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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been on a quest over the past couple years to find ways to not buy chemical cleaning products. I've always thought they were bad for the environment and besides that, they smell awful.<br><br><br><br>
It occured to me one day, that before chemical cleaners (and chemicals in general) were created during the 20th century, people had to clean their houses using other things, and why don't we use the old fashioned stuff anymore? There's a show on PBS (who's name escapes me at the moment) that is hosted by this guy who uses plain household items to clean surfaces, wood, clothing, you name it. (He uses Hydrogen Peroxide and Cream of Tartar to clean porcelin, and Linseed Oil and Lemon juice to clean wood.) So, I started thinking that the chemical cleaning industry is a complete fraud, and that I'm going to use safe, plain ol' stuff to clean with.<br><br><br><br><span style="text-decoration:underline;">Here are two things that have worked great for me:</span><br><br>
-Dish Soap works great on bathtubs. It cuts all that soap scum and leaves the porcelin shinier than any 409 I've ever used. Go figure.<br><br><br><br>
-Baby Oil gets other oils and grease off your hands. I think it works homeopathically, where oil cuts oil. Say you've been cleaning your bike chain and soap just isn't doing the trick, rub Baby Oil on your hands. Then, to get the baby oil off, use soap. Or, if you've been painting with oil based paint, don't get out the paint thinner to clean your hands--use baby oil. The stuff works wonders.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
Borax is a miracle cleaner also, although I've never bought it, but people were using that stuff for decades before 409 came out, so why don't we still use it? (I'm also not sure how good it is for the environment--I think it has acids in it.) Just seems funny how easily Americans are talked into buying new products, instead of sticking with the old tried-and-true stuff our grandparents and great-grandparents used.<br><br><br><br>
If anyone else has miracle cleaning suggestions that bypass the chemical cleaning industry, I'd love to hear them. That kind of stuff is so fascinating.
 

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I want to find a cheap, vegan, unscented, environmentally safe alternative to laundry soap. I can't afford to be buying the expensive stuff from the co-op.<br><br><br><br>
An alternative to dishwasher detergent would also be helpful.<br><br><br><br>
Borax is mineral salts. I don't think it has acids in it, but I have no proof
 

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Mix white vinegar with water (1/2 of each). It works great on mirrors, glass & the bathroom for cleaning!<br><br><br><br>
Lemon juice mixed with water works very well as a furniture polish.
 

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here are some suggestions:<br><br><br><br>
Baking Soda<br><br>
A commonly available mineral full of many cleaning attributes, baking soda is made from soda ash, and is slightly alkaline (its 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.<br><br><br><br>
Washing Soda<br><br>
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. Dont use it on fiberglass, aluminum or waxed floorsunless you intend to remove the wax.<br><br><br><br>
White Vinegar and Lemon Juice<br><br>
White vinegar and lemon juice are acidicthey neutralize alkaline substances such as scale from hard water. Acids dissolve gummy buildup, eat away tarnish, and remove dirt from wood surfaces.<br><br><br><br>
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 dont 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).<br><br><br><br>
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 arent 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.<br><br><br><br>
Caution<br><br>
Make sure to keep all home-made formulas well-labeled, and out of the reach of children.
 

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here come a bunch more...<br><br><br><br>
During the time of the Black Plague a family of perfumers robbed the dead. As perfumers they knew well the antiseptic essential oils, and they infused them in vinegar and rubbed them on their bodies; by doing so they protected themselves from certain death. The doctors of the time used the same herbs and essential oils to to protect themselves while tending so many who were contagious. They wore big cloaks over their heads that reached down well below their shoulders. Attached to the cloak over the nose and mouth was a 10 long canoe-like shaped beak full of antiseptic herbs and essential oils. Here is the famous Vinegar of The Four Thieves recipe; it is sometimes called Grave Robbers Blend.<br><br><br><br>
Place a small handful each of dried lavender, rosemary, sage, rue and mint in a large jar, and cover completely with organic apple cider vinegar. Cover tightly and set for six weeks. Strain into a spray bottle. Whereas no home can be made to be sterile, spray the powerfully antiseptic Vinegar of Four Thieves recipe in areas of concern, such as on cutting boards and door knobs, always making sure to avoid your eyes.
 

