Cleaning Tips

Green cleaning tips

Safe, non-toxic formulas, techniques and products for cleaning in your home.

1. Home made Substitutions

There are many inexpensive, easy-to-use natural alternatives which can safely be used in place of commercial household products. Here is a list of common, environmentally safe products which can be used alone or in combination for a wealth of household applications.
Baking Soda – cleans, deodorizes, softens water, scours.
Soap – unscented soap in liquid form, flakes, powders or bars is biodegradable and will clean just about anything. Avoid using soaps which contain petroleum distillates.
Lemon – one of the strongest food-acids, effective against most household bacteria.
Borax – (sodium borate) cleans, deodorizes, disinfects, softens water, cleans wallpaper, painted walls and floors.
White Vinegar – cuts grease, removes mildew, ordors, some stains and wax build-up.
Washing Soda – or SAL Soda is sodium carbonate decahydrate, a mineral. Washing soda cuts grease, removes stains, softens water, cleans wall, tiles, sinks and tubs. Use care, as washing soda can irritate mucous membranes. Do not use on aluminium.
Isopropyl Alcohol – is an excellent disinfectant. (It has been suggested to replace this with ethanol or 100 proof alcohol in solution with water. There is some indication that isopropyl alcohol build-up contributes to illness in the body. See http://drclark.ch/g)
Cornstarch – can be used to clean windows, polish furniture, shampoo carpets and rugs.
Citrus Solvent – cleans paint brushes, oil and grease, some stains. (Citrus solvent may cause skin, lung or eye irritations for people with multiple chemical sensitivities.)
Is Borax Safe? Borax is considered a mild skin irritant similar to baking soda. The MSDS lists borax as a health hazard of 1, similar to salt and baking soda. A health concern with borax is with its potential to disrupt the reproductive system. Studies have not been done in humans regarding this; however, potential reproductive issues in mice are suspected from high levels of ingested borax. Use of borax for home cleaning formulas, where no borax is ingested, has not been shown to pose health hazards. Borax is a natural substance which is non-carcinogenic, does not accumulate in the body, or absorb through the skin. It is not harmful to the environment.

2. Formulas

Combinations of the above basic products can provide less harmful substitutions for many commercial home products. In most cases, they’re also less expensive. Here are some formulas for safe, alternative home care products:

Note: These formulas and substitutions are offered to help minimize the use of toxic substances in your home, and reduce the environmental harm caused by the manufacture, use and disposal of toxics. Results may vary and cannot be guaranteed to be 100% safe and effective. Before applying any cleaning formulations, test in small hidden areas if possible. Always use caution with any new product in your home.
Make sure to keep all home-made formulas well-labelled, and out of the reach of children.
All-Purpose Cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons borax) into 1/2 gallon (2 litres) water. Store and keep. Use for removal of water deposit stains on shower stall panels, bathroom chrome fixtures, windows, bathroom mirrors, etc. Or use a citrus-based natural all-purpose cleaner.

Another alternative are microfibre cloths which lift off dirt, grease and dust without the need for cleaning chemicals, because they are formulated to penetrate and trap dirt. There are a number of different brands. A good quality cloth can last for several years.

Commercial air fresheners mask smells and coat nasal passages to diminish the sense of smell.
• Baking soda or vinegar with lemon juice in small dishes absorbs odours around the house.
• Having houseplants helps reduce ordors in the home.
• Prevent cooking odours by simmering vinegar (1 tbsp in 1 cup water) on the stove while cooking. To get such smells as fish and onion off utensils and cutting boards, wipe them with vinegar and wash in soapy water.
• Keep fresh coffee grounds on the counter.
• Grind up a slice of lemon in the garbage disposal.
• Simmer water and cinnamon or other spices on stove.
• Place bowls of fragrant dried herbs and flowers in room.
Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray directly on stain, let sit for several minutes, and clean with a brush or sponge using warm soapy water.
For fresh grease spots, sprinkle corn starch onto spot and wait 15 - 30 minutes before vacuming.
For a heavy duty carpet cleaner, mix 1/4 cup each of salt, borax and vinegar. Rub paste into carpet and leave for a few hours. Vacuum.

