Thus far, this four-part series has looked at environmentally safe ways to clean at home and in the office using everyday household staples such as lemons, vinegar, and baking soda.
This final part will share some other ideas which are just as useful but not so common in their use.
In the Kitchen (office breakroom):
- To remove baked-on food from pans, put a fabric softener dryer sheet in the sink and fill with water. Soak the pan overnight and wipe the loosened food off the next morning, finish washing in your usual way
- To help remove tarnish from silver, line a bowl with aluminum foil and add hot water and 1 teaspoon laundry detergent (more detergent for a large bowl). Soak a minute and then rinse well and polish with a soft cloth as you dry thoroughly.
- A dryer sheet is great for wiping away grease from stove and countertops.
- For garbage disposals, pour a cup of white vinegar down the drain followed by ½ cup baking soda and a pan of boiling water. And one cup of rock salt and 2 cups of ice cubes. Run the disposal until the ingredients are gone. To create a pleasant smell, after cleaning, cut a lime or lemon in half and grind it down in the disposal.
- To de-clog a drain, pour in ½ cup baking soda, followed by ½ cup white vinegar. Cover with a wet cloth to contain the volcanic effect in the drain. After five minutes flush the drain well with hot water.
- A button sewed into the corner of a dishcloth is useful for scraping off stubborn, stuck-on food from pots and pans
- Lemon rind can remove rust on linoleum.
- White nail polish or white-out can cover small scratches on white enamel appliances.
- Put a piece of wax paper under ice trays so they will not stick to the bottom of freezer shelves.
In the Bathroom
- Soak paper towels in vinegar and soapy water to clean and shine faucets and shower heads.
- For deep cleaning on bathroom surfaces such as tile, porcelain, and rubber, put ½ cup liquid soap mixed with 1 2/3 cup baking soda in a bowl. Mix well, getting out any lumps Add ½ cup water and 2 tablespoons white vinegar. Stir and pour into a bottle with a cap from which you can squirt the cleaning solution. Shake well before each use. Apply with a sponge and rinse with a wet, soft cloth. Dry with a soft cloth as needed or let air dry.
- To clean hairspray off floors, walls, and countertops use a solution of 1 part fabric softener to 2 parts water. Spray on areas to be cleaned and then rub clean with a soft, dry cloth. This solution also works well to clean vinyl shower curtain and liners which you can leave to air dry as this will then prevent static
- To loosen soap scum from shower doors and walls, mix 1 cup fabric softener with 1quart warm water. Spray areas to be cleaned, rinse and wipe dry. If you are in a hurry, wet a softener sheet and wipe shower doors and walls. A wet dryer sheet is also handy for removing the ring left in a tub.
These are a few of the ingenious ideas folks have found work well in keeping homes and offices clean without using products harmful to the environment. And, not only are most of these ideas environmentally safe, but they are also inexpensive to use. All in all, using homemade remedies is a win, win for the environment, and your pocketbook.