Cleaning The Safe and Natural Way
Scuff Remover: To remove scuffs from your floor: apply 2-4 drops of tea tree oil to the scuff directly then wipe excess oil up with a cloth dampened with distilled white vinegar. Good as new!
Natural Wood Polish: Furniture polish on the market is on our list of products we will not use (right up there with drain cleaners, over cleaners, toilet cleaners, spot removers, silver and other metal polishes, window cleaners, bleach). These polishes are usually made of petroleum distillates and solvents- both unsafe and not family- or eco-friendly. At the very least, they’re both poisonous. So why use them? There are plenty of earth-friendly ways to polish your wood items. One very effective way to polish wood is to mix 2 parts olive oil with 1 part lemon juice and apply it to your furniture using a soft cloth. The combination gives your wood furniture a nice smell and a sparkling shine. Not to mention safe for the little ones!
Another recipe that you can make and store in a container for up to a year:
• 4 ounces oil (2 1/2 ounces olive oil or jojoba, 1 1/2 ounces coconut oil)
• 1 ounce beeswax
• 1 ounce carnauba wax
• 4 ounces distilled water
Melt the oils and waxes in a double boiler over medium heat. Remove from the heat, pour in the water, and mix with a hand mixer until thick and creamy. Dab some cream onto a soft cotton rag and rub into the furniture. Buff and polish until the oils are well worked into the wood.
General Stain Removal: Do you recall your mother teaching you to spray hairspray on stains to get them out? This used to work years ago but now there’s rarely any alcohol in hairsprays and that was the ingredient that made it work. Instead, try undiluted rubbing alcohol.
Natural Floor Cleaning: Here are a few easy kitchen floor cleaning tips:
• For hardwood and laminated floors: add 1/4 cup white vinegar per gallon of water. Use only 100 percent cotton terry towels (old towels or t-shirts are great!) on hardwood floors and don’t use microfibre mops. Microfibre is made from 80 to 85 percent polyester, which is plastic. Plastic scratches and will eventually scratch the sealant off the floor. Even though the microfibre mops are manufactured to say safe for hardwood, cotton is still better.
• Stone flooring such as marble, tile and granite: just use very hot water. Cleaners will pit these.
• Linoleum floors: use hot water with just a bit of liquid soap if needed.
Rust Removal: To scour rusty garden tools, brew a few pots of strong black tea. When cool, pour into a bucket. Soak the tools for a few hours. Wipe each one with a cloth.
Grease remover: Grease build up on the stove top can be difficult to remove, but a natural cleaner to do the job in one easy step in vinegar. Just rub into the areas needing the most attention with a rag and let it sit for a few minutes before wiping up. An all-purpose cleaner can be made by mixing half and half -vinegar and water.
Fighting dust mites: Recent research has shown that tea tree oil kills dust mites that live in bedding. Add 5 drops of tea tree oil to a spray bottle and mist your mattress until damp. Let it dry before making the bed. You can also add 25 drops of the oil to each load of laundry for an effective dust mite removal.
Removing red wine stains: Also works for chocolate or other dark stains that have been there a while. Soak the item in a bowl of glycerine for a half an hour and then wash. The glycerine should break up the stain enough for the detergent to do it’s job.
About all natural products, I was a bit concerned, when I first started using all natural cleaning products, that clients may think ‘if it’s all natural is it really cleaning my house?’ After doing research I am confident to say not only does it clean, it cleans better! Tea tree oil can be more effective in killing bacteria than marketed cleaners. To use tea tree oil as a cleaner and disinfectant, mix 1 part oil to eight parts water in a spray bottle.
Freshening your carpet: Does not have to be done with powered chemicals that are easily inhaled by your family and pets. A better way to freshen your carpets while leaving them safe enough for the baby to crawl on is to add 15-20 drops of any essential oil (we’ll be posting a list of them on here soon!) to one cup baking soda. Let it set in a container overnight to allow the baking soda to absorb the oil. Sprinkle a small amount on each carpet and let it sit a few minutes then vacuum the mixture up.
Ant Repellant: Today being the unofficial kick off to summer is a reminder of those pesky ants that make their way into our homes. A good way to prevent the ants from entering is to spray peppermint oil around the entryways.
For More Tips Please Visit Our Tip Of The Day Archive
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Lemon Juice, Salt and Sunshine: At first, it sounds like an amazing vacation! Did you know that this combination can also be just as effective as bleach? The acid in lemon juice removes dirt and rust stains. It’s especially effective when mixed with kosher salt, which makes an excellent scouring paste. Here are the steps:
- Wet the stain with water
- Squeeze lemon juice onto the stain
- Pour on the salt and rub gently
- Rinse with water
- At this point you can hang the garment in the sun to dry or, for tough stains, add more lemon juice and let the sun do it’s magic, then…
- Run through the wash
- Toss out the Shout®. You don’t need it!
