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You need to protect your environment and learn how you can have a very clean house with just three things, a box of baking soda, a jug of vinegar, and just plain old soap. If this sounds old fashioned – it is. You need to protect yourself to prevent further environmental ill health.
Baking Soda | Vinegar | Soap

The Five Basics for Non-toxic Cleaning

Baking Soda
A commonly available mineral full of many cleaning attributes, baking soda is made from soda ash, and is slightly alkaline (it’s pH is around 8.1; 7 is neutral). It neutralizes acid-based odours in water, and adsorbs odours 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 fibreglass. It will eliminate perspiration odours 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.

Washing Soda
A chemical neighbour 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 odours in the same way that baking soda does. Don’t use it on fibreglass, aluminium or waxed floors—unless you intend to remove the wax.

White Vinegar and Lemon Juice
White vinegar and lemon juice are acidic—they neutralize alkaline substances such as scale from hard water. Acids dissolve gummy build-up, eat away tarnish, and remove dirt from wood surfaces.

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 don’t 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).

Mould Killers and Disinfectants
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 aren’t 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.

Caution: Make sure to keep all home-made formulas well-labelled, and out of the reach of children.

Baking Soda top
The baking soda can be used for scouring all sorts of surfaces. When you need to scour a cup or a counter top, you just sprinkle some on and rub. A tough spot when mopping floor will yield to its low abrasion. It also is a water softener in hard water areas. Just put a bit in your wash water.
Another use for baking soda is as a carpet freshener. You just sprinkle it on and leave overnight. The next day vacuum as usual.

Baking Soda cleans down to the shine without scratching. Shake on baking soda, gently rub as needed to clean the surface, rinse, and then wipe off with a damp cloth. It is safe for most surfaces.
A. Counter tops
B. Cutting boards
C. Inside microwaves
D. Refrigerators - inside and out
E. Ceramic cook tops
F. Stovetops
G. Coffeepots/teapots (Tip: just a shake removes coffee/tea stains on dishware and china too!)
H. Drain boards
I. Sinks
J. Pots and pans (Tip: for baked-on, dried-on foods, shake on a generous amount of Baking Soda, add hot water and soak for 15 minutes before washing. Less scrubbing!)

Baking Soda won't scratch delicate porcelain surfaces. Shake on, gently rub as needed to clean the surface, rinse, and then wipe off with a damp cloth or sponge.
A. Tubs
B. Tiles
C. Sinks
D. Faucets

Personal Care:
A. Face (Tip: to make an invigorating yet gentle facial scrub, make a paste of 3 parts Baking Soda to 1 part water and apply in a circular motion to clean face.)
B. Skin (Tip: shake Baking Soda - about 1/2 cup - into warm bath water to soothe and condition skin.)
C. Hair (Tip: shake a small amount of Baking Soda to your palm with your favourite shampoo when you wash your hair. This removes residue that styling products leave on hair.)
D. Teeth (Tip: clean mouth guards, retainers or dentures by shaking about 2 teaspoons of Baking Soda into a bowl of water, then soak.)

Vinegar top
Using a staple from your pantry shelf vinegar is economical, always at hand, ready to serve in a variety of ways. One bottle of white distilled vinegar contains a whole shelf’s worth of specialized cleaners.

To disinfect surfaces and clean glass a solution of half vinegar and water will work just fine. Disinfect by just spray and wipe counters and sinks. To clean glass spray and then wipe with paper for a streak free shine. Disinfect floors with a solution of ten percent vinegar in your rinse water. To soften clothes, throw a cup of vinegar in the laundry rinse water to cut the soap scum that causes harsh clothing. Spray vinegar on the shower walls after a shower or bath to rinse off soap scum from the tiles.