• Plastic food storage containers - soak overnight in warm water and baking soda
• In-sink garbage disposal units - grind up lemon or orange peel in the unit
• Carpets - sprinkle baking soda several hours before vacuuming
• Garage, basements - set a sliced onion on a plate in center of room for 12 - 24 hours
Commercial low-phosphate detergents are not themselves harmful, but phosphates nourish algae which use up oxygen in waterways. A detergent substitution is to use liquid soap. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of vinegar to the warm, soapy water for tough jobs. Or use a citrus-based natural dish soap.
mix 1 cup white vinegar in 1 gallon (4L) water; rinse with clear water.
Most floor surfaces can be easily cleaned using a solution of vinegar and water. For damp-mopping wood floors: mix equal amounts of white distilled vinegar and water. Add 15 drops of pure peppermint oil; shake to mix.
For varnished wood, add a few drops of lemon oil into a 1/2 cup warm water. Mix well and spray onto a soft cotton cloth. Cloth should only be slightly damp. Wipe furniture with the cloth, and finish by wiping once more using a dry soft cotton cloth. Or use CitraWood, a natural wood polish.
For unvarnished wood, mix two tsps each of olive oil and lemon juice and apply a small amount to a soft cotton cloth. Wring the cloth to spread the mixture further into the material and apply to the furniture using wide strokes. This helps distribute the oil evenly.
Mix 1 cup Ivory soap (or Fels Naptha soap), 1/2 cup washing soda and 1/2 cup borax. Use 1 tbsp for light loads; 2 tbsp for heavy loads. Commercial natural, biodegradable laundry detergents are also now available online and in select stores.
You can reduce lime deposits in your teakettle by putting in 1/2 cup (125ml) white vinegar and 2 cups water, and gently boiling for a few minutes. Rinse well with fresh water while kettle is still warm.
To remove lime scale on bathroom fixtures, squeeze lemon juice onto affected areas and let sit for several minutes before wiping clean with a wet cloth.
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.
Use white vinegar or lemon juice full strength. Apply with a sponge or scrubby.
The common mothball is made of paradichlorobenzene, which is harmful to liver and kidneys. Cedar chips in a cheesecloth square, or cedar oil in an absorbent cloth will repel moths. The cedar should be 'aromatic cedar', also referred to as juniper in some areas. Cedar chips are available at many craft supply stores, or make your own using a plane and a block of cedar from the lumberyard.
Homemade moth-repelling sachets can also be made with lavender, rosemary, vetiver and rose petals.
Dried lemon peels are also a natural moth deterrent - simply toss into clothes chest, or tie in cheesecloth and hang in the closet.
For small spills on the garage floor, add baking soda and scrub with wet brush. Or use CitraSolv nontoxic degreaser.
Moisten oven surfaces with sponge and water. Use 3/4cup baking soda, 1/4cup salt and 1/4cup 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. Or use Arm & Hammer Oven Cleaner, declared nontoxic by Consumers Union.
Non-toxic, citrus oil based solvents are now available commercially under several brand names. Citra-Solve is one brand. This works well for cleaning brushes of oil-based paints. Paint brushes and rollers used for an on-going project can be saved overnight, or even up to a week, without cleaning at all. Simply wrap the brush or roller snugly in a plastic bag, such as a used bread or produce bag. Squeeze out air pockets and store away from light. The paint won't dry because air can't get to it. Simply unwrap the brush or roller the next day and continue with the job.
Fresh paint odours can be reduced by placing a small dish of white vinegar in the room.
Sprinkle a little salt on the rust, squeeze a lime over the salt until it is well soaked. Leave the mixture on for 2 - 3 hours. Use leftover rind to scrub residue.
For top of stove, refrigerator and other such surfaces that should not be scratched, use baking soda. Apply baking soda directly with a damp sponge.
Olive oil with a few drops of lemon juice can be applied to shoes with a thick cotton or terry rag. Leave for a few minutes; wipe and buff with a clean, dry rag.

