Growing up in the fifties before Ad Men took over, cleaning supplies in the grocery store probably took up about one tenth of one side of a grocery store isle. A while back I walked down a complete, 48 foot grocery isle with cleaning supplies of one type of another taking up one entire side of the isle. And they were expensive! Now that we’re all watching our pennies, here’s a secret. Use the big three: vinegar, baking soda and lemon for all your cleaning and sanitizing needs. Plain old white vinegar can clean just about anything. Add some baking soda if you need a little abrasion and you’ll never have to buy another expensive and environmentally harmful cleaning product again. And how many products have you bought with fake “lemon scent”? Use the real thing.
You won’t need rubber gloves on to use baking soda,vinegaror lemon. They are chlorine free, great sanitizers and stain removers and are completely safe. Here’s a website with the skinny on baking soda. When the bathtub and tub tiles need a good scrubbing, instead of Comet Bathroom Cleaner ($2.50/17oz bottle) or Kaboom ($4.59/22 oz bottle), fill a spray bottle with white vinegar and sprinkle some baking soda in the tub. Spray the vinegar in the tub and watch the baking soda bubble. Scrub the tub with a sponge or rag and see how shiny the tub gets and how fresh it smells. I even brush my teeth with baking soda. It leaves your breath fresh and is a natural whitener.
What about expensive fabric softeners and ant-cling products? The chemicals in these products can cause allergic reactions and respiratory problems and some are known carcinogens. So ditch the Downy ($5.79/40 loads) and the Bounce ($2.99/40 loads) and put 1/2 cup of white vinegar into the rinse cycle of your washing machine for a natural softener and cling reducer. This website has 1001 vinegar tips.
Add some baking soda to your laundry to brighten color clothes. And if you need to whiten white clothes–use lemon. There’s no clorine and no yellowing the way bleach sometimes does. Lemon can get rid of stubborn stains in clothes, on countertops and many more things.
You can eliminate most of the cleaning products under your kitchen and bathroom sinks by using these three products. One gallon of white vinegar costs $2.00. One 2 pound box of baking soda costs $1.50. I can usually find a bag of 12 lemons for $3-4 but for stains you just need a few drops of lemon juice . The EPA lists household cleaners among the products that contribute to Indoor Air Quality problems. They can exacerbate allergies and asthma in adults and children who are susceptible to these health risks.
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Gayle Fleming, Keller William Realty
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