Category Archives: Cleaning

Antibacterial Essential Oils

I am posting an article by Angela Deckard. She sites the relevant studies.

11 Powerful Antibacterial Essential Oils

September 21, 2015 By Angela Deckard

Essential oils have long been revered for their healing and aromatherapy properties. What many people do not realize is that several essential oils kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses. That means that these valuable oils not only can fight and prevent infection in your body, but they also prevent illness, treat skin conditions, disinfect the surfaces of your home, and eliminate microbes floating in the air of your environment.

Why we need an Alternative to Conventional Antibiotics

Antibiotic resistance is becoming a crisis and according to many experts the growing inability of antibiotics to effectively treat illnesses owing to antimicrobial resistance is one of medicine’s most significant challenges of the new century. Not only have antibiotics been oversubscribed, but according to research, the amount of antibiotics consumed by livestock is increasing year on year.

According to an FDA report, livestock consumes as much as 80% of all the antibiotics consumed in the USA. Because of this rampant overuse we have seen the emergence of ‘superbugs’ which are becoming more resistant to antibiotic treatment. According to a recent report, resistance to antibiotics caused over 2 million sicknesses leading directly to over 23,000 deaths in 2013 alone.

And if you are expecting things to get any better, then I have more bad news. A recent British report commissioned by the Government has estimated that by the year 2050 drug resistant bacteria may cause in excess of 10 million deaths each year as well as costing the world’s economy an astronomical figure of $100 trillion.

These essential oils are a great way to fight bacteria without experiencing the severe side effects of antibiotics or the harsh chemicals of household cleaners. In many cases, a topical application of essential oils is much safer than taking antibiotics internally. While antibiotics are useful—they can be over-prescribed and can damage your gut flora—requiring you to rebuild your flora after treatment.

There is significant medical research showing an array of oils that have antibacterial properties (1). Below is a list of essential oils that are readily available and shown to have powerful antibacterial properties.

0.1 Why we need an Alternative to Conventional Antibiotics

1 Antibacterial Essential Oils

1.1 1) Eucalyptus

1.2 2) Peppermint

1.3 3) Lavender

1.4 4) Tea Tree Oil

1.5 5) Bergamot

1.6 6) Lemongrass

1.7 7) Oregano

1.8 8) Thyme

1.9 9) Clove

1.10 10) Basil and Rosemary

1.11 And The Most Powerful Antibacterial Essential Oil is…

1.12 11) Cinnamon

Antibacterial Essential Oils

1) Eucalyptus. This powerful disinfecting essential oil is native to Australia and has long been used for medicinal purposes due to its reputation as being a germicide. This germicidal quality makes it an antiseptic, which means it is suitable to treat wounds, burns, cuts, ulcers, sores, and abrasions.

When treating a wound, eucalyptus oil expedites the healing process while protecting it from exposure to air and antimicrobial activity. For this reason, eucalyptus essential oil is often used in skin care products because its helps fight skin infections and soaps. Eucalyptus is a common ingredient found in dental hygiene products for its ability to fight cavities, plaque, and gingivitis.

Eucalyptus’s powerful antibacterial properties also extends itself to your home, this essential oil is often found in soaps, detergents, and household cleaners. Diffuse this essential oil in a vaporizer is you want a fresh smelling home free of roaming bacteria and germs.

2) Peppermint. This cooling, uplifting essential oil is famous for its antibacterial activity and antiviral properties. Native to Europe and widely used for its bright effervescent flavor, peppermint essential oil has also been widely used for its medicinal properties.

Sure, peppermint essential oil is used in dental hygiene products for its minty fresh flavor; however, it serves another purpose as an antiseptic, helping teeth and gums fight off harmful bacteria. Those suffering from nail fungus find that the antifungal properties of peppermint essential oil greatly reduces the chance of fungal growth while improving the overall health of their nails.

With all of its antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties, peppermint essential oil is a great way to boost your immune system. It contains such compounds as menthol, camphor, and carvacrol, which are impervious to many dangerous strains of bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli, and staph infections.

