Keep These under Your Sink, White Vinegar, Bakind Soda, Borax and Bleach
These are Really All You Need to Clean Your Whole House
A cleaner for counter tops, a cleaner for floors, a cleaner for your bathroom and a cleaner for your toilets. Your under the sink storage is full of all types of cleaners. Some work, some don't but they are not cheap. And how do they affect the indoor air quality of your home, and what about your environment?
I can tell you I have tried them all. From the ones that tell you to wear rubber gloves to use them (how safe they must be) to environmentally friendly ones that tend to be pricey. That is one of the down side of trying to be green.
One day while having coffee with a friend of mine from Croatia, she mentioned that the only cleaning products that she used were baking soda and white vinegar. "No way", I said, "Yes way", she replied. "That's it baking soda and white vinegar".
Well although I am not from the "Show Me State", I had to find out for myself. Actually she was right. Along the way, I have added a couple of other products bringing the number up to 4.
The Fantastic Five
These are all the cleaners I keep under my sink.
- Baking soda, I buy it in the two pound box
- white vinegar, that I buy by the gallon
- 20 Mule Team Borax again, I keep it in the laundry room
- Dr. Bonner's liquid peppermint soap and or Murphy's Oil Soap
- bleach, again I buy it by the gallon but keep it on a shelf in the laundry room
Oh, and one more thing, I don't know how they work but Mr. Clean's Magic Erasers. I am not sure how natural they are but they clean like a dream with nothing but water.
Baking soda can:
be added to the wash to soften the water and make your detergent work better.
Pour it down your garbage disposal, leave it overnight to absorb the odor.
Use in the litter box
I put it in a flour sifter (baking soda tends to get a little lumpy) to sprinkle it on my rugs. Before I vacuum. Helps get rid of the doggy smell.
Baking soda makes a gentle, yet effective scouring powder for sinks and bathtubs.
Put it in stinky tennis shoes to absorb the stink.
It will do the same in the wash for stinky gym socks or towels that got thrown in the cloths hamper wet.
If you burn a pot or pan really bad, fill the pan with water add a couple of good shakes of baking soda, bring the pot to a boil. Watch the burned on stuff practically float off of the bottom.
White vinegar is another product that I keep under the sink. It alone or in combination with baking soda is an awesome cleaning product.
White vinegar can be:
- Used as a fabric softener. Just add a cup to the second rinse or in your washer's fabric softener holder. It doesn't coat the fabric, which is what commercial fabric softener's do but rinses the detergant completely out of your laundry. It leaves no odor, Just really clean cloths. Now just dry them outside to give them a sunny outside smell. There is nothing better than getting between sheets that smell like sunshine.
- Can be used to decalcify bathroom fixtures. Unlike the very caustic commercial products, it is not hard on the skin. I will have to say that it is not as effective if you have a lot of build up but works well for the light build up.
- Put into a spray bottle, it makes a great glass cleaner, use one of those micro cleaning cloths and your windows and mirrors will shine.
- Cleans the coffee maker. Again the commercial cleaners are not only caustic but toxic as well.
The Dynamic Duo: Baking Soda and White Vinegar
Now when you combine baking soda and white vinegar, you have a combo that can not be beat.
- Pour a cup of baking soda down the drain or into your garbage disposal, follow it by a cup of white vinegar. It will foam up as it goes down the drain and then follow by a large pan of boiling water. Whoosh, a great way to clean the drains.
- Sprinkle baking soda in the toilet, follow with a few glugs of white vinegar, scrub. Clean toilet. To disinfect follow with a little bleach and all the germs are gone.
- Pet accidents? Just pour white vinegar to the stain, sprinkle on some baking soday, once it stop fizzing, just use your carpet shampooer filled with hot water and suck it up. Between the two, baking soda and vinegar, the odor should disappear.
- Dried on crusties on the table or counter top. First cover the crusty with a damp towel and let it soak a little. Now sprinkle on some baking soda followed with vinegar. It loosens the crusty and it comes right up.
Twenty Mule Team Borax: Is There Any Other Kind?
Borax can be used in similar fashion to baking soda, especially in the wash. But it has another very important job. When sprinkled on carpets and floors then left overnight, it makes a non toxic flea killer. Borax is a mineral, it's sides are rough. It cuts through the tough outer shell of fleas and other creepy crawlies and dries them right up. I tried some commercial non-toxic flea killers but they where so highly scented with cinnamon and cloves, it was hard to stay in the same room.
Borax is also an emulsifier. It combines with grease and oils making them easier to wash away.
Dr. Bonner's Liquid Soap
Dr. Bonner's is a concentrated liquid soap that was once found only in health food stores. I have now begun seeing it in my local supermarkets. It is a little pricey at first glance but you diluet it 1:10 so it last forever.
- I like the peppermint smell.
- It makes a great floor cleaner. Mop the kitchen with it an your whole house will smell fresh and clean.
- put in a spray bottle with 1 oz of Dr. Bonner's and 9 ounces of water it cuts grease better than most commercial products and smell 10 times better.
- Diluted it also makes a refreshing bodywash.
Liquid Bleach, the Best Germ Fighter
Bleach is the best and least expensive sanitizer there is. It is used in hospital laboratories throughout the United States. All it takes is one ounce of bleach mixed with 9 ounces of water. This solution will kill germs on all hard surfaces including children's toys.
OOOH I Forgot. More Uses for Baking Soday
I just remembered another very important use for baking soda. It is a superb deodorant.
Use in in smell tennies, in the wash with after practice uniforms and even under your arms if you are in a pinch. Oh and it's also makes a good toothpaste if you can stand the taste. I haven't had any cavities since I started using it at age 13.