chemicals that have commonly been used in our cleaning products
have recently come under close scrutiny, and for good reason!
There was a
time when natural cleaning products were the norm, and it wasn't
that long ago. It was our grandmothers' generation that had
a small selection of household cleaners. Many of them were
mixed right in on the same shelves as their cooking ingredients.
There's a simple reason for that. It's because these were
cooking ingredients! These ingredients were used to clean
floors and countertops, brighten laundry, remove bad odors, and
virtually do every cleaning task in the home. They handled
almost every task imaginable effectively, efficiently, and most
The irony is
that these same natural, harmless cooking ingredients are still
on our shelves. But through an effective campaign of
brainwashing, we've been made to think that we need to go out and
spend a lot of money on packaged poisons, that are (allegedly)
more powerful, tougher, and all around more effective. Are
they more effective? Well, think about it, just how much
power do you need to remove... dirt? Dirt has been around
for centuries, and it's been cleaned very well by natural methods
for the same amount of time.
I won't even
go on to list all of the harmful chemicals that are in these
"fancy-new-fangled cleansing products" because I'm sure that you
innately know that these are not good for you when you use them.
Many people have suffered minor to severe consequences from both
the occasional and the consistent use of these products. But
This miracle cleaner is a weak form of acetic acid that forms
through the fermentation of sugars or starches. It is
completely natural and safe. The best form for cleaning is
plain white vinegar, and it
can be found in most supermarkets. Compared to it's
un-natural counterpart cleaners, you'll find that it is very
inexpensive to buy, and very effective.
Basically, you'll want to have two spray bottles which you will
mark "100% Vinegar" and the other "50% Vinegar / 50% Water".
You'll use one or the other, determined by the severity of the
task at hand. Use it full strength for tough jobs like gooey
sticker residue, shower curtain mildew, and toilet bowls.
Spray with the 50/50 formulas for countertops, refrigerator
cleanup, and almost every kind of surface cleaning.
also a great "odor-remover". Pour a cup into the sink or
garbage disposal, leave for about an hour. Wipe your hands
in vinegar after chopping onions or garlic. Leave a bowl of
vinegar in a room overnight to remove persistent odors.
Clean out pet litter boxes by spraying down and wiping clean.
through dirt and chemical residue. Mix 4 parts vinegar with
1 part salt to wipe down soap buildup on faucets. Soap
showerheads overnight in straight vinegar to remove the corrosion
or chemical buildup. It can also be used on
no-wax floors (1 cup vinegar to 1 gallon of water) to bring out a
beautiful shine. Use vinegar to clean your wood paneling by
using one half of a cup of vinegar, a half cup of olive oil, and 2
cups of warm water. Apply with a soft cloth, and then dry
with another clean soft cloth.
be cleaner and brighter with the use of vinegar. To make
your bright clothes brighter, as well as decrease lint on
clothing, add a half cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle. To
remove stubborn stains, gently rub with vinegar before washing.
To remove soap residue from the washing machine, run an empty (no
laundry) cycle with one cup vinegar added. To remove the
smell of smoke from clothing, fill a tub with hot water mixed with
a cup of vinegar, and hang clothing in the same room overnight.
To remove iron scorches from clothes, mix vinegar and salt and
Baking Soda -
(or bicarbonate of soda, as it is also known) is a naturally
occurring material, present in most organic life forms. It can be
"made" from sodium carbonate, or soda ash. The soda ash is
dissolved in a carbon dioxide rich solution, and sodium
bicarbonate (baking soda) precipitates out. You'll find it
in the baking ingredient section of you grocery store at an
unbelievably low price.
never tried cleaning your oven, bath tub, sink, or countertops
with baking soda, you're going to be amazed at how easily and how
well it works! The first time I tried it in the oven, I felt
so betrayed by the chemical companies that had made me think that
I needed their smelly, eye and skin-burning formulas. Baking
soda works much the same way as vinegar does in that it is a
wonderful cleaner and odor remover. So you will want to use
baking soda for jobs that require more of an abrasive quality.
