Cleaning with Food
Here are some common household items that work as natural cleaning products.
Besides making food delicious, everyday ingredients such as salt, baking soda and lemons can do double duty as cleaning agents. Use them to mop up stubborn stains, deodorize your fridge or to polish your shoes. Here are some common household items that work as natural cleansing products.
Sodium bicarbonate, more commonly known as baking soda, is used to help dough rise when baking but it also makes a great deodorizer. Place an open box in the refrigerator and freezer to absorb odors. Baking soda causes dirt and grease to dissolve in water, so it is very effective in cleaning kitchen counter tops, refrigerators, and stove tops. When sprinkled on a sponge or dishrag, baking soda forms a mild, abrasive scouring powder.
This carbonated beverage works well in a mixed drink but it’s also effective in removing stains. The bubbling effect in club soda lifts stains much like bubbling detergent. Use it to remove coffee stains from mugs, clothing stains or stains for silver. People often say club soda and salt prevented red wine stains from setting but this was recently proven to be a myth. You can, however, use it to clean countertops and fixtures.
Cream of Tartar
Cream of tartar is often used to stabilize egg whites, increasing their heat tolerance and volume, but when combined with vinegar, it becomes a powerful cleaning agent. Use the mixture to clean encrusted pots, pans and stove tops.
Cornstarch is often used as a thickener in cooking but you can use it to sop up grease and oil. Cover the stain with cornstarch. Let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes then vacuum.
Lemon juice makes for a great cleaner. Use it to dissolve soap scum and hard water deposits, to clean and shine brass and copper and as a natural bleach. Cut a lemon in half and sprinkle baking soda on the cut section. Use it to scrub dishes, surfaces, and stains.
Mix 1 cup olive oil with ½ cup lemon juice to make a furniture polish for your hardwood furniture. Whiten your clothes by adding lemon juice to your wash water. Use lemon diluted in hot water to clean greasy wooden surfaces. To clean brass or silver, mix lemon juice and baking soda or cream of tartar into a paste with the same consistency as toothpaste. Rub onto brass with a soft cloth. Rinse with water and dry. Clean plastic containers stained with tomato sauce by rubbing the discoloured plastic container with lemon juice and then let them sit in the sun for a day. The sun and the lemon juice will bleach the plastic back to its original colour.
Not only does salt enhance the flavour in food, it’s also good for stains caused by red wine, tomato sauce and even blood. For wine stains, cover with salt to absorb the excess wine, and then rinse with cold water. For non-washables, scrape up the salt and vacuum the spot. For blood stains, soak the stained cloth item in cold saltwater, then wash in warm, soapy water and boil after the wash. This method works on cotton, linen or other natural fibers that can take the high heat. Remove white rings left on tables from wet or hot dishes or glasses by rubbing a thin paste of salad oil and salt on the spot with your fingers. Let it stand an hour or two, then wipe it clean. Take a big handful of salt, preferably coarse, and sprinkle surface of your wooden chopping board. Scrub the board with the cut side of a lemon half. The abrasive salt will scour the wood, and the lemon dissolves grease. You can also substitute white vinegar for lemon.
Here’s a tip for shining up scuffed shoes in a pinch. Use a damp cloth to wipe away dirt, then apply a small drop of vegetable oil to a soft cloth and rub the surface to remove scuff marks.
White vinegar is the all purpose, natural household cleaning agent. It is safe to use on most surfaces and has the added bonus of being cheap. Mix equal parts water to vinegar in a spray bottle and you have a solution that will clean most areas of your home. Not on does it clean, it also disinfects, deodorizes and bleaches. Mix one part white vinegar with one part water for a homemade bleach solution that will fade stains like wine, coffee and tomato sauce. Use an eyedropper or a Q-tip to make sure the bleach goes only on the stain. Remove mineral deposits from coffee makers with white vinegar. Fill the water reservoir with 1 cup or more of white distilled vinegar and run it through a whole cycle. Run it once or twice more with plain water to rinse clean. Remove stains from coffee and teacups by scrubbing them gently with equal parts of salt (or baking soda) and white distilled vinegar. Rinse clean. For stained and smelly plastic food containers wipe them with a cloth dampened with white distilled vinegar.