Removing Stains: An equal mixture of salt and white vinegar will clean coffee and tea stains from china cups.
Loosen tough stains: To loosen hard-to-clean stains in glass, aluminium or porcelain pots or pans, boil 1/4-cup of white vinegar with 2 cups of water. Wash in hot, soapy water.
Brighter stainless steel: Spots on your stainless steel kitchen equipment can be removed by rubbing the spots with a cloth dampened with white vinegar.
Soaking pots and pans: Soak normal food-stained pots and pans in full strength white vinegar for 30 minutes. Rinse in hot, soapy water.
No cooking odours: Boil a teaspoon of white vinegar mixed in a cup of water to eliminate unpleasant cooking odours.
When handling onions: A little white vinegar rubbed on your fingers before and after slicing onions will remove the odour of onions quickly.
Removing fruit stains: To remove fruit stains from your hands, rub them with a little white vinegar and wipe with a cloth.
Painting strategy: Absorb odour of fresh paint by putting a small dish of white vinegar in the room.
Oven tip: Dampen your cleaning rag in white vinegar and water and use it to wipe out your oven.
Clean tea kettles: If you get lime deposits in your tea kettle, gently boil 1/2-cup of white vinegar to a pot of water. Then rinse well.
Laundry Hints:
Soft fluffy blankets: 2 cups of white vinegar added to a washer tub of water will make a good rinse for both cotton and wool blankets - leaves them free of soap odour and their nap is soft and fluffy as new.
Scorch marks: Lightly rub white vinegar on fabric that has been slightly scorched. Wipe with a clean cloth.
Deodorant stains: To get rid of stains left by deodorants and antiperspirants on washables, lightly rub with white vinegar and then launder as usual.
Sharper creases: For a sharper crease in knit slacks, dampen them with a cloth wrung out from a solution of one-third white vinegar and two-thirds water. Place a brown paper bag over the crease and press.
Setting colours: When you are colour dyeing, add about a cup full of white vinegar to the last rinse water to help set the colour.
After alterations: When you remove a hem or seam and have holes from thread showing, dampen a cloth with white vinegar, put it under the material and press.

Vinegar as a Cleaner and Sanitizer
Vinegar is well recognized as a cleaning and sanitizing agent. It is especially effective in removing inorganic soils and mineral deposits such as hard water films. As a sanitizer, it is effective against a broad range of bacteria, yeasts and moulds, destroying or reducing these organisms to acceptable levels.

Vinegar's chemical properties make it a cleaner and sanitizer with several important advantages:
• Biodegradable - a mild organic acid
• Easy to dispense and control
• Safe for stainless steel used by the food industry
• Relatively non-toxic and stable - safer for handlers
• Less likely to leave harmful residues
• Pleasant "clean" odour

Where environmental compatibility and toxicity are especially important, vinegar has been used:
• To reduce micro organisms in slaughterhouses and poultry plants
• To reduce mineral and lime deposits in lavatory pipes
• To prevent milk stone build-up in tanks used by the milk industry
• To clean vehicles and equipment used in the construction industry
• To wash and rinse walls and ceilings in restaurants and food establishments

Soap top
Plain old soap ( not detergent bars) will make a fine mopping solution in your bucket. Just grate a bar of plain soap in a gallon of hot water stirring occasionally and let it gel. You can add baking soda or Epsom salts for a water softener if you like. Use this "soft soap" in your mop water to scrub up most floors. Rinse with vinegar water.

Remove Laundry Stains
The key to preventing a spot from becoming a permanent stain is treating it before it dries. Also, remember:
* Check your clothes for stains before washing them.
* Double-check before drying.
* When in doubt, soak spots in cold water.
The Soap Method
Use an almost-neutral pH soap that doesn't contain moisturizers, deodorants, and other unnecessary additives. For stain removal, plain old soap works wonders.
1. Wet the stained garment with cold water.
2. Rub a bar of soap directly into the stain, then rinse.
3. If that doesn't remove the stain, rub soap on the stain again, and then soak the fabric for 30 minutes or so in cold water with a bit of powdered detergent dissolved in it. (If you forget and leave stuff soaking longer, it doesn't really matter; you won't hurt the fabric.) Rinse.
4. If that still doesn't work, rub more bar soap into the stain, scrub it with a scrubbing brush (taking care not to damage the fabric), and rinse.
5. If a second scrubbing attempt doesn't remove the stain, blot it gently with some colour-safe bleach (oxygen-bleach, not chlorine bleach) diluted with water (wear a mask and do it in a well ventilated area), then rinse with clean water to remove all of the bleach.
6. If all else fails, be prepared to live with the stain.
Exceptions To The Rule
Like most rules, there are exceptions. Certain stains require different methods of attack.
Coffee: isn't hard to get out if you get to it with soap and water right away.
Fruit: Put lemon on the stain first. If that doesn't work, then use bar soap.
Mildew: Wash the garment in warm or hot water with oxygen bleach, depending on the fabric, and line dry or dry flat in direct sunlight.
Oil and Grease: Sprinkle some cornstarch or baking soda on the stain, then place the garment, stain side down, on a large rag on top of an ironing board. Iron with a hot iron on the wrong side of the stain --most oil and grease stains will come right out. (This trick works only for oil and grease, which need heat to dissolve.)
Rust: Soak fabric spotted with brown rust stains (which sometimes come from hard water) in a solution of 1 part lemon juice and 1 part water for at least 30 minutes. Do not use chlorine bleach on rust stains.
Tea stains: These are hard to get out, but try soaking tea stains in cool water and applying bar soap anyway.
Sweat stains: Line-dry the shirts outside. The combination of sunlight's natural bleaching properties and drying at lower temperatures keeps sweat stains from turning yellow.


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