Green in the home

Green in the home

14 August, 2013
Be kind to your nest
Smart natural cleaning alternatives that save money too
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Many household cleaning products on the market have amazing claims about their stain-removing properties and super germ-killing effectiveness, but cleaning agents such as bleach, ammonia, phosphates and many others can not only release harmful fumes in your home, but also contribute to pollution through runoff into municipal water supply and soil. Consider that a lot of these astounding feats can be achieved without the use of harsh chemical ingredients. Here are a few tried-and-true cleaning tips that are gentler on your home, your wallet, and the environment:
 
Sinks: Cut out pieces of lemon and rub your sink with them. It will cut through the grease left from last night’s dishes and leave you with a squeaky clean lemon-fresh sink
 
Windows: A little baking soda and water sprinkled on a soft cloth is all you need for crystal clear panes that won’t build in residue. Wipe in an alternating up and down, and right to left motion rather than a circular motion, which will cause streaks. Wipe dry with old newspapers or a clean lint-free cloth for a crystal-clear finish.
 
Wood Furniture Surfaces: Rubbing wood with 3 parts olive oil and 1 part vinegar or lemon juice will give it a natural shine that rivals anything commercially packaged, without damaging the surface over time. It’s important to have the oil component to maintain the shine; the acid component will get rid of grime and smudges. For antiques and fine furniture, it’s always a good idea to test on a hidden part of the piece beforehand, no matter what you use to clean.
 
Toilet Bowl: This is a fun one. Got flat or expired soft drinks sitting around the fridge (such as Coca Cola or Pepsi)? Pour it into your toilet bowl, let sit for 10 minutes and flush while gently scrubbing with a toilet brush. The acidity levels of the soft drinks make them perfect for dissolving stains from porcelain bowls!
 
Ceramic Tiles: To release all kinds of build-up, stains and soap scum from bathroom tiles, simply wash with half a cup of vinegar to 4.5L of water, and rinse with clean water. Baking soda can be used as an abrasive if you need to really scrub out stains.
 
Wooden Tiles and Flooring: Contrary to popular belief, vinegar may not be the best cleaner for wood surfaces as its acidity can dull the finish over time. Washing floors with 2 parts water and 1 part skim milk should do the trick (really!) and preserve shine, or more conventionally, simply use a couple good squirts of your favorite natural dish washing fluid in a bucket of warm water.
 
Carpet: For fresh-smelling carpets and rugs, just sprinkle baking soda onto the floor, leave it for a few hours and vacuum away. Baking soda naturally absorbs smells, and is also widely used in places such as cat litters and refrigerators to eliminate odors naturally.
 
Toys: The same soap and water that you use to wash your child’s hands can be used on their toys. For an extra good scrub, add enough baking soda to make a creamy paste. The baking soda will act as a natural water softener, increasing the cleaning power of the soap, and also as a gentle deodorizer and abrasive on hard plastic surfaces.
 

By: Ecozine Staff
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