Wednesday, January 03, 2007

alternative cleaning methods

A couple years ago I came across this book at Winners; “HOME HINTS & TIPS-The new guide to natural, safe, and healthy living” by Rosamond Richardson, DK Publishing, Inc. NY, NY, ©2003. [ISBN 0-7894-9299-7] Since it’s come up several times recently, I’ll list some of the recipes for homemade cleaning solutions. (All are taken directly from this book).

The book not only offer safer alternative for your health, but ideas for reducing your impact on the planet. At the end I've ranted a bit about reducing waste. What a great entry to start the new year, enjoy!

The Natural Cleaning Cupboard (pg. 47)
Key ingredients for your natural cleaning cupboard:
Pure Soapflakes
Liquid Soap (no additives)
Baking Soda
Table Salt
White Vinegar
Washing Soda
Borax (use sparingly, although natural not entirely biodegradable)
Beeswax Polish
Steel Wool (varying grades, untreated)
Bristle Brush
Cellulose Sponges
Lemon Juice (cut lemons are great for removing coffee, tea and char marks or odorous surfaces)
Essential Oils (tea tree, citrus, thyme, sage & eucalyptus have dissenfectant properties)
Rags (from old garments and sheets)
Silk Cloth (for cleaning delicate finishes like lacquer & gilt)

Air Freshener: 125ml water, 10 drops essential oil in a spray bottle, squirt upward in air.

Windows & Glass: 1 part white vinegar, 1 part water, a few drops of liquid soap.

All-Purpose Baking Soda Paste: 1 part baking soda, 1 part water. Rub with a soft cloth on surface to be cleaned, wipe with a clean cloth. Uses include chrome, aluminum, pots & pans, fridge interiors, faucets, latex paint (leave on stains for 10 minutes), kitchen surfaces, inside the fridge

All-Purpose Surface Cleaner: 500ml vinegar, 250 ml water, 20 drops eucalyptus oil. Pour in that order into a spray bottle. Shake well. No need to rinse. Spray on surface or pour on cloth. This cleaner smells fresh, cleans grease and dirt is cheap and keeps indefinitely. Uses stainless-steel, tiles & wood and plastics.

Oven Cleaner: to clean, rub with steel wool, sprinkle with baking soda and rub clean with a damp cloth.

Brass & Copper Polish: 3 tablespoons lemon juice or vinegar with 1 tablespoon of baking soda, rub on and buff to a sheen.

Cleaning Silver: Dip the article in simmering water containing a piece of aluminum foil and 2 teaspoons of washing soda. Buff to a shine. The aluminum attracts the dirt.

Moth deterents: Fill cotton sachets with dried lavender, mixture of rosemary & mint, peppercorns or cedar chips. If you suspect an infestation freeze the item, Moths cannot survive extreme colds or heat.

The biggest things you can do to reduce your eco-footprint is to reduce waste. Choose alternative to disposables.
Canvas or string bags while shopping. (some major grocers even give you a small credit for each of your own bags!)
Choose recycled when you can for toilet paper, garbage bags etc. (look for items with 100% recycled, or a similarly high number, simple saying “recycled” can mean as little as 1%)
Use cotton rags instead of disposable cleaning cloths (read; swiffer). Just drop them in your washer.
Rechargeable batteries. (They’ve come a long way!)
Razors with re-fill blades offer less waste.

Use your purchasing power to choose products with little packaging. Buy in bulk. Avoid buying foods packaged on polystyrene trays, which when solid cannot be recycled. Buy second hand (cars, clothing, furniture, books, cds…. the possibilities are endless).

Be aware of take-back programs for cell-phones, glasses and printer cartridges. These items can be refurbished and re-sold or donated to developing countries.

Re-Use. Mend clothing & toys. Use both sides of paper. Use scraps and used envelopes for lists. Re-label binders and files for a second use. Use food jars as storage for sewing notions or small hardware.

The Naked-Lady Party.
Invite your girlfriends to purge their closets. Everyone brings clothing and accessories they no longer need or use, and create a store where everyone gets a chance to try things on and shop. Cart everything off to charity together after the event. A dear friend of mine coordinated this as part of my bachelorette party last May and we all had a blast “free shopping”.

1 comment:

Alison said...

Cara, I always love reading your blog, and this entry is so great. Thank you for summarizing these important and helpful tips on healthy, natural cleaning methods and products. And what a treat that you're suggesting the clothing swap as a way to put pre-loved goods to good use!