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clogged drain?<br><br><br><br>
Ideally, use washing soda on your drains once a week to keep them clear. Just pour 1/4 cup or so down the drain, and then flush with water. Washing soda is found in the laundry section of the supermarket. You can use baking soda instead by pouring 1 cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by three cups of boiling water. The boiling water will change the chemical composition of baking soda to become more alkaline like washing soda. If you already have a clog, try pouring 1 cup of washing soda (or baking soda) down the drain followed by three cups of boiling water. Repeat two or three times. If you still have a clog, try pouring down 1 cup of vinegar. Being an acid, the vinegar will neutralize the washing soda or baking soda and there will be some foaming and gurgling, but sometimes this agitation is all that is needed in the end to dislodge the grime.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
sponges:<br><br>
Almost every sponge now sold in U.S. supermarkets is impregnated with a synthetic disinfectantusually triclosan that has been registered as a pesticide with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Not only should we be concerned about washing our dishes and counter tops with triclosan, but common disinfectants may contribute to drug resistant bacteria just like antibiotics.<br><br><br><br>
Simple Solution:<br><br>
Buy only pure cellulose sponges by avoiding sponges in packages that use language such as kills odors.<br><br>
If your sponges exude the distinctive disinfectant smell, throw them out and search for a source of sponges made of pure cellulose.<br><br>
Sterilize sponges by boiling them in a pan of water for three to five minutes, or place them in a dish washing machine and wash with a load of dishes.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
Lightly Lavender Antibacterial Spray<br><br><br><br>
1 cup water<br><br>
20 drops pure essential oil of lavender<br><br>
Pour the water into a spray bottle. Add the lavender essential oil and shake to blend. Spray on the surface and let set for at least 15 minutes, or dont rinse at all.<br><br>
Makes: 1 cup spray<br><br>
Shelf Life: Indefinite<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
brass cleaner?<br><br>
Most commonly used kitchen cupboard or refrigerator ingredients that contain a natural acid, such as vinegar, Tobasco Sauce, ketchup, tomatoes, milk, and lemon or lime juice, will remove tarnish. The tarnish washes away with an acid rub or soak. You might have to remove the lacquer cover if the brass is new. Do this by submerging the brass in boiling water with a few teaspoons each baking soda and washing soda (available in the laundry section of the supermarket). Once the lacquer has peeled off, polish dry.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
dust mite problem?<br><br>
There are some tannic acid powders on the market, but you can easily make your own with tannic acid-rich tea, although you need to make sure to test this on the material you are going to spray since tea stains. Make a very, very strong cup of black tea. Strain, cool, and place in a spray bottle. Spray over problem areas.
 