Mold in bathroom tile grout is a common problem and can be a health concern. Mix one part hydrogen peroxide (3%) with two parts water in a spray bottle and spray on areas with mold. Wait at least one hour before rinsing or using shower.
Rub a slice of lemon across a chopping block to disinfect the surface. For tougher stains, squeeze some of the lemon juice onto the spot and let sit for 10 minutes, then wipe.

Coffee and tea stains: Stains in cups can be removed by applying vinegar to a sponge and wiping. To clean a teakettle or coffee maker, add 2 cups water and 1/4 cup vinegar; bring to a boil. Let cool, wipe with a clean cloth and rinse thoroughly with water.

Mix equal parts of borax and washing soda, but increase the washing soda if your water is hard.
If you want to use a commercial dishwashing soap, try CitraDish or Nellie's All-Natural diswasher powder, which contain no bleach or phosphates.
Mix 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar and 3 cups hot water. For stronger cleaning power add 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap. Wipe on with dampened cloth or use non-aerosol spray bottle. (This is not an antibacterial formula. The average kitchen or bathroom does not require antibacterial cleaners.)
To disinfect kitchen sponges, put them in the dishwasher when running a load.
For light drain cleaning, mix 1/2 cup salt in 4 litres water, heat (but not to a boil) and pour down the drain. For stronger cleaning, pour about 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain, then 1/2 cup vinegar. The resulting chemical reaction can break fatty acids down into soap and glycerine, allowing the clog to wash down the drain. After 15 minutes, pour in boiling water to clear residue. Caution: only use this method with metal plumbing. Plastic pipes can melt if excess boiling water is used. Also, do not use this method after trying a commercial drain opener--the vinegar can react with the drain opener to create dangerous fumes.
A commercial alternative is to use CitraDrain Build-Up Remover which uses natural enzymes to safely eliminate grease, oil, soap residue and more to keep pipes flowing properly.
To reduce static cling, dampen your hands, then shake out your clothes as you remove them from the drier. Line-drying clothing is another alternative.
mix 1 cup vinegar and a few drops of baby oil in 1 gallon warm water. For tough jobs, add 1/4 cup borox. Use sparingly on lineoleum.
apply a thin coat of 1:1 vegetable oil and vinegar and rub in well.
mix 1 teaspoon washing soda into 1 gallon (4L) hot water.
using a soft cloth, clean with a solution of cream of tartar and water.
polish with a soft cloth dipped in lemon and baking-soda solution, or vinegar and salt solution. Another method is to apply a dab of ketchup on a soft cloth and rub over tarnished spots.
chrome: polish with baby oil, vinegar, or aluminium foil shiny side out.
soak a cotton rag in a pot of boiling water with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 cup white vinegar. Apply to copper while hot; let cool, then wipe clean. For tougher jobs, sprinkle baking soda or lemon juice on a soft cloth, then wipe. For copper cookware, sprinkle a lemon wedge with salt, then scrub., A simpler method is to apply a dab of ketchup on a soft cloth and rub over tarnished spots.
clean with toothpaste, or a paste of salt, vinegar, and flour.
line a pan with aluminium foil and fill with water; add a teaspoon each of baking soda and salt. Bring to a boil and immerse silver. Polish with soft cloth.
clean with a cloth dampened with undiluted white vinegar, or olive oil. For stainless cookware, mix 4 tbs baking soda in 1 qt water, and apply using a soft cloth. Wipe dry using a clean cloth. For stainless steel sinks, pour some club soda on an absorbent cloth to clean, then wipe dry using a clean cloth.
Our children covered the inside of their room doors with stickers. Now they are grown, but the stickers remained. To remove, sponge vinegar over them several times, and wait 15 minutes, then rub off the stickers. This also works for price tags (stickers) on tools, etc.
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. A mixture of borax (2 parts) and lemon juice (one part) will also work.
Mix 2 teaspoons of white vinegar with 1 litre (qt) warm water. Use crumpled newspaper or cotton cloth to clean. Only use the black and white newspapers, not the coloured ones. Don't clean windows if the sun is on them, or if they are warm, or streaks will show on drying. Be sure to follow the recipe, because using too strong a solution of vinegar will etch the glass and eventually cloud it. The All-Purpose Cleaner (above) also works well on windows, or you can buy CitraClear natural window and glass cleaner.
Water rings on a wooden table or counter are the result of moisture that is trapped under the topcoat, but not the finish. Try applying toothpaste or mayonnaise to a damp cloth and rub into the ring. Be careful not to run too vigorously so as not to mar the finish. Once the ring is removed, buff the entire wood surface.
Mix equal parts of white vinegar and hot water, apply with sponge over the old wallpaper to soften the adhesive. Peel of the lifting paper and reapply the mixture to stubborn patches. Open the room windows or use a fan to dissipate the pungent vinegar smell.
For simple cleaning, rub in baking soda with a damp sponge and rinse with fresh water. For tougher jobs, wipe surfaces with vinegar first and follow with baking soda as a scouring powder. (Vinegar can break down tile grout, so use sparingly.)

