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In fact, we can use alternative cleaning agents to avoid the disastrous environmental impact that the chemical cleaning agents have. We live in a perfect harmonious environment, which has been there before us and should remain after us. So lets pay some attention to what we are using. We all should respect nature, with all its living and non living creatures.

Useful tips:

1. Experiment with Less
Reducing the use of chemicals in your home doesn’t mean that you have to accept a lower standard of cleanliness. Remember, your house isn’t an operating theatre or scientific laboratory and certainly isn’t the battlefield of dangerous germs that is shown on our TV screens.
Manufacturers’ instructions are not the final word on product use because the sellers have a financial interest in making you use more. So start to vary the way you use chemicals. Begin by experimenting with the amount of chemicals you use. See how little you can get away with.

2. Give Cleaners More Time To Work
If chemical cleaners are given more time to do the job, you will need to use less of them. Soak pots and plates in the sink. If clothes are really dirty, rub them with soap and soak before washing. Soak stains on porcelain and laminex (see recipes below). Soak the toilet bowl. Leave mould and oven cleaners on overnight. For tough grime on stove tops place wet cloth over grime until grime is softened and easily removed.

3. Prevent Dirt Build-up
If you do it regularly, housework need never become overwhelming. And quick action on a spot, stain or mark will solve little dirt problems fast and save further effort.

4. Use Better Cleaning Tools
The “quick and easy” convenience of harsh chemical cleaners have made us forget about the advantages of brushes, scourers and cloths as effective cleaning tools. The stronger your implements, the less you’ll need to use harsh chemical cleaners. Steel wool is a brilliant, cheap all-rounder and scrubbing brushes are now available with long handles.
Using strong cleaning tools goes hand in hand with using softer cleaning agents.
If you learn to use the products listed below you can tackle almost any cleaning problem without damaging the environment or your family’s health.

Alternatives For Cleaning:

In The Kitchen

All Purpose Cleaner: Mix 2-heaped tablespoons bicarb soda with 1 tablespoon white vinegar. Store in airtight container. For really stubborn spots use with an old tooth brush and scrub well.

Aluminium Pots and Pans: To shine, bring to boil in a mixture of vinegar and water.

Bench tops and stainless steel sinks: Clean with plastic scourer and soap or bicarb soda. Stubborn dried-on spots can be soaked by leaving a wet cloth on them for ten minutes and then wiping off.

Blocked Drains: Use rubber plunger to clean grease-blocked drains.

Brass: Shine with a loose paste of vinegar and salt.

Burnt pots: Dissolve two teaspoons of bicarb soda in water and bring to the boil in the saucepan. When cool, clean off with a scourer or steel wool.

Chrome: Polish with apple cider vinegar.

Copper: Using a soft cloth, rub with vinegar. Polish with a dry cloth.

Decanters and Vases: Clean with uncooked rice and a little tea with a few tea leaves or clean with crushed egg shells and a little vinegar.

Dishwasher: Biodegradable dishwashing powders are available in supermarkets. The use of conventional dishwashing detergents (that are non biodegradable) can be minimized by using washing soda each alternate wash. This way you use only half the amount of detergent while avoiding scum build up which can occur when using washing soda only.

Dishwasher Rinse Aid: Use white vinegar to prevent spotting and streaking.

Dishwashing by Hand: Use pure soap or soap flakes. Dissolve soap by rubbing between gloved hands or use a wire basket shaker.

Fridge cleaning and deodorizing: After cleaning with warm water and soap, wipe down with vanilla essence or leave an open packet of bicarb soda in the fridge.

Kettle: To remove hard water encrustation, boil equal parts vinegar and water in the kettle.

Ovens: Make a paste of bicarb soda and water. Apply with a spatula to the inside of the warmed oven. Leave to dry and then clean off with a stiff brush or scourer and very hot water.

Oven Racks: Use the laundry sink to soak racks in washing soda dissolved in hot water.

Pewter: Polish with the outer leaves of a cabbage and then buff with a soft cloth.

Silver: Make a solution of one part washing soda to twenty parts water and put into an aluminium pan. The effervescent bubbles that are created are not toxic. Dip the silver into the mixture briefly. Rinse in hot water then dry with a clean soft cloth.

Tea Stains: Rub cups and mugs with salt or lemon juice or scour with steel wool.

In The Laundry

? WASHING CLOTHES
Pure soap or soap flakes do just as good a job as harsh powders and liquid cleaners.

Machine Washing: Dissolve soap flakes in a little hot water before adding them to the washing water. Soap residue or scum is the result of water hardness and is easily dealt with by adding 1/4 cup of washing soda to the wash cycle. In areas where the water is very hard add 1/2 cup of washing soda to the wash cycle and 1/4 cup to the rinse cycle. When changing from detergents to soap, you may need to remove the detergent residues from the clothes. Add 1/2 cup of washing soda to the machine and pre-wash. To help prevent streaking in dark cottons and to prolong the life of panty hose and stretch fabrics, add half a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle.

