Money Saving & Homemade Cleaners Tips

There are many inexpensive, easy-to-use natural alternatives which can safely be used in place of commercial household products. Here is a list of common, environmentally safe products which can be used alone or in combination for a wealth of household applications.
Baking Soda - cleans, deodorizes, softens water, scours.
Soap - unscented soap in liquid form, flakes, powders or bars
is biodegradable and will clean just about anything.
Avoid using soaps which contain petroleum distillates.
Lemon - one of the strongest food-acids, effective against
most household bacteria.
Borax - (sodium borate) cleans, deodorizes, disinfects, softens
water, cleans wallpaper, painted walls and floors. (be very careful
using Borax!!!!!)
White Vinegar - cuts grease, removes mildew, odors, some stains
and wax build-up.
Washing Soda - or SAL Soda is sodium carbonate decahydrate,
a mineral. Washing soda cuts grease, removes stains, softens
water, cleans wall, tiles, sinks and tubs. Use care, as washing
soda can irritate mucous membranes. Do not use on aluminum.
Isopropyl Alcohol - is an excellent disinfectant. (It has been
suggested to replace this with ethanol or 100 proof alcohol in solution
with water. There is some indication that isopropyl alcohol buildup
contributes to illness in the body).
Cornstarch - can be used to clean windows, polish furniture,
shampoo carpets and rugs.
Citrus Solvent - cleans paint brushes, oil and grease, some
stains. (Citrus solvent may cause skin, lung or eye irritations for
people with multiple chemical sensitivities.)

Combinations of the above basic products can provide less
harmful substitutions for many commercial home products.
In most cases, they're also less expensive. Here are some formulas
for safe, alternative home care products:
Note: These formulas and substitutions are offered to help
minimize the use of toxic substances in your home, and reduce
the environmental harm caused by the manufacture, use and
disposal of toxics. Results may vary and cannot be guaranteed
to be 100% safe and effective. Before applying any cleaning
formulations, test in small hidden areas if possible.
Always use caution with any new product in your home.
Make sure to keep all home-made formulas well-labeled, and out
of the reach of children.

All-Purpose Cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda
(or 2 teaspoons borax) into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water. Store and
keep. Use for removal of water deposit stains on shower stall panels,
bathroom chrome fixtures, windows, bathroom mirrors, etc.
Or use a citrus-based natural all-purpose cleaner.
Another alternative are microfiber cloths which lift off dirt, grease

and dust without the need for cleaning chemicals, because they are
formulated to penetrate and trap dirt. There are a number of different brands.
A good quality cloth can last for several years.
Air Freshener: Commercial air fresheners mask smells and coat nasal
passages to diminish the sense of smell.
• Baking soda or vinegar with lemon juice in small dishes absorbs

odors around the house.
• Having houseplants helps reduce odors in the home.
• Prevent cooking odors by simmering vinegar (1 tbsp in 1 cup water)

on the stove while cooking. To get such smells as fish and onion off
utensils and cutting boards, wipe them with vinegar and wash in
soapy water.
• Keep fresh coffee grounds on the counter.
• Grind up a slice of lemon in the garbage disposal.
• Simmer water and cinnamon or other spices on stove.
• Place bowls of fragrant dried herbs and flowers in room.

Bathroom mold: Mold in bathroom tile grout is a common problem and
can be a health concern. Mix one part hydrogen peroxide (3%) with two
parts water in a spray bottle and spray on areas with mold. Wait at least
one hour before rinsing or using shower.
Carpet stains: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle.