1. Home made Substitutions

Exchange Indoor Air

Many modern homes are so tight there’s little new air coming in. Open the windows from time to time or run any installed exhaust fans. In cold weather, the most efficient way to exchange room air is to open the room wide – windows and doors, and let fresh air in quickly for about 5 minutes. The furnishings in the room, and the walls, act as ‘heat sinks’, and by exchanging air quickly, this heat is retained.

Minimize Dust

Remove clutter which collects dust, such as old newspapers and magazines. Try to initiate a ‘no-shoes-indoors’ policy. If you’re building or remodelling a home, consider a central vacuum system; this eliminates the fine dust which portable vacuum cleaners recirculate.

Use Cellulose Sponges

Most household sponges are made of polyester or plastic which are slow to break down in landfills, and many are treated with triclosan, a chemical that can produce chloroform (a suspected carcinogen) when it interacts with the chlorine found in tap water. Instead try cellulose sponges, available at natural foods stores, which are biodegradable and will soak up spills faster since they’re naturally more absorbent. For general household cleaning, try Skoy Eco-Cleaning Cloths. These cleaning cloths are non-toxic, extremely absorbent (15x paper towels), reusable, and biodegradable.

Keep Bedrooms Clean

Most time at home is spent in the bedrooms. Keep pets out of these rooms, especially if they spend time outdoors.
Use Gentle Cleaning Products
Of the various commercial home cleaning products, drain cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners and oven cleaners are the most toxic. Use the formulas described above or purchase ‘green’ commercial alternatives. Avoid products containing ammonia or chlorine, or petroleum-based chemicals; these contribute to respiratory irritation, headaches and other complaints.

Clean from the Top Down:

When house cleaning, save the floor or carpet for last. Clean window blinds and shelves first and then work downwards. Allow time for the dust to settle before vacuuming.


nontoxic home cleaning products.

An article from :www.eartheasy.com

Spring Cleaning Tips

Getting started is always the hardest part of initiating your chore of spring cleaning. If you create a checklist of tasks you need to complete you will make your life a lot easier. This way you can check off the tasks that you have already completed. Making a spring cleaning checklist is as easy as walking through your home and adding the tasks that you need to do to your checklist.     You probably already know what needs to be addressed, but sometimes we tend to overlook things when it is not on paper. And you will be able to see what you have accomplished by looking at your checklist when it is all finished.

First, make sure that you have all of the cleaning supplies that you will need. Also gather all the tools you will need to clean like: a broom, mop, rags, etc.

It is best to clean from top to bottom (ceilings and high places first, move on to dusting, and save floors for last).

Kitchen and Dining Room

Start by clearing your cabinets and drawers out so you can wipe out the crumbs and dirt that has accumulated. Then move on to cleaning your appliances (refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, etc). While you are cleaning the inside of the refrigerator and freezer you might as well get rid of any food that is bad or has been in the refrigerator too long. After you have wiped the counters down it is time to clean your walls, baseboards, doors, door jams, dust cobwebs off the ceiling, and wash the windows. This will complete the kitchen after you have mopped the floors.

Living room, Den, Great room, Bedrooms, Office

Polish any wood furniture, clean the television screens, paddle fans, and blinds or curtains.

