Our world is filled with pollutants. We absorb them when we eat, when we drink, when we wear clothes, when we touch and when we breathe the air around us. Constant exposure presents definite risks to our health.
The starting place to help to protect our environment and create a safer and less toxic world for both our children and ourselves, is where we live … our homes. Before lifting that article off a supermarket shelf, ask yourself if there is a valid reason to use a product that contains ingredients that may pose a risk to human health, when safer (and cheaper) biodegradable alternatives are available.
To Deter Ants
*Mix two teaspoons salt with 6 teaspoons lemon juice. Paint a band about half an inch (one and a half cms) wide on a non-absorbent surface, which crosses their trail-path or lies close to the areas from where the ants are emerging. Renew this paint-on barrier every 2 or 3 days.
*Spray vinegar along doorways, windowsills, and counter-tops or anywhere that ants are likely to appear. If you find an ant trail, wipe its full length with vinegar.
*Sprinkle salt onto shelves to create an ant-barrier.
Bad Breath Treatments
*Cut a lemon into two pieces. Slowly and thoroughly, chew each half (pith, rind and everything else in-between) and then swallow.
*Stir one teaspoon of baking soda into half a glass of cold water. Mix well and swill this through the teeth and around the mouth for about half a minute before spitting it out. Repeat this procedure 4 or 5 times. Baking soda effectively neutralizes mouth-odours on contact.
*Finely crush 2 cinnamon cloves and add this powder to one teaspoon of lemon juice, stirred into a quarter cup of warm water. Use a small quantity at a time as a mouthwash and swirl it around the mouth for minute or two, before spitting it out.
Shaving on sensitive skin for both men and women, can cause genuine discomfort. *Before applying your usual shaving cream, mix 3 teaspoons baking soda with 5 teaspoons warm water. Dab this watery paste onto the face, legs, or on any intended shaving area. Leave for 3 minutes and don’t rinse off. Then shave as normal and pat dry. Apply the baking soda solution for a second time. Leave for 3 minutes before rinsing clean with warm water. This treatment will provide some protection, relief and comfort, from inflamed razor-burns.
*For sensitive skins, use this pre-shave powder. First lightly dust with finely powdered baking soda onto dry skin before shaving with an electric razor.
*For an after-shave soothing powder: Mix 1 teaspoon of finely powdered baking soda with 2 teaspoons of baby powder. Use fingertips to apply the powder to the recently shaved areas to gently soothe the skin.
For partially or even totally blocked or clogged drains make a drain-cleaning solution as follows: pour one cup of baking soda into the drain, followed slowly by 2 cups of vinegar. Cover the drain and allow this mixture to foam for 20 minutes or until the fizzing stops. Then flush with boiling hot water. Use this drain-cleaning formula at least once a week to keep drains fresh and free flowing.
Cleaners and Deodorizers
An spill or accident on a carpet or rug must be treated quickly. To clean, freshen and deodorise carpets and rugs, first remove as much as possible of the mess with paper towels and then mop with warm water. Use a dry sponge or cloth and soak up as much of the spill as possible. Add one teaspoon of dishwashing detergent to one cup of warm water. Dip a clean cloth into this solution and, working from outside in, thoroughly dab the stain, making sure that you don’t “over-wet” the affected area. Rinse with fresh, warm water and blot dry with paper towels. Next, mix half of a cup white vinegar with half a cup cold tap water and with a clean cloth, or sponge, apply gently to the stained area. Test first to ensure that the fabric won’t suffer. Rinse with clean, warm water and blot with more paper towels. Allow to fully air dry and then generously sprinkle the affected area with dry baking soda. Leave for 30 minutes before vacuuming clean.
For grease spots, use a solution made with one teaspoon salt and 4 teaspoons alcohol (vodka or gin will do just fine). Use a soft cloth, or sponge and rub this solution carefully into the rug or carpet, Leave for 5 minutes and then blot with paper towels. Next, generously sprinkle on some baking soda. Allow to air dry, before vacuuming clean.
Bathtubs, Basins and Toilets
*To clean stubborn bathtub rings, apply baking soda on a damp sponge or soft cloth. and wipe over any ring left on the surface of the bathtub. Leave for 2 minutes before rinsing clean with warm water.
*Apply a cut lemon, or pure lemon juice to remove light surface stains and rust. Leave for at least 15 minutes before applying for a second time. Wait a further 15 minutes, and then wipe clean with a slightly damp sponge or soft cloth dipped in baking soda. Scrub clean and then rinse with warm water.
*Occasionally white bathtubs basins and toilets can look grimy because of brown hard-water spots and mineral build-up. To de-scale apply warm white vinegar with a sponge to the stained areas on the bathtub walls. Wait for 10 minutes before wiping clean and rinse well with warm water.
*Use an open box or a dish filled with baking soda; alternatively fill a small saucer (or a similar shallow container) with undiluted vinegar.
*Sprinkle baking soda into garbage cans, nappy-bins laundry baskets and in and around your pet’s sleeping quarters.
*An open dish of steaming, hot vinegar can counteract fish or other kitchen odours. Continue to steam with open doors and windows if the problem has permeated into other rooms around the home. Alternatively, slice a few lemons into a small pot, with just enough water to cover all the pieces. Simmer for a while on a low heat to fill the air with a lovely citrus aroma.
*To create a citrus-scented deodorizer cut a large lemon in half and carefully remove all the pulp. Fill the peel-cup to the brim with salt and place it where it is needed most. A fresh, pleasant citrus-scent will soon filter through the room.
*If you have a smoker in the family, you will no doubt have ashtrays dotted around several rooms. Place a half-inch (one cm.) layer of baking soda into the bottom of each one, to eliminate stale tobacco odours. Freshen the baking soda each time you clean an ashtray. A layer of baking soda will also help to quickly extinguish any foul-smelling, smouldering cigarette or cigar butts.
*To neutralize the smell of cigarette smoke use a spray bottle (if possible) filled with one part of vinegar to 5 parts of cold tap water. Lightly spray into the air where the vinegar will cause no damage.
*Make your own air freshener candle, using pure lemon oil. Take a knitting needle or similar and make 3 or 4 half-inch deep holes about a quarter-inch away from the wick. Into each hole add just one drop of oil. Light up and before you know it you’ll saturate the room with a wonderful fresh, citrus fragrance