11 April 2011

Clean & Fresh: green DIY ideas

Spring is here again and winter weather on its way out, which in my book means spring cleaning!  Ever since I became a mom, I've had to look for ways to childproof my life and my home.  This most especially applies to cleaning products!!  How can you clean your floor with Mr. Clean when you have a baby who likes to lick the tiles?  You can't.  At least, I couldn't. 

So, delving deep into the lastest eco-craze and a little into my chemistry background, I've found a few effective and non-toxic cleaners right from the pantry!  It's remarkable what you can do with soap, vinegar, baking soda and a spray bottle!  Depending on what I have available, I have two variations of all-purpose cleaners I use. 

Solution 1
This is excellent for disinfecting and deoderizing your home.  Just don't use it on marble as it will destroy the protective coat.
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp dish soap
Mix ingredients in a spray bottle.  Use to clean and disinfect bathrooms, floors, sinks, windows, walls, etc.  The vinegar smell evaporates once the surface is dry.  If you need a more concentrated solution for toilet rings and the like, just use undiluted vinegar.  For wood floors: reduce the vinegar to 1/2 cup and omit the dish soap.  Use this solution to wash windows as it won't streak.

Solution 2
I use this when I'm running low on vinegar.  Especially good at neutralizing odours and freshening up the home!
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 Tbsp baking soda
Dissolve baking soda in water.  Apply to surface, rinse lightly with water if needed. 

Cleaning Tips:
  • wash windows in the evening, or on a cloudy day since the sun dries the solution too fast and unevenly causing it to streak
  • to banish odours from carpets, sprinkle baking soda onto rugs, let sit for up to 24 hours, brush with dry brush then vacuum
  • soak tea kettle in a dilute solution of vinegar + water to remove the calcium carbonate deposits inside
  • add 1/2 cup vinegar to rinse cycle when washing towels to deoderize and soften them
  • scrub sinks and pots with slightly moistened baking soda for a non-abrasive shine
    • for pots with baked on residue, make a paste of baking soda + water and let sit on surface for 20-30 minutes
  • to clean cutting boards, mix lemon juice and baking soda into a paste, let sit on surface for 10-30 minutes then rinse

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