Can I Introduce You To The Strong But Silent Type? Tips on Chemical Free Cleaning.
No this isn't a dating service. I am actually referring to my good friends, baking soda and vinegar. Used alone or together, these simple ingredients can forge a long lasting love affair with chemical free cleaning. The following measurements are approximate and based on my use of cleaning vinegar which is 10% acetic acid, compared to 5% acetic acid in regular vinegar. My annual FALL cleaning is in full swing. Since I have to get two homes clean in a short time (the apartment we are leaving and the house we are moving into) it's important for me to use cleaners that are cost effective and won't trigger asthma attacks from my family.
Pet Box Odour:
Sprinkle it in the bottom of your cat's litter box before laying the plastic liner in the tray. This helps absorb odour, and aids in cleaning the tray in future.
Every two weeks I clean the litter tray with a paste made of vinegar and baking soda, just rinse well when done. This is very effective for cleaning it while being safe for pets.
Garbage Pail Odour:
I use the same methods mentioned in the pet box section and apply them to my kitchen garbage pail. Any drips from the garbage are caught by the layer of baking soda and odours are neutralized.
Clean Pots and Pans:
Use it to scour baked or fried on gunk in your pans. Sprinkle soda on a damp paper towel and scrub away. Please use caution and care, baking soda is an abrasive and can damage some surfaces.
Get some knee high socks from the dollar store, fill with baking soda and kitty litter (clean and unused of course, eww) about a cup of each depending on the size of the shoes you need to fill. Tie the top of the sock into a knot or securely close with an elastic band. Place the filled sock inside your shoes or boots overnight, and between uses to absorb odour.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup of baking soda in your warm bath. I have a quick shower after and am left with smooth, soft skin.
Plastic Patio Furniture:
I use baking soda and a wet sponge or scrub brush to clean up my white patio furniture.
Clean Your Mirrors, Glass, and Windows:
Invest in a dollar store spray bottle, fill with 1 part water and 1 part vinegar. So mine has 5 ounces of water and 5 ounces of vinegar, ready to go at all times.
Clean Your Coffee Maker:
Based on a coffee maker with a 12 cup capacity: Add 2 cups of vinegar to your carafe, fill the rest of the way with water, up to the 12 cup mark. Run through your brew cycle, minus the coffee, discard vinegar water. Repeat this process with water only to aid in rinsing your machine. I also use a paste of vinegar and baking soda to clean the stains from my cups and saucers (countertops too).
Clean Mould, Mildew, or Soap Scum:
I used to have a hard time finding a bathroom cleaner that was effective enough for tough bathroom jobs. I have a lot of tile, and the grout cleaners were too stinky to stay in the same room with. Yet I knew they wouldn't magically clean themselves! I now use undiluted vinegar, applied directly to tiles and tub. It can still get a little stinky, just don't inhale too hard.
Clear Your Drains:
Mix the soda and vinegar together and have a party in the kitchen sink. I put 1/2 a box of soda down my drain (about 1 cup), pour vinegar on top (about 1 cup) until you get a satisfying sizzle and bubble up through the drain opening, let sit for about 15 minutes, then pour a kettle full of boiling water down the drain to rinse away the soda mixture. I do use this method on my kitchen drain every two weeks, and have never had to buy chemical drain cleaners.
Just for Fun:
Make a mini-volcano- rescue a 2L pop bottle from the recycling or garbage, use a funnel to pour 1 cup of baking soda inside, add a few drops of red food colouring, pour 2 cups of vinegar into the same funnel, stand back and watch the show.
I would love to know your cleaning tips too.
Updated post from 06/2012
*If any of these tips resemble advice from other sources it is because great minds think alike. This post is based on my own experience in using these households items for cleaning, and is intended for informational purposes only. I cannot accept responsibility for undesirable outcomes in your own cleaning endeavours."