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17 Apr 2006

Time to Springclean


With Summer or Winter around the corner , depending on where you live, you are probably getting ready to do a household cleanup. Rather than buy expensive and often poisonous cleaning products why not use the natural, day to day products you generally have in your kitchen.

For more about these products take a look at this great article by Annie Berthold-Bond.

The Five Basics for Nontoxic Cleaning
by Annie Berthold-Bond Producer, Green Living Channels www.care2.com

Simple Solution
Learning to clean from scratch—making home-made recipes—can truly work if you take time to understand a bit about the chemistry behind how the materials work. Here are the five ingredients that I find to be the safest, most effective, and useful for cleaning.

Baking Soda
A commonly available mineral full of many cleaning attributes, baking soda is made from soda ash, and is slightly alkaline (it’s pH is around 8.1; 7 is neutral). It neutralizes acid-based odors in water, and adsorbs odors from the air. Sprinkled on a damp sponge or cloth, baking soda can be used as a gentle nonabrasive cleanser for kitchen counter tops, sinks, bathtubs, ovens, and fiberglass. It will eliminate perspiration odors and even neutralize the smell of many chemicals if you add up to a cup per load to the laundry. It is a useful air freshener, and a fine carpet deodorizer.

Washing Soda
A chemical neighbor of baking soda, washing soda (sodium carbonate) is much more strongly alkaline, with a pH around 11. It releases no harmful fumes and is far safer than a commercial solvent formula, but you should wear gloves when using it because it is caustic. Washing soda cuts grease, cleans petroleum oil, removes wax or lipstick, and neutralizes odors in the same way that baking soda does. Don’t use it on fiberglass, aluminum or waxed floors—unless you intend to remove the wax.

White Vinegar and Lemon Juice
White vinegar and lemon juice are acidic—they neutralize alkaline substances such as scale from hard water. Acids dissolve gummy buildup, eat away tarnish, and remove dirt from wood surfaces.

Liquid Soaps and Detergent Liquid soaps and detergents are necessary for cutting grease, and they are not the same thing. Soap is made from fats and lye. Detergents are synthetic materials discovered and synthesized early in this century. Unlike soap, detergents are designed specifically so that they don’t react with hard water minerals and cause soap scum. If you have hard water buy a biodegradable detergent without perfumes; if you have soft water you can use liquid soap (both are available in health food stores).

Mold Killers and Disinfectants For a substance to be registered by the EPA as a disinfectant it must go through extensive and expensive tests. EPA recommends simple soap to use as a disinfectant There are many essential oils, such as lavender, clove, and tea tree oil (an excellent natural fungicide), that are very antiseptic, as is grapefruit seed extract, even though they aren’t registered as such. Use one teaspoon of essential oil to 2 cups of water in a spray bottle (make sure to avoid eyes). A grapefruit seed extract spray can be made by adding 20 drops of extract to a quart of water.

Caution
Make sure to keep all home-made formulas well-labeled, and out of the reach of children.

www.care2.com

2 comments:

Jenn said...

Great article! I linked to you from my blog: http://spaces.msn.com/ladyturtle5366 I wrote about a similar subject today myself.

Jackie said...

Thank you Jenn. You have an excellent Blog and I shall visit it often.