Green Cleaning Around the House

Walking down the housecleaning aisles of your favorite store you pass enough toxins to put Mother Earth in to a coma. Hidden and remembered by your parents and grandparents are cleaning products friendly to the environment. They might take a little longer to work. You may have to spend a little more time preparing to clean. In the long run, it will be worth the effort.

The Romans actually imbibed WHITE VINEGAR diluted with water. They enjoyed the tart flavor and mouth cleansing effect. Ancients believed that drinking it would extend their life, as white vinegar is eternal. Time does not affect its flavor, appearance or efficacy.

Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Use it to wipe kitchen counters and cook tops. It will cut through grease as well as any chemical cleaner. Be warned that white vinegar should not be used on real marble because it will eat pits in to the surface.

Full strength white vinegar has many uses. Add a 1/4-cup to a load of laundry to end the embarrassment of static cling. Dampen a cloth with it and polish patent leather with a gentle rub, or use a little more elbow grease and polish the chrome on your car. Soak hard paintbrushes in it overnight and they will come out soft and pliable. Rusty tools will improve after being immersed overnight. A scrub with a scouring pad and most of the rust will be gone.

The 4th most common element on Earth is SALT. In ancient days it was actually a form of money. The Romans paid their soldiers “salarius”. It became salary. Are you “worth your weight in salt”?

Keep mildew from forming on the new shower curtain. Soak it in a bucket of salted water.

Stiff new jeans can be abrasive in the wrong places. Make them soft and comfortable by adding a 1/2-cup of salt to the washing machine and running them through a regular cycle. They will feel like you have washed them a couple of dozen times, but without the fading.

Somewhere in your refrigerator or pantry you have an open box of BAKING SODA. It has been there so long that you have forgotten about it. After a month it lost its ability to soak up odors. It hasn’t lost the ability to do some amazing cleaning jobs.

Old musty and mildewed books can be freshened by a couple of weeks in a plastic bag with a couple spoonfuls of baking soda. Shake them off, wipe with a dry cloth and they are ready for the bookshelf. It has the added effect of absorbing any moisture that might cause the binding glue to rot.

A paste of baking soda and water can get rid of perspiration stains on a favorite shirt. Rub the paste in to the stain; let it sit and hour, then wash. Check the garment and repeat if needed.

The fruit and vegetables you buy at the grocery store have been sprayed with pesticides, sheathed in wax to keep them looking fresh, and been handled by many people. Rinse all that away with a bath of warm water and 2 tablespoons of baking soda. No more will you hear, “These tomatoes taste waxy.”

Do an incredible chemical magic trick with your sterling silver or silver plate items. Line a wash bin with heavy-duty tinfoil. Place the items in making sure they all touch the foil (this is important). Pour boiling water to cover and add 1 cup of baking soda. The magic – watch as the tarnish moves from your silver to the tin foil. Again, you may need to repeat or rub off the most stubborn tarnish. Still, most of the work will be done by baking soda.

LEMONS are thought to have first been cultivated in ancient Iraq and Egypt. Mixed with water and sugar they make the ultimate hot weather refresher. It is the perfect companion to any food from the salty ocean. Pucker up.

Rub your hands or cutting board with lemon to eradicate the odor of garlic and onion.

Lemon juice will rid a shirt or pair of pants of ink stains. Apply the juice full strength to the spot and let it sit overnight. Launder it as usual. Check the ink spot before drying. Repeat if the entire spot isn’t gone.

A cut piece of lemon rubbed over dirty aluminum will bring out a brilliant shine.

These are just a few of the uses for baking soda, lemons, white vingegar, and salt. Talk to your grandmother or mother. They will add many other cleaning applications for these miracles of Mother Nature. Some of them can be used in combinations that will accomplish even bigger, messier jobs around the house. Step away from those toxic cleaners! Be nice to the Earth and it will nice to you.

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