Green Spring Cleaning
Safe Alternatives for Chemical Products in Your Home
- Baking Soda is sodium bicarbonate. It has a number of useful properties. It can neutralize acid, scrub shiny materials without scratching, deodorize, and extinguish grease fires. It can be used as a deodorizer in the refrigerator, on smelly carpets, on upholstery and on vinyl. It can help deodorize drains. It can clean and polish aluminum, chrome, jewelry, plastic, porcelain, silver, stainless steel, and tin. It also softens fabrics and removes certain stains. Baking soda can soften hard water and makes a relaxing bath time soak; it can be used as an underarm deodorant and as a toothpaste, too.
- Borax is a naturally occurring mineral, soluble in water. It can deodorize, inhibit the growth of mildew and mold, boost the cleaning power of soap or detergent, remove stains, and can be used with attractants such as sugar to kill cockroaches.
- Cornstarch, derived from corn, can be used to clean windows, polish furniture, shampoo carpets and rugs, and starch clothes.
- Isopropyl Alcohol is an excellent disinfectant.
- Lemon Juice, which contains citric acid, is a deodorant and can be used to clean glass and remove stains from aluminum, clothes, and porcelain. It is a mild lightener or bleach if used with sunlight.
- Mineral Oil, derived from seeds, is an ingredient in several furniture polish and floor wax recipes.
- Soap (NOT detergent) is made in several ways. Castle soap can beuse d as a shampoo or as a body soap. Olive-oil based soap is gentlest to the skin. An all-purpose liquid soap can be made by simple dissolving the old ends of bar soap (or grated slivers of bar soap) in warm water.
- Steel Wool is an abrasive strong enough to remove rust and stubborn food residues and to scour barbeque grills.
- TSP is trisodium phosphate, a mixture of soda ash and phosphoric acid. TSP is toxic if swallowed, but it can be used on many jobs, such as cleaning drains or removing old paint, that would normally require much more caustic and poisonous chemicals, and it does not create any fumes.
- Vinegar is made from soured applied juice, grain, or wine. It contains about 5 percent acetic acid, which makes it a mild acid. Vinegar can dissolve mineral deposits, grease, remove traces of soap, remove mildew or wax buildup, polish some metals, and deodorize. Vinegar can clean brick or stone, and is an ingredient in some natural carpet cleaning recipes. Use vinegar to clean out the metallic taste in coffeepots and to shine windows without streaking. Vinegar is normally used in a solution with water, but it can be used straight.
- Washing Soda or SAL Soda is a sodium carbonate decahydrate, a mineral. It can cut stubborn grease on grills, broiler pans, and ovens. It can be used with soda instead of laundry detergent, and it softens hard water. These items are available from drug and chemical-supply stores.
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