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Clean and Green
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:44 pm    Post subject: Clean and Green Reply with quote

There was a topic about this a few years back, but my search turned up nothing. So, I have started a-new.

I am always trying to find new ways to clean my house with things that are safe for the environment and all considered, and am wondering what ideas you all have.

I make carpet powder out of baking soda and essential oil. It deodorizes the rug and gives my house a lovely scent. I make it as I go so I can change the scent each time. I also scour with baking soda, and use dilluted vinegar as a surface cleaner.

I recently heard that you can remove stains with eucalyptus oil. Has anyone out there tried it?

I'd love to hear all of your ideas!
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you tried microfiber cloths? I've been using them and a spray of water and not really much else. For anything stubborn I use a nylon scrubbie pad and then the cloth again.

I've never figured out anything for stains other than the Nature's Miracle for the ones the animals sometimes make. Shocked
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have not. Do they aid in stain removal or are they just really good to use?
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 2:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They wouldn't clear up a stain tho they might help prevent one in a spill by getting up all the residual more effectively.

What they do is (I think; I'm certainly no scientist) attract a lot of moisture and particles. So they clean up even greasy things like fingerprints and toothpaste spatters, etc. from glass with just a tiny bit of moisture and a elbow grease. And they do an incredible job at wiping up flour without leaving a trace (conventional things tend to turn loose flour into a thin veneer of library paste). They do this without any chemical cleaners. Just water will do. Hot water or a 10% bleach solution where bacteria is an issue.

You might try some. The ones that are best on glass and shiny metal are the ones with the closest weave/nap while ones with an open nap are best for dusting and dry applications like floors.

The thing to know, tho, is that when you wash them you do NOT use any fabric softener. Interferes with the electrostatic or whatever effect makes them work.
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julielynn



Joined: 24 May 2007
Posts: 12
Location: Alaska

PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 2:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They're not homemade, but I really like the bathroom and kitchen cleaning sprays made by Seventh Generation. They have some hydrogen peroxide in them, so countertop or refrigerator stains come out beautifully.

I like the carpet powder idea -- I'll have to try that this weekend.
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emilyj



Joined: 26 Jun 2006
Posts: 184
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Erin,
I have used Eucalyptus oil to clean my fridge with some success. I'm not a big fan of the smell though. I like your idea of an essential oil, baking soda partnership. I will have to try it myself.

Good luck!
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Barbara



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 899
Location: Gold Coast Australia

PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Erin vinegar has lots of cleaning uses. Here is a link
http://www.vinegartips.com/cleaning/

I wipe my bench tops with white vinegar. If cleaning showers though you can't use where there is grout between tiles.
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow Barbara, I use vinegar for a lot of things, but that is amazing. I had no idea just how versatile it is.

Rainey, I will have to check those out, I am the master spiller and it usually takes my entire rag bin to clean it up.

Emilyj, What was the method; did you dillute it in warm water instead of soap?

Julielynn, I do love Seventh Generation, they smell plesant and mild. I like to play the part of a mad scientist and mix my own concoctions, I'll have to look up recipes for cleaning using hydrogen peroxide.

Glad you guys like the carpet powder idea!
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 1196
Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use Eucalyptus Oil a lot to clean up old and marked books. I use a water soluble solution as the essential oils are too strong and leave a residue.

And the water soluble one isn't as strongly scented.

Most Aussies would be familiar with Shannon Lush, who has written a couple of great books about stain removal - "Spotless" - and cleaning - "Speed Cleaning". She's a fine arts restorer and has the most amazing 'toolbox' of hints and cleaning tips, using natural and household products.

For instance, to get pen stains out of clothing, soak the garment in rotten milk - leave milk out in the sun, strain the lumps & place them over the pen stains.

Here's a link to a few

http://today.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=268055
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gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1324

PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Erin...it is hard to describe how the microfiber cloth works, but you'll "feel" and understand the difference as soon as you use one. They are superior cleaners, however not biodegradable.

