Environmentally Friendly Cleaners for the Home

There are many products on the market to keep your home clean and sanitized, make it smell fresh. There are also many products in your kitchen cabinet that will do the same job for much less money.On the Internet I have found a few environmentally-friendly cleaning solutions that I make myself. It takes very little time and effort to mix these solutions, and many can be made up ahead of time and stored, just like all other cleaners. The number one household item is vinegar. Vinegar will clean, disinfect, remove stains and odors. Vinegar is also economical. You can buy it in gallon jugs at most markets. I buy it in large jugs at Sam’s Club. Listed below are a few basic ingredients you might use, and the many different ways to clean.

White vinegar, baking soda, borax and salt are all you will need. For a good all-purpose cleaner, mix 1 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup bkg. soda (or 2 tsp. borax), 1 gallon water. This will not lose it’s properties if it is stored. Use it on counter tops, appliances, bathroom fixtures, windows, laminate or tile floors. Salt and vinegar made into a paste will clean any lime buildup from the bathroom or kitchen appliances. If you want a scrubbing cleanser, use baking soda as a base and add equal amounts of liquid soap and vinegar to form a paste. Use full-strength vinegar (about 1 cup) to clean your toilet bowl. A strength ratio of 1:1 vinegar/water should be sufficient to clean the bathtub. Sometimes I need to add a bit more vinegar due to the soap residue .

A mixture of 1:1 vinegar/water can be used on all walls, shelves, also on appliances or floors. Don’t bother scrubbing to clean your coffeepot anymore. Pour the 1:1 solution in the pot and let it soak for 20 minutes, clean the outside with the solution. Do rinse well, I might add. We all know to clean hard water build-up from our coffee maker by adding the 1:1 solution and letting it brew. Run a fresh pot of water through the brew cycle when you are done. For a great dishwasher mixture, try 1:1 borax/washing soda. Most detergents are low-phosphate, but liquid is always best. Try adding 2-3 tbs. vinegar to the wash cycle.

Citrus rinds ground up in the garbage disposal will keep it smelling fresh, vinegar or baking soda is a good second and third choice. For ants or water bugs, spray undiluted vinegar around doors, windowsills, wherever you find them coming in. For urine on mattresses or animal accidents on carpets, use the 1:1 vinegar/water solution. Apply baking soda generously while still wet. Brush off excess when dry. For wood, use 1:1 vinegar/vegetable oil. Rub sparingly into furniture.

A note of caution; never use vinegar on marble, the acid will stain it. Never mix bleach with ammonia or vinegar. It will produce a toxic chlorine vapor, and potentially deadly fumes.

There are many more helpful solutions. I like to use the simplest methods to get the job done. I have found several informative websites that have given me different ideas. The best is www.eartheasy.com, this website lists many different ways to use home cleaners. If you want to focus on making different cleaners, check out www.thefamilyhomestead.com, and there is www.vinegartips.com, which has more uses for vinegar than I can remember. Good luck with saving money, and saving the environment at the same time!

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