From Antivist

Lemons, vinegar, and baking soda is all one really needs to keep a house clean and fresh smelling.

Lemon juice is a natural substance that can be used to clean your home. Lemon juice can be used to dissolve soap scum and hard water deposits. Lemon is a great substance to clean and shine brass and copper. Lemon juice can be mixed with vinegar and or baking soda to make cleaning pastes. Cut a lemon in half and sprinkle baking soda on the cut section. Use the lemon to scrub dishes, surfaces, and stains. Mix 1 cup olive oil with ½ cup lemon juice and you have a furniture polish for your hardwood furniture.

Vinegar naturally cleans like an all-purpose cleaner. Mix a solution of 1 part water to 1 part vinegar in a new store bought spray bottle and you have a solution that will clean most areas of your home. Vinegar is a great natural cleaning product as well as a disinfectant and deodorizer. Always test on an inconspicuous area. It is safe to use on most surfaces and has the added bonus of being incredibly cheap. Improperly diluted vinegar is acidic and can eat away at tile grout. Never use vinegar on marble surfaces. Don't worry about your home smelling like vinegar. The smell disappears when it dries.

Baking soda can be used to scrub surfaces in much the same way as commercial abrasive cleansers. Baking soda is great as a deodorizer. Place a box in the refrigerator and freezer to absorb odors. Put it anywhere you need deodorizing action.

Helpful Tips

  • save old clothing to use as cleaning rags, particularly for dusting.
  • use a washcloth instead of sponges
  • cloth towels are multi-use, from functioning as hot pads to wiping up spills. this eliminates the need for paper towels.
  • invest in a metal scrubbie for those hard to clean jobs.
  • a good old fashioned cloth mop & bucket works fine; but if you are totally enamoured with those swiffer like things, get one with a re-washable terrycloth covering.
  • straw brooms last longer and work better than ones with synthetic fibers.

Homemade Cleaners

Air Fresheners :

  • Put a cotton ball with a couple of drops of essential oil of your choice in your vacuum cleaner bag.
  • Boil some cinnamon and cloves or other fragrant spices in a pan on your stove. Wrap the spices in cheesecloth.
  • Make homemade potpourri
  • Set out a dish of vinegar.

All purpose :

  • Vinegar and Salt. Mix together for a good surface cleaner.
  • Baking Soda. Dissolve 4 tablespoons baking soda in 1 quart warm water for a general cleaner. Or use baking soda on a damp sponge. Baking soda will clean and deodorize all kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
  • 1 part Baking Soda, 2 parts white vinegar, 4 parts warm water.

Dish Detergent :

  • you will need 2 cups grated hard bar soap or soap flakes and 16 cups water. Rub oil on your grater before grating bar soap; it will be easier to clean. Place soap in a pot, add water and stir. Heat over medium heat until the mixture boils, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool. Store in tightly covered container. (Not for use in automatic dishwashers.)
  • A homemade substitute for automatic dishwasher detergent can be made using equal parts borax and washing soda; increase the amount of soda if water is hard.
  • dishes can also be cleaned perfectly fine using pure soap flakes, if you can find these.

Anti-Bacterial Spray :

  1. 1 gallon tap water
  2. 2 tbsp. regular Clorox bleach
  • Mix water and bleach in a clean, milk jug and label clearly as to contents. Pour as needed into a spray bottle, and use to sanitize counter tops, tables, cutting boards, bathroom surfaces, etc., as needed. This will keep without losing effectiveness for two weeks. This formula has been recommended by the Health Department for use in kitchens and bathrooms.

Brass and copper cleaner :

  • Mix salt and either lemon juice or hot vinegar into a paste.
  • Dissolve 1/4 cup. salt in 1-cup white vinegar add a few drops of lemon essential oil or lemon juice and mix with enough flour to make a paste. Store this is a covered container and use like silver polish. Spread on surface and let stand 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water and dry with a soft cloth. Silver and brass will look brighter and require less polishing if rubbed with a cloth moistened with olive oil after each polishing. Olive oil retards tarnish, obviously this isn't a good idea for copper bottom pans.
  • Make a paste of lemon juice and cream of tartar. Apply, leave on for 5 minutes and then wash in warm water. Dry with a soft cloth.

