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HOMEMADE, NON TOXIC
HOUSEHOLD CLEANERS

Feel like youíre killing yourself trying to keep your house clean? You might have been joking, but youíre closer to the truth than you think if youíre using expensive commercial cleaners, says Karen Logan, environmentalist and author of Clean House, Clean Planet: Clean Your House for Pennies a Day the Safe Nontoxic Way.

In her book, she reveals the secret of using simple, ordinary ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and salt to make safe, inexpensive cleaners. Here she sets out the reasons for switching to homemade cleaning products and shares some of her most popular cleaning recipes.

When you make your own cleaning products, you avoid chemicals harmful to your family and the environment and save money too!

There are many chemicals in commercial cleaning products that can harm you and your children. Many of the chemicals in household cleaners and pesticides are not adequately tested, regulated or controlled. An estimated 2 to 5 million exposures to household poisons occur every year, and a significant number of them involve household cleaners.

Some chemicals are restricted by the government and some quite dangerous ones are not. Hydrofluoric acid, an extremely dangerous chemical that can penetrate through flesh to the bone without any warning signs, is a completely legal chemical in a commercially sold rust remover. And many household cleaning products, such as furniture polish, oven cleaners, drain cleaners, even air fresheners, are considered hazardous waste potentially harmful to fish and wildlife, as well as humans.

But you do have a choice.

If you make your own cleaners, youíll know whatís in them and save money! Over time, youíll save hundreds of dollars. For example, on a typical visit to the store, you might purchase $20 worth of commercial cleaning products. Using an equivalent amount of homemade cleaners would probably cost you less than $5.

The recipes that follow are nontoxic, safe and just plain fun to use. Their ingredients cost a lot less than store-bought cleaners and they really work. It really is possible to make cleaning safe and more enjoyable.

Earth Scrub Tub & Tile Cleaner

For most everyday tub and tile cleaning, you really need only a simple, pleasant cleaner. Have I got a recipe for you... your own homemade Soft Scrub alternative!

Ingredients: Baking soda, a high-quality liquid soap, white distilled vinegar, water and a 16 oz. squeeze container with a squirt flip-top cap. Only a few types of squirt tops will work for this recipe. Otherwise, they clog. Reusing bottle tops from commercial soft scrub cleaners works great.

Recipe: Mix 1 2/3 cups baking soda with 1/2 cup of liquid soap in a bowl. Using liquid soaps is best because liquid detergents make this scrub too time consuming to rinse off. Dilute with 1/2 cup water. Add 2 tbsp. vinegar. Stir with a fork until the lumps are gone. Be as exact as you can, otherwise, your squirt will be too thin or thick. Keep the cap on, because this mixture will dry out. Shake well before using.

To use: Squirt this cleaner anywhere! My favorite places to use it are the tub, sink and toilet bowl, but Iíve used it for any greasy, grimy job. Itís great for under the rim of the toilet, bathtub rings, sinks and countertops. Itís a soft, mildly abrasive cleanser. Use a nylon white-backed sponge to prevent scratching. Rinse well. If you find that you are leaving a baking soda residue, try using a little less scrub and/or rinse with a squirt of scented vinegar and water. The vinegar dissolves that little bit of leftover baking soda and soap right away. Remember to shake well before using.

Everyday Household Cleaning Tips

Furniture Polish: You can use a little olive oil and vinegar to polish your furniture. Use one part white distilled vinegar and three parts olive oil. Add a little natural lemon oil (not the synthetic kind) and you've got a great polish!

Glass Cleaner: Most commercial glass cleaners contain ammonia, alcohol and detergents that are annoying and sometimes quite irritating to breath. Worse than that you are paying a high price for 95 percent water! You won't believe it, but you can actually use plain club soda for a great glass cleaner, It works much better than commercial cleaners and isn't a pain to breathe.

Rust Remover: Toxic rust removers that are dangerous poisons are at the top of my list of cleaners to keep out of the house. I was absolutely ecstatic when I discovered this simple, natural solution: sprinkle a little bit of salt on the rust, squeeze a lime over the salt until it is nicely soaked in lime juice. Leave the mixture on for two or three hours. Use the leftover rind as a handy scrubber. Rust is gone.

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Written by: Karen Logan, Nontoxic cleaning recipes from Clean House, Clean Planet, Pocket Books, 1997.


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