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Green Cleaning Recipes, Tips, & Tricks

from Frugal Folks Tips & Tricks
compiled by "Uncle" Bridge Lindsay
Uncle Bridge is the Lead Frugalier and Webmaster of the website www.frugalfolks.com
(used with permission)

One way you can reduce the number of hazardous products you have in your home is to make your own cleaning products. Wise buying decisions and good management practices can reduce the hazards in the home, in the air we breathe, and in the water we drink.

Tips, Tricks & Stain Removal -"Green" Cleaning

Black Scuff Marks on Floor - Try rubbing with a typewriter eraser. Or try using a detergent that contains ammonia. Scrub lightly with a plastic scouring pad. If that fails rub lightly with extra-fine steel wool. Then wax or polish. Hairspray works on them also. Just spray with hairspray and wipe off. Also works on ink and black marker drawings.

Dusting - Use a makeup brush for dusting keyboards and telephone plus knickknacks.

Heat Marks in Wood Furniture - Glass rings will disappear if you rub them with mayonnaise and white toothpaste. Wipe area dry, then polish entire surface.

Scratches in Wood Furniture - Break pecans or walnuts in half and rub on spot for about 30 seconds until nut feels warm.

Spilled Wax - place a paper towel over melted wax on the sofa/carpet, then iron - the wax will melt into the towel.

Glue - you just need to put some vinegar drops in the container, and shake it and it will turn very soft and very easy to work with. For sticky residue left behind from price tags, stickers, etc., rub the area with a little baby oil (or any oil-based substance) and then wipe with a dry or damp cloth. The residue should come right off!

Lost Contact Lenses - If you drop your contact lenses in a carpet and you don't find it, put a nylon sock in the beginning of the vacuum cleaner and turn it on, vacuum the area and the contact lenses will stick to it and will be very easy to find.

To Make Fabric Softener go a Long Way - Pour fabric softener into a mason jar until it is half full, add water to fill, then cut sponges into decent size blocks and put into mason jar. Throw a sponge or two into the dryer to save a lot.

Wallpaper Removal - Prepare a solution with equal parts of hot water and vinegar then you take a sponge and wet the wall paper generously, and you do this three times and it will loosen easily.

Sharpening Scissors - If scissors are dull, cut into sandpaper.

Shoe Shine - For a spur-of-the-moment job, rub your leather shoes with the inside of a banana peel; then clean and buff with a paper towel or napkin.

"Wool Pills" on your bed sheets? - Simply spread them on the bed and brush them with sandpaper. This will remove all the lumps.

Using Too Many Baby Wipes? - Try using bathroom tissue, and baby oil.

Baby Spit-up on your Shirt - Try putting dry baking soda on a damp cloth and rub on the spot. Eliminates the odor.

Crayon on Painted Walls - Try rubbing with toothpaste or an ammonia-soaked cloth. Rinse and Dry. Or sometimes hot water and dish soap will work.

Chewing Gum on Clothing - Soften with egg white, then brush.

Gum in Hair - rub peanut butter in it.

Chewing Gum on Rugs or Upholstery - Rub with an ice cube, and pull gum off when hard. Mark left can be removed with rubbing alcohol.

Hard Brown Sugar - Put a few apple slices peel side up (or bread), into airtight container overnight. Sugar will be soft by morning. For immediate use place sugar in pan, warm in oven on low heat.

Ball Point Pen - Can be removed from wools, cottons, terylene by using a dry cloth and rubbing alcohol.

Blood Stains - Pour peroxide on before washing.

Carpet Stains - Put 1 part white vinegar mixed with 1 part water in a spray bottle. Spray directly on stain, let sit for 5 min. or so, then clean with a brush or sponge using warm soapy water.

Rust on Fabric - Squeeze lemon juice on the spot, and let sit out in the sun.

Tar Marks - Soak a piece of white rag in eucalyptus oil and rub on the affected area until the lather is quite clean. This method is suitable for the most delicate materials. Or try using peanut butter.

Grass Stains - Usually will come out with vinegar before laundering.

Wine/Grape Drink or Other Spills on Carpet - pour on salt to absorb all the fluid. Let it dry completely ( 1 or 2 days ), then just vacuum away.

Burned or Scorched Food - will wipe off easy if you soak in automatic dish detergent for a while before you try to scrub it out. Works best with hot water, but cold will do the job.

To Clean a Thermos Bottle - Fill with warm water, add 1 teaspoon baking soda. Let this stand overnight.

Your Coffee Maker - Will reward you if you wash it periodically with a quart of water plus 3 tablespoons of soda. To get your coffee maker to run faster run vinegar through to unblock passage of liquid. Rinse pot well with ice cubes and salt. Make sure the pot is cooled before doing this or the glass will break from temperature change. Make sure it's back to room temp before using it again.

Drain Cleaner - pour 1/4 c. baking soda down drain, then follow with 1 to 2 c. vinegar.

Mug Stains - To clean coffee/tea stains, just rub the inside with salt.

Kitchen Grease - Rub powder on spot before washing, make sure the powder is absorbed. It doesn't need to be done immediately.

Fish Odor - Put dry mustard in dish soap to eliminate it.

Onion, Garlic, Fish or Other Strong Odor on Hands - Rub your hands with the back of a Stainless Steel Spoon to take the smell away.


"Green" Cleaners

All Purpose Cleaner
Combine in a clean spray bottle:
Two teaspoons of borax
Two teaspoons baking soda
1 quart water

Window and Glass Cleaner
Combine ingredients in clean spray bottle:
1 part vinegar
1 part water.

Oven Cleaner:
3 parts baking soda
1 part water
nylon scrubber
elbow grease
Combine baking soda and water and use like a paste with the scrubber and your elbow grease. For really stuck on stuff, instead of three parts baking soda mix half baking soda half salt (increases abrasiveness). Keep baking soda off the heating element.

Floor Cleaner:
1/2 cup baking soda
1 gallon warm water
Dissolve baking soda in warm water and apply with rag or mop. For extra disinfecting add 1/2 cup borax.

Fruit Cleaner
Mix in sink, and scrub and rinse vegetables well with:
3 parts baking soda
2 parts water

Drain Cleaner:
1 cup baking soda
1 cup salt
1 quart boiling water
Blend together and pour down drain followed by boiling water. Let set several hours or overnight.

Scouring (Dish cleaning) Powder - Sprinkle baking soda directly on a sponge or rag.

Toilet Bowl cleaner - Scouring powder (see above).
Sprinkle in baking soda and brush as you would a scouring powder, or if the toilet is stained try mixing:
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup vinegar.
Beware, it bubbles.

Tub and Tile Cleaner - Scouring powder ( See above).
If mold and mildew are present try adding enough water to the baking soda to make a paste. Dip a toothbrush in it and scrub the area.

Room Deodorizer
Mix in a clean spray bottle:
4 Tablespoons baking soda
1 quart warm water

Carpet Deodorizer - Sprinkle carpet with baking soda and vacuum as usual.

Furniture Polish
Mix together:
1 part olive oil
1 part lemon juice
Apply lightly with a soft cloth.
Don't make much more than you need. It doesn't store well.

Hardwood Floor Polish/Shine
Mix:
1 part vinegar
1 part olive oil or vegetable oil.
Apply to the floor, then rub it in well.

Brick and Stone Cleaner:
1 cup of white vinegar
1 gallon of water.


 

See related articles:
Non-Toxic Cleaning Tips
"Green" Spring Cleaning
Facts About Chlorine
Holi: The Ugly Truth Behind The Colourful Word

See a selection of books on green consumer issues in the MIG Bookstore

 


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