Friday, 2 March 2012

My All Natural Cleaning Arsenal

   I grew up the daughter of a granola loving, health store regular, mother.  The other kids at school took Joe Louis to school for snacks, I took oatmeal cookies, and if we were really good girls, mom would put carob chips in them for a treat.  The other kids ate Kraft Peanut Butter, we had to skim the oil off of the top of the ground peanut peanut butter.  The other kids ate Flintstone vitamins, we ate ones the size of a pillow that mom got at the health food store.  I could not wait until I grew up and could eat junk food, like all of the other kids.
    When I had my own children my resentment for everything healthy began to melt away.  In many ways I have become my mother (minus that nifty bandana thing she wore on her head, and the bell bottom jeans).  I make most of my food from scratch, to save money and because I like to know what my children are eating.  I draw the line at carob chip cookies, but different strokes for different folks.  I am now really coming around to natural cleaners.  I think if they are toxic to germs then what are they to us?
    I have really been noticing on my beautiful new obsession, Pinterest that there are a lot of entries about "8 uses for vinegar".  I really am not a fan of the smell of vinegar, and so I tend to shy away, even if it is wonderful.  I instead reach of my fresh smelling, naturally bleaching, natural antiseptic lemon juice.  I am also a BIG fan of baking soda.  I keep my baking soda in a Tupperwear shaker, and another one in larger Tupperwear container to refill my shaker.
  Bathtub scrub -  In my upstairs bathroom I keep a large preserve jar full of a mixture of equal parts baking soda with coarse salt.  This makes the best bathtub cleaner.  For really bad soap scum (for when I have been lazy) I like to mix the baking soda / salt with lemon juice.  I make a paste of it, then scrub scrub scrub.  This works really great for cleaning the top of the stove also.  The salt is a great abrasive and like I said, the lemon juice is a natural bleaching agent.
  Microwave Cleaner -   To clean my microwave I put a cup of lemon juice and water in the microwave and zap it for 5 minutes.  Let it cool a bit, then wipe away.  It makes the microwave smell great and you don't need to wash the chemicals off, because there are none!
   Laundry freshener -   I recently purchased some Borax so that I could make "goop" with the kids.  I read on the box that it was a "natural freshener".  It just so happened that a certain little girl was on a real bedwetting streak, and I had some not so great smelling sheets that needed cleaning.  Normally I add a healthy dose of Lysol to pee sheets, but I thought I would put Borax to the test.  I have a new love!  Not only did the sheets not smell like urine, they smelled like I had just brought them in from the clothes line.  Not only that, they felt softer, not only that, they looked brighter.  So I have stumbled upon an ancient product that is naturally occurring that seems to be a miracle.  I just did a load of grimy socks.  I try not to bleach them too much because it breaks down the fibers, so my socks have a little bit of a grey ting to them.  I decided to do a little experiment.  I soaked the socks in the washing machine with a healthy dose of Borax for 15 minutes.  I added lemon juice to the rinse cycle.  I then rewashed them because my family has really sensitive skin.  The socks are now white.  I think I'm in love.
   Removes baked on food - Last night I discovered pure magic.  I had made sausages for dinner.  I baked them in my stone wear lasagna dish which I love.  It is however not that easy to clean baked on food off of it.  I tried another experiment last night.  I sprinkled baking soda really thick in the dish, then poured apple cider vinegar ( I know I'm a hypocrite, but the apple cider vinegar does not smell as bad as white vinegar).  I let it sit overnight.  This morning I did not expect anything.  I figured that I would have to scrub until my arm fell off to get the baked on food off.  So I emptied the dish into the sink, and the baked on food, all slid out.  I could not believe my eyes!  This is a WONDERFUL trick that I will use in the future.

   I am now going to do a lot more experimentation with natural cleaners.  So if you hear about a house explosion in Tweed, that would probably be me.

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