Spray directly on stain, let sit for several minutes, and clean with a
brush or sponge using warm soapy water.
For fresh grease spots, sprinkle corn starch onto spot and wait 15 - 30

minutes before vacuuming. For a heavy duty carpet cleaner, mix 1/4 cup
each of salt, borax and vinegar. Rub paste into carpet and leave for a
few hours. Vacuum.
Chopping block cleaner: Rub a slice of lemon across a chopping block

to disinfect the surface. For tougher stains, squeeze some of the lemon
juice onto the spot and let sit for 10 minutes, then wipe.
Coffee and tea stains: Stains in cups can be removed by applying vinegar

to a sponge and wiping. To clean a teakettle or coffee maker, add 2 cups
water and 1/4 cup vinegar; bring to a boil. Let cool, wipe with a clean
cloth and rinse thoroughly with water.
Plastic food storage containers - soak overnight in warm water and

baking soda
• In-sink garbage disposal units - grind up lemon or orange peel in

the unit
• Carpets - sprinkle baking soda several hours before vacuuming
• Garage, basements - set a sliced onion on a plate in center of room for

 12 - 24 hours
Dishwasher Soap: Mix equal parts of borax and washing soda, but increase
the washing soda if your water is hard. If you want to use a commercial
dishwashing soap, try CitraDish or Nellie's All-Natural diswasher powder,
which contain no bleach or phosphates.
Dishwashing Soap: Commercial low-phosphate detergents are not
themselves harmful, but phosphates nourish algae which use up oxygen
in waterways. A detergent substitution is to use liquid soap. Add 2 or 3
tablespoons of vinegar to the warm, soapy water for tough jobs.
Or use a citrus-based natural dish soap.
Disinfectant: Mix 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar and 3 cups
hot water. For stronger cleaning power add 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap.
Wipe on with dampened cloth or use non-aerosol spray bottle.
(This is not an antibacterial formula. The average kitchen or bathroom
does not require antibacterial cleaners.)
To disinfect kitchen sponges, put them in the dishwasher when running

a load.
Drain Cleaner: For light drain cleaning, mix 1/2 cup salt in 4 liters water,
heat (but not to a boil) and pour down the drain. For stronger cleaning,
pour about 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain, then 1/2 cup vinegar.
The resulting chemical reaction can break fatty acids down into soap
and glycerine, allowing the clog to wash down the drain. After 15 minutes,
pour in boiling water to clear residue. Caution: only use this method
with metal plumbing. Plastic pipes can melt if excess boiling water is used.
Also, do not use this method after trying a commercial drain opener
the vinegar can react with the drain opener to create dangerous fumes.
A commercial alternative is to use CitraDrain Build-Up Remover which uses

natural enzymes to safely eliminate grease, oil, soap residue and more
to keep pipes flowing properly.
Fabric softener: To reduce static cling, dampen your hands, then shake

out your clothes as you remove them from the drier. Line-drying
clothing is another alternative.
Floor Cleaner and Polish:
vinyl and linoleum: mix 1 cup vinegar and a few drops of
baby oil in 1 gallon warm water. For tough jobs, add 1/4 cup
borox. Use sparingly on lineoleum.
wood: apply a thin coat of 1:1 vegetable oil and vinegar
and rub in well.
painted wood: mix 1 teaspoon washing soda into 1 gallon
(4L) hot water.
brick and stone tiles: mix 1 cup white vinegar in 1 gallon
(4L) water; rinse with clear water. Most floor surfaces can be
easily cleaned using a solution of vinegar and water.
For damp-mopping wood floors: mix equal amounts of
white distilled vinegar and water. Add 15 drops of pure
peppermint oil; shake to mix.

Furniture Polish: For varnished wood, add a few drops of lemon oil into a
1/2 cup warm water. Mix well and spray onto a soft cotton cloth. Cloth
should only be slightly damp. Wipe furniture with the cloth, and finish by
wiping once more using a dry soft cotton cloth. Or use CitraWood, a
natural wood polish.
For unvarnished wood, mix two tsps each of olive oil and lemon juice

and apply a small amount to a soft cotton cloth.
Wring the cloth to spread the mixture further into the material and apply t
o the furniture using wide strokes. This helps distribute the oil evenly.
Laundry Detergent: Mix 1 cup Ivory soap (or Fels Naptha soap), 1/2 cup