3) Lavender. This soothing essential oil elicits feelings of tranquility and calm, often lulling you to sleep. However, do not mistake lavender for being just a pretty smelling oil. The name lavender is derived from the Latin name Lavare, which means to wash.

This essential oil is a powerful antibacterial that can boost your immunity. Regularly using lavender essential oil can help provide resistance to a number of diseases and viruses. Due to its antibacterial and antiseptic properties, lavender essential oil is considered effective in treating various skin conditions as acne, psoriasis, and other inflammatory conditions of the skin.

Lavender essential oil is especially effective in treating acne because it inhibits the growth of bacteria while speeding up the healing process of the blemishes. This healing oil also helps to speed up the healing of wounds, cuts, burns, and sunburns while preventing the formation of scar tissue.

4) Tea Tree Oil. Tea Tree oil is one of the few antibacterial, antiviral, and antimicrobial essential oils that you can apply directly to the skin without first diluting it with a carrier oil. This medicinal oil is widely used to treat skin infections such as acne, eczema, warts, and psoriasis.

An antifungal, you can apply this oil to fight athlete’s foot and nail fungus. In Australia, where it is native, this essential oil is considered a cure-all, treating a wide variety of infections and diseases. Keep a bottle of tea tree essential oil in your medicine cabinet or first aid kit, as it is beneficial in disinfecting and treating wounds.

Numerous in vitro studies have already pointed towards the promising antibacterial potential of tea tree oil and fairly recent study has demonstrated that tea tree essential oil was capable of treating staph wounds faster than those treated by conventional medication. The study published in 2013 examined the effect of tea tree oil on wounds infected with the superbug staphylococcus aureus.

The experiment was carried out on 10 volunteers who were treated with tea tree essential oil fumes or with conventional medication. The conclusions were striking and those treated with tea tree oil experienced significantly faster healing time compared to the other group. (6)

A previous study found that a cleanser made from tea tree essential oil could effectively eliminate MRSA from the skin just as well as the standard treatments offered by hospitals. (8)

Based on these and other studies, it seems that such a natural and inexpensive fix could be a huge boost for hospitals battling to prevent the spread of MRSA which has become so common and difficult to treat within hospital and nursing care settings.

This antiseptic oil prevents infection from developing in cuts, wounds, burns, and boils. It is also great for treating insect bites and stings, shielding them from infection. Just be sure not to ingest this cure-all, as it is considered poisonous when consumed internally.

5) Bergamot. This sunny citrus essential oil delights with its citrus scent and its magnificent antibacterial properties. Although it is native to South East Asia, its medicinal and cosmetic potential was fully realized in Italy.

Italians recognized bergamot essential oil for having powerful antibacterial properties, using it to eliminate intestinal worms. Today, bergamot essential oil is known to fight against certain strands of bacteria and fighting against a variety of infections such as urinary tract infections, meningitis, endocarditis, etc.

Those suffering from skin conditions will find relief with bergamot essential oil. It speeds of the healing process of mouth ulcers, cold sores, and herpes while also lending a helping hand in the fight against shingles and chicken pox. This antibacterial is also a great natural way to heal and prevent acne.

6) Lemongrass. Lemon has a rich history in antibacterial cleansers, however, lemongrass, its sister oil is gentler, sweeter, and less sour. However, do not be deceived by its reserved scent as it still functions as a powerful antibacterial essential oil. The antimicrobial properties of this oil inhibit the growth of bacteria internally and externally of the body. It helps to fight such bacterial infections as urinary tract infections, malaria, typhoid, food poisoning, body odor, and various skin conditions.

Antiseptic in nature, this essential oil is great for treating wounds preventing them from getting septic. In fact, lemongrass is a common ingredient in many commercial lotions and creams used to cuts and wounds. A powerful fungicidal, lemongrass essential oil can also be used to treat fungal infections of the skin.

