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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Natural Cleaning


Lately I have noticed in several magazines they have had "recipes" for making your own cleaning products. One of these recipes involved making a paste of white vinegar and baking soda and then spreading it on a lemon half to scrub tile. As I was cleaning my bathroom one Saturday morning and breathing in the fumes of various cleaners that weren't proving all that effective on my stained grout (please don't judge me!), I thought back to this cleaning recipe and decided to give it a try.

On a saucer I mixed the vinager and baking soda together - I don't have exact measurements, just enough to form a thick paste. I noticed while I was mixing the two ingredients together, there was a little of bubbling and fizzing going on. It made me think back to elementary science class when some overzealous kids would make a paper mache volcano, pack the base with baking soda and then pour in vinegar dyed red with food coloring and we would all clap while it "exploded." All that to say - do not make this mixture in large quanities unless you want to recreate that moment.

Once I had my paste, I headed back to the bathroom with my saucer, a spoon and a lemon sliced in half. I spread the paste across the first lemon half, and more bubbling started occurring. Then I went after the tile and, I have to say, it worked! My tile grout is not now sparkling white, but it definitely made a bigger improvement than the other cleaners I had previously been using. Also, as I was cleaning, I was struck with how clean the scent was and how I didn't feel like I was breathing in any toxic fumes. Now that I am expecting, I am more conscious of these things and, as I start running out of store-bought cleaners, I want to start replacing them with either things I make at home or with cleaners that have more natural ingredients. If you think about it, this is how our grandmothers used to clean, and our parents grew up perfectly fine, and probably without as many cases of asthma or other upper-respiratory issues. The only thing to be cautious of are wayward sprays of lemon juice that flew back at me as I scrubbed! As I squeezed the lemon to release its juice as I scrubbed, I started using the edge of the lemon as well, basically the skin, which also helped make progress - they always say in cooking that the skin has more flavor than the juice, so maybe it has a higher concentration of cleaning properties as well? It's just a theory, but may be correct! Once the first lemon was out of juice and solution, I switched to the other lemon slice, re-spread the paste and finished the job.

I encourage you to give this recipe a try the next time you are scrubbing tile and not seeing the kinds of results you were hoping for!

-KM

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