Bathroom

When cleaning your bathrooms start by taking your shower curtain down and either bleach it in the washing machine or replace it with a new one. Then scrub your toilet and your bathtub. Next clean the cabinets and sinks. Wash the baseboards, walls, doors and don’t forget to clean the mirror. Lastly mop or vacuum the floor in your bathroom, and you are done.

Tip: Spring cleaning not only involves cleaning inside your home, it also needs to be carried to the outside porch, sunroom, deck, etc”¦ Usually this only requires sweeping the floor, dusting for cobwebs, and washing windows. This will be noticed, and it will add to the cleanliness of the inside of your home. for more cleaning tips please follow this link

To findout more home Cleaning Tips, please click here.

How to..?

How to clean net curtains

There are a number of ways to clean net curtains and bring them back to that brilliant while – here are a few of them:
Soak them in a solution of water with a dissolved denture tablet, then wash as normal
OR
1. First to put them through a washing cycle with water only, to remove the dust.
2. Follow up with a washing cycle with washing powder to clean them. On both washing cycles, add a new white towel to bulk the load, otherwise the material doesn’t tumble/agitate very well.
3. Leave them to drip dry on the washing line outdoors.

How To Clean Your Oven

After you have cleaned your oven and all the shelves are shiny clean, make a paste with bi-carbonate of soda and water and either brush the paste on or apply with a damp cloth. When it’s time to clean again the grease will come easily.

How To Get Chrome Taps Sparkling

If you want to get your chrome/metal taps, surfaces etc really sparkling use neat liquid soap/shower gel/bath creme.
Simply rub the liquid soap over the surface you wish to clean then wipe off with a dry cloth/kitchen roll to reveal a sparkling glow!
But don’t use water while doing this or it will not work.
If you use your favourite scent it will make your bathroom/kitchen smell lovely, and give you a boost to your wellbeing.

How To Get Windows Clean

All you do is add a bit of vinegar to your water. The acid will help cut through the grease on the window making the cleaner more effective. It will also add a nice sparkle.

Disguising Water Rings and Marks

To disguise water rings or marks you can rub a little cigarette ash into the mark with your finger and buff with furniture polish. If you do not use furniture polish you can use shoe polish of the same colour. However, if the polish is too dark, dip a cotton bud in white spirit and rub this over the area to get the polish the correct shade.

Remove Water Rings From Wooden Furniture

Water rings are formed in the surface of the wood – not in the wax or polish, as some people assume. For waxed wood you can remove the rings by rubbing a little white spirit into the mark.

Cleaning Your Toilet - Exterior

Once you have cleaned the bowl or pan you are ready to clean the rest of the toilet. Using your regular cleaning spray (or hot soapy water) target the tank, handle, outside of the lid and outside of the bowl. Then, with a damp cloth or paper towels, begin wiping down, starting at the tank and ending with the outside of the bowl.
Pay extra attention to the handle – people rarely wash their hands before they flush!
Next, spray the seat, inside lid and rim with cleaner and then wipe clean with a cloth or paper towels. Extra grime collects around the hinges so use either an old toothbrush or slip a cleaning wipe between them to get right in.
Finally give the seat and lid a polish with a squirt of window cleaning spray

Cleaning Toilets - Make It Sparkle

Over time toilets can collect layer upon layer of grime at the bottom of the pan, which cannot be easily removed using a toilet brush. Here are three tips to make your loosen the grim and make your toilet sparkle:

1. Drop a couple of denture cleaning tablets into the toilet bowl and leave over night. Flush in the morning and wipe the bowl for easy removal of grime.
2. Pour in a can of cola (make sure it is not flat!) and leave it for an hour. This will remove stains.

3.You can neutralize odours by pouring a cup of bicarbonate of soda into the pan once a week.

Stainless steel surfaces

Stainless steel sinks, work-tops and equipment can be made to sparkle by wiping with a vinegar soaked cloth.

Keeping baths clean

To avoid rings around the bath do not use oily preparations. Use bath salts or liquid water softeners (sold for their relaxing properties) and rinse the bath after draining out the water.

Please see our services page to see how we can help you free up your precious time.

For expert advice on general home cleaning please follow the link below, we have found it to be very helpful.

Expert Advice For Difficult Cleaning...

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