There is a certain amount of scientific evidence that backs up these claims that lemongrass essential oils is a powerful antibacterial treatment. One study published recently in 2013 demonstrated that a hand gel produced with lemongrass essential oil (as well as thyme essential oil) was highly effective in reducing the MRSA bacteria from the skin of the volunteer subjects.

The researchers concluded that both thyme oil and lemongrass essential oil provided excellent antibacterial activity against MRSA. Furthermore, the essential oil gel was well tolerated with no adverse effects being reported. (8)

7) Oregano. Oregano is not just a spice used to add flavor to your Italian dish, in fact, it’s a ruthless germ killer and provides wonderful immune support. Oregano essential oil has been found to protect from many strains of bacteria such as E. coli, staphylococcus, and salmonella.

This powerful essential oil not only causes significant damage to the strains of bacteria, but it also helps to minimize the bacteria’s ability to do create toxins that can be severely hazardous to human health. Oregano essential oil was first recognized for its antibacterial and disinfecting abilities in ancient Greece, where it was often used to treat wounds, bacterial infections on the skin.

Oregano was also used in food to shield it from the proliferation of bacteria. Oregano essential oil is also recognized for its great medicinal properties. Viral and bacterial infections do not stand a chance against this essential oil.

This antibacterial protects against infections of the colon and urinary tract. It also helps protect the body from skin infections, sores, cholera, typhoid, and even food poisoning. Even though oregano essential oil fights against bacteria in your digestive tract, it does not eliminate the good gut flora vital to your digestive and immune health.

Viruses also don’t stand a chance against this essential oil, as it offers ample protection from such viruses colds, chicken pox, and mumps. Oregano essential oil also helps boost the immune system by stimulating the production of white blood cells and adds protection against certain autoimmune disorders.

8) Thyme. In addition to being a powerful antifungal—thyme is also a powerful antibacterial. Thyme has been shown effective against a host of bacteria including MRSA and Staph (staphylococcus). (2)

An Italian study published in 2011 found that thyme essential oil used in combination with clove essential oil was equally as effective in the treatment of bacterial vaginosis (candidiasis) as the commonly prescribed antibiotic treatment, metronidazole. Researchers concluded that its efficacy and safety profile made these essential oils a suitable treatment candidate for infectious vaginal complaints and to reduce he exposure to antibiotics. (5)

Thyme is very powerful and also potentially very irritating to skin. Thyme essential oil should always be diluted with a carrier oil before topical application on the skin. It is also recommended to test a small area to make sure to avoid irritation and potential allergic reactions.

9) Clove. Clove bud essential oil has strong antimicrobial and anti-fungal characteristics. Clove was the second best inhibitor in a test of 21 essential oils tested against common bacteria including E Coli and K. Pneumoniae (Cinnamon was #1).

The major component in Clove Oil called Eugenol also effectively kills scabies mites. (3) Clove oil should be avoided if pregnant or nursing and may react with blood thinners and anticoagulant medications.

10) Basil and Rosemary. I have grouped these two essential oils together because of a recent study which found that they could inhibit the spread and growth of some 60 different strains of Escherichia coli (E.coli). The study published in August 2013 set out to examine these oils as an alternative treatment to deal with multi-drug resistant bacterial strains.

The antibacterial ability of these two oils was put to the test against 60 separate strains of E.coli and the results were extremely promising. Both basil and rosemary essential oils proved active against all 60 bacterial strains and the researchers felt the results could hasten the application of essential oils to treat and prevent many resistant strains of bacteria. (9)

And The Most Powerful Antibacterial Essential Oil is…

11) Cinnamon. We saved the best for last.  Cinnamon Essential Oil has good research showing it to be potentially one of the strongest antibacterial essential oils.

In a test against some nasty bacteria including: Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Proteus vulgaris, Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus

Cinnamon Essential Oil came out on top as the most potent antibacterial oil. (4)  Cinnamon was effective at virtually all doses vs. all the bacteria tested. Cinnamon oil contains cinnamaldehyde –which as you can guess is unique to Cinnamon. The other oils effective vs. all the bacterial species tested were: Rosemary, Geranium, Clove and the citrus oils lime, orange, and lemon.

