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Quick Cleaning Tips

How to Make Natural Cleansers From Pantry Items (page 1 of 2)

Use simple ingredients from the pantry to make cleaners. You'll save money, and homemade cleaners are healthier for your family and the environment.

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Some of these cleaning recipes are as old as dirt, but they work and you don't have to spend a bundle on getting your home clean.

Diluted White Vinegar: Gentle Cleanser

A solution of vinegar and water in a spray bottle can go a long way when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting. "Mildly acidic white vinegar dissolves dirt, soap scum and hard-water deposits from smooth surfaces, yet it is gentle enough to use on hardwood flooring," according to cleaning expert Cynthia Townley Ewer, author of Houseworks. "White vinegar is a natural deodorizer — it absorbs odors instead of covering them up. And, no, your bathroom won't smell like a salad. The acidic aroma disappears when dry."

Homemade spray-cleaner recipe
Try this recipe to harness the cleaning power of white vinegar.
Mix in a spray bottle:

1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
Use this solution on:

  • Grout: White vinegar has no coloring agents, so it won’t stain grout on tiled surfaces.
  • Laundry: Vinegar cuts detergent residue so it also makes a great fabric softener.
  • Kitchen surfaces: Use a vinegar-and-water spray solution on countertops and backsplashes. It will remove fingerprints and streaks from stainless steel appliances.
  • Odor eliminator: Place a small dish of vinegar beside the stove when cooking fish to absorb the odors.
  • Bathroom: Use a vinegar solution on countertops, floors and outside of the toilet. For tough surfaces, like shower walls, boost the cleaning power by heating the vinegar solution in the microwave until barely hot. Spray the warmed solution generously; allow to stand for 10 to15 minutes, then scrub and rinse.

Undiluted White Vinegar: Hard-Water Stains and Mineral Deposits

"Used straight from the jug, undiluted white vinegar makes quick work of tougher cleaning problems involving hard-water deposits or soap scum," suggests Cynthia. "Use it to clean the inside of the toilet bowl. Before you begin, dump a bucket of water into the toilet to force water out of the bowl and allow access to the sides. Pour undiluted white vinegar around the bowl and scrub with a toilet brush. Use a pumice stone to remove any remaining hard-water rings."

"Clean showerheads that have been clogged with mineral deposits with undiluted white vinegar. Place 1/4 to 1/2 cup vinegar in a plastic food storage bag, and secure the bag over the showerhead with a rubber band. Let stand for 2 hours to overnight, then rinse."

Baking Soda: Natural Grease Cutter

"Baking soda's mild abrasive action and natural deodorizing properties make it a powerful replacement for harsh powders and cleansers," according to Cynthia. "Sprinkle baking soda onto a damp sponge to tackle grimy bathtub rings, scour vanity units or remove food deposits from the kitchen sink."

"Keep bathroom drains running freely and smelling sweet by pouring 1/2 to 3/4 cup baking soda into the drain, and dribbling just enough hot water to wash the solution down. Let stand for 2 hours to overnight, and then flush thoroughly with hot water (do not use on blocked drains)."

Baking soda is an excellent choice because it is a mild abrasive. Mix 1 cup baking soda with 1/2 cup borax and sprinkle in the sink. The mixture won't scratch the finish, cleans beautifully and, as a bonus, deodorizes the plumbing.

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