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Love the Environment, Love Your Home: Eco-friendly Ways to Clean Your Home

by bob.g (follow)
Home (42)      Tips (21)      Cleaning (4)      EcoFriendly (1)     
It can be daunting to think of all the harsh chemicals that go into products used to clean the house. Just the jaw-cracking names of some of them can be fearsome, even if the government says they are perfectly alright to use in judicious amounts.

The good news is that a home that gets the usual amount of dirt and grime doesn't really need all those chemicals to get it passing clean. There are several basic, perfectly natural cleansers that do an excellent job around the house, according to this. They are:

Baking Soda
Baking soda, or bicarbonate of soda is an all-around cleaner and deodorizer. Everyoneís heard of putting an opened box of baking soda in the fridge or freezer to absorb odors, but baking sodaís cleaning skills are even more impressive. It is just slightly abrasive enough to get things clean without scratching when itís mixed with warm water and made into a paste, and it makes an excellent drain cleaner when mixed with white vinegar and hot water.

A paste of baking soda rubbed gently into a stain and left to sit for a while will gently pull the stain out and break down grease. It also gets rid of the sizing that sometimes comes with new cleaning cloths.

White Vinegar
Non-toxic white vinegar is not only indispensable as an ingredient in cooking, but its effectiveness as a cleaner, bleaching agent and deodorizer is almost miraculous. Use one part water and one part vinegar for sparkling clear windows. Remember to wipe off excess liquid with newspaper. Scientists arenít quite sure why this works, but it does.

Vinegar poured into a steam iron or coffee maker will get remove mineral deposits and deposits left by old coffee. When it is poured into the liquid detergent compartment in a washing machine that hasn't been used in a while and the machine is run for one cycle, it prevents clothes from turning yellow. It also softens hard water, prevents clothes from becoming dingy and brightens them when itís added to the rinse cycle.

Cider vinegar is also great for getting rid of gnats and fruit flies. Pour a bit of cider vinegar into a styrofoam cup, cover it with paper and punch holes in the paper. The pests go in, but they donít come out.

Eucalyptus Oil
This amazingly fragrant oil doesnít just make the house smell good but is good for cleaning the bathroom fixtures and ceramic and porcelain tile. A couple of capfuls added to a gallon or so of hot water makes good floor cleaner. It also removes tough stains on leather and other fabrics, though itís good to test a hidden area first.

Borax is a mineral found in nature that has antibacterial, whitening and water softening properties. It is very good when washing diapers for it not only whitens them but removes the ammonia smell.

Lemon is an excellent and gentle bleaching agent. Boil a few slices of lemon in a pot of water for a minute or two, remove from the heat, and add the linens to be soaked. Leave them for an hour, then wash as per usual. To make the linens really brilliant, put them out to dry in the sun.

Boiling Water
Plain old boiling water is good for unclogging drains, keeping toilets clear and cleaning clothes. Some stains are easier to get rid of if the fabric is stretched over a bowl and boiling water is poured through them before they're added to the wash. These stains include crayon, candle wax and red wine.

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