This list of oils is far from complete. Patchouli, lavender, lemon, grapefruit and sage are other oils with proven ability to fight certain antibiotic resistant bacteria strains (2).

One thing is for sure—there are many essential oil options when looking to fight bacteria.

(1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8893526

(2)  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19473851

(3)  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20711455

(4)   http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1693916/

(5) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21428248

(6) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23848210

(7) http://www.aac.asm.org/content/51/11/3880.full

(8) http://www.bioline.org.br/abstract?id=pr13110

(9) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23921795

(10) http://healthproduces.com/the-big-diabetes-lie

7 steps to health

Soap Nuts: A fruit that cleans your laundry and more

Soap Nuts are a FRUIT that will get your laundry clean. It’s TRUE! Soap Nuts are the fruit of a tree (Sapindus Mukorossi), found primarily in the Himalayas, and they are an EXCELLENT alternative to traditional laundry detergents. There are two main varieties: sapindus trifoliatus (The Small Soap Nut) and sapindus mukorossi (The Large Soap Nut). The Large Soap Berry is the most commonly used in cleaning, but both varieties are quite effective. How are soap nuts prepared for use in your wash? They are simply harvested then dried in the sun. They are 100%, totally natural. They are organically grown and are free of harsh chemicals, so they are incredibly gentle on clothes AND skin.They are especially great for those with sensitive skin—including babies and those that suffer from allergies, eczema, and psoriasis! They’re totally biodegradable, so they’re better for the environment than regular detergent,and they’re antimicrobial, so they’re even good for septic and gray water systems! Soapy substances called saponins are found in the outer shells of soap nuts. These saponins have the effect of soap when mixed with water. Each fruit of the soap nut tree contains one, two or three seeds and the fruit itself has a leathery texture and a yellowish or blackish color. They are used frequently, both medicinally and as detergents. If you hear any expert talking about renewable detergents, then it is soap nuts that they are referring to. These tiny fruits that grow on soap nut trees are actually very useful for many purposes.

The End Product Still Goes Down the Drain. Does That Hurt the Environment?

No. Soap nuts are antimicrobial. This means that they actually help in breaking down the gray water in your septic system. Also, you do not have to do a rinse cycle when you use them. This can save gallons of water every wash cycle. Don’t worry, though; if you forget to stop your machine before the rinse cycle they are just as effective. The amount of saponins left in the rinse cycle will just leave your clothes feeling soft. They are 100% environmentally safe.

Will They Clean Difficult Items?

Yes and No. They are one of the best soaps get rid of bad odors. Musty towels and wash cloths, even cloth diapers, come out smelling fresh and new. Stubborn stains, though, such as blood & red wine, require a stain remover to help the cleaning process. You can also use ½ cup lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide to help brighten your white clothes.

What About Allergies to Soap?

Most allergic reactions to soap are due to added chemicals and fragrance. Soap Nuts grow on trees and are chemical free. This may help those with eczema and other skin problems because there are no chemical additives. Soap Nuts are 100% non-allergenic.

How do I use Soap Nuts in my Laundry?

For Natural Laundry Soap, you can use them in one of two ways:

  1. Toss 3 or 5 Nuts in a small muslin bag (provided with most orders) and throw it in with your laundry. (Make sure that you take them out before putting your clothes in the dryer). The nuts will do 4 or 5 loads, (use until they feel squishy).
  2. Heat 12–15 whole Soap Nuts in 1 gallon of water for 3 hours. Use a lid to cover pot. You do not want this to boil; bring to a simmer, then turn heat down to a low flame. Turn off heat; then let sit in the covered pot until cooled. Strain out the soap nuts. The liquid you have is now a concentrated, chemical free soap. The leftover shells can be placed in your compost. Use ¼ cup of this soap with each load of laundry. High efficiency washers will need less. This allows you to do approximately 30 loads of laundry. Also works great as a pre-treatment for stains.

