Green Cleaning The Old Fashioned Way
Old fashioned ways often bring forth the best green cleaning tips. People often ask where my green-ness sprouted. Twenty-seven years ago when I started cleaning homes professionally, the grocery store cleaners I used gave my clients headaches, sinus infections and other maladies. A search for healthier ways to clean took me back to life on my grandparent's farm. Although Grandmother used some pretty toxic stuff like bleach, ammonia and lye, she also tossed together concoctions that took down the dirt. With spring cleaning in full bloom let's take a look at some of these old fashioned ideas.
Distilled white vinegar remains my 'go to cleaner' for many jobs. Beware of vinegar as some is made from petroleum. Food grade vinegar will contain the words 'made from grain,' 'safe for pickles,' or 'food safe.' Avoid using vinegar on stone or composite counters and floors as the acid in vinegar etches these surfaces.
1) Pour a cup of vinegar into toilets once a month to help reduce water ring marks. If they sneak up on you use Mary's Erase It for Bathrooms . It removes rings, rust and iron spots without scratching like pumice stones.
2) Mix a paste of salt and vinegar to remove stains in coffee cups.
3) Substitute vinegar for dryer sheets or fabric softener in the laundry. Vinegar softens clothes, solves static cling and freshens the washer.
4) Boil straight vinegar and wipe on water spotted glass shower doors. Repeat every 5 minutes for 30 minutes. Scrub with Mary's scratch free White Scrubbie Pad soaked with the hot vinegar. The white spots should disappear although the etching may remain.
5) Canadian research has shown that vinegar kills more germs than bleach ' take that stuff to the toxic waste dump.
6) Vinegar kills mold and mildew on most surfaces even in driveway cracks.
Borax ' Ever wonder why your white clothes turn grungy after bleaching them in the laundry? Toss the bleach and use borax for the whitest of whites.
1) Kill mold and mildew by first cleaning the area with straight boiling hot vinegar. Wait 24 hours and repeat with borax ' no need to heat it. Never mix the two together as they undo the effectiveness of each other.
2) Borax kills roaches, ants and fleas. Pour it around the perimeter of the home. It also kills plants and grass so take care when pouring it.
3) Kill bed bugs by sprinkling it on the mattress. Wait several hours then vacuum.
4) Make a paste with lemon juice to remove sink stains. Test a small spot first.
5) A tablespoon added with laundry detergent helps remove odors, stains and brightens clothing.
Cream of Tartar had been a staple of households for many years. It comes in handy for more than cooking.
1) Brass and copper shine when cleaned with a cream of tartar paste.
2) Mix a paste of cream of tartar and hydrogen peroxide to remove rust stains even in clothing. It will not scratch delicate surfaces. Always test an inconspicuous area first.
3) Ants refuse to come out of their hole with cream of tartar poured around the rim. Cover cracks and crevices where ants enter the home to repel them.
4) Tired of ring around the collar? Dampen the collar then pour on the cream of tartar and gently rub. Let it set a good 30 minutes before laundering.
Salt back in my grandmother's day salt was used to preserve meat, clean, polish and prevent fruit from turning brown.
1) Wrap a cloth moistened with salt water around cheese to prevent mold.
2) Remove perspiration stains by adding four tablespoons of salt to a quart of hot water. Pour over the stains and keep moist until the stain fades.
3) Heat the iron then sprinkle salt on a piece of white paper. Iron the paper to clean the bottom of the iron.
4) Salt also kills mold and weeds between the cracks of the driveway or sidewalk. Use a funnel then lightly wet it down.
5) When boiling eggs add a quarter teaspoon of salt to prevent the shells from cracking. Salt also brings the water to a higher temperature to help cook the egg whites.
6) Boil salt and water in burned pans to remove the charred remains.
Yes baking soda was left out of this list. Use it in place of cream of tartar for scrubbing sinks or to calm insect bites. Let this be a jump start to guide you away from toxic chemicals and into healthier living.
Mary Findley is a veteran cleaning expert and Founder of Mary Moppins. Mary built the company on the idea that she could create a way to make green cleaning easier, which inspired her to co-author "The Complete Idiots Guide to Green Cleaning" available on Amazon. The Mary Moppins line of specially designed cleaning tools are eco-friendly, yet industrial strength to give you the cleaning power you need to clean quickly and thoroughly.