My bother-in-law’s raccoon remedy: Raccoons have a keen sense of smell. They can detect scents that most other creatures, animals or humans, simply cannot. One thing they smell and do not like is cayenne pepper. To keep raccoons away from your home or campsite, simply sprinkle the outer perimeter of your area with cayenne pepper. Raccoons will smell this and stay far away.
Metal Cleaning: Cleaning metal items in our home can also be down naturally. The marketed cleaners are harsh, abrasive and down right dangerous. Here’s a few tips to clean your precious metals without harming your precious loved ones:
aluminum: make a solution of cream of tartar and water and rub on using a soft cloth then wipe off.
brass or bronze: 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 aluminum foil shiny side out.
copper: 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.
gold: clean with toothpaste, or a paste of salt, vinegar, and flour.
silver: line a pan with aluminum 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.
stainless steel: 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.
Is Your Furniture Making You Sick?: Here’s an interesting factoid I learned…did you know that particleboard, plywood or medium-density fiberboard (MDF) all outgas formaldehyde? An EPA report states this colorless, pungent-smelling gas can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, wheezing, coughing, fatigue, skin rash, and severe allergic reactions. It has also been shown to cause cancer in animals and is classified as a human carcinogen. So whats the answer? Purchase solid wood furniture! To make it easier on your wallet and help the environment by recycling.. try going to a thrift store. Don’t forget to clean the wood furniture naturally.
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.
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.
The Dreaded Refrigerator Cleaning..Naturally: Cleaning the refrigerator isn’t a favorite job. Here’s how to make this chore a little easier on you—and the environment.
1. Fill a spray bottle with 1 cup white distilled vinegar, 2 cups hot water, 5 to 10 drops any essential oil
2. Mix all ingredients together and stir or shake thoroughly.
3. Working from the top of the fridge to the bottom, remove all the food from one shelf at a time. Discard items that are spoiled or past their expiration dates. Wipe down the rest of the food containers with the mixed spray and a soft cloth
4. Remove the refrigerator shelves and wash in a sink filled with hot water and a few tablespoons of dish soap and a cup of white distilled vinegar. Rinse and set aside to dry.
5. While the shelf is out, spray the area inside of the fridge and wipe with a clean dry cloth.
6. Replace the shelf and the food. Before you replace the last shelf or drawer, clean the fridge floor
7. Keep an open box of baking soda in your refrigerator to keep smells away. When you change the box, get double duty from the old one by pouring it into the kitchen sink. Follow it with hot water to leave the drains clean and fresh.
6/3/12 Wallpaper Remover: If you have ever tried to remove wallpaper you know what an awful job it can be. The chemical sold to do the job can be harsh and leave a strong odor. Mix equal parts of vinegar and hot water, apply with a sponge or cloth to soften the glue (note: make the water hot, not warm). Lift off the paper and reapply the vinegar and water to the remaining paper/glue. When necessary use a spatula to help remove any stuck particles. You may want to open a window or run a fan to eliminate the vinegar odor.
Cleaning The Safe and Natural Way…
Cleaning Glass & Mirrors, Streak Free: To help save a bit of the green stuff, you can clean glass and mirror with coffee filters instead of paper towels. Its cheaper and it doesn’t leave streaks!
Dust Mite Cleaning: Did you know that a typical used mattress may have anywhere from 100,000 to 10 million mites in it? And even more disgusting 20% of the weight of a 2-year-old pillow is actually dead mites and their feces! Does this make your skin crawl? Let tea tree oil go to work for you. To clean your mattress of mites follow these steps:
1. remove pillows, sheets and blankets from bed
2. fill a bucket with warm water and add 10 drops of tea tree oil
3. soak pillowcases, and bedding in the bucket for an hour, then wash as usual
4. with a clean vacuum, go over all surfaces of your mattress
5. fill a spray bottle with warm water and a few drops of tea tree oil
6. spray the mattress with the mixture and wipe down with a clean cloth
7. let the mattress completely dry before putting the clean linens on
8. put a few drops of the oil along your headboard and baseboard; tea tree oil repels and kills mites.
If you found this helpful, check back soon for a special cleaning service for allergy-proofing your home!
Cleaning Nicotine Stained Walls: Nicotine stains are nearly impossible to remove. But it is a necessary task especially when you are painting as nicotine will bleed through paint. One trick to remove these stains is to mix undiluted lemon juice with vinegar and apply with a cotton cloth. If the stains do not come right off, use this mixture with a soft brush.
Cleaning Stubborn Toilet Stains: Stubborn stains in the toilet is a common problem. They leave rings and hard water residue. These stains can make the toilet look like it has not been cleaned in ages. Removing these stains is a fairly easy procedure when you know what to do. And you probably already have everything you need!
1. Pour 1 cup baking soda and 2 cups white vinegar into the toilet bowl. Pour the vinegar around the lip of the bowl, and it will work its way down to the bottom of the toilet, softening all stains and residue. Let the vinegar and baking soda sit in the bowl for 30 minutes.
