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More Green Cleaning Tips...

Published: 18th May 2010 13:19

Green, Clean and Inexpensive! 

Most of these cleaners are things you may already have at home and in most cases provide a safe non-toxic alternative to bleach or ammonia based cleaners. Note the precautions mentioned where applicable. Once you begin using these natural products, you'll never need or want to buy those expensive cleaners again.

1. Vinegar

This is probably one of the most commonly used natural cleaner, and with so many uses, you'll want to fill a spray bottle to keep handy as well as keep an extra gallon under the sink, just for cleaning. Use it as you would an all-purpose cleaner by mixing 1 part water to 1 part vinegar and use it to clean most areas of your home. It cleans, disinfects and deodorizes safely and effectively.

In the bathroom it works great in the bathtub, toilet, sink, floor and countertops. Try using pure vinegar in the toilet to get rid of rings. It works great tackling soap scum and hard water stains. For tough jobs, soak a cloth in pure vinegar and apply to the stain for an hour or so, then wipe.

In the kitchen use vinegar for the all the appliances, countertops, and floor. Soak hardened cleaning brushes in vinegar overnight to soften the bristles.

In the laundry room, vinegar works great as a natural fabric softener; just add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle instead of store bought fabric softener. It also breaks down the detergent more effectively, reducing soap spotting. This is a real perk for family members with sensitive skin.

Precautions: Vinegar is an acid and if not diluted effectively can eat away at the grout in your tile. It should also never be used on marble surfaces.

2. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is also used to dissolve soap scum and mineral deposits from hard water. It does a great job of shining brass and copper. It works well as a disinfectant for a wood cutting board. Simply cut a lemon in half and wipe it on the wood. Combine lemon juice with vinegar and baking soda to make a cleaning paste. Mix 1 cup of olive oil with 1/2 cup lemon juice to make a furniture polish for hardwood.

Take a used lemon peel and put it through the garbage disposal to freshen the drain.

3. Baking Soda

Baking soda works great as a gentle abrasive cleanser that won't damage delicate or coated surfaces. It is probably most famous for its deodorising properties - open a box and place it in the refrigerator or freezer to absorb odours. This actually works great anywhere to fight smells including sprinkling on the carpet before you vacuum. It also leaves a nice scent if you mix with lavender flowers.

4. Olive Oil

Olive oil has wonderful re-hydrating properties and works great on dried-out wood (as long as it was originally treated with an oil finish). Simply spread a thin coat of oil on the wood and buff.

5. White Wine

Douse a red wine stain with white wine, and blot with a clean cloth to absorb.

6. Salt

Salt also works well to absorb red wine (depends on which is handier, the white wine or the salt). Just sprinkle on the stain, let it dry up and vacuum. Salt is also great for cleaning up grease spills in ovens or burners. While the oven is still warm, sprinkle salt on the spill. If it has completely dried, then moisten with water before applying the salt. Once the oven cools, scrape away the spill and wipe clean.

7. Cornmeal

Cornmeal works well to soak up grease. Simply cover a fresh grease stain with cornmeal, let it sit for a few hours and vacuum.

8. Mayonnaise

This delicious spread can be used for more than tuna sandwiches. The next time you spill water on your wood furniture, leaving a water mark, apply a generous portion of mayonnaise and let it sit for a few hours. Wipe it away and allow to dry.

9. Borax (sodium borate)

Borax is a natural substance that kills mould and bacteria, and makes a great alternative to bleach. It also deodorises and breaks down detergent to improve its cleaning power. Try soaking old towels or gym clothes in a solution of borax and water to make them smell fresh again.

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