Saturday, March 5, 2011

Tips for Natural Cleaning

There are many alternatives to commercially prepared, chemical based cleaners. You may be surprised to find many useful cleaning agents already in your refrigerator or pantry. By using these natural products you can save money and reduce the amount of possibly harmful substances that you use around your home.
Baking soda is a wonderful product to use in place of harsh abrasive cleaners and as a food substance, is safe for food contact surfaces. Just sprinkle a small amount on a damp cloth to make a paste and use it to scrub stubborn stains on Formica counter tops. This technique also works well on any other nonporous, unpainted or sealed finish.
Spray a vinegar water solution on all surfaces of a stainless steel sink basin and faucet, then follow with a sprinkling of baking soda. With a damp cloth polish the metal and rinse well for a chemical free shine. A vinegar and baking soda paste works well to deodorize and kill germs on many other surfaces such as wastepaper baskets, bathroom surfaces, and carpet stains. This mixture is also a wonderful copper polish and can work wonders on the bottom of pans and baking dishes that become discolored when frequently used. Combined with lemon juice, baking soda works in the same manner, but leaves the fresh scent of lemon behind.
For very bright whites, wash them in half a cup of baking soda with half a cup of vinegar in very hot water rather than toxic chlorine bleach. Your clothes will be fresh and clean and with the use of vinegar and baking soda there is no danger of yellowing which can sometimes occur when bleach is used.
Another way in which baking soda and vinegar can be used is as a mild drain cleaner. It probably won't remove tough hair clogs in the bathroom, but baking soda poured down the drain followed by a generous amount of vinegar can keep grimy kitchen drains running clear. Follow with a few gallons of boiling water and see if you don't spend less time and money keeping those pipes free flowing.
Salt, an abrasive natural cleaner, can be used to clean coffee stains from the inside of a coffee carafe. Sprinkle in a little, followed by a handful of ice cubes and swirl until the stains are buffed off. Rinse thoroughly before using. Basic table salt can also be used with lemon juice and vinegar in the same way that baking soda can be used.
Vinegar and lemon juice have been used as deodorizers and are claimed to be good, natural germ killers as well. It is probably the high acid content in these liquids that convinces people that they can destroy microbes. You can use them full-strength or diluted as an all purpose cleaner on most surfaces. Because of the caustic effect of these acids, however, it is probably not a good idea to use them on wood and painted surfaces.
Try using vinegar the next time you clean your outdoor grill. Allow the rack to cool a bit, but while still hot, spray on a vinegar water solution before brushing with a wire grill brush. Plain vinegar poured on a hot stainless steel, flat top griddle works very well to degrease the surface.
Try other natural products to see how well you think they clean. Our ancestors did not have chemical solutions prepared in factories to depend on for household cleaning. Why should we?

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