Soap nuts are perfect for HE (high efficiency) and front load washers as they do not create many suds! Just remember to put whole soap nuts,in a cloth bag, in the drum of the machine. Soap nuts liquid can go in the detergent drawer.

Preserving your Soap nuts liquid.

FREEZING:

You can freeze the liquid in ice cube trays. Depending on the size of each cube, use 2 or 3 per load of laundry. If each cube holds about 1 Tbsp. Use 2 cubes.

PRESERVING:

Use clean quart jars. Place the equivalent of 7–10 soap nuts in each jar. (it’s better to use smaller soap nut pieces). Fill with boiling water but leave a ½ in. space at the top. Place the lid on securely. Then process (see below).

WATER BATH:

Place the jars in the boiling water. Make sure to cover the jars completely. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 30 minutes. Remove jar from boiling water and let cool.

PRESSURE COOKER:

Place the jars in the canner, and process according to manufacturer’s instructions for 15 minutes at 10 lbs. of pressure.

Can Soap Nuts be used for More Than Just Laundry?

Yes. They can be used, in the liquid form, for cleaning just about anything.

DISHWASHER:

Fill the soap dispenser with the liquid. Make sure to scrape the dishes clean first. Add vinegar to the rinse dispenser and your dishes will sparkle.

ALL PURPOSE CLEANER:

Keep the liquid in a spray bottle and use to clean the bathroom, kitchen, floors etc. Add a few drops of essential oil to make different scents.

STEAM CLEANING SPOT TREATMENT:

Add 3 Tbsp.To 1 gallon hot water and use in a portable steam cleaner. Great for getting out urine smells and stains.

WINDOW & GLASS CLEANER:

Fill a spray bottle with 1 Tbsp. Vinegar and 1 Tbsp. Soap nuts liquid fill with water. Polish with a dry cloth or newspaper.

CLEANING JEWELRY:

Soak your jewelry in the liquid for a few minutes. Use a old soft toothbrush to gently remove debris. Rinse with clean water and polish with a dry cloth.

HAND WASHING SILKS and DELICATES:

Add 1 or 2 tsp. Soap nuts liquid or powder to warm water. Gently wash your delicates. Rinse with warm water and hang or lay flat to dry.

MOSQUITO REPELLENT:

Spray liquid on your hands and rub onto bare arms, legs or face. Safe and gentle to use for babies and children.

LIQUID HAND SOAP:

Fill a regular or foaming pump bottle with the liquid and use to wash your hands. It will not create tons of lather, but will clean hands well. Add a few drops essential oils to make a germ-killing soap.

SHAMPOO:

Use the liquid instead of your regular shampoo. Leave it on your scalp for 5–10 minutes, rinse as normal. Will not lather much, but cleans well.

FOR PETS:

Use the liquid to wash your pet’s fur. Will leave the fur soft and manageable. Also can be sprayed directly on pet to help repel mosquitoes.Soap nuts make an excellent natural laundry soap. Unlike the harsh detergents that are sold commercially by many manufacturers, these natural soaps are effective, as well as gentle. They do not contain bleaching agents. You can use them safely with white or colored clothes. Laundry done with them is chemical free. The laundry also comes out odorless. Can you believe that a product that grows on soap nut trees can actually be used to get your clothes clean? Fine wool,linen, silks, cotton, they work well on all. The next time you have a tubful of dirty clothes, just grab a bag of soap nuts. You will have freshly washed clothes free of harmful chemicals.

For medicinal purposes:

They are also used to relieve conditions like eczema and psoriasis. They do not contain any chemicals that irritate the skin. Soap nuts are frequently used by people with extremely sensitive skin. They have a unique anti-microbial property that helps kill germs and reduce skin problems. What’s more, soap nuts are also used as cleansers and in homemade shampoo to remove lice and for hair loss.

Soap Nuts are available in our store here.

