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Homemade Cleaning Solutions

Keeping a clean house is vital, but it doesn't have to be expensive or harmful to our health or the environment. And while recipes for homemade cleaners abound, the simplest ones seem to work the best and save the most money. The following household cleaners may require a little more elbow grease to get the job done, but you, your wallet, and Mother Nature will be glad that you made the extra effort.

Baking soda – We all know that baking soda absorbs odors, especially in refrigerators, but did you know it's also a simple and effective cleaner? Just mix baking soda with warm water for an inexpensive cleaner comparable to commercial "abrasive" cleaners. Also, mix baking soda with hot water for a great drain cleaner and deodorizer. It won't unclog your kitchen sink, but use it two or three times a month and it will help prevent future clogs.

Vinegar – Don't be fooled by the smell. White vinegar is actually a deodorizer and a disinfectant. Plus, when diluted in equal parts of water, it also makes a great all-purpose cleaner. Avoid using vinegar solutions on marble or grout, but it's perfect for all of the other surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom.

Lemon juice – Like vinegar, the acidic nature of lemon juice makes for a great cleaning and deodorizing solution, especially in the bathroom. Use lemon juice on hard-water stains, soap scum, even rust stains in the shower, tub, and toilet. Mix lemon juice with salt to remove stubborn stains from coffee pots. Mix lemon juice with baking soda for softer, paste-like cleaning solution. Add a little to olive oil for an effective wood polish. Blend it with water to make a potent air freshener.

Cornstarch – Another great natural deodorizer, cornstarch also makes an effective glass and surface cleaner. Plus, combine 2 tbsp of cornstarch with 3/4 cup baking soda for an inexpensive carpet freshener.

Borax – Also known as sodium borate, borax is best known as a hard-water laundry soap, but it also cleans wallpaper, painted walls, and other painted surfaces. This versatile naturally-occurring mineral also preserves cut flowers and can be used to repel roaches and other bugs without toxic fumes or chemicals that can harm the environment. Borax can be an irritant, however, so protect your eyes and hands, and, of course, do not ingest.

Homemade Alternatives:

Window Cleaners – Spray some rubbing alcohol on the glass and rub down.

Fabric Softener – Use 1/4 cup of vinegar in your laundry's rinse cycle. Air Freshener – Use unscented kitty litter in bowls to absorb odors.

Mold Remover – Spray white vinegar directly on mold and let set.

Spotless Dishwasher Rinse – Add 1 cup of vinegar to the rinse compartment before washing.

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