It seems as if society has forgotten that old-fashioned soap and water actually cleans. Rather than spraying chlorine bleach or ammonia based products on kitchen and bathroom surfaces, consider the following alternatives. - Mix one tablespoon of Ivory or natural dish soap with hot water in an 8-ounce spray bottle. Spray surfaces and wipe with a damp, clean cloth, rinsing as needed. - Mix 1-2 tablespoons of borax with a tablespoon of vinegar in 16 ounces of water. Shake the bottle well, spray surfaces and wipe dry with a clean cloth. (Add 1 tsp. of tea tree oil to help prevent mildew.) Glass Cleaner - Mix 1/3 cup of vinegar to 2/3 cup of water for cleaning glass. For particularly grimy or greasy windows, you can mix equal parts of isopropyl alcohol and water. Both versions are extremely cheap to make and alcohol will act as a disinfectant when needed. Bathroom and Heavy Duty Cleaner - To cut through grime, mix 1/4 cup of vinegar with 1 cup of water and add up to a tablespoon of borax. Mix well in a spray bottle and clean surfaces as you would with commercial cleaner. (Add 10 to 20 drops of citrus oil to create scent if desired.) Abrasive Cleaner Alternative - Create a thick paste with baking soda and vinegar. Works well on stainless steel. Just rub and rinse. - A similarly thick paste made with baking soda and lemon juice works well on other metal surfaces such as brass or copper. Laundry Detergent Alternative - You can create inexpensive powdered laundry detergent by mixing equal parts baking soda with borax. Store in an airtight container, using approximately one-half cup per regular load. Air Freshener Alternative -
For a spray freshener, dilute citrus or lavender oil in water and place in a spray bottle with a fine mist setting. Lightly mist the air, but avoid wetting fabrics and upholstery. - To recreate the warm cinnamon smell of popular air fresheners and candles, mix one cup of applesauce with 1 1/2 cups of cinnamon, roll out onto wax paper to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into small squares or even decorative shapes with miniature cookie cutters. Air dry for 48 hours or until hardened. This is a particularly moist mixture, but dries out nicely. Place dried pieces in a bowl or jar, mixed with marbles or river rock for color. Trying some of these alternatives to expensive, toxic commercial cleaning products can prove to be both budget and environmentally friendly. You can purchase most of the ingredients in any grocery store. Borax is most frequently found near the cleaning and laundry products, while lemon juice, baking soda and vinegar are usually found near baking supplies.
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