Cleaning ~ Naturally

Cleaning ~ Kitchen Tricks

Chances are you've never even heard of these household cleaning remedies.

Playing tackle football on the grass or dining alfresco is great for boosting ones mood, but not so great for your laundry bills.

Grass stains on your khakis, moldy beach towels and dingy tablecloths are dead giveaways of summer fun.

All are side effects and sometimes permanent reminders, of summertime or anytime fun.

But why sacrifice your favorite clothes and linens?

Follow our guide to keeping items fresh and old-free...naturally of course.

Got A Stain in the Neck?

Many stain removers contain unpronounceable and toxic ingredients like perchloroethylene and trichloroethylene.

Scared?

You should be.

Perchloroethylene, a chemical solvent often used at your neighborhood Drylaunderer, is classified as a carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency.

It's been known to irritate the eyes, nose and throat and has also been linked to cancer.

Trichloroethylene, found in some stain removers, has been connected to a variety of side effects, from skin rashes to liver damage.

If you want to launder your clothes without chemicals, try these stain-removal ideas.

Make a paste out of baking soda and water, apply it to the stain and let it sit for an hour before washing.

Squeeze a Lemon.

Lemon juice contains citric acid; its bleaching action works especially well on white fabrics and sweat stains.

Make a paste of lemon juice and baking soda and leave it on the stain for half an hour before washing.

Watered-down hydrogen peroxide, half peroxide, half water, also removes tough stains, even blood, from white fabrics.

(Tip: One hundred percent peroxide is not sold in drugstores; instead it’s sold as a 3% solution – 3% hydrogen peroxide; 97% water.

The 3% solution is what you want to mix equally with water, not the 100% solution.)

This will work on most fabrics, but it's always a good idea to do a test spot first.

Always blot, never rub a stain before trying to remove it.

Work from the edges to the center, which will keep the stain from spreading.

And for ketchup, blood, grass, fruit juice, and sweat stains, dab distilled white vinegar right onto the stain.

Let sit for a few minutes before washing.

Oil or grease (e.g. from salad dressing) - Dab on dishwashing liquid and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before washing.

Grass – Use an old toothbrush to dab whitening toothpaste onto the stain.

Let sit overnight, then wash.

Blood – Make a paste of cool water and meat tenderizer (unseasoned of course, lol).

Apply to the stain, then let sit 15 to 30 minutes before washing.

Ketchup – Soak a fresh stain in cool water for 10 minutes, dab in liquid detergent, then wash.

Bust the Dust on Your Blinds

The best way to dust blinds?

Close them, then wipe up and down with an old dryer sheet.

It'll create an antistatic barrier that helps prevent dust from building up again.

Cleaning Moldy Towels?

Add a few drops of clove, lemon or eucalyptus essential oil to the rinse cycle.

We also recommend soaking the towel in distilled white vinegar, diluted with water for 10 to 20 minutes.

Let your nose determine the formula: The nastier the mildew smell, the more vinegar (and less water) you’ll need.

Then, machine wash in hot water and line dry.

Get Out the Coffee Filter

To clean glass and mirrors, use coffee filters, not paper towels.

They leave no streaks or lint, and they're inexpensive.

Cleaning A Smelly Swimsuit?

In a perfect world, you'd rinse your swimsuit in cold water immediately after a swim in the ocean or a chlorinated pool, right?

But in reality, your suit probably sat in a wet pile and is now stiff and smelly.

Try this method for cleaning delicates;

Put a dime-size amount of non-toxic laundry liquid (see our product picks below) in a stainless steel bucket, then fill the bucket with warm water.

Dip your suit in several times. If the fabric is stained, or the smell is really rank, soak it in the mixture overnight.

Don’t wring the suit out; just pat dry with a towel and hang it on a wooden drying rack.

If you’re using non-toxic detergent, there’s no need to rinse.

To salvage a swimsuit, we recommend a solution of one gallon of water and 1/2 cup white vinegar.

Dip your suit in the solution and then rinse in cold water.

Soak it for a minute or two in the solution if need be, but if you leave it in longer, the vinegar could damage the suit’s delicate fabric.

Laundry List

Follow these quick tips to keep your laundry clean and fresh, no matter how hard you play.

To brighten white linens, add 1/4 cup of lemon juice to the wash cycle, and launder as usual in warm water.

For best results, hang them to dry outside: the sun will increase the whitening effect.

We also recommend using a cup of vinegar added to the wash can keep colors bright. (Caution: Don’t use vinegar if you are using bleach; the resulting fumes are hazardous.)

Easy Microwave Cleaning

To clean your microwave oven, nuke a cup of water with some baking soda in it until it's boiling.

This eliminates odors and makes it super easy to wipe away all that stuck-on stuff.

Aromasize Your Stuff

Add a few drops of essential oil to the rinse cycle.

Try fir, spruce, lavender, cedarwood, wintergreen, or rosewood.

Storing your linens in a drawer with homemade cheesecloth sachets filled with crushed dried lavender or your favorite herb is really nice.

Clean Those Tough to Reach Places

Clean cobwebs with a yardstick covered by a tube sock.

This also works for cleaning under stoves and refrigerators.

Soften Things Up

Add a tablespoon of distilled white vinegar to the rinse cycle or 1/4 cup of baking soda to the wash cycle.

Organic and natural cleaning products are competitively priced.

But even if you do pay a little more, we believe it’s worth the extra dollar to protect your clothes, your family and the planet.

Now, being enveloped in a soft, plush bath towel after a hot shower is one of life’s little luxuries.

The problem though, is that even the softest, plushest among them tend to stiffen after multiple washings, which is actually a function of the chemical detergents most of us use, which coat fabrics and build up on towels in particular (they’re designed to absorb, after all), and over time, you wind up with that icky scratchy feeling.

There are some tricks you can employ, however, to stave off hitting the rough patch.

Here’s how;

Add a bit of white vinegar to your rinse cycle, which strips away past detergent build-up.

Vinegar also gets rid of any lingering odors clinging to the fabric.

Wash new towels in hot water with baking soda to remove any lingering residue from the manufacturer.

This is counter-intuitive, but don’t use fabric softener.

Throw some clean tennis balls in the dryer as they help fluff as they’re bouncing around your dryer.

Fill the washer halfway with water, add half the amount of detergent you might normally use, and set the machine to agitate before dropping in your towels.

This prevents the detergent from soaking into the towels before they’re washed.

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