Monday, 14 April 2008

Homekeeper Challenge #2

I have long been frightened by the chemical list on the back of my cleaning supplies. Over the past four and a half years that I have been making my home, I have been trying to find cleaner, greener, safer ways to clean my house. Long ago we switched to using vinegar and water to clean the floors, and baking soda as a mild abrasive for the stove and countertops and pots. A few months ago I hunted for all purpose cleaners and bathroom cleaners that claimed (on the bottle, anyway) to be better for us and the environment. But I wanted to do more.

So this week I started doing some research. My goal was to rid my home of all those chemical based cleaners and to try and use homemade products instead.

I started with a little internet research. It was astonishing. My eyes were opened to the vast uses of: vinegar, baking soda, and lemon. Here's a smattering of what I learned:

Vinegar: use as a disinfectant and deodorizer. Mix one part vinegar with one part water, add to a spray bottle and use as an all-purpose cleaner! Can also be used as a fabric softener.

Baking Soda: use as a deodorizer, cleaner and mild abrasive. Because it maintains the pH balance, it neutralizes both acids and bases to eliminate all odours. Will also cause grease, dirt and grime to dissolve in water. Sprinkle in garbage/diaper pails, or on the carpet before vacuuming. Microwave a few tbsp in some water for a few minutes and it will loosen caked on food bits. Can also be used as a cleaner/deodorizer, or to unclog drains (I have the formulas if you want them).

Lemon: use as a deodorizer (fresh lemon smell) or as an antibacterial and antiseptic cleaner (thanks to its acidity level). Also dissolves soap scum and hard water deposits, will clean and shine brass and copper, mix with olive oil to use as a furniture polish, mix equal parts lemon juice and water in a spray bottle and use as an air freshener.

These are just a few of the uses I found, and I am so excited to start implementing them! I'll have to provide an update as to what I find effective and what ideas don't work as well. I was especially glad to find the air freshener idea, because I've heard those spray bottle we get from the store are absolutely awful for you.

Lastly, I also found a few books that provide more ideas. I'm still waiting for them to come in at the library - I'd like to peruse a few before I invest in one or two for myself. From what I can tell, these books literally have hundreds of ideas, and will definitely be useful to have around the house.

Well, I hope this is a little help to you also. Please feel free to leave a comment on any other ideas you use around the house, or natural/homemade cleaners you've been using!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Try full-strength vinegar on caked on food on the stove. Spray it on, leave it for a bit, come back, spray some more on, and wipe the caked on food off. I did this while pregnant, since the idea of using chemicals scared me. I've also heard of baking soda or vinegar (not both ;)) in the wash is nice. You can also brush your teeth with baking soda.