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Natural Cleaning

Ever wonder where all of those cleaning chemicals go after you have used them? Into the air? Soil? Streams and Rivers? Maybe you're becoming environmentally concerned about household chemicals or perhaps you'd just like to save a few pennies by making your own cleaners. After all, the phrase "so clean you could eat off of it" didn't originate with the latest in toxic, unnaturally-scented cleaners. Houses have been kept clean for hundreds, even thousands of years by using products found in nature.

Most ingredients for making your own cleaners can be found in your kitchen cupboards or purchased at your local variety store. An important caveat: don't mix beach with vinegar, toilet bowl cleaner, or ammonia - it will produce a toxic gas. Also, these natural cleaners can dry out your hands just like chemical cleaners, so be sure to wear gloves. As always, keep these cleaners away from children.

All-Purpose Cleaner
Use for tile and linoleum floors, formica counter-tops, etc.
1/4 cup baking soda
1/2 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup household ammonia
1 gallon warm water

Combine ingredients in a clean spray bottle (be sure to label it) and shake well. Store safely for future use.

Window and Glass Cleaner
Use a dry cloth or newspaper to wipe clean.
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 quart water

Combine ingredients in a clean spray bottle (be sure to label it) and shake well. Store safely for future use.

Wood Furniture/Floor Polish
Old socks make great "rags" for applying polish and buffing.
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup olive or mineral oil
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Combine ingredients in a clean glass jar or spray bottle (be sure to label it) and shake well. Store safely for future use.

Drain Cleaner
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup white vinegar

Pour baking soda down drain, followed by vinegar. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then flush with 1/2 gallon of boiling water.

Rug and Carpet Cleaner
Combine equal parts water and white vinegar to clean dirty spots; apply and blot dry.

For grease stains, rub gently with baking soda and let it set for 1 hour; vacuum or brush clean.

To deodorize, sprinkle with baking soda and vacuum and hour later.

Natural Insecticide
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 bulb garlic, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper
2 Tablespoons liquid soap
1 quart water

Combine onion, garlic, cayenne, and water in a small bowl. Let mixture sit for one hour, then add soap and mix well. When foam has reduced, strain mixture into a spray bottle. Refrigerate and use for 1-2 weeks.

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