Non-toxic, Natural Cleaning Products, Part II

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Last week, I began a series of posts about homemade, natural cleaning products.  The first post divulged the many varied uses for vinegar.  Here, I’ll be touting the cleaning power of baking soda.  Its mild abrasive action and natural deodorizing properties make it a must-have alternative to commercial scouring powders.

  • Remove odors from plastic food storage containers and garbage cans:  Add warm water and baking soda to container and soak overnight.  Leave an opened box of baking soda in the fridge and freezer to absorb odors as well.
  • Remove spots on laminate and other man-made countertops, sinks, and enamel stovetops:  Scrub with a sprinkle of baking soda and a damp sponge.
  • Loosen burned or crusted-on foods from pots and pans:  Soak or boil a solution of 2 tbsp baking soda per quart of water in each pan. Let stand until particles are loosened, then wash as usual. Use a mild or moderate abrasive if necessary.
  • Remove marks on walls and painted surfaces:  Many ink spots, pencil, crayon or marker spots can be cleaned from painted surfaces using baking soda applied to a damp sponge. Rub gently, then wipe and rinse.
  • To freshen laundry and help remove grease stains from clothing:  Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the washing machine along with the detergent.
  • To polish silver:  Line a pan with aluminum foil and fill with water; add a teaspoon each of baking soda and salt. Bring to a boil and immerse silver. Polish with a soft cloth.
  • To polish brass or bronze:  Polish with a soft cloth dipped in a lemon and baking-soda solution.
  • To clean stainless steel, chrome, fiberglass, ceramic, porcelain or enamel fixtures:  Dissolve 2 tbsp baking soda in 1 qt of water. Spray onto fixture and polish with a soft cloth.
  • To remove small oil and grease spills on the garage floor:  Add baking soda and scrub with wet brush.
  • Oven Cleaner: Minimize use of the self-cleaning oven option since it consumes a lot of energy.  Instead, a little elbow grease is all it takes:  Moisten oven surfaces with sponge and water. Use 3/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup salt and 1/4 cup water to make a thick paste, and spread throughout oven interior. (avoid bare metal and any openings) Let sit overnight. Remove with spatula and wipe clean. Rub gently with fine steel wool for tough spots.
  • Carpet Freshener:  Combine 3/4 cup baking soda, 2 tbsp corn starch, and 1/4 cup perfumed talcum powder. Sprinkle on dry carpet, let stand 5 to 15 minutes, then vacuum.

These last three were included in my previous post about cleaning with vinegar, but they bear repeating since each one uses baking soda as well:

  • Tub and tile cleaner:  To remove film buildup on bathtubs, apply vinegar full-strength to a sponge and wipe with vinegar first. Next, use baking soda as you would scouring powder. Rub with a damp sponge and rinse thoroughly with clean water.
  • Toilet bowl cleaner:  Mix 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar, pour into basin and let it set for a few minutes. Scrub with brush and rinse. This combination both cleans and deodorizes. Use a pumice stone to remove any remaining hard water rings.
  • Drain opener for slow-moving drains:  Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain. Add 1/2 cup white vinegar and cover the drain, if possible. Let set for a few minutes, then pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain to flush it. DO NOT USE THIS METHOD AFTER ANY COMMERCIAL DRAIN OPENER HAS BEEN USED OR IS STILL PRESENT IN THE STANDING WATER.

Sources:  Earth Easy, Organized Home, Michigan State University Extension

Tag(s): Green Cleaning, Greening the Home, Kitchens And Baths

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  1. Tips to Breathe Easy This Winter | Mount Tabor Meadows, Blacksburg, VA on January 20th, 2012 4:10 pm

    […] Clean and freshen the air with non-toxic products. Here’s a link to making your own natural cleaners at home. […]

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