washing soda and 1/2 cup borax. Use 1 tbsp for light loads;
2 tbsp for heavy loads. Commercial natural, biodegradable laundry
detergents are also now available online and in select stores.
Lime Deposits:
You can reduce lime deposits in your teakettle by putting

in 1/2 cup (125ml) white vinegar and 2 cups water, and gently boiling for
a few minutes. Rinse well with fresh water while kettle is still warm.
To remove lime scale on bathroom fixtures, squeeze lemon juice onto

affected areas and let sit for several minutes before wiping clean with a
wet cloth.
Marks on walls and painted surfaces: Many ink spots, pencil, crayon or

marker spots can be cleaned from painted surfaces using baking soda
applied to a damp sponge. Rub gently, then wipe and rinse.
Metal Cleaners and Polishes:
aluminum: using a soft cloth, clean with a solution of
cream of tartar and water.
brass or bronze: polish with a soft cloth dipped in lemon

and baking-soda solution, or vinegar and salt solution.
Another method is to apply a dab of ketchup on a soft cloth
and rub over tarnished spots.
chrome: polish with baby oil, vinegar, or aluminum foil
shiny side out.
copper: soak a cotton rag in a pot of boiling water with
1 tablespoon salt and 1 cup white vinegar.
Apply to copper while hot; let cool, then wipe clean.
For tougher jobs, sprinkle baking soda or lemon juice on
a soft cloth, then wipe. For copper cookware, sprinkle a
lemon wedge with salt, then scrub., A simpler method is to
apply a dab of ketchup on a soft cloth and rub over
tarnished spots.
gold: clean with toothpaste, or a paste of salt, vinegar,
and flour.
silver: line a pan with aluminum foil and fill with water;
add a teaspoon each of baking soda and salt.
Bring to a boil and immerse silver. Polish with soft cloth.
stainless steel: clean with a cloth dampened with undiluted
white vinegar, or olive oil. For stainless cookware, mix 4 tbs
baking soda in 1 qt water, and apply using a soft cloth.
Wipe dry using a clean cloth. For stainless steel sinks,
pour some club soda on an absorbent cloth to clean,
then wipe dry using a clean cloth.
Mold and Mildew: Use white vinegar or lemon juice full strength.
Apply with a sponge or scrubby.
The common mothball is made of paradichlorobenzene,

which is harmful to liver and kidneys. Cedar chips in a cheesecloth
square, or cedar oil in an absorbent cloth will repel moths.
The cedar should be 'aromatic cedar', also referred to as juniper
in some areas. Cedar chips are available at many craft supply stores, 
or make your own using a plane and a block of cedar from the lumberyard.
Homemade moth-repelling sachets can also be made with lavender,

rosemary, vetiver and rose petals.
Dried lemon peels are also a natural moth deterrent
- simply toss into
clothes chest, or tie in cheesecloth and hang in the closet.
Oil and Grease Spots: For small spills on the garage floor, add baking

soda and scrub with wet brush. Or use CitraSolv nontoxic degreaser
Oven Cleaner: Moisten oven surfaces with sponge and water.
Use 3/4cup baking soda, 1/4cup salt and 1/4cup water to make a thick
paste, and spread throughout oven interior. (avoid bare metal and any
openings) Let sit overnight. Remove with spatula and wipe clean.
Rub gently with fine steel wool for tough spots.
Paint Brush Cleaner: Non-toxic, citrus oil based solvents are now
available commercially under several brand names. Citra-Solve
is one brand. This works well for cleaning brushes of oil-based paints.
Paint brushes and rollers used for an on-going project can be saved
overnight, or even up to a week, without cleaning at all.
Simply wrap the brush or roller snugly in a plastic bag, such as a
used bread or produce bag. Squeeze out air pockets and store
away from light. The paint won't dry because air can't get to it.
Simply unwrap the brush or roller the next day and continue
with the job. Fresh paint odors can be reduced by placing a small dish
of white vinegar in the room.
Rust Remover: Sprinkle a little salt on the rust, squeeze a lime over

