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Green Living: Vinegar, lemon juice, cornstarch not just for cooking

Sharla Paino | Interrobang | Opinion | October 19th, 2009

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.
Natural and homemade cleaning products can be just as effective as store-bought chemicals, but more importantly don't contain toxins. With their use, not only will you and your pets' environments be healthier, but they also save you money. Here are some eco-ideas for keeping your house clean, sanitary, and smelling nice, without producing waste and/or harmful fumes:

All purpose surface cleaner can be substituted for diluted white vinegar. Consisting of about half a cup of vinegar to one gallon (16 cups) of water, it's best to use this solution with a reusable cloth or old clothing, so as not to waste paper towels.

This cleaner can be used on tile, glass, toilet bowls and countertops, and can be stored in a spray bottle for easy use.

While some people may dislike the “vinegary” smell, it only lasts until it dries, and it's easier on your lungs than Mr. Clean. If you find it is really offensive, a little citrus juice added to the mixture will help.

Wood furniture and floors can be cleaned and polished with equal parts lemon juice and olive oil. While the lemon juice works as a natural detergent, the olive oil treats and shines the wood.

If you find this solution is too sticky for your hardwood floors, a third of water can also be incorporated. Not only is this solution's aroma far better than those of the Pledge-like waxes, it is also completely non-toxic.

The odor of musky carpets, couches and shoes can be absorbed by a quick sprinkle of baking soda, rather then a spray of Febreze. Baking soda can additionally be used to deodorize your fridge, and prevent the transfer of flavours from aromatic foods.

Small stains on carpets or upholstery can be tackled with club soda, while bigger ones can be removed by rubbing cornstarch into the area, and dabbing it with a water/vinegar ratio of 3:1.

The air in your home can be freshened by burning a soy or beeswax candle. Common paraffin wax candles are made from crude oil, and are said to produce more soot, than these alternatives. Soy and beeswax are also renewable resources (unlike crude oil), and their production supports farmers and bee keepers.

Piercing a fresh orange with cloves, heating natural oils in a fragrance burner, and using natural incense are some more options for achieving delightful scents for your home. All of these ideas provide far better breathing air, than chemical sprays or plug-ins.

These natural household cleaning and freshening tips, with which I have just provided you, will help to ensure that you, your family and your animals, will come into less contact with harsh chemical agents; a better-quality atmosphere promises a happier and healthier home.
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