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How to Use Environmentally Friendly Products: Vinegar and Sidewalk Chalk

Updated on July 20, 2012
White vinegar in a dollar store spray bottle.
White vinegar in a dollar store spray bottle. | Source

Vinegar and Bathroom and Kitchen Clean-up

There are two products I have always kept in my house and used often but for reasons that differ from their predominant use now. Vinegar and most recently white sidewalk chalk have become essential staples in my cleaning arsenal.

My family and I live on a farm with a septic tank into which all water waste travels. Toxic chemicals can be damaging to the system so I worried about using too much. Vinegar has become a trusted part of bathroom and kitchen cleanup. It is environmentally friendly while cutting through grease and killing most mold and bacteria. It is also an economical alternative to the harsher prepackaged cleaning products.

I keep a spray bottle of vinegar in every bathroom and in the kitchen. Every day, the bathroom mirror and sink get a quick spray with vinegar. Toothpaste spatters from messy boys and soap scum easily disappear with the swipe of a sponge I also keep handy under the sink. Vinegar is also handy for keeping the toilet stain free but a long handled sponge is used to mop up the inside of the toilet. Frequent use of vinegar will reduce but probably will not eliminate the need for a harsher cleaner in the toilet once a week.

Vinegar is also essential in kitchen clean-ups. It is effective in cutting through greasy mess on the stove top, counter tops and exterior of all appliances. Drains can be kept clog free by pouring baking soda down the drain followed by a cup of vinegar. I also get rid of coffee grinds down the sink. Their rough texture scrapes the pipes clean. Build-up in dishwashers can be kept reduced by adding a cup of vinegar inside the washer before every load. Finally, I boil vinegar in my kettle and coffee machine frequently to remove calcium build-up which reduces the efficiency of the heating elements and leaves a gritty residue in tea and coffee. Pour vinegar to the fill mark in your kettle and boil. Let the solution sit over night and then dump down the sink and boil fresh water which again will be dumped down the sink. Your kettle is again ready for use. The same method can be used for an automatic coffee machine.

Chalk is not just useful in the classroom or for the creation of sidewalk art!
Chalk is not just useful in the classroom or for the creation of sidewalk art! | Source

Sidewalk Chalk and Grass Stains

I now keep white sidewalk chalk handy in my laundry room. While watching my youngest son at football practice, I was fortunate to meet the mother of one his team mates. Having been responsible for washing the football pants of her son's entire team while living in Western Canada, she learned a tip from another about the usefulness of white chalk in removing grass and dirt stains from football pants. Now, before I wash the pants, I rub the stains vigorously with white sidewalk chalk. Ordinary chalk works okay as well, but is much thinner and breaks more easily making it harder to use. If the stains are deep, I also use Spray and Wash on top of the chalk and then soak for a couple of hours. Later, I wash as usual. Even in cold water wash, most or all of the stains are removed and the pants are much whiter. This method works well on other whites as well!

For less toxic and more cost effective clean-up, vinegar for everyday clean-up and sidewalk chalk for stubborn stains are essentials in your cleaning arsenal!!!


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