the salt until it is well soaked. Leave the mixture on for 2 - 3 hours.
Use leftover rind to scrub residue.
Scouring Powder: For top of stove, refrigerator and other such surfaces t
hat should not be scratched, use baking soda. Apply baking soda directly
with a damp sponge.
Shoe Polish: Olive oil with a few drops of lemon juice can be applied to
shoes with a thick cotton or terry rag. Leave for a few minutes;
wipe and buff with a clean, dry rag.
Stickers on walls: Our children covered the inside of their room doors

with stickers. Now they are grown, but the stickers remained. To remove,
sponge vinegar over them several times, and wait 15 minutes, then rub off
the stickers. This also works for price tags (stickers) on tools, etc.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Mix 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar, pour into
basin and let it set for a few minutes. Scrub with brush and rinse.
A mixture of borax (2 parts) and lemon juice (one part) will also work.
Tub and Tile Cleaner: For simple cleaning, rub in baking soda with a damp

sponge and rinse with fresh water. For tougher jobs, wipe surfaces with
vinegar first and follow with baking soda as a scouring powder.
(Vinegar can break down tile grout, so use sparingly.)
Wallpaper Remover: Mix equal parts of white vinegar and hot water, apply
with sponge over the old wallpaper to soften the adhesive. Peel of the lifting
paper and reapply the mixture to stubborn patches. Open the room windows
or use a fan to dissipate the pungent vinegar smell.
Water Rings on Wood: Water rings on a wooden table or counter are the
result of moisture that is trapped under the topcoat, but not the finish.
Try applying toothpaste or mayonnaise to a damp cloth and rub into the
ring. Be careful not to run too vigorously so as not to mar the finish.
Once the ring is removed, buff the entire wood surface.
Window Cleaner: Mix 2 teaspoons of white vinegar with 1 liter (qt) warm

water. Use crumpled newspaper or cotton cloth to clean.
Only use the black and white newspapers, not the colored ones.
Don't clean windows if the sun is on them, or if they are warm, or streaks
will show on drying. Be sure to follow the recipe, because using too strong
a solution of vinegar will etch the glass and eventually cloud it.
The All-Purpose Cleaner (above) also works well on windows.


Exchange Indoor Air
Many modern homes are so tight there's little new air coming in. Open the

windows from time to time or run any installed exhaust fans. In cold weather,
the most efficient way to exchange room air is to open the room wide -
windows and doors, and let fresh air in quickly for about 5 minutes.
The furnishings in the room, and the walls, act as 'heat sinks', and by
exchanging air quickly, this heat is retained.
Minimize Dust
Remove clutter which collects dust, such as old newspapers and magazines.

Try to initiate a 'no-shoes-indoors' policy. If you're building or remodelling a
home, consider a central vacuum system; this eliminates the fine dust which
portable vacuum cleaners recirculate.
Use Cellulose Sponges
Most household sponges are made of polyester or plastic which are slow

to break down in landfills, and many are treated with triclosan, a chemical
that can produce chloroform (a suspected carcinogen) when it interacts
with the chlorine found in tap water. Instead try cellulose sponges, available
at natural foods stores, which are biodegradable and will soak up spills faster
since they're naturally more absorbent.
Keep Bedrooms Clean
Most time at home is spent in the bedrooms. Keep pets out of these rooms,

especially if they spend time outdoors.
Use Gentle Cleaning Products
Of the various commercial home cleaning products, drain cleaners,

toilet bowl cleaners and oven cleaners are the most toxic.
Use the formulas described above or purchase 'green' commercial alternatives.
Avoid products containing ammonia or chlorine, or petroleum-based chemicals;
these contribute to respiratory irritation, headaches and other complaints.
Clean from the Top Down:
When house cleaning, save the floor or carpet for last.

Clean window blinds and shelves first and then work downwards.
Allow time for the dust to settle before vacuuming.


