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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • The Green Space: 3 ingredients to clean everything in the house

  • It seems that many are striving for a simpler way of life. If nothing else, a way to get things done but less expensively; like, cleaning the house for example.
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  • It seems that many are striving for a simpler way of life. If nothing else, a way to get things done but less expensively; like, cleaning the house for example.
    There are three things that most people have in their kitchen cabinet that will clean everything in their house. No more expensive, tailored cleaning products to clean just one thing, or the need to carry around a bucket full of different supplies, bottles and sprays to get the job done.
    You'll be amazed at the results; your house will be left sparkling and your pocketbook will be left full!
    The three items are vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice. Let us see what we can clean with this dynamic trio!
    First, we will put vinegar to work:
    Windows: Mix 3 tbls of vinegar, with 1 quart of water in a clean spray bottle. If windows are extra dirty, mix ½ teaspoon of liquid soap, with 3 tbls of vinegar, 2 cups of water.
    General cleaning: Keep a spray bottle of 1/1 equal parts of vinegar and water as an all-purpose cleaner; it's perfect for countertops, appliances, toys, lamps, mirrors, and everything else! Add a sprinkle of baking soda for scouring power to clean toilets, sinks, and bathtubs. Add lemon juice for a nice scent and extra shine.
    Furniture polish: Mix 1/1 ratio of olive oil and vinegar to clean and polish wood furniture.
    Toilets: Your potty will sparkle with ½ cup vinegar to the bowl. Allow to sit for 30 minutes, then scrub. Alternately, sprinkle with baking soda inside bowl and scrub.
    Laundry: Do you have a naughty kitty that prefers to pee on your pile of clothes in the washroom rather than in the cat box? Pour ½ cup of vinegar in the bleach tray of the washing machine to get the smell out!
    Floors: Caution when using vinegar on floors. It will dull wood and linoleum floors, and damage tile flooring with grout and waxed floors. I just say use something else, although others say vinegar works well on linoleum.
    Do not worry about using vinegar in the house, it will not smell like vinegar. The smell dissipates as soon as it dries.
    Second, try out baking soda as a cleaner:
    Oven cleaner: Make a paste of 1 cup baking soda and water. Apply to grimy spots and let stand. Lift off large deposits with a spatula and scrub with scouring pad.
    Tubs and sinks: Sprinkle baking soda on the tub or sink; use liquid soap (or even just water) on wet cloth and rub into baking soda. Rinse well to avoid leaving a hazy film.
    Porcelain cleaner: For really tough spots on porcelain, make a paste from baking soda and water. Rub paste into spot and let stand, wipe clean, and rinse.
    Page 2 of 2 - Drain cleaner: Clean-out the drain by pouring ½ cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by 1 cup of vinegar. Let stand for at least 15 minutes and then rinse with hot water.
    Now, for the lemon juice:
    Metal cleaners: Slice lemons and scrub tarnish from brass, copper, bronze, and aluminum (not only pots & pans, but doorknobs & hinges, too!). For extra dirty or tough spots, sprinkle with baking soda first, then rub with lemon. To clean sterling silver, line a plastic or glass bowl with aluminum foil. Sprinkle foil with a little salt and baking soda, then fill with warm water. Soak silver and tarnish will migrate from items to the foil. Rinse, dry, and buff with soft, clean cloth.
    Soap scum and hard water deposits: Mix lemon juice with vinegar, or baking soda to make a strong cleaning paste. Scrup spots with paste.
    Lemon juice is a natural bleach, so be careful of the surfaces you use it on. Like all cleaning products, it is a good idea to try any of these natural cleaners on a small patch of the surface to be cleaned first.
    There is something intrinsically satisfying about making your own cleaning products and standing back and seeing and smelling the results.
    I hope you give it a try, but be careful – you may find out that living a bit more on the edge of the greenside, is fun!

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