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dinner tonight

Crockpot Ham and Potato Soup

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  • 3-1/2 cups peeled, diced potatoes
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • ¾ cup diced ham
  • 3-1/4 cups water
  • 6 chicken bullion cubes
  • ½ t. salt
  • 1 t. pepper
  • 5 T. flour
  • 5 T. butter
  • 2 cups milk

Stir all but milk, flour and butter into crockpot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, check tenderness of potatoes. 20 minutes before serving, melt butter in a saucepan, add flour and gradually add milk, stirring constantly over med heat until thick. Stir mixture into crockpot. Let cook 15-20 minutes more.


Uses for Vinegar-

Give your dog a gleaming coat by spraying or rubbing with a solution of 1 cup white distilled vinegar to 1 quart water. As a bonus, you save the cost of an expensive shine product used on show animals. (Works even on a horse!)

Keep a dog from scratching its ears by wiping them out regularly with a soft cloth dipped in undiluted white distilled vinegar.

Remove skunk odors by wiping down the animal with a 50-50 solution of white distilled vinegar and water, followed by a plain-water rinse. Repeat if necessary.

Discourage a cat from sitting on a certain windowsill or other surface
, or from scratching upholstery, by spraying white distilled vinegar on the item. Test first on an unnoticeable area to be sure there won’t be a discoloration.

Keep a cat out of a garden area by placing paper, a cloth, or sponge there that has been soaked in white distilled vinegar.

Get rid of the deposits and water lines that form in aquariums and fish bowls by wiping them down with white distilled vinegar and following with a good rinse. For stubborn deposits, soak for several hours or overnight.

Keep the birdbath clean by scrubbing it often with undiluted white distilled vinegar. Rinse well.

Keep flies away from horses or other outdoor pets by spraying a mixture of water and white distilled vinegar around the area where the
animals are.

Stop insect stings and bites from itching by dabbing them with a cotton ball saturated with undiluted white distilled vinegar.

Soothe sunburn with a spray of white distilled vinegar, repeating as often as you like. Ice-cold white distilled vinegar will feel even better, and may prevent blistering and peeling.

For cuts and scrapes, use white distilled vinegar as an antiseptic.

Get rid of foot odor by washing feet well with antiseptic soap daily, then soaking them in undiluted cider vinegar for 10 minutes or so. Remember that cotton socks aid odor control more effectively than wool ones.

Clean a hairbrush by soaking in a white distilled vinegar solution.

Tone facial skin with a solution of equal parts white distilled vinegar and water.

If commercial aftershaves cause rashes and itching, try using undiluted white distilled vinegar as an aftershave lotion.

Lighten body freckles (not facial freckles) by rubbing on full-strength white distilled vinegar.

Eliminate bad breath and whiten your teeth by brushing them once or twice a week with white distilled vinegar.

Make nail polish last longer. Wipe fingernails with cotton balls dipped in white distilled vinegar before putting on nail polish.

To make basic vinaigrette salad dressing use 1 part white distilled vinegar to 4 parts oil.

Make creamy vinaigrette by adding some plain or whipped cream to a mixture of 1 part white distilled vinegar to 3 parts oil.

Tenderize meat with white distilled vinegar. Use it in marinades or when slow cooking any tough, inexpensive cuts of meat.

When poaching eggs, add a little white distilled vinegar to the water. The whites stay better formed.

For extra tenderness with boiling ribs or stew meat add a tablespoon of white distilled vinegar.

To add a zesty new taste to fresh fruits such as pears, cantaloupe, honeydew, or others, add a splash of rice or balsamic vinegar. Serve immediately to prevent the fruit from becoming mushy.

Freshen wilted vegetables by soaking them in cold water containing a spoonful or two of white distilled vinegar.

When boiling or steaming cauliflower, beets or other vegetables, add a teaspoon or two of white distilled vinegar to the water to help them keep their color. This will also improve their taste, and reduce gassy elements. This also works when cooking beans and bean dishes.

Make pasta less sticky and reduce some of its starch. Add just a dash of white distilled vinegar to the water as it cooks.

Give some extra zest to your white sauce by adding 1/2 teaspoon of white distilled vinegar.

Try cider or malt white distilled vinegar instead of ketchup with french fries—that’s how the British like to eat them. Either one is also great on fish or any fried or broiled meat.

Remove kitchen odors that come from burnt pots or when cooking certain foods by boiling a small amount of water with 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar so that the steam circulates throughout the room.

Make onion odors disappear from your hands by rubbing with white distilled vinegar.

Add moistness and taste to any chocolate cake—homemade or from a box—with a spoonful of white distilled vinegar.

To keep frosting from sugaring add a drop of white distilled vinegar. It will also help keep white frosting white and shiny.

Make perfect, fluffy meringue by adding a teaspoon of white distilled vinegar for every 3 to 4 egg whites used.

Perk up any can of soup or sauce with a teaspoon of red or white wine vinegar.

Eliminate the greasy taste in food cooked in a deep fryer by adding a dash of white distilled vinegar.

If you’ve added too much salt to a recipe, add a spoonful of white distilled vinegar and sugar to try correcting the taste.

Keep molded gelatin desserts and salads from sagging or melting in the summer heat by adding a teaspoon of white distilled vinegar for each box of gelatin used.

When making tuna salad add a dash of any herb-flavored white distilled vinegar.

Turn out great rice by adding a teaspoon of white distilled vinegar to the boiling water.

To make the perfect picnic potato salad dressing combine 1 cup mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons white distilled vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Olives or pimentos covered with white distilled vinegar can be kept almost indefinitely if refrigerated.

To keep eggs from cracking when boiling add a tablespoon or two of white distilled vinegar to water.

Keep car windows frost-free overnight in winter by coating them with a solution of 3 parts white distilled vinegar to 1 part water.

Kill weeds and grass growing in unwanted places by pouring full-strength white distilled vinegar on them. This works especially well in crevices and cracks of walkways and driveways.

Give acid-loving plants like azaleas, rhododendrons, hydrangeas and gardenias a little help by watering them with a white distilled vinegar solution now and again. A cup of white distilled vinegar to a gallon of tap water is a good mixture.

Stop ants from congregating by pouring white distilled vinegar on the area.

Discourage cats from getting into the kids’ sandbox with white distilled vinegar.

Preserve cut flowers and liven droopy ones by adding 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar and 1 teaspoon sugar to a quart of water in a vase.

Get rid of the water line in a flower vase by filling it with a solution of half water and half white distilled vinegar, or by soaking a paper towel in white distilled vinegar and stuffing it into the vase so that it is in contact with the water line.

Clean out stains and white mineral crusts in clay, glazed and plastic pots by soaking them for an hour or longer in a sink filled with a solution of half water and half white distilled vinegar.

Remove crusty rim deposits on house planters or attached saucers by soaking them for several hours in an inch of full-strength white distilled vinegar.

Clean a birdbath by scrubbing it often with undiluted white distilled vinegar. Rinse well.

Get rid of rust on spigots, tools, screws or bolts by soaking the items overnight or for several days in undiluted white distilled vinegar.

Neutralize garden lime by adding white distilled vinegar to the area.

Avoid skin problems after working in the garden by rinsing your hands in white distilled vinegar.

Increase the acidity of soil by adding white distilled vinegar to your watering can.

Eliminate anthills by