Carpet Cleaner :

  • Sprinkle cornstarch on dry carpet and vacuum after five minutes.

Carpet and Room Freshener :

  1. 1 cup crushed, dried herbs (such as rosemary, lavender, etc.)
  2. 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  3. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  4. 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • Combine all ingredients in a large jar or other container with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well to blend. Sprinkle some of the mixture on your carpet, leave it for an hour or so, and then vacuum it up. It gives the room a pleasant smell and neutralizes carpet odors.

Carpet Shampoo :

  • Mix 1/2 cup of pure liquid dishwashing soap and two cups of boiling water; let it cool and then whip to jelly. Rub carpet gently with mix and dampened sponge. Then rinse with cloth and one quart of water with one cup of white vinegar. Wipe carpet dry with a clean cloth.

Carpet & Upholstery Stains Remover :

  • Club Soda. (*Treat immediately!)
  • Mix six tablespoons of soap flakes, two tablespoons of Borax and two cups of boiling water; cool and shake vigorously. On a small area, brush in only suds with soft circular motions and remove with a soft cloth.

Chrome Cleaner :

  • Use hot water with either rubbing alcohol or ammonia.

Dish Cleaner :

  • Use soap flakes in hot water. Add vinegar for tough grease when necessary.

Dishwasher Detergent :

  • Mix Borax and washing soda in a one-to-one ratio or Borax and baking soda in a two-to-one ratio.

Disinfectant :

  • Dissolve 1/8 cup of Borax in one quart of hot water.

Drain cleaner :

  • To avoid clogging drains; collect grease in cans rather than pouring it down the drain. Pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain weekly to melt fat that may be building up in the drain.
  • Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain. Add 1/2 cup white vinegar and cover the drain if possible. Let set for a few minutes, then pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain to flush it.

Fabric Softener :

  • Pour 1 cup white vinegar into the rinse water to remove detergent residue so clothes feel softer.

Floor Cleaners and Floor Polishes :

  • Vinegar. A few drops in the cleaning water will help remove grease panicles. Dull, greasy film on no-wax linoleum can be washed away with 1/2 cup white vinegar mixed into 1/2 gallon water. Your floor will look sparkling clean.
  • To preserve a linoleum floor you may wish to add a capful of baby oil to the mop water.
  • To remove crayon marks: Toothpaste. Crayon marks on the floor may be removed by rubbing them with a damp cloth containing toothpaste.
  • For Wood Floors: Vegetable Oil and Vinegar. Mix a 1 to 1 ratio of oil and vinegar into a solution and apply a thin coat. Rub in well.
  • To remove grease from wood floors: Ice Cube or Cold Water. If you spill grease on a wood floor, immediately place an ice cube or very cold water on the spot. The grease will harden and can then be scraped off with a knife. Then iron a piece of cloth over the grease spot.
  • Mix 1/8 cup of melted paraffin in one quart of mineral oil. Apply with a cloth. Then dry and polish your floor.

Furniture Polish :

  • Mix 2 parts olive oil and 1 part lemon juice. Apply and polish with a soft cloth.
  • For Unfinished Wood use olive oil. Apply sparingly with a soft cloth.
  • For lemon oil polish, dissolve 1 teaspoon lemon oil into 1 pint olive oil.
  • Rub with a cloth dipped in cool tea.
  • Use olive oil on unvarnished wood. On varnished wood, spray lightly with two tablespoons of olive oil, one tablespoon of white vinegar and one quart of water and let it dry.

Glass/Window Cleaner:

  • Equal parts of white vinegar & water. Store in a clean pump spray container.
  • Spray with a mixture of 1/8 cup of vinegar, 1/2 cup of ammonia and one quart of water. Then dry with crumpled newspaper.

Laundry Detergent :

  • Use equal amounts (1/4 cup each) of apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and washing soda.
  • In an ice cream bucket mix one box of borax, one box of washing soda, and one carton sea salt. Use one half cup for a large load of laundry.
  • During water fill, add 1/3 cup of washing soda. Put in the clothes and then add one cup of pure soap. During the rinse cycle, add 1/4 cup of vinegar as softener.