Wash dishes the earth friendly, economical way

Use our bar soap! (Plain Jane or 100% Olive Oil work well) and brush or sponge…

Lightly rub wet brush on soap. Put water in largest dirty container or dishpan. You want hot water; but don’t waste water running it too hot. People used to keep water on the stove for the first burst of hot water. Clean container. If it has lots of icky stuff, drain that water and put in some more hot water. If using a dishpan… Using the brush/soap method clean all dishes. Put aside, you will rinse them at the same time to avoid wasting water.

The economical earth-friendly way of rinsing is a dishpan of clean hot water. Swish dishes in rinse water set aside to dry.

Clean dishes while not wasting gallons of water….What can be easier. Keep the bar of soap in a bowl or other container. Any soap that melts then is saved and can be used.

You can also use this method with our Dish Soap, but it does have a little decylpolyglucoside (oldest, safest) surfactant. I prefer the bar soap method.

Shampoo Chemistry

How Surfactants Are Made

This is for everyone who would like to know how those “other” soaps are made!
Some of this information is from The American Cleaning Institute web site.

SURFACTANTS IN DETERGENTS

A detergent is an effective cleaning product because it contains one or more surfactants. Because of their chemical makeup, the surfactants used in detergents can be engineered to perform well under a variety of conditions. Such surfactants are less sensitive than soap to the hardness minerals in water and most will not form a film. Detergent surfactants were developed in response to a shortage of animal and vegetable fats and oils during World War I and World War II. In addition, a substance that was resistant to hard water was needed to make cleaning more effective. At that time, petroleum was found to be a plentiful source for the manufacture of these surfactants. Today, detergent surfactants are made from a variety of petrochemicals (derived from petroleum) and/or oleochemicals (derived from fats and oils).

Petrochemicals and Oleochemicals

Like the fatty acids used in soapmaking, both petroleum and fats and oils contain hydrocarbon chains that are repelled by water but attracted to oil and grease in soils. These hydrocarbon chain sources are used to make the water-hating end of the surfactant molecule.

Other Chemicals

Chemicals, such as sulfur trioxide, sulfuric acid and ethylene oxide, are used to produce the water-loving end of the surfactant molecule.

Alkalis

As in soapmaking, an alkali is used to make detergent surfactants. Sodium and potassium hydroxide are the most common alkalis.

How Detergent Surfactants Are Made

Anionic Surfactants

The chemical reacts with hydrocarbons derived from petroleum or fats and oils to produce new acids similar to fatty acids. A second reaction adds an alkali to the new acids to produce one type of anionic surfactant molecule.

Nonionic Surfactants

(this includes those made with glucose and coconut oil)

Nonionic surfactant molecules are produced by first converting the hydrocarbon to an alcohol and then reacting the fatty alcohol with ethylene oxide (ethoxylated). These nonionic surfactants can be reacted further with sulfur-containing acids to form another type of anionic surfactant.

—– Ethoxylated—–

Surfactants that have been “Ethoxylated” have been chemically combined with the compound “ethylene oxide”. When you see the word ‘laureth’, it means it is ethoxylated. Tear-free shampoos are all ethoxylated.

These ethoxylated surfactants are used in baby shampoos. They are considered slightly milder because the molecules are larger. The more ethylene oxide you add, the larger the molecule becomes. The idea is to make the molecule large enough so that it won’t irritate the skin or eyes, but this effect is negligible in most cases. The more ethoxylation, the greater the risk of exposure to harmful carcinogens, nitrosamines, and/or 1,4 dioxane.
In the process of ethoxylation, a by-product called 1,4 dioxane can be released. 1,4 dioxane is a known carcinogen that reacts with other ingredients in shampoos to form dangerous nitrates. These nitrates are capable of permeating through intact skin each time you shampoo.
Dr. John Baily, of the FDA reported many shampoos, bubble baths, creams and lotions contain “excessively high” levels of 1,4 dioxane. Relying on the National Cancer Institute clinical tests showing that 1,4 dioxane causes liver damage in animals, Dr. Baily went on to say that the higher degree of ethoxylation, the more likely of the occurrence of 1,4 dioxane. Dr. Baily expressed concern that the levels of 1,4 dioxane has “not significantly dropped” in the 10 years since this information was first released.
Products for children and babies usually use highly ethoxylated ingredients. Unfortunately, parents permit their babies to sit for long periods of time in bubble baths, or use “no tear” baby shampoos – possibly exposing their children to these dangerous elements. We advise that you keep young children away from harsh and highly ethoxylated surfactants.
—————

