Monday, June 11, 2007

Sherri's Helpful Hints

Natural Cleansers

All-purpose Cleanser: Mix 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons of Borax) with 1/2 cup white vinegar. The baking soda deodorizes, cleans and scours. It also softens hard water. The white vinegar cuts grease, stains and wax buildup and cleans mildew (see below). Note: this solution works great for water deposit stains.

You can also use straight Borax instead of the baking soda and white vinegar. In addition to cleaning, scouring and deodorizing, Borax disinfects.

Bathroom Mold Cleanser: According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, mold can literally destroy the very thing these spores are growing on once they connect with a wet or damp spot. Mold spores cause allergy-like symptoms, and may exacerbate asthma.

To eradicate mold, mix one part hydrogen peroxide with two parts water in a spray bottle. Use the 3 percent hydrogen peroxide that is available for a few dollars at any drug store or supermarket. Spray the bathroom areas and leave to dry for an hour. Rinse the areas off.

Soap: Avoid using a soap containing phthalates, parabens, synthetics or petroleum distillates. Check the label. If you prefer a solid bar soap, go for a clear soap without perfumes.

If you prefer liquid soap, most health food stores carry liquid Castille soaps made with organic oils and mentha arvensis (the plant from which mint oil is extracted). Adding two squirts of this soap to two gallons of hot water will provide ample cleansing power.

Here are some other relatively common household problems and the accompanying cleaning regime:

Carpet shampoo - When it's time to give your carpet an overall "fluffing up" that only comes from fibers that are thoroughly shampooed, use cornstarch. Sprinkle liberally. Wait 20 minutes and vacuum your carpet.

Carpet stain removal - Mix equal parts white vinegar with water in a spray bottle. Spray directly onto stain for a minute or so. Let dry for about an hour. Wipe with a sudsy sponge. (Use the natural soaps mentioned above.)

Clearing away lime deposits - White vinegar will also wipe away lime deposits in your teakettle. (Lime deposits are scales and encrustations of calcium or magnesium compounds ground into powder.) To remove lime deposits, add 1/2 cup white vinegar and 2 cups of water to the kettle. Gently boil for a few minutes. Wait until the kettle cools down a bit. While it's still warm, rinse the kettle with fresh water.

Furniture polish - Add a few drops of natural lemon oil to a few cups of warm water and pour the solution into a spray bottle. Mix well and spray onto a soft cotton cloth that you've dampened slightly. Note: Do not leave the cloth sopping wet. It must be merely damp. Wipe your furniture with the dampened cloth. Wait a few minutes and wipe again with a completely dry cotton cloth.

Mildew remover - Mildew is a mold-like micro-organism that can grow on leather, clothing, the ceiling … even paper. And like mold, it often grows on bathroom stalls. You can safely remove mildew by using undiluted white vinegar. Use a sponge and don't wipe after applying.

Polishing vinyl and linoleum floors - To polish these floors safely and with noticeable results, pour a capful of baby oil to the cleaning water. (Most floor surfaces can be cleaned with a part white vinegar, part water solution.)

Rust remover - Sprinkle some salt directly onto the rust. Squeeze a lime over the rust until it is well soaked. Leave the mixture on for about three minutes and scrub off the residue with a piece of lime rind.

Toilet bowl cleanser - Pour 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 cup white vinegar into the bowl. Let mixture set for a few minutes. Scrub with toilet brush and rinse. You can also use two parts Borax and one part lemon juice.

If you have a basin that really needs scrubbing, you may use straight bleach, although bleach should never be mixed with any other solution, except water.

Water rings - If your lovely wood furniture is sporting spots, these rings have seeped into the layer underneath the topcoat, but not the finish. Use either mayonnaise or toothpaste applied to a damp cloth. Any brand will do. Once you've removed the water rings, buff the entire surface.

No comments: