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Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

The One, The Only Planet Earth

By Susan Bush
12:30PM / Saturday, May 26, 2007

Bright colors are popping up everywhere as late spring starts to shift toward early summer.[Photo by Sue Bush]
There was time when baking soda was a household cleaning staple, as were vinegar and ammonia. These products are just as capable of tackling household cleaning jobs today for a fraction of the cost and none of the multi-syllable chemical formulas of modern-day cleaners.

Word of warning: bleach and ammonia are poison and if used, directions must be followed and the products, whether used full strength or diluted, MUST be kept away from children and pets.

Baking Soda: More Than A Box In The Fridge

A safe cleaner may be made by tossing a cup of baking soda into a gallon of very warm water. This mixture is effective for cleaning appliances, ceramic tile, bathtubs, plastic lawn furniture, toys, and more. Always be sure to rinse well.

Clean House Recipes


Wet weather followed by heat and humidity nudged lush ferns to unfurl.[Photo by Sue Bush]
There are several cleaning solutions that can be made from ammonia or bleach BUT NEVER MIX THE TWO! When chlorine bleach and ammonia mix, a very toxic, lethal vapor develops.

A powerful cleaning solution is made with 1/2 cup chlorine bleach and one gallon of hot water. This may be used to clean and disinfect any hard surface except for metal surfaces.

Measurements of 1/2 to 3/4 cup white vinegar mixed with hot water creates a degreaser that works well on walls or linoleum floors. Always test in an inconspicous area to be certain paint won't fade or dissolve, or that wallpaper doesn't begin to peel.

Adding a 1/2 cup of white vinegar to a washer rinse cycle may brighten colored clothing. And several "home-made cleaner" books and web sites recommend adding one cup of white vinegar to a wash cycle or a rinse cycle to reduce lint pills on clothing.

A teaspoon of salt added to 1 cup of distilled vinegar may clean hard water deposits from chrome sink fixtures, tea and coffee stains from china dishware, and add shine and sparkle to items made of brass, pewter and copper.

No-wax flooring appears brighter if wiped with 1/2 cup white vinegar mixed with 1/2 gallon very warm water.

Olive oil may help restore the lustre to wood paneling. Mix one ounce of olive oil with two ounces of distilled vinegar and add to one quart very warm water. Use a soft cloth to rub the solution onto the paneling, then wipe the surface with a separate soft, dry, clean cloth.

Tip of the Week: The cleaning solutions described here are much safer for the environment than most of the chemically-enhanced store-bought products. But they are not particularly gentle to skin. Wear rubber gloves when using these products, and open a window or two, since the smell of ammonia, vinegar, and bleach can be quite strong.

And it's worth repeating; DO NOT EVER MIX BLEACH AND AMMONIA!! KEEP BLEACH AND AMMONIA AWAY FROM CHILDREN AND PETS!!
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