Released May 22, 2009
AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. — The best way to obtain cleaning products that are relatively free of toxic effects is to make these yourself, which may provide several additional benefits:
- Making your own cleaning products is less expensive.
- You save money because you use one product for several cleaning jobs.
- You need less storage room. You control the amount and type of chemicals, and the effect chemicals have on furnishings.
- You improve the indoor air quality and make your home a less toxic place to live.
Choose from these formulas for general purpose cleaning:
Mix ½ cup white vinegar with one cup water.
Mix 1 tablespoon ammonia, 1 tablespoon liquid detergent and 1 pint of water.
Mix ½ cup washing soda or Borax with 1 gallon warm water.
Use this formula for glass cleaning:
Mix ¼ cup ammonia, 2 tablespoons vinegar and 1 cup water.
Rub dry and polish with newspaper or lint-free cloth. Coffee filters work well for shining.
Choose from these formulas for furniture cleaning (relatively non-toxic):
Mix beeswax and olive oil.
Mix 2 teaspoons of lemon oil and 1 pint mineral oil in a spray bottle.
Mix 1 tablespoon mild soap powder, 1 quart water, 1 tablespoon household ammonia and 2 tablespoons boiled linseed oil or good furniture oil.
Mix equal portions of denatured alcohol, strained fresh lemon juice (not canned or frozen) olive oil or boiled linseed oil and gum turpentine. Shake mixture each time before using. This polish keeps indefinitely.
For carpet cleaning use club soda directly on spot or soiled areas.
Use these formulas for cleaning bathroom s and removing mildew:
Use one cup water mixed with ½ cup bleach and let stand five minutes to remove mildew from tile and disinfect toilet.
For cleaning toilet bowl, pour ½ cup chlorine bleach into toilet bowl, let stand for 30 minutes, scrub and flush.
Wash with Borax.
For removing mildew, dissolve ½ cup Borax in warm water and mix with ½ cup vinegar. Make fresh for each use.
These formulas are for cleaning drains:
Cover drains with screens, to prevent them from clogging,.
Flush pipes with ½ pound of Borax in 2 cups boiling water, then rinse. Do this once a month.
Mix 1 cup each of baking soda, salt and white vinegar. Wait 15 minutes. Pour in drain and flush thoroughly with boiling water. Use a rubber plumber's snake if drains are seriously clogged.
Mix 1 cup each of baking soda and salt. Add ¼ cup cream of tartar. Pour ¼ cup in drain, add 1 cup boiling water and flush with cold water. Use weekly to keep drain open.
Use the following formulas for freshening the air:
Open a window or turn on a fan.
Sprinkle baking soda in odor-producing areas, such as in the refrigerator, freezer, trash compactor and garbage cans.
Sprinkle on carpet and under couch cushions. Pour old baking soda down drains with warm water.
Place a dish of white vinegar in odor-producing areas.
Pour pickle juice (vinegar) down drains.
Put used lemon or orange rinds down food disposals and flush with hot water.
- Never mix chlorine bleach with any other cleaning agent – it may create toxic fumes.
- Store all cleaning solutions out of reach of children.
- Store homemade cleaning solutions in well-cleaned containers or recycled spray bottles. Do not store in containers that are intended for other uses, especially for food.
- Label all containers.
- Mix cleaning solutions in a well-ventilated area.
- Use rubber gloves to protect your skin from absorbing chemicals.
- Wear a mask to protect your lungs from absorbing chemicals.
- Discard any half-used products that you no longer need.
- Clean up and rinse surfaces after using toxic substances.
- Keep containers sealed well to prevent harmful fumes from escaping.
- Don't make more than one month's supply of cleaning products at a time.
- Wash hands, change clothes and shoes, and wash work clothes separately after using or being around toxic chemicals such as pesticides and lead.
Embracing a greener lifestyle isn't just about preserving rain forests, it can also mean improving your health, using less toxic products, padding your bank account, and improving your overall quality of life.
For the many uses of vinegar and other less toxic products, go to www.rd.com under "Advice & Know How," click on "Cleaning & Organizing" and then click on "Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things."
For additional home cleaning recipes go to http://www.consumerreports.org.
Source: Melanie Allen, (256) 766-6223