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March 2011 5
Bye Bye Wintertime S
ignaling the beginning of spring here in the northern hemisphere, 23:21 Universal Time on March 20 marks that special moment when the sun crosses the celestial equator going from south to north and the lightness of day begins overpowering
night’s darkness. It won’t be long before doors fly open and windows are raised so the freshness of spring
can wash away winter’s staleness. Maybe even some good old-fashioned spring house- cleaning is in order. The internet is filled with inexpensive, non-toxic and simple alterna- tives to the chemical-laden household cleaners that 20th century marketing campaigns trained us to use. Here are but a few:
VINYL AND LINOLEUM FLOORS: 1 cup of white vinegar and a few drops of baby oil in a gallon of warm water. 1/4 cup of borax can be added for tough jobs. Use sparingly on linoleum.
WOOD FLOORS: Damp-mop with a 1/2 cup of white vinegar mixed into 1 gallon of
warm water. 10-15 drops of peppermint oil can also be added (shake or stir vigorously to mix). A thin coat of a vegetable oil and white vinegar mixed in equal parts works on wood floors, too. Rub in well.
CARPET STAINS: Spray a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water directly on the stain and let sit for several minutes before cleaning with brush or sponge and warm, soapy water. For stubborn stains, make a paste with 1/4 cup each of salt, borax and vinegar, rub into carpet, and leave for a few hours before vacuuming. For fresh grease spots, sprinkle some corn starch on the spot and wait 15 to 30 minutes before vacuuming.
CARPET ODOR: Baking soda is great for deodorizing carpets. Sprinkle it on, let it sit for a while, and vacuum.
MOLD AND MILDEW (in general): Apply full-strength white vinegar or lemon juice with a sponge or scrubby. Work in well (let sit if needed) and rinse. BATHROOM MOLD: Mix one part 3 percent strength hydrogen peroxide and two parts water and spray on moldy areas. Wait at least an hour before rinsing or using shower.
LIME DEPOSITS ON FAUCETS AND FIXTURES: Squeeze full-strength lemon juice on the lime scale and let sit for several minutes before using wet cloth to wipe clean. If this doesn’t do the trick, try soaking in white vinegar by tying a plastic bag of white vinegar around the faucet/fixture and leaving it there for two or three hours before scrubbing the deposits off.
TEA KETTLES AND COFFEE POTS: Fill with mixture of water and white vinegar (2
cups water to 1/2 cup vinegar), gently boil for a few minutes, and then let cool. Empty and wipe clean with cloth before rinsing thoroughly with hot water. Note: Coffee and tea stains in cups can be removed by rubbing with white vinegar.
TOILETS BOWLS: Mix 1/4 cup baking soda with 1 cup vinegar, pour into basin, and let it set for a few minutes. Scrub with brush and rinse. Or, try a mixture of two parts borax to one part lemon juice.
SCOURING POWDER: Baking soda works great.
DEODORIZER: Again, baking soda works great; in the fridge, down the drain, in the litter box and diaper pails. Also, baking soda or white vinegar with lemon juice in a small uncovered dish absorbs odors.
FURNITURE POLISH: Paste wax or mineral oil does the trick.
Wow, hats off to white vinegar and baking soda. Happy non-toxic and inexpensive spring cleaning to you. May we all know the root of happiness in this life.
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