Better Cleansers

Before commercial chemical cleaning products were created, we still managed to eradicate dirt and grime from our households. So eschew those toxic cleaners and try something less noxious. Here are old-style, tried-and-true cleansers that can take care of dirty business.

  • Lemon Juice. Mix 1 cup lemon juice with a half-filled bucket of water and let steep overnight. Use it as a bleach to clean kitchen surfaces or laundry.

  • Baking Soda. Use with water to scour sinks and tubs. Also works as a carpet deodorizer.

  • Salt. Deodorizes drains and garbage disposal. Also effective as an abrasive for cleaning pots and pans.

  • White Vinegar. Mix 1/2 cup vinegar with 1 quart warm water. Use as a spray for window cleaning. Good for cleaning countertops, porcelain and tile. Use in conjunction with baking soda (soda first, then vinegar) for a fizzing toilet cleaner.

  • Olive or Linseed Oil. Mix 3 parts oil with 1 part vinegar. Use with a soft cloth. Good for polishing furniture.

Here's a cleanser that's good for tackling toilets, sinks and tiles (but not glass):

1 teaspoon borax
1/4 teaspoon eucalyptus essential oil
1/4 teaspoon lavender essential oil
1 teaspoon sodium lauryl sulfate
3 drops tea tree oil
2 cups hot water
2 tablespoons white vinegar

Mix ingredients well and pour into a spray bottle.

—Viki Psihoyos

Recipe source: EcoLiving Center (www.ecolivingcenter.com)