Sunday 9 June 2013

Non-Toxic Household Cleaners

I swear to you I live in a house that dirties itself.  After a few hours of hard labour to make it look  clean, I turn my head and find it in disarray with a layer of dust in no time at all.

Luckily, my favourite cleaners happen to be 2 household "food" items that are:

1-Readily available at any supermarket (or probably already in your cupboard)
3-Non toxic

You may have already guessed their true identities, Baking Soda and Vinegar.

I never would have guessed that in my "older" years I would appreciate these 2 ingredients even more than as a child, when we would combine them with a little red food colouring to create volcano experiments during the summer.

Let me explain to you the many ways in which I use these 2 items to create a non-toxic, clean home!

1- The dirty bathtub fix:  My bathtub is GRIME central.  My husband and I purchased an older house, inheriting a tub that seemed to hold on to hard water deposits, soap scum and other grime better than any I had ever seen.  This usually leaves a gray deposit on the bottom and walls of the tub that is hard to remove (and NOT conducive to taking baths).  Enter: baking soda.  After dampening the bottom of the tub with a little water, I give a healthy sprinkle of baking soda to the grime covered mess, grab an old shower loofah, and start scrubbing.  As a bonus you get an excellent arm workout as the gritty particles of baking soda remove that grime from your now clean tub.  After rinsing the resulting mess down the drain, I pour vinegar onto the tub and down the drain to help remove any residual scum.  A nice "volcanic" eruption may occur here too with the leftover baking soda, which always gives me a giggle.  After this, reap the rewards of your hard labour with a nice bath in your newly cleaned, NON-TOXIC tub.

2-  The dirty glass fix:  I made the very unwise decision of not only buying a GLASS coffee table, but also a GLASS vanity top for my bathroom.  Fingerprints EVERYWHERE; not to mention on my bathroom vanity there is a generous layer of mineral makeup powder that despite my best efforts to contain, still manage to coat the surface of my vanity.  Enter: vinegar.  I have tried Windex, I have tried the green alternative to Windex, but I must admit, nothing has ever worked as well for me on my glass items (and mirrors) as vinegar.  If you have an empty spray bottle it's excellent to be able to spray a layer of vinegar evenly over a mirror or table, or you could take the lazier route like me and just pour it straight on your lint free cloth and go to town.  Again, your biceps come into play here as the vinegar in conjunction with your arm muscles go to work!  Work fast to avoid streaks!

3-  The hard water tea kettle fix:  Perhaps my FAVOURITE use of all, cleaning my water kettle.  My grandfather was from London and because of this, we grew up enjoying an after dinner cup of tea when we were young.  I still enjoy this habit, but unfortunately live in a city where there is VERY hard water, and as such, my kettle builds up a gross skin-like layer of mineral deposits after a couple months of use.  It's never fun to look into your cup of tea, ready to taste that first fragrant sip and see odd chunks floating within...while harmless, it's quite off putting.  Enter: vinegar.  The first time I ever tried this, I was truly stunned with the results.  If you've never looked into your boiling water kettle before, I urge you to now.  If you see a white-ish, beige layer on the bottom, this fix is for you.  All you need to do is pour in enough vinegar to cover the layer of deposits.  Turn on your kettle and allow the vinegar to reach a boil.  Once the fabulous vinegar steam reaches your senses, pour out the vinegar and behold the SHINIEST kettle bottom you've ever seen.  Mind you, definitely rinse out/boil a couple pots of water to rid yourself of the vinegar aftertaste before using, but afterwards you'll have several more months of use before needing to give your kettle a "cleanse" once more.

I hope these few tips were handy and opened your eyes to the wonderful cleaning power of baking soda and vinegar.  There are SO many other uses (like the general deodorizing power of baking soda) but I didn't want to overload you with too much information!  I challenge you to start phasing out some of the cleaners that you need to hide away on high shelves or locked cupboards for fear your children may find them and ingest them, and try some of these everyday cleaning cures!

I'd love to hear if any of these has worked for you, or if you have other uses for baking soda and vinegar (or other non toxic cleaning ideas) in the comments below!

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