Hand Washing: Run soap-filled wire-basket shaker under the tap when washing by hand. You can use up all the little bits of unused soap in this way too. Soap bits can also be collected in a jar. When half full, add very hot water and let the mixture soak thoroughly, stirring occasionally until it forms a gel.

? STAIN REMOVAL
Act quickly - a fresh stain can be far more easily removed than a dried and ingrained stain. Scrape off or absorb as much of the stain as possible. If the stain is fresh and not greasy it can often be removed by putting it straight into cold water. Don’t use hot water as this sets the stain permanently.

Ballpoint Pen Stains: Using methylated spirits, flush fabric repeatedly then rinse.

Blood: Soak in cold water for ten minutes and then wash with soap.

Coffee: Wash out with cool water, then vinegar. Rinse.

Fruit Stains: Immediately cover stain with salt and soak in milk before washing.

Grass Stains: Soak with methylated spirits, allow to dry and then wash.

Grease Spots: 1. If the spot is fresh, sprinkle thickly with bicarb soda; leave for a few minutes then brush off. For dried grease stains, wet fabric and rub bicarb soda into spot. If a stubborn stain, repeat and leave for a few hours then wash. 2. If the grease-stained fabric can take a hot iron, place brown paper over the stain and press for a few moments with a hot iron. The grease will absorb into the paper. Wash in warm soapy water.

Heavy Soil: As for grease spots, (1).

Ink: Soak stain in milk.

Linen Spots: Rub spots with bicarb soda and lemon juice before washing.

Lipstick: Soak stain in milk for thirty minutes and then wash in warm soapy water. Put a little glycerin on the stain and a few hours later wipe with eucalyptus.

Mildew: The fungus can be killed by hanging fabric in hot sun or outside on a frosty night.

Mustard: As for tea.

Nappies: After scraping off the excess, soak soiled nappies in 3 tablespoons of bicarb soda dissolved in warm water. For stubborn stains repeat several times. Wash in warm soapy water. Sundry.

Perfume Stain: As for tea.

Raspberry Stain: Wash with soapy water and then rub lemon juice over the stain. Leave for one hour before washing out.

Red Wine: Pour salt on immediately, let it stand for a while, then soak in cold water and rub out.

Rust: Saturate stain with lemon juice and cover with bicarb soda and leave to soak.

Scorch: Rub well with white vinegar and rinse with cool water.

Tar: Saturate stain with eucalyptus and cover with bicarb soda for one hour. Wash off in warm water. For stubborn stains repeat several times.

Tea and Cocoa: Rub with glycerin; leave for three to four hours, and then wash with soap and cold water.

Wax and Chewing Gum: To remove from fabric, place a block of ice onto wax or gum or place fabric in plastic bag and put in freezer. After two hours scrape off and sponge with eucalyptus.

In The Bathroom

Tiles and basin: Use all-purpose cleaner (see In The Kitchen for recipe). Apply with soft cloth. Wipe off with clean moist cloth. Leave a while for stubborn stains.

Mould Removal: Wipe vinegar onto surfaces, leave overnight, and scrub off.

Toilet Cleaner: Use vinegar and leave to soak for ten minutes. Limescale can then be scrubbed off.

Deodoriser: Open windows top and bottom to draw in fresh air. Place a small bowl of pot pourri or a pot of “eau de Cologne” mint in bathroom and toilet. Wipe floors with vanilla essence.

Bathing: Put 1/2 cup of rolled oats in the toe of a discarded stocking or sock and run it under the tap as the bath fills. The oat-treated water will pamper your skin and the oat sock can be used for cleaning your skin.

Shampoo: This can be made from mixtures of water and herbs, vinegar, lemon juice (as conditioner and hair lightener), egg yolks (for dry hair) or beer (for body). A biodegradable shampoo cake of soap is now available.

Furnishings

Carved Furniture: To clean, apply cedar oil with a cloth and then use an old shaving brush or very soft baby’s hairbrush to clean difficult corners.

Floors: Clean lino tiles and floors (and bench tops) with one tablespoon of lemon essence diluted in 1/2 bucket of water, or wash with vinegar and soap.

Furniture Polish: For softwoods, rub with a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice. For highly polished furniture, wipe over with a chamois leather wrung out in vinegar and water. Polish with a soft dry cloth.

Vinyl Wallpaper: Clean with a warm cloth and white vinegar.

Vinyl Upholstery: To cut down on the release of volatile plasticisers from new vinyl, wash with a strong solution of cider vinegar then rinse and dry well.

Wax Floors: Use bees wax to polish.

Windows and Mirrors: Clean with a solution of 1/2 cup of white vinegar mixed with one litre of water, or clean with a little cold tea. They can also be rubbed dry with newspaper. If windows are very grimy, use soapy water as a pre-wash.

Wood and Leather: As a finish rub with olive oil.