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It's Time To Come Clean!

It’s easier and cheaper than you think to be green.

Carrie Knowles
A safe and environmentally sane solution to cleaning your home.
Source: Carrie Knowles

It’s hard not to respond to the hyped-up-online-everywhere-advertising world we now live in. The message is loud and clear: if you’re still using harsh chemicals, you’re destroying the planet. In fact, every time you scrub the toilet, clean the bathtub, wash the dishes, throw a little bleach in your wash to eliminate grass stains or whiten the whites, you are personally responsible for destroying the planet.

The better crafted the message, the quicker you grab a credit card and order something, anything that will make the world and your life better.

Truth is, you already have the one thing that will make all the difference in the world. It’s baking soda.

Rust stains or soap scum in your sink or bathtub? Grungy grout in your shower? Pull that box of baking soda from your shelf, slice a lemon in half or pour on some lemon juice, and start scrubbing. In less time than it would take to order yet another product off the Internet, all those troubling stains, soap scum and mold in your shower disappear.

You only have to use lemon juice for the really tough stuff. Baking soda, pure and simple, is all you really need most of the time.

Baking soda has several characteristics that make it ideal for cleaning: it is a basic (as opposed to acidic) compound with a pH of 8.4 in water; it reacts with acids (such as vinegar or lemon juice) to release carbon dioxide; it is nontoxic and nonabrasive; it absorbs odors; and it reacts with other compounds as a “booster.” If you add a half-cup of baking soda to your heavily soiled wash, you can reduce the amount of bleach you normally use by half. And, if you regularly add baking soda to your wash, you will discover that your clothes stay brighter and won’t need bleach.

You can cut the amount of dish soap you normally use in half by adding two tablespoons of baking soda to the water. If you do this, not only will your dishes be cleaner, but your glassware will sparkle. You can also go half and half with the soap powder you use in your dishwasher, and you’ll not only have cleaner dishes, but a better smelling dishwasher!

Baking soda is completely non-toxic and breaks down quickly in water, causing no threat to aquatic life. It’s also non-abrasive, so much so that it is an excellent substitute for toothpaste; plus, it comes in a cardboard box, so the container is 100% recyclable. Having periodontal problems? Make a paste of peroxide and baking soda for brushing. You can also make an excellent mouthwash by mixing one teaspoon of baking soda in a half-glass of water to neutralize mouth odors.

Wear contacts? You can clean soft contacts with a pinch of baking soda mixed with water. Also, since baking soda is completely non-abrasive, you can use it to clean bugs and grime from your car. You can also use it to remove battery corrosion, simply make a paste, apply to the battery terminals, and wipe away. Baking soda actually neutralizes corrosion.

To make a scrubbing paste, combine three parts baking soda to one-part water. To make a cleaning solution, use four tablespoons of baking soda to a quart of water. Need to attack a really grimed in stain? You can either make a scrubbing paste of baking soda and water, or use baking soda straight from the box. When cleaning tough things like mildew, grass stains, or baked on food in your cookware, make a paste, apply then let sit for ten minutes before you scrub.

One of the only things you can’t clean with baking soda and water is wood furniture or your floors.

Don’t get suckered into buying yet another “miracle” cleaning product …put your credit card away. Besides creating a cleaner, safer environment in which to live and breathe, by using baking soda as your primary cleaning aid, you automatically eliminate dozens of plastic bottles and tubes from landfills.

Next up in October: Vinegar is the solution!