Chemically Sensitive Product Alternatives
By Dawn Hughes
The average American uses about 25 gallons of toxic products per year in the home. If you suffer from multichemical sensitivities or just want to explore the use of nontoxic cleaning alternatives for general health and money—saving benefits, these ingredients and recipes will be all you need to make the switch. For information on purchasing non-toxic products, resources are listed at the end of this section.
When you make your own cleaning products, you avoid chemicals harmful to your family and the environment. The cleaning products used in most homes can cause indoor air—quality problems, possible severe chemical burns and other health problems from ingestion or absorption. Many household cleaning products, such as furniture polish, oven cleaners, drain cleaners, even air fresheners, are considered hazardous waste potentially harmful to fish and wildlife, as well as humans.
Here’s a list of recipes for household cleaning, followed by cleaning tips and some places to buy natural cleaning products.
1. With a cotton ball, dab vanilla on light bulbs.
2. Baking soda will remove odors in carpets.
3. Boil a citrus peel (orange or lemon) in water.
4. Simmer cinnamon and cloves.
5. Set out a bowl with vinegar to remove odors overnight.
Aluminum Spot Remover
Mix 2 tablespoons cream of tartar + 1 quart hot water.
Make a paste of hydrogen peroxide and cream of tarter. Use a toothbrush to rub it into the stains and rinse thoroughly.
Mix lemon juice and baking soda (or cream of tarter). Make a paste about the consistency of toothpaste. Rub onto brass with a soft cloth. Rinse with water and rub dry with a soft cloth.
Rub brass with lemon juice and rinse well.
For odors, sprinkle dry cornstarch or baking soda on carpet and vacuum.
1. Dip soft cloth in undiluted white vinegar. Wipe surface.
2. Wipe with apple cider vinegar; then polish with baby oil.
Rub with a mixture of lemon juice and salt. Rinse well.
Dishes - Spot Remover
Add a few tablespoons of vinegar to dishwasher, it will cut grease and leave dishes sparkling.
Mix equal parts borax and washing soda.
Mix 1/2 cup borax in 1 gallon of hot water.
1. Pour 1/4 cup baking soda down the drain, then follow with 1/2 cup vinegar.
2. Pour Clorox down the drain.
3. Mix a solution with equal parts of vinegar, salt and baking soda, let foam for 15 minutes, and then flush with boiling water.
1. Add 1/4 cup of baking soda or borax to the washing cycle for softening clothing.
2. Add 1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar to the wash cycle for both softening and eliminating cling.
Clean and shine no—wax floors by adding 1/4 cup of presoak laundry powder and 1 cup of vinegar to mop water.
1. Add 1/2 cup lemon juice to 1 cup of vegetable or olive oil.
2. Mix 1 part white distilled vinegar to 3 parts olive oil.
3. Mix one tablespoon lemon oil in 1 pint of mineral oil.
Furniture Polish Wax
Mix 1/2 cup paraffin wax with 1/4 cup vinegar.
1. Use plain club soda.
2. Fill a spray bottle with 1 quart water and add 1 tablespoon white vinegar.
Mix 1/3 cup washing soda, 1/2 cup soap powder and 1/2 cup vinegar.
Make a paste of vinegar and salt, and rub area with sponge.
Dampen a soft cloth with rubbing alcohol and wipe entire surface to keep mirrors clean.
Make a paste from baking soda and water, scrubbing stains with steel wool.
For tougher stains add salt, except for self-cleaning ovens.
Rust Stain Remover
1. Pour a few drops of hydrogen peroxide on the stain and sprinkle with cream of tartar. Let sit for half an hour, then wipe off.
2. Sprinkle a little bit of salt on the rust; squeeze a lime over the salt until it is nicely soaked in lime juice. Leave the mixture on for 2 or 3 hours.
1. Apply baking soda to a damp sponge. Rinse with clear water.
2. Mix 1 2/3 cups baking soda, 1/2 cup of high-quality liquid soap, 2 tablespoons
white distilled vinegar and 1/2 cup water.
1. Clean with toothpaste and warm water, then rub with a soft dry cloth.
2. Rub with lemon juice and salt.
Fill a spray bottle with 2 pints of cold water and mix in 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
1. Mix baking soda and vinegar. Sprinkle baking soda into the toilet bowl.
Add vinegar. Scour with a toilet brush.
2. Make a paste of borax and lemon juice.
Water Rings Remover
Make a mixture of toothpaste and baking soda and rub with a damp cloth.
*Spray slowly for safety:
1. Add 4 tablespoons ammonia to 1 quart warm water. Mix ingredients and put in spray bottle. Spray on surface and wipe dry.
2. Mix 1 tablespoon vinegar per 3 tablespoons ammonia.
3. Mix 1 part vinegar to 5 parts water.
1. Make a mixture of 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 4 tablespoons white vinegar and 1 quart warm water. Apply with a soft cloth and dry with a separate, clean cloth.
2. Mix 3 cups olive oil and 1 cup vinegar. Use a clean, soft cloth to apply to the furniture.
Quick Cleaning Tips
1. Use a long—handled dust mop and spray with furniture polish.
2. Slip on cotton gloves dampened with polish.
3. Use a blow dryer on low heat to dust items like pleated lampshades.
Spray the bottom of a broom to furniture polish will pick up surface dirt.
1. Lower your ironing board so you can sit down while ironing.
2. Use a steam cleaner for lightly wrinkled clothes.
3. Use curling iron to iron out a small wrinkle.
1. Store clothes in a laundry bag with wheels.
2. Purchase detergent in tablet form.
3. Add vinegar to the rinse cycle to remove soap film.
4. Treat perspiration odors with vinegar before washing.
Clean with cotton gloves dipped in warm water and soap. Dry off with a dampened fabric sheet to repel dust. (Miniblinds are dust collectors. Decorate your windows with wash—and—hang draperies or window shades instead.)
1. Clean silk flowers by putting in a bag with some salt and shake - the dust will stick to the salt.
Drop a denture-cleaning tablet into toilet.
Use a light, carpet sweeper or electric broom for quick cleanups. Dampen vacuum bristles to pick up loose lint and strings.
1. Use a squeegee and wipe blade after every sweep.
2. Use vinegar to remove window streaks.
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Where To Purchase Nontoxic Products
The Clean Environment Company
*50% of net proceeds will go to the American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association. Use: ID# 322543 when ordering.
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Reprinted with permission from The Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Resource Book and Life Planner Workbook: Healing Resources for Patients, Family and Friends. Copyright (c) 2001. All rights reserved.