soda to freshen up the scent in any room that has carpet by
shaking some into the carpet. Let it sit for at least 15
minutes to absorb any odors, and then vacuum it up. Sprinkle
some into the bottom of hampers, trash cans, litter boxes,
ashtrays, or anywhere else that bad odors reside. And
of course we all know about leaving a box of baking soda in the
refrigerator to absorb smells. You can do this trick in any
cupboard or closet as well.
time you want to clean up a stain, scorch mark, or chemical
residue and want an abrasive quality for extra cleaning power,
reach for the box of baking soda. Once you see how well this
simple ingredient works, you will want to buy it in the large
size. It is a powerful cleansing agent, and truly
unrecognized by most for it's cleaning ability.
Washing Soda -
is actually sodium carbonate, and can usually be found in the
laundry detergent isle of your supermarket. Arm and Hammer
is one company that sells it, but there are others. Even
though it is in the same family as baking soda, it is not the
same. It is processed differently.
soda is much more
caustic/alkaline, with a pH of 11, and while it doesn't give off
harmful fumes, you do need to wear gloves. It is a tougher
cleaner, capable of breaking down petroleum-based products, waxes,
lipstick, etc... So when you want to cut through grease,
reach for the washing soda.
product is more caustic in nature, you will want to make sure to
use it on surfaces that can withstand it, such as glass and stone.
It is strong enough to peel off paint and wax. So don't use
it on wax floors unless you want to remove the wax.
laundry detergent that was recommended to me by someone at the
"all natural health forum" is equal parts of:
- Washing soda
- Baking soda
using this formula now for several months and have been extremely
pleased. My laundry has remained soft, the colors have
remained true, and the best part is that they always come out nice
and clean, without the heavy artificial scent which always use to
make me sneeze.
Scents To Make Your House a Home
Now that you've
cleaned your house naturally and removed the unwanted odors,
you'll want to replace them with beautiful fresh scents.
This can be done quite effectively with essential oils.
Essential oils are actual cells from plants, they are not
synthetic like those found in your toxic cleansers. Not only
do they smell good, they have the actual properties that are found
in the plant that they come from. For example,
Eucalyptus essential oil (the oil
of the leaves of the tree), would have the same properties of the
tree that it came from, which is antiseptic, expectorant and
antibacterial. Therefore, not only would you get to smell
the wonderful robust scent, you would reap the extra cleansing
benefits as well.
powerful antiseptics would be Tea Tree,
are other reasons to add scent. One reason of course, would
simply be because you enjoy a particular scent. But another
reason would be to get properties that would help to change the
way you feel. For example, the bedroom would be a good place
to use a relaxing scent such as Geranium,
Jasmine, Ylang Ylang,
or Lavender. For a
kitchen atmosphere you might enjoy some comforting scents such as
or Grapefruit. To help
your concentration in the office, you may like to use
Rosemary or Lavender.
These are just a few examples of the types of properties found in
essential oils for scenting a room, you can either add them to a
diffuser, buy candles that are pre-made with them. Add a
drop or two to a light bulb, or spray them in a spritzer bottle
mixed with water. Essential oils are extremely concentrated
and should be handled with care. Do not let them touch your
skin, do not ingest them, and use only a few drops at a time.
I would recommend buying a good book on the subject before using
essential oils while cleaning by adding them to your cleaning
products. For example, add a few drops of
Eucalyptus or Pine
essential oil to your spray bottle when spraying the kitchen or
bathroom counters and floors with your vinegar spray. Add
some lovely fresh scent to your clothing by placing a dampened
washcloth, with 10 drops of Bergamot,
Lavender essential oil on it,
into the dryer as your laundry dries. Make a sachet by
placing some dried whole herbs in some netting or lace and place
them in your closet or drawers. Now you can see that using
natural cleaning methods doesn't mean that you have to forgo
beautiful fresh scents.
Be clean, be fresh, be happy... and be
Vinegar: (Almost) the Only Cleaner You'll
Ever Need -
by NoŽl-Marie Taylor
Cleaning with Baking Soda -
by NoŽl-Marie Taylor
The Wonders of Washing Soda
House Cleaning with Essential Oils
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and your family all-natural web sites and products.