Laundry Starch :

  • For homemade laundry starch, dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 1 pint cold water. Place in a spray bottle. Shake before using. Clearly label the contents of the spray bottle.

Mildew Remover :

  • Equal parts salt & white vinegar

Oven Cleaner :

  • Mix paste of Baking Soda, salt, water.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put a non-aluminum pan with 1/4 cup of ammonia and water in the oven, with door closed, overnight. Scrub clean with baking soda in the morning.

Polishing Cloths :

  • Here's a method for making polishing cloths to dust furniture. Add 1/4 cup lemon oil to 2 cups hot water. Mix well. Soak dust cloths in the mixture, then let them dry before using. Save the mixture in a glass jar. When the cloths become soiled, wash them, re-treat them, and use again.

Scratch Repair :

  • To fill in small scratches in wood furniture try breaking open a Brazil nut, black walnut or pecan and rubbing it on the spot.

Silver Cleaner :

  • Place a sheet of aluminum foil in the bottom of a pan, add 2-3 inches of water, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, and bring to a boil. Add silver pieces, boil 2-3 minutes, making sure the water covers the silver pieces. Remove silver, rinse, dry, and buff with a soft cloth.
  • To clean off tarnish on items that cannot be put underwater, coat the silver with toothpaste, then run it under warm water, work it into a foam, and rinse it off. For stubborn stains or intricate grooves, use an old soft-bristled toothbrush.

Spray Cleaner :

  • Fill an empty spray bottle 3/4 full of apple cider vinegar, add 1 Tbsp sea salt and juice of one lemon, (you may add a few drops of tea tree oil to boost disinfectant properties) fill to the top with water. This solution can be used to clean all household surfaces, including glass. It can also be used to spot treat stains on clothing.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner :

  • Apply a paste of lemon juice and Borax. Let this stand for two hours.

Tub and Tile Cleaner :

  • Scrub with baking soda, washing soda or Borax.

Water Marks Remover :

  • Toothpaste

Difficult Laundry Stains

Blood :

  • Soak the item in cold water or hydrogen peroxide or apply a mixture of cornstarch and talcum powder or cornmeal and water; dry and brush away.
  • Rub the garment with a bar of soap. Scrub in water and rinse.

Chewing Gum :

  • Rub with ice and flake off.

Coffee :

  • Try egg yolk with warm water
  • Moist salt.

Fruit and Wine :

  • Immediately pour on salt or hot water and soak in milk.

Grass :

  • Rub with glycerin soap.

Grease :

  • Pour on boiling water and then follow by baking soda.

Heavy Soils :

  • Rub with a solution made up of two tablespoons of washing soda and one cup of warm water.

Ink :

  • Soak in milk or hydrogen peroxide.
  • Cold water, 1 tbsp. Cream of Tartar, 1 tbsp. lemon juice

Lipstick :

  • Rub with cold cream or shortening and wash with washing soda.

Mildew :

  • Rub strong soap and salt on spots; place in sunlight while keeping spots moist.

Oil Stains :

  • White chalk rubbed into stain before washing

Rust :

  • Soak with sour milk or lemon juice and rub with salt; dry in sun and wash.

Scorches :

  • Boil the article in one cup of soap and two quarts of milk.

Homemade Wipes

Baby Wipes :

  1. Brawny or Bounty paper towels (1/2 regular roll)
  2. 2-1/4 cups water
  3. 2 Tblsp. liquid baby bath
  4. 2 tsp. baby oil
  • Tear off paper towels and lay in a square plastic container. They can be folded or cut in half. Mix water, baby bath & baby oil slowly in a large measuring cup, and slowly pour over stack of paper towels. They will 'squish' down after absorbing the liquid. Seal tightly.
  • Caution: Some square seals are not airtight and may leak if tipped.

Other variations:

Face/Hand Wipes :

  • 2 tbsp.liquid baby bath
  • 2 C water

Bathroom Wipes :

  • 1/2 C pine cleaner
  • 2 C water

Window Wipes :

  • 1C glass cleaner
  • 1-1/2 C water


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