HOW SOAPS AND DETERGENTS WORK

These types of energy interact and should be in proper balance. Let’s look at how they work together.

Let’s assume we have oily, greasy soil on clothing. Water alone will not remove this soil. One important reason is that oil and grease present in soil repel the water molecules.

Now let’s add soap or detergent. The surfactant’s water-hating end is repelled by water but attracted to the oil in the soil. At the same time, the water-loving end is attracted to the water molecules.

These opposing forces loosen the soil and suspend it in the water. Warm or hot water helps dissolve grease and oil in soil. Washing machine agitation or hand rubbing helps pull the soil free.

Green Cleaning

Best cleaning products already in your house. For those of you who would like to make their own.

These common household food products for cleaning are inexpensive, readily available, safe and work as well or better than many off-the-shelf cleaners. They are: baking soda, vinegar, salt, food-grade citric acid, juice from a fresh lemon, ice cubes and mayonnaise.

Baking soda is one of the most versatile cleaning agents on earth. It is highly absorbent, making it an excellent deodorizer. Best of all, it’s nontoxic.

As a matter of fact, if the thought of your next cleaning project gives you indigestion, half a teaspoon of baking soda stirred into a glass of water works as well as some over-the-counter drugs sold strictly for that purpose. check with your doctor before using this remedy.

Vinegar and water is great for cleaning glazed tile and dark tile grout as well.

Food-grade citric acid is super for dissolving mineral salt that builds up in water heater tanks.

Lemon juice works well in cleaning oil and grease from plastic laminated counters.

A 50-50 solution of salt and vinegar makes a terrific copper cleaner.

Ice cubes are the best first-step in getting wax crayon stains off kids’ clothing.

Mayonnaise and a nylon scrubbing pad work wonders on white-rings on wood furniture.

More uses for Baking Soda:

Baking soda will put out a grease fire, clean scorched food from cookware, absorb odors from the refrigerator, clean and deodorize drains, soften and deodorize laundry, and it will also remove stains from porcelain, enamelware, glass, plastic, carpets, and rugs.

For burned-on food, mix up a paste of baking soda and water. Actually, dry baking soda can be used in lieu of scouring cleanser and best of all, it’s nonabrasive.

Coffee pot stained? Tomato sauce remnants left in the plastic storage container?

A paste of baking soda and water will do the trick. Keep a box of baking soda in the refrigerator to reduce odors. Once a week pour a handful down the drain and rinse with hot water. Your drain will stay clean and smell fresh.

Price of fabric softeners got you down? Don’t use that toxic stuff. Use either vinegar (our recommendation) or half cup of baking soda in the rinse cycle.

To remove stains from carpets and rugs, follow this procedure: While the stain is wet, use baking soda to absorb the excess. Then cover the stain that’s left with another application of baking soda, let it sit overnight and vacuum it the next day.

VINEGAR CLEANER. Having children with sensitive skin, I’ve learned to disinfect my home without the use of harsh chemicals such as bleach or ammonia. Vinegar in a spray bottle is my cleaner: full strength for the bathroom, and diluted for windows, wood floor, linoleum and tile. I use it to clean my car windows, vinyl upholstery, door handles and vinyl mats. I use vinegar once a month to clean my coffee maker and once every six months to clean my hot tub and dishwasher. Mixed with baking soda, I clean my refrigerator, porcelain kitchen sinks and bathtub.

Colleen, Arkansas

Fels Naptha Soap
Just to let everyone know—it is a petroleum created surfactant, not castile.