Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Natural Homemade Cleaners

One of my favourite topics is cleaning your home with ingredients you most likely already have in your cupboards. I dislike using industrial chemicals on a regular basis in my home. I say industrial chemicals, because all matter is chemical in nature and I prefer to use natural, safe and often edible, chemicals to tackle daily cleaning. One of the most effective and inexpensive cleaners is bicarbonate of soda, also known as baking soda. Other equally useful cleaning ingredients are lemon juice (fresh or bottled) ammonia, white vinegar and salt. Read on for my favourite natural cleaning ideas.

Shoe scuffs and marks on linoleum, wallpaper and scrubbable paint: Make a paste of baking soda and a small amount of water. Rub on mark till the mark is gone. Rinse with clear water.

Clogged drains: Pour one cup of boiling water down blocked drains. Then pour 1/2 cup of baking soda into drain and allow to sit for AT LEAST 30 minutes. Follow with 1/2 cup white vinegar and more hot water. Repeat until drain runs freely.

Smelly carpets or upholstery: Liberally sprinkle baking soda on carpets or upholstered furniture and allow to sit for 30 mins. Vacuum as normal.

Pet stains: Remove as much of the mess as possible. Mix a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar and liberally apply to soiled area. Allow to sit for a few minutes. Soak up solution, allow spot to dry. When dry, liberally apply baking soda and allow to sit for 10 to 15 mins. Vacuum. This can be especially effective for repeat offenders because baking soda and vinegar both naturally neutralize odours, so animals are less likely to re offend in the same spot.

Stains in pots and pans: Scrape off as much burned material as possible. Apply a paste of baking soda and water. Allow to sit for a few minutes and then scrub. Repeat with fresh paste until stain is gone. Alternatively, for burned on foods, apply straight ammonia to the stain and add some hot water. Let sit overnight and by morning the burn will wipe off.

Laundry booster: Add a scoop of baking soda to your wash to boost detergent and remove stains. Add vinegar to your rinse cycle to soften clothes and remove soap residue. Especially useful for washing cloth diapers and reusable menstrual pads. You can use vinegar instead of bleach to remove stains and kill bacteria and it won't leave a residue to irritate sensitive skin.

Fabric Softener substitute: If you prefer to line dry your clothes but miss using fabric softener, try using a cup of vinegar in your rinse cycle. This naturally softens clothes.

Soap scum on shower doors and tub surround: Use straight lemon juice to cut through soap scum and disinfect you shower. Will also polish chrome taps.

Stains on table linens: If you have a stubborn stain on a fabric you don't want to bleach try lemon juice. I highly recommend testing in an inconspicuous place first!!! Apply fresh lemon juice to stain and place dampened area in the direct sunlight. Repeat daily until stain fades. Using a clothesline is probably easiest.

Remove product buildup from your hair: This is my favourite remedy!!! My grandmother got this remedy from her mother. Wash hair as normal. Have ready a mixture of half water and half white vinegar. Pour over hair, being sure to saturate thoroughly. Let stand 5 minutes and then rinse with clear water. Hair will be soft and manageable.

Litter box deodourizer: Mix baking soda in with your fresh litter to neutralize odours.

Polish metals: Soak metal in white vinegar or sponge onto metal and allow to sit for a few minutes. Polish with soft cloth.

Remove limescale and hard water buildup: This remedy works best when used regularly. Apply lemon juice to soiled area. Allow to sit a few minutes and then sprinkle with table salt. Scrub scrub scrub!!! Repeat as required.

As with all cleaning remedies, it is best to test in an inconspicuous place first. The beauty of natural cleaners is that they can do very little damage!!

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