I came across this article in the May 2006 Issue of Good House Keeping Magazine and I found it interesting so I thought you might too!
Want to make your house sparkle the old-fashioned way? All you need is five simple ingredients, says Michael De Jong in his new book.
When I first moved to New York City to become an artist, nearly 20 years ago, I began working as a housecleaner to help supplement my income. Many of my cleaning rituals come from my Dutch-born mother, and I'll admit that I'm a bit obsessive: I actually move the fridge when I vacuum. You'd be surprised what you find missing - or, worse yet, lurking - under there.
No matter how you look at it, cleaning is hard work. But after years of doing it professionally, I've developed a system that's easy and effective. I clean using just five ingredients: baking soda, lemon, white vinegar, slat, and borax. There is nothing new or unusual about any of them. In fact, they have been used for centuries. But it's amazing how well these environmentally friendly substances work. Cleaning with them may require a bit of extra elbow grease, but it gives me satisfaction and peace of mind. From my book, Clean: The Humble Art of Zen Cleansing, here are some recipes for using these basics to brighten up your home.
-Spot-clean wallpaper with a paste made of a quater cup baking soda and a few drops of water. The finished product should resemble the consistency of toothpaste. Apply the paste with a soft clean cloth and wipe in a slow, circular motion to remove the spot.
-Your silver will always look like you have staff on hand if you try this tip. Line a porcelain sink with heavy-duty aluminum foil, then load it with the silver you intend to polish, making certain that every item touches the foil liner. Cover all items with boiling water and add a cup of baking soda. The tarnish will jump from the silver to the foil in almost no time. For any remaining traces of heavy tarnish, make a paste of water and baking soda and polish the surface until it shines.
-Make a tile cleaner that will remove mildew stains by mixing two cups of baking soda with half a cup of lukewarm water. Use a household brush to work the mixture into the grout and scrub, srcub, scrub.
-Keep your cat box smelling fresh longer by sprinkling baking soda into the box before adding the cat litter.
-Sprinkle baking soda onto your upholstered couch or favourite chair to deoderize it. Let it stand for about an hour or so, then vacuum.
-Mix two parts olive oil with one part lemon juice to create furniture polish. Just a few drops on a soft cloth will make your wooden furniture shine. Buff the surface with a dry cloth to remove any excess oil. Store your all-natural polish in a glass jar.
-Remove ink stains on cloth by placing lemon juice directly onto the spot. Allow it to sit overnight before laundering as usual. Repeat if necessary.
-To take rust off household tools and crhome, use salt and one tablespoon of lemon juice. Create a paste and rub it inot the rusted area with a dry cloth.
-Get rid of stains on your formica countertops by squeezing fresh lemon juice on the spot; let it sit for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with baking soda, then scrub with a sponge. Rinse with clean water and wipe dry.
-Put lemon slices in a pot of water and bring to a boil; simmer. After an hour, the citrus aroma will refresh your home.
-To brighten your white fabrics, soak them in a pot of boiling water with a sliced lemon.
Borax, an element that's formed in desert regions, is available at most supermarkets.
-Add one quarter cup of borax to two cups of water to make a bleach substitute. Borax can also be added directly to the wash and used when presoaking stains.
-Pour one quarter cup into your toilet bowl to help clean and deoderize it. Swish the mixture with a brush and let it stand for at least an hour, ro even better, overnight. Then just flush.
-Remove mildew from many surfaces by using equal parts borax and white vinegar.
-Dip half a lemon into borax to create a sink and tile cleanser. Srcub using the halved lemon, juicy side down. Rinse with clean water.
-Remove perspiration stains from clothing by presoaking the garment in salt water.
-Soften new jeans by adding one half cup of salt to the wash along with your regular detergent.
-To get rid of coffee stains on the inside of a glass coffeepot, add four teaspoons of salt, one cup crushed ice and one tablespoon of water. Gently swirl until clean, then rinse. Note: the coffeepot should be at room temperature before cleaning.
-Use salt to help remove fresh wine stains from cotton fabric. Pour salt on the stain to soak up the liquid. Soak the fabric for a half hour in cold water. Wash as usual.
-You can polish patent leather with a cloth dampened with white vinegar. Just wipe it on full strength and gently wipe off the remains until the shine is fully restored.
-Use a solution of two tablespoons of white vinegar to one gallon of warm water in a spray bottle to clean mirrors, glass, and windows. Try this on your car windows too.
-To reduce the odor from a cat's or dog's urine in your carpeting, dilute a cup of vinegar with a cup of room temperature water. Apply and blot with a clean rag.
-Soften a hardened paintbrush by placing it in hot white vinegar. In a glass or plastic cup, microwave vinegar until it boils. Remove cup and place paintbrush in vinegar; let soak overnight to refresh.