1. Budweiser beer conditions the hair
2. Pam cooking spray will dry finger nail polish
3. Cool whip will condition your hair in 15 minutes
4. Mayonnaise will KILL LICE, it will also condition your hair
5. Elmer's Glue - paint on your face, allow it to dry, peel off and see the

dead skin and blackheads if any.
6. Shiny Hair - use brewed Lipton Tea
7. Sunburn - empty a large j...
ar of Nestea into your bath water
8. Minor burn - Colgate or Crest toothpaste
9. Burn your tongue? Put sugar on it!
10. Arthritis? WD-40 Spray and rub in, kill insect stings too
11 Bee stings - meat tenderizer
12. Chigger bite - Preparation H
13. Puffy eyes - Preparation H
14. Paper cut - crazy glue or chap stick (glue is used instead of sutures at most hospitals)
15. Stinky feet - Jello !
16. Athletes feet - cornstarch
17. Fungus on toenails or fingernails - Vicks vapor rub
18. Kool aid to clean dishwasher pipes. Just put in the detergent section and run a cycle, it will also clean a toilet. (Wow, and we drink this stuff)
19. Kool Aid can be used as a dye in paint also Kool Aid in Dannon plain yogurt as a finger paint, your kids will love it and it won't hurt them if they eat it!
20. Peanut butter - will get scratches out of CD's! Wipe off with a coffee filter paper
21. Sticking bicycle chain - Pam no-stick cooking spray
22. Pam will also remove paint, and grease from your hands! Keep a can in your garage for your hubby
23. Peanut butter will remove ink from the face of dolls
24. When the doll clothes are hard to put on, sprinkle with corn starch and watch them slide on
25. Heavy dandruff - pour on the vinegar !
26. Body paint - Crisco mixed with food coloring. Heat the Crisco in the microwave, pour in to an empty film container and mix with the food color of your choice!
27 Tie Dye T-shirt - mix a solution of Kool Aid in a container, tie a rubber band around a section of the T-shirt and soak
28. Preserving a newspaper clipping - large bottle of club soda and cup of milk of magnesia , soak for 20 min. and let dry, will last for many years!
29. A Slinky will hold toast and CD's!
30. To keep goggles and glasses from fogging, coat with Colgate toothpaste
31. Wine stains, pour on the Morton salt and watch it absorb into the salt.
32. To remove wax - Take a paper towel and iron it over the wax stain, it will absorb into the towel.
33. Remove labels off glassware etc. rub with Peanut butter!
34. Baked on food - fill container with water, get a Bounce paper softener and the static from the Bounce towel will cause the baked on food to adhere to it. Soak overnight. Also; you can use 2 Efferdent tablets , soak overnight!
35. Crayon on the wall - Colgate toothpaste and brush it!
36.. Dirty grout - Listerine
37. Stains on clothes - Colgate toothpaste
38. Grass stains - Karo Syrup
39. Grease Stains - Coca Cola , it will also remove grease stains from the driveway overnight. We know it will take corrosion from car batteries!
40. Fleas in your carpet? 20 Mule Team Borax- sprinkle and let stand for 24 hours. Maybe this will work if you get them back again.
41. To keep FRESH FLOWERS longer Add a little Clorox , or 2 Bayer aspirin , or just use 7-up instead of water.
42. When you go to buy bread in the grocery store, have you ever wondered which is the freshest, so you 'squeeze' for freshness or softness? Did you know that bread is delivered fresh to the stores five days a week? Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Each day has a different color twist tie.

They are:

Monday = Blue,
Tuesday = Green
Thursday = Red
Friday = White
Saturday = Yellow

  So if today was Thursday, you would want red twist tie; not white which is Fridays (almost a week old)! The colors go alphabetically by color Blue- Green - Red - White - Yellow, Monday through Saturday. Very easy to remember. I thought this was interesting. I looked in the grocery store and the bread wrappers DO have different twist ties, and even the ones with the plastic clips have different colors. You learn something new everyday! Enjoy fresh bread when you buy bread with the right color on the day you are shopping.

Don't forget Gatorade for Migraine Headaches. PowerAde won't work.
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