot tap water once a week.
FIREPLACE GLASS — With a damp rag, rub on some cooled wood ash and wipe with a clean cloth.
FLOOR & FURNITURE – For a wood polish, apply a mixture of 1 part lemon juice or vinegar to 3 parts cooking oil. Polish with a soft cloth.
FRESHENERS — To keep your home smelling fresh, boil cinnamon and cloves in water. Place some baking soda in small bowls around the house and in the fridge. Place a bowl of vinegar on the counter overnight. A closet deodorizer can be made by filling part of an old nylon stocking with cedar chips, dried herbs, or flower petals.
KETTLE SCALE — To descale a kettle, use 1 part vinegar with 2 parts water. Boil and rinse. Place a marble in the kettle in order to prevent buildup of a scale deposit.
METAL & CHROME — Mix 1 teaspoon of borax, 1/2 teaspoon of liquid soap, 3 tablespoons of vinegar with 2 cups of hot water. Place in a spray bottle to apply on appliances. Wipe clean with a cloth.
OVEN & MICROWAVE — Mix a paste of baking soda and water to spread on food-covered areas. For the oven, let the paste stand overnight before removing it with a damp sponge or cloth.
RUGS — Sprinkle a rug with baking soda or cornstarch, and let it sit for at least an hour before vacuuming. For stains, make a rug cleaner paste by mixing 1/4 cup each of salt, borax, and vinegar. Rub into carpet stain and leave for a few hours before vacuuming. Pour salt on red wine spills. Vacuum when dry.
TOILET CLEANER — Use a solution of 1/2 cup borax in a gallon of water, and scrub with a toilet brush.
WINDOWS — Mix 1 part vinegar to every 4 parts water. Use a cloth or a crumpled piece of newspaper to polish.
Some chores, like cleaning the bathroom tub or oven, may take a bit of elbow grease. It is worth going chemical free, however, when we realize our drinking water comes from a toxic soup that is treated in order to eliminate commonly used chemical cleaning products.
Larraine authors a children’s adventure series on composting at www.castlecompost.com