Cleaning Green, by Carissa Hercula

Baking soda cleans almost everything: laundry (1-2 cups per load), cleaning coffee and tea stains out of your mugs, freshening your carpets without harmful VOCs, mix with water to form a paste to clean your tub, tiles, sink, and toilet. Baking soda also works as a toothpaste in a pinch.

Vinegar also cleans almost everything: use in your carpet steam cleaner equal parts water and vinegar - the vinegar smell evaporates as it dries, and works better than "fabric" and "carpet refreshers" with (again) harmful VOCs (think Febreeze substitute). A cup of vinegar left out overnight has a deodorizing effect. Vinegar kills weeds safely, washes windows and is antibacterial when left on a surface for at least 30 seconds (same as bleach, but not harmful to kids or pets) Vinegar does all the jobs Windex can do. I use it almost daily around the house - cleaning doorknobs and light switches during flu season, and wiping the table off, mopping the floor, counters and oven. The only problem I have with vinegar is it doesn't get the stuck-on grease off by itself. For that, I use a paste of water and baking soda, and spray the vinegar on it. The chemical reaction lifts off most grease, most stains in the clothes, and spots on the carpet. Vinegar also gets pencil and crayon off the walls if you have 'little artists' in the family.

If vinegar's not your thing, and baking soda's not on hand, and you need to clean your tub (or your brass bottom pots!) cut a lemon in half and sprinkle it well with table salt. Use the lemon as a scrubbie and watch the scum and stains disappear! Rinse with water and you've got a clean tub (or shiny pot bottom!). Works for most grease in the oven, but messier to rinse off!

If you want to clean your carpets, but baking soda and/or vinegar aren't around, sprinkle table salt across the floor, work it in and vaccuum up. I don't know why it works, but it leaves the carpet feeling fantastic, and odor free!

Ammonia takes care of the blackened grease in the stove (oven and ranges). It's not something I often like to use due to the smell. It occurs naturally, and cleans ovens & grease that vinegar can't cut, and gets grass stains out of everything (clothes, carpet, shoes).

Gardening Tip: 1tsp baking soda/1qt of H2O makes an anti-fungal spray for plants suceptible to molds - i.e. pumpkin


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