I use white vinegar a lot, but diluted lemon juice I think is better for getting that smell out of the microwave. Alas, if white vinegar worked as well as they say, I wouldn't buy stronger stuff that dissolves minerals, calcium, lime-- our water is very "hard".

A few years ago, I found a cheap effective cleaning mix in a book Home Comforts The Art and Science of Keeping House. In a spray bottle, mix about 1/2 rubbing alcohol, 1/2 water, then about 10% (of that volume) ammonia.
I don't buy the many many commercial sprays any more, it works fine and is practically free.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I get the microfiber cloths at Target I've found they're cheaper and larger in the auto care dept than the housekeeping dept. The grey ones they have in the auto dept are sensational for glass and chrome.

Here are a few recipes I've collected:


Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

• 1/2 teaspoon ammonia
• 1 teaspoon white vinegar
• 3 tablespoon liquid dish soap
• 3/4 cup water

Mix ingredients in a well-ventilated area and put in a foaming container (pharmacy) or beat to an airy foam with a whisk.

Apply foam to surface of carpet or upholstery and lightly scrub with sponge. Wipe away with a clean sponge.

***

Household Cleaner

• 3/4 cup water
• 1 tablespoon ammonia
• 1 teaspoon water softener
• 1 teaspoon white vinegar

Mix ingredients and put in a spray bottle.

***

Silver Cleaner

• 1 quart very hot water
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 1 teaspoon water softener

Dissolve salt and water softener in hot water. Place a piece of aluminum foil in the bottom of a container. Pour in hot water mixture. Place silver in contact with aluminum foil moving it, if necessary, to expose all surfaces.

Immediately rinse silver in clear water and dry.

***

Soft Scrub

• 1 part baking soda
• 1 part borax

Combine and put in a jar with a shaker top. The baking soda will provide a gentle abrasive while the borax will cut grease and shine.

***

Forgot I had these in my recipe DB until you mentioned the topic.
Some of these things like water softener and borax are harder to find in my urban area than they used to be. When I find a box I buy it!

The water softener referred to is that Calgon stuff that used to be in every grocery store.
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Nicki



Joined: 26 Jul 2006
Posts: 106
Location: England

PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2008 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm always impressed by the advice that Kim & Aggie give on "How Clean is Your House?"...

To clean glass vases, fill it with malt vinegar and a handful of rice, shake it and leave it overnight

To clean a stained carafe, use warm water and biological washing powder

Aggie swears that you can safely remove limescale from porcelain and enamel with a damp pumice stone, although I haven't personally tried it. A little lemon joice, vinegar, bleach and elbow grease goes a long way!
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Donna



Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 827
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Erin, I'm a big fan of vinegar - and I don't dilute it. I moisten my mop with hot water, pour some white vinegar on the floor - tile or wood - and mop. Works like a charm! Also for copper, I use equal parts flour and water and then add vinegar till I have a thick paste. Spread it over the article you are cleaning and let it set for 10-15 minutes. Then rinse off with a sponge and hot water. Wow! It's my grandmother's recipe.

Another thing I use is borax - instead of Comet or Ajax. Doesn't scratch your porcelain sink or toilet. For my stainless steel sink, I use dishwashing liquid and a scrub brush.

I just looked at the vinegar link and it does suggest vinegar and salt for copper, but neglects the flour . I think the flour creates the paste that adheres to the article and does the cleaning as if by MAGIC!
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Griffin



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 932
Location: England

PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Donna,

Here, for copperwares I've heard that using tomato ketchup helps. You're supposed to put it on and leave it for about five minutes before wiping it off. If you leave it on for too long tho' the acids can take some of the copper with it!!
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emilyj



Joined: 26 Jun 2006
Posts: 184
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 12:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Erin, sorry for the late reply. Yes, I diluted the Eucalyptus oil with warm water by applying it directly to the damp cloth.
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