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Squeaky Clean

November 6, 2014

How many times have you stood in the cleaning products aisle of a store and compared item after item, trying to make the right choice? There’s such a broad array of cleaners, each one promising sparkling, shiny, fresh smelling, and bacteria-free results. Then you read the ingredients and wonder how safe these products are for your home and, more importantly, everyone who lives there. With just a few basic ingredients, you can make your own natural cleaners. Save yourself the cost of store-bought cleaning products and the worry about toxic chemicals in your home. Here’s your shopping list:
  • Lemons or lemon juice
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Borax or other washing soda
  • Liquid soap or detergent (Dawn is a great choice)
  • Olive oil
Baking soda is a natural scrub and deodorizer. Leave an open box in your freezer, refrigerator, or laundry room. You can also use orange or lemon peels to naturally refresh the air. Even put the peels in the garbage disposal to give this smelly spot a more pleasant fragrance. Lemon juice works well as a cleanser because of its citric acid. Cut a lemon in half and rub it on tarnished brass or copper, and even the hard water stains on your glass shower door. Try squeezing lemon juice on an old toothbrush and then scrubbing soiled grout. Add a few drops of lemon juice to your dishwashing detergent to boost its degreasing power. And give your microwave oven a good cleaning by placing a cup of water in a bowl with 4 tablespoons of lemon juice. Heat for 2 minutes and leave the oven door closed for 10 minutes. Wipe it out and let it dry, leaving a clean, lemony fresh interior. Lemon juice can bleach some surfaces, so be careful and do a test before squeezing it too freely. White vinegar is another wonderful cleaning product. Dab it on ballpoint ink stains. Wipe dirty or sticky scissor blades with a vinegar-soaked cloth. Disinfect your cutting board by wiping it with white vinegar. And to get rid of sticky residue, spray the area with white vinegar. Wait 15 minutes and then scrape with the edge of a plastic card, like an expired credit or gift card. You can also clean chrome and stainless steel surfaces with a spritz of white vinegar and buffing with a soft cloth. And here are some recipes for natural cleaning products: All-purpose spray cleaner: Combine ½ teaspoon of washing soda with 2 cups of hot water and a tiny squirt of liquid soap in a spray bottle. Shake to mix it up. Soft scrub: Dilute ½ cup of baking soda with enough liquid soap or detergent to create a paste-like texture. Window cleaner: In a spray bottle, blend ½ teaspoon of liquid detergent with 3 tablespoons of white vinegar and 2 cups of water. Shake it to blend. Oven cleaner: Spray water on the bottom of the oven and then cover it with baking soda. Spritz more water on top of this white layer. Let it sit overnight and then wipe with a damp sponge. Furniture polish: Mix 1 cup of olive oil with ½ cup of vinegar or lemon juice. Use a soft rag to wipe it onto a furniture surface. Floor cleaner: Mix equal portions of white vinegar and warm water. If you want to infuse a fragrance, add a few drops of essential oil. Toilet bowl cleaner: Blend a cup of white vinegar with ¼ cup of baking soda. Flush the toilet and pour the mixture in the toilet before the water refills. Let it sit for five minutes. Scrub with a toilet brush and flush to rinse. Drain cleaner: Slowly pour ½ cup of baking soda into the clogged drain and then pour in a cup of white vinegar. The combination should cause a foamy reaction. When the foaming stops, run hot top water to flush the clog. Wait five minutes, and run cold water into the drain. This cleaning method not only unclogs the drain, but also kills odor-causing bacteria that thrives in the dark space. Keep your pantry stocked with these basic ingredients and you’ll never be at a loss for natural cleaners.

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