Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Common Household Cleaners

In keeping with the frugal/green theme that I have going I thought I would share an email that Trace sent to me. In my day to day cleaning I use alot of vinegar and baking soda, that will generally get most of the cleaning done. I do take the mineral oil to my wooden furniture (this helps a great deal if you have any scratches on your furniture too!). I haven't tried the toothpaste or the rubbing alcohol but do have a tip to add. If you have stickers on windows you can remove the sticky bottom stuff with a little elbow grease and lemon extract. The old owners of our house put stickers on our fridge that I will be removing in this manner.
Without further ado:

White Vinegar
A natural disinfectant and deodorizer, white vinegar can be used as an
all-purpose cleaner on most surfaces around your home. Try mixing a solution
of half water and half vinegar in a spray bottle, and use it to cut grease
and remove mildew and other stains from all your bathroom and kitchen
surfaces. Vinegar can also be used as an effective and hypoallergenic fabric
softener; add 1/2 cup to every load during the rinse cycle.
-I use this stuff full strength EVERYWHERE! I keep a spray bottle in the kitchen and all bathrooms, for about $1 a gallon you can't beat it! I found when using it to clean glass it was streaky if not full strength.

Baking Soda

Baking soda has already earned its reputation as a great natural deodorizer,
but did you know it can also be used as a gentle and effective household
scouring agent? For instance, to treat hardened stains on easily scratched
surfaces like stovetops or refrigerator shelves, try sprinkling baking
powder directly on top of the stain and scrub with a damp sponge until clean
You can also use baking soda to deodorize and remove some of the buildup
from a dishwasher's interior; simply pour a cup of it into the machine and
run the rinse cycle.
Another thing I buy in bulk, a good trick I use with my toilets is to pour 1 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar right in the bowl, and let it sizzle while I clean the rest of the bathroom. A quick swish with the toilet brush and it sparkles!! (think this might have been a Down-To-Earth Trick)

Lemon Juice
This natural disinfectant and bleaching agent has a variety of uses both in
and out of the kitchen. To sterilize wooden cutting boards, rub the cut side
of a lemon half over the entire surface of the board, then rinse with hot
water. If you need to tackle a stain (on clothing or another surface), try
mixing lemon juice with baking soda to make a paste and apply it to the spot
wipe away after 10 minutes. Due to its highly acidic nature, lemon juice
can even be used to dissolve soap scum, hard water deposits, mold and mildew
Plus, even the peel can be put to good use; grinding the peel of an entire
lemon through a garbage disposal will freshen its blades and the drain below
Lovely kitchen fragrance when you put it in the garbage disposal as well :)

Valued for its deodorizing and disinfectant properties, Borax (sodium
borate) is an excellent multipurpose cleaner that's especially well suited
to cleaning painted and wallpapered surfaces. For an effective floor and
wall cleaning solution, mix 1/3 cup of Borax into 1 gallon of warm water,
then add one tsp of liquid dish soap. To use the substance as a tile grout
cleaner, combine 1/4 cup of Borax with 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1 spoonful
of hot water to form a paste; apply to the grout, scrub and rinse thoroughly
Borax can most likely be found in the cleaning aisle of your local

Washing Soda
Available in the laundry aisle of most supermarkets, washing soda not only
boosts the power of regular laundry detergent (add ½ cup to each load of
laundry along with your regular detergent), it can also be safely used to
clean bathroom and kitchen surfaces, cookware, plastic appliances and
concrete floors. (Do not use this substance on fiberglass or aluminum
surfaces, as it may cause discoloration. ) Simply dissolve 1/3 cup of washing
soda into a gallon of warm water, and apply to the desired surface with
either a sponge or scrubbing brush as appropriate.

Isopropyl Alcohol

Who knew this medicine-cabinet staple could have so many practical uses
around the house? Use it to disinfect and clean grime from often-handled
phones, computer keyboards, doorknobs and switch plates, as well as to
remove dust from decorative candles (alcohol won't ruin the wick, as water
might). Rubbing alcohol is also effective at combating fresh ink stains on
clothing or carpets; try using a soaked cotton ball to blot away the spots.
(Isopropyl alcohol may not be safe to use on all materials; do a test on a
discreet area of the item before tackling larger stains.)


An excellent oil absorber, cornstarch can be mixed with water to form a
paste to clean grease from stovetops, vent hoods, cabinetry and other grease
magnets around the kitchen. You can also use cornstarch to deodorize and
refresh carpeting; sprinkle a liberal amount over rugs or carpets and wait
20 minutes before vacuuming away.

Mineral Oil

Put down the Pledge! This all-natural substance can be used to give all your
furniture a good shine; use it straight, or add a few drops of essential oil
or lemon juice to add a pleasant scent. You can also use mineral oil to
rehydrate wooden cutting boards and prevent splits and cracks, which can
harbor dangerous bacteria. Simply use a clean cloth to rub the oil into the
board, working in the direction of the grain; let it absorb for several
minutes, then wipe off excess oil with a clean, dry cloth.

Coarse Salt

This natural abrasive is ideal for scouring dried- or burned-on food from
your cookware; it's also an effective polishing agent for copper pots and
pans: Just sprinkle salt on the cut side of a lemon half and rub on the
copper surface until shiny. You can also use salt to clean up fresh spills
in the oven; sprinkle some on stains to absorb grease and moisture, then
wipe off with a damp cloth.

Good for more than polishing up your pearly whites, toothpaste can also be
used to remove tarnish and restore shine to silver. Discover a water stain
on your wooden coffee table? Dab a bit of toothpaste on the spot, allow it
to dry, then wipe away to eliminate the mark.

1 comment:

Em said...

The other thing that works great to get stickers off is a blow dryer. Just run the blow dryer for a bit, then rub with some soap and water. It takes a lot less elbow grease this way.