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  Nr. 56 - February 2003
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February Eco Tip

by Nehama Weininger, February 2003
Reduce Harsh Chemicals - Make your Own Household Cleansers

Many household cleansers have toxic ingredients. Not only do they emit harmful by-products in production, but you bring that toxicity into your home; potentially polluting the indoor air and creating reactions such as allergies, illness and skin conditions. The benefits of making your own cleansers with non-toxic common household ingredients include reducing harmful environmental impact, making your home a healthier environment, reducing plastic use, and saving money. Following are some products you can make using ordinary household products. Note: These are most effective when mixed up fresh.

Use a solution of baking soda and water or vinegar for the bowl. Sprinkle baking soda around the rim. Scrub with toilet brush as needed. This solution will clean and deodorize.

Sprinkle a cup of baking soda in and around the drain opening. Follow with a cup of white kitchen vinegar. Flush with boiling water. Repeat if needed. (Pouring a kettle full of boiling water down your kitchen sink drain once a week will help prevent the need for expensive and toxic drain-opening materials.)

One of the most effective window and glass cleaners is vinegar and old newspapers.

A mixture of 1/4-cup vinegar to four litres of water removes most dirt without scrubbing and doesn't leave a film.

Use a cloth moistened with rubbing alcohol (isopropyl), soda water, or white vinegar to give your stainless steel a brilliant shine.

To clean all types of woodwork, make a mixture of 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 4 tablespoons white vinegar, and 1 litre warm water. Apply with a soft cloth and dry with a separate, clean cloth.

Alternatively, mix two parts cooking oil with one part lemon juice. Apply to furniture with a soft cloth and wipe it dry.

Also, water rings or spots can be removed from wood furniture with a mixture of toothpaste and baking soda applied with a damp cloth.

A mixture of 1/2 cup mild dishwashing liquid and 2 cups boiling water makes a great spot remover for carpets. Apply with a damp sponge.

Black marks left on your floors from the heels of your shoes can be removed with a pencil eraser.

A clean, low-cost alternative is to soak silver items in this solution until they are clean.

* 4 cups warm water
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* Small piece of aluminum foil

Combine ingredients in a glass dish, or a stainless steel sink. Put in a new piece of foil when the old one turns black.
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