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Money-Saving Mama

Going "natural"

Posted: October 9, 2012 - 1:33pm

When deciding to go “natural” at home, baking soda and vinegar are just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many more items that you can use daily that keep potentially harmful chemicals out of your home and away from your family.

Buying lemons doesn’t have to be just for lemonade. Lemon juice acts like a bleach because of the acidity in them. They are a great whitening tool, but always do a patch test first when using them. If you want to brighten your whites, you can add a half cup of lemon juice to the rinse cycle. If you have plastic containers that have stubborn stains such as tomato based products on them, squeeze lemon juice on them, rub it around and let it dry out in the sun to bleach out the stains. If you want to increase the stain fighting in your dishwashing detergent, add a teaspoon of lemon juice to the water. To make a garbage disposal smell fresh, cut a lemon in half and run both pieces through the disposal. You can even rub your hands with lemons to cut the smell of raw fish if you have been handling them.

Moving around the kitchen, the next stop is vegetable and olive oil. You can remove paint from your hands by rubbing them with vegetable oil then washing with soap afterwards. You can use the oil on your wicker or rattan furniture to keep it from drying out and cracking. Heat the oil on the stove to make it thinner then wipe it on and rub it in with a cloth. Mix 2 cups olive oil with the juice from one lemon and rub it on wood furniture to make a great furniture polish.

Salt is another great weapon in your cleaning arsenal. If you have dusty artificial flowers, put them bloom down in a bag with salt. Close the bag and shake it well. This will help remove the dirt and dust. If you are cooking in the oven and have a spill-over, when you remove your dish from the oven sprinkle salt over it and let it sit until the oven is cool then wipe it clean.

Ketchup is great to remove tarnish from brass and copper cookware. Rub some on with a soft cloth. After they start returning to their normal coloring, wash with warm water and dry.

If you have grease spills on the carpet, sprinkle with cornstarch, let sit for 15 to 30 minutes then vacuum up. Take a spray bottle and add 2 cups water with 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Shake the bottle well and use in place of spray starch on your clothing. Make sure that you continue to shake it with each use so that it doesn’t separate. This does have a tendency to make your linoleum floors somewhat slippery so be careful when using this, but it does do a great job on your clothes.

To make a natural disinfectant, mix a half cup Borax (found in the laundry detergent aisle of the supermarket) and one gallon hot water. Add a few drops of essential oil such as rosemary or lavender, and then store the mixture in a labeled spray bottle. If you want a great window cleaner, mix ¼ cup undiluted white vinegar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 quart warm water. Mix well and store in labeled spray bottles.

For mold in the bathroom shower grout, mix one part hydrogen peroxide and two parts water in a spray bottle. Spray on the area and let it sit for an hour before washing it off. Putting lemon juice on the mold and mildew is another great way to remove it.

Rubbing alcohol can be used to disinfect items, such as keyboards on the computer, remote controls, phones and any other electronic item because it dries quickly. Simply use a cotton ball or cloth to wipe on the alcohol. It will air dry within a few moments. To get in the nooks and crannies, use a Q-Tip dipped in the alcohol.

As you can see, there are many uses for common household items that are typically not thought of as cleaning products. If this will help keep your household healthier and happier, then it is worth the try. Of course, with all items, always do a small test of the item first.

Happy and healthy fall cleaning!

Karen Green can be booked to teach coupon classes and can be reached at budgetcoupons@comcast.net.

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