april's issue of real simple magazine has a fantastic spread of tips and tricks for cleaning with basic stuff most people already have laying somewhere around the home--lemons, castile soap, cooking oil, vinegar, baking soda, table salt and more. what surprised me the most is that they didn't really put much of an eco-friendly spin on the article, it's more of just an "alternate usage for everyday items" kind of thing. a big miss, in my opinion, but i guess it could have something to do with some of their advertisers--febreeze, nature's source spray cleanser (by the maker of scrubbing bubbles, softsoap--anyway, here were a few of my faves:
lemon juice: when coupled with enough cream of tartar to make a paste, is supposed to cut/bleach out grout stains. i'm wondering if it'll work on mildew--i've got some stubborn stuff shower that baking soda/castille soap isn't helping with. i'm *thisclose* to breaking out the bleach. but i'll give the lemon juice/cream of tartar a try & report back on effectiveness.
castile soap: while washing the car. (1/4 cup soap to large bucket of warm water). i haven't washed my car in a loooooong time (drought drought drought) but next time i do, i'm forgoing the regular car wash liquid in place of dr. bronner's.
cooking oil: to prevent rattan and wicker from getting dry/brittle from sun exposure. i don't happen to have any wicker, but i did work as a copywriter for a gardening company and was given the task of writing the warning label packaging for bottles of wicker care liquid. let's just say the font size ended up needing to be smaller to fit all of the multiple health warnings. anyway, if you want to try this, warm oil over low heat on the stove to thin and brush with a soft cloth onto furniture. sunflower oil is recommended. cooking oil can also be used to polish shoes.
vinegar: use it to wash windows & mirrors. i can vouch for this. vinegar is better than windex. real simple's recommended ratio is 1/4 cup vinegar to 2 cups water, with a squirt of dr. bronner's thrown in. i just use straight up vinegar.
toothpaste: to clean chrome fixtures in the bathroom (what convenient placement!). rub on a small dollop and buff until shiny.
white bread: to remove dust from oil paintings. i have no oil paintings, but hope that one of you readers does, just so someone will do this. make sure to compost the used bread!
rubbing alcohol: to erase permanent marker from finished wood and other solid surfaces. very timely, as lucy just made pretty artwork on my kitchen table with a hot pink pen (my fault).
oatmeal: to clean very dirty hands. make a paste with water and scrub. sounds exfoliating! i'm going to have jeremy try this--he uses gojo after working on the cars and it smells horrible.
there were lots more neat ideas in the magazine! definitely worth a flip-though while standing in line at the market!