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more...<br><br><br><br>
Silver Cleaning?<br><br>
If you have a small job, the best silver polish is white tooth paste. Dab some on your finger, and rub into the tarnish. For bigger pieces, use baking soda and a clean, damp sponge. Make a paste of baking soda and water. Scoop the paste onto the sponge, and rub the paste into the silver. Rinse with hot water and polish dry with a soft, clean cloth. For badly tarnished silver, leave the baking soda paste on the silver for an hour or so, before cleaning off with the help of the sponge and hot water.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
Nontoxic Oven Cleaner?<br><br>
To clean my oven, I sprinkle baking soda all over the bottom until it is covered completely with about 1/4 of an inch of baking soda. Then, using a clean spray bottle, I spray the baking soda with water until the baking soda is thoroughly damp but not flooded. After that, this lazy cleaner goes off and does other things. When I think of it, I dampen the baking soda again if it is drying out. Before I go to bed, I do that again. When I wake up in the morning, the baking soda can effortlessly be scooped out of the oven with a sponge, bringing all the grime with it. That's it! The only downside is that you need to rinse out the white residue left by the baking soda, but it sure beats Turkey Ã* La Oven cleaner because there are no fumes!<br><br><br><br><br><br>
Homemade Soft Scrubber?<br><br>
1/2 cup baking soda<br><br>
Enough liquid soap or detergent to make a frostinglike consistency (see note, below)<br><br>
5 drops antibacterial essential oil such as lavender, tea tree oil, or rosemary (optional)<br><br><br><br>
Pour the baking soda in a bowl; slowly pour in the liquid soap or detergent, stirring all the while, until the consistency reaches that of frosting. Scoop the creamy mixture onto a sponge, wash the surface, and rinse.<br><br><br><br>
Note: If you have hard water, you will want to choose a liquid detergent instead of a liquid soap. Most health food stores offer all-purpose liquid detergents and soaps. These are the best choices because they include no synthetic perfumes and dyes, and tend to be the most concentrated. If you are lucky enough to have soft water and can use a liquid castile soap in your softscrubber, consider one in which peppermint has been added, for extra antibacterial action.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
Homemade Furniture Polish Cloth?<br><br>
Dip a soft recycled cloth, such as one of flannel, in the vinegar and oil mixture, and wipe furniture.<br><br><br><br>
Lemon Oil Duster<br><br>
Most commercial lemon oil is not all natural, but may contain petroleum distillates. Contact herbalists for pure sources of lemon oil. Traditionally, lemon oil has been used for furniture because it is so lubricating and antiseptic.<br><br><br><br>
10 drops lemon oil<br><br>
2 tablespoons lemon juice<br><br>
A few drops olive oil or jojoba<br><br><br><br>
Dip a soft recycled cloth, such as one of flannel, in the lemon oil mixture, and wipe furniture.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
Plastic Lawn Furniture Cleaner<br><br><br><br>
1/2 cup washing soda<br><br>
1 gallon hot water<br><br><br><br>
Dissolve the washing soda in a bucket of hot water. Wearing gloves and using a sponge, slather the water onto the furniture, and let it set for ten minutes or so before rinsing. For stubborn stains, redo leaving the water on the plastic for an extra ten minutes before rinsing thoroughly.<br><br><br><br>
Mildew and Mold Cushion Cleaner<br><br>
Tea tree oil is an essential oil that is a broad spectrum fungicide. It is available in health food stores.<br><br><br><br>
2 teaspoons tea tree oil<br><br>
2 cups water<br><br><br><br>
Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle. Spot test on cushions to make sure there is no discoloration. Spray on the cushions. Don't rinse. In a few days both the strong smell of the tea tree oil and the mold will dissipate.<br><br><br><br>
Cushion Cleaner<br><br>
Assuming you can rinse your cushions, after you have killed the mold and mildew, spot clean cushions using the Plastic Lawn Furniture Cleaner, above. Rinse.<br><br><br><br>
Note: Spot test the washing soda mixture on wood furniture first. It is a powerful cleanser, and you don't want to peel off any existing wood finish.<br><br><br><br>
Grill Soak<br><br><br><br>
1-2 cups washing soda<br><br>
Enough hot water to cover the grills<br><br><br><br>
In a pan big enough to hold the grill (or the kitchen sink might work), soak the grills overnight in the washing soda and water. In the morning the grime on the grill will come off easily. Wash with soap and water, and rinse.<br><br><br><br>
that's enough for now.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Wow, you're a mountain of information, Biking Guy. Thanks! I'm making a cleaning recipe list already.
 

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This morning I read about people using coke or products of other producers to clean up clogged drains. I think it´s a good idea!
 

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Can I call you Biking Guy, too? At least for this response? I knew about some of this stuff, but not all of it - thanks so much for the info! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Coke to clean drains! Maybe there IS a reason for me to buy it after all! I quit sugary sodas a few years back, but heck, if it'll clear out my bathtub drain, I'll give it a shot!
 

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I only use baking soda, orange oil, vinegar for general household cleaning. I use a eco-friendly dishwashing soap and detergent. I need nothing else. Most of successful cleaning is understanding the "chemistry", much like the recipies by pghmountainbkr above. BOREALIS -- I find the really concentrated eco-friendly detergents to be far cheaper than anything "chemical". I'm surprised you haven't. It was the reason I initially changed detergents. Try a new store or even online. They tend to be very concentrated and you really should use half of the recommended amounts. Front loading washers require 1/3rd of even that. I love that it is unscented. I work as a chemist so I smell enough petrol-derived products as it is!
 

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For cleaning silver and gold, I found that something works a lot better than toothpaste, but it's really disgusting. Take cigarette ashes (maybe other ones would work also, but I have never tried that), and make a paste out of them with water. Rub it onto silver, rinse clean.<br><br><br><br>
I took ashes from smokers I knew and used gloves for this.<br><br><br><br>
This is a Romanian "recipe" and I never believed it worked until I tried it out.<br><br><br><br>
Also, whenever you make a water-essential oil mix, use distilled water (aquadest). This way, there are no minerals inside your mix, which could be a problem if you have hard water!<br><br><br><br>
By the way, you can make perfume, by mixing essential oils, distilled water and high-percentage alcohol.
 
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