2. Scrub the toilet with your bowl brush or cloth, you will see how it loosened all the stain residue.
3. Flush your toilet and check for remaining residue. If any residue is left, repeat this procedure, but this time double the baking soda and vinegar measurements, and let them sit overnight before you scrub again with the brush.
Viola … good as new!!
Replacing grandma’s mothballs: Mothballs: Did you know that mothballs are made of paradichlorobenzene, hard to say right? Its even harder to think we would expose our clothes, in turn exposing our skin and respiratory system, to this chemical. It is harmful to our liver and kidneys. So toss those balls out and instead use cedar chips in a cheesecloth square, or cedar oil in an absorbent cloth. The aromatic cedar repels moths. Cedar chips are available at many craft supply stores, or make your own using a block of cedar from lumber from the lumberyard- in fact this way you can make enough for all closets and drawers.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. Smells better to us and keeps those pesky moths away.
Getting Rid of That Musty Smell: There are three ways to get rid of a musty smell in a room: vinegar, coffee and newspaper. Without the vinegar sounds like a Sunday morning. But read on:
Use an Open Bowl of White Vinegar
White vinegar is a natural product with multiple uses,as you can tell in our many posts, and it works very well to get rid of a musty smell in almost every room. Place an open bowl of white vinegar on a flat surface where it can remain undisturbed. It will work to neutralize the musty smell instead of inadequately covering it up like many low-quality store-bought products. Best of all it is cheap, and after the musty smell is gone the vinegar can be used for cleaning purposes.
Place Crumpled Newsprint Behind Furniture
Newspaper works quite well to naturally absorb a musty smell in a room. It is the ideal solution in a room where children and pets have access since it is a dry remedy. Simply crumple a dozen or more sheets of black and white newspaper, and stuff the papers in back of furnishing and any other hidden location in a room with a musty smell. It will get rid of the odor without added expense, and it works better than store-bought products. Unlike aromatic products, chances are no one will notice well-placed crumpled sheets of paper.
Use Fresh Ground Coffee
Try ground coffee when trying to get rid of a musty smell in a room. Although the smell of coffee will linger it will not remain, and it will eliminate the musty smell quickly and easily. Simply place a shallow container of dry ground coffee in the room, and allow it to work for several hours to get rid of the odor in the room. Cook the grounds that were used to refresh the room, and after they cool, use them to fertilize outdoor acid-loving plants.
Green Cleaning your carpets: Whether you have area rugs or wall to wall carpeting, eventually they will need to be cleaned. You can do spot cleaning in between but there will come a time when you really need to get the pollen, dander, mites and dust out. But be careful! Carpet cleaners are some of the most toxic household chemicals out there. Both perc and naphthalene are found in many. These are carcinogens and not to mention the irritation the fumes cause alone. Lets take it back a step- the carpet itself can be hazardous to your health! Some synthetic carpets outgas VOCs. If you are considering carpeting look into your natural options- bamboo fibers, wool, etc. However how do we clean our carpets is the real question here. You can fill the reservoir of your cleaner with water, 1/4 cup vinegar, 2 tbsp baking soda and a few drops of tea tree oil. The oil will repel the mites while the soda and vinegar work together as a scrubbing cleaner.
Cleaning your indoor air-naturally: Get rid of those nasty air fresheners that disguise themselves as being sweet by the smell. They are indeed very bad for your health. Instead, boil cinnamon or any other herb that you like the smell of. Something else to help filter the air in your house- broad-leafed green plants. The don’t give off pleasant odors but they certainly do help filter the air.
How to remove mildew smell from towels: Just in time for the pool/beach!! The smell of towels that have been used or sitting damp/wet can be quite unbearable. If you know this is the cause, then follow the steps below..if the odor is reoccurring, it may actually be your washing machine..so read on.
For the smelly towels : fill the washer with hot water and add two cups of white vinegar. add the towels and let them soak. Do not add laundry detergent or fabric softener. You may wish to add a few drops of tea tree oil but not necessary. After soaking for at least 1/2 hour, run the wash cycle as usual (with just the vinegar- remember no detergent/softener). immediately transfer to the dryer and make sure the load completely dries or hand them outside to dry in the sunshine.
For the smelly machine :here’s a product meant just for this and its all natural. great find! http://www.smellywasher.com/
Borax, the 20 Mule Team, as a multi-purpose cleaner: Borax is made from a natural mineral found in the Mojave Desert or in China. Its got a long history of uses in America but is best known as a laundry booster. But here’s one that’s inexpensive and can be used for many things.. a deodorizer, bug repellent, disinfectant and cleaner. In an empty spray bottle, mix a teaspoon of borax with two tablespoons of vinegar and 1 cup hot water. Add a few drops dish detergent, Lavender or Lemon oil and fill up the rest of the bottle with warm water.