Basic Household Green Solutions
1/2-cup pure soap
1-gallon hot water
For a clean scent and to help cut grease, add 1/4 cup of lemon juice to the hot water.
This solution is safe for all surfaces and is very effective for most jobs. For a stronger cleaner, double the amounts of soap and lemon juice. Rinse with clean water.
Mix 1.2 ounces to 3.4 (just under ½ cup) ounces of eucalyptus oil with 1 quart of water. This can be used in a spray bottle, but remember to shake the mixture before using to disperse the oil.
Use a firm bristle brush and scrub with pure soap combined with either table salt or baking soda.
Baking soda alone on a damp sponge is also effective on most surfaces. You can also personalize your scouring powder by adding an aromatic herb or flower. Put the ingredients in a blender and run until the fragrance has infused the powder.
For oven spills, scrub using straight baking soda or combine with the stronger version of the all-purpose cleaner.
Remember to wear gloves when scrubbing.
Commercial air fresheners work by masking smells and coating the nasal passages with chemicals which diminish the sense of smell by deadening the nerves. Avoid these products. Instead, try the all-natural air purifiers - houseplants. Alternatively, try these natural recipes to diminish odor and add a fragrant smell to your house:
· Use baking soda in your garbage or refrigerator to help reduce odors at their source.
· Dissolve 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 2 cups of hot water; add 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Pour the solution into a spray bottle and spray as you would an air freshener.
· Place a few slices of a citrus fruit, cloves or cinnamon in a pot with enough water to simmer gently for an hour or two.
Liquid Dish Soap
Grate a bar of pure soap into a saucepan. Cover with water and simmer over low heat until they melt together. Add some vinegar to the water for tough grease and to remove spots. Pour into a container and use as you would any liquid dishwashing soap.
Mirrors, Glass and Windows
Wash with pure soap and water, rinse with a solution of 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water. Use washable, reusable cheesecloth instead of paper towels.
To fully clean and deodorize carpets: vacuum, liberally sprinkle cornstarch or baking soda, leave one hour, then vacuum again. For tougher stains, try cold soda water or repeatedly blot with vinegar and soapy water.
Most store-bought polishes contain solvents harmful to the environment. Aerosol sprays are wasteful and contain harmful gases.
Furniture Polish: Dissolve 1 tsp lemon oil in 1-cup vegetable oil. Apply with a clean dry rag.
Floor Polish: Melt 1/8-cup paraffin wax in a double boiler. Add 1 quart mineral oil and a few drops of lemon oil. Apply with a rag, allow to dry and polish.
Copper: Try lemon juice and a little salt or hot vinegar and a little salt on a rag.
Chrome: Try white flour on a dry rag.
Brass: Try equal parts salt and flour, with a little vinegar on a dry rag.
Silver: Bring to a boil in a large pan: 1 quart/liter water, 1 Tbsp salt, 1 Tbsp baking soda and a strip of aluminum foil. Drop in silver, boil for 3 minutes and polish with a soft cloth. Or polish with a paste of wood ash and water. Note: these methods should be done on sterling silver only and not on silver plate.
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