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You don’t need harsh chemicals for spring sprucing

Vinegar, baking soda can often do the job

POSTED: March 12, 2012 1:56 p.m.

With the first official day of spring less than two weeks away, many folks are getting the itch to give their home a good deep cleaning.

But even if you plan a heavy-duty cleansing, you don’t need heavy-duty chemicals to get the job done. Everything you need may be right in your refrigerator or pantry.

Long before there were manufactured products claiming to have 50 percent more stain-fighting power or the ability to leave a streak-free shine, people found a way to keep their homes clean and disinfected with everyday items such as vinegar, baking soda and lemons.

As more homeowners are looking for ways to maintain an environmentally friendly lifestyle, old-school cleaning supplies are finding a place in modern homes.

White vinegar can cut grease, remove hard water deposits and soap scum. If you’re concerned about the smell, don’t worry. The scent disappears as it dries.

Lemons and other citrus fruits are great for deodorizing smelly garbage disposals, while baking soda is good for cleaning, deodorizing and scouring surfaces. When combined with vinegar, it can help clean out the gunk in slow-moving drains.

According to Consumer Reports, baking soda can be used to breathe new life into your old tarnished silver. Simply cover the bottom of a glass or plastic container with a sheet of aluminum foil. Place your tarnished silver on top and sprinkle the pieces with baking soda. Cover the silver with very hot water and allow it to soak until it stops bubbling. Remove the silver from the container, rinse with fresh water and polish it with a soft cloth.

Because the baking soda bath removes tarnish completely, the testing agency warns against using this method on antique silver or pieces with an intricate pattern.

While you’re mixing up your own cleaning products, be sure to keep an eye on safety if your blends contain products like ammonia and bleach. Blending those two products in particular can create dangerous, noxious fumes, Consumer Reports testers warn.

When using homemade green cleaners, keep in mind that it may take a little longer for them to get the job done on heavily soiled surfaces like ovens and shower heads clogged with lime deposits. Those types of jobs may require leaving your cleaning solution on for a few hours or possibly overnight.

All-purpose cleaner

3 tablespoons white vinegar

1/2 teaspoon washing soda

1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil based liquid soap

Mix ingredients in a spray bottle or bucket. Apply and wipe clean.


Drain cleaner

1/2 cup baking soda

1 cup white vinegar

1 gallon boiling water

Pour baking soda down the drain or disposal, followed by the vinegar. Allow the mixture to foam for several minutes before flushing it with the boiling water.

Use this drain cleaner once a week to keep drains fresh and clog-free.


Laminate floor cleaner

1/2 cup white vinegar

1 gallon warm water


Mix the ingredients. Avoid over-wetting the floor by using a spray bottle to apply the mixture to the floor. Mop as usual; a microfiber mop works best. For engineered wood and no-wax floors only.


Garbage disposal cleaner

1 cup ice

Used lemon or orange rind

To eliminate garbage disposal odors and clean and sharpen the blades, grind ice and rinds until pulverized.


No-streak glass cleaner

1/4 cup white vinegar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 quart warm water

 Mix the ingredients and apply with a sponge or pour into a spray bottle and spray on. For lint-free results, wipe dry with crumpled newspaper and buff to a shine.


Tub and tile cleaner

White vinegar

Baking soda or non-iodized salt

To remove film buildup, apply vinegar full-strength to a sponge and wipe. Next, use the baking soda or salt as you would scouring powder. Rub with a damp sponge and rinse thoroughly with clean water.


Wood cleaner

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

Mix ingredients. Using a soft cloth, rub into the wood in the direction of the grain.


Non-abrasive soft scrubber

1/4 cup borax

Vegetable oil based liquid soap

1/2 teaspoon lemon essential oil

In a bowl, mix the borax with enough soap to form a creamy paste. Add lemon oil and blend well. Scoop a small amount of the mixture onto a sponge, wash the surfaces, then rinse well.


Source: University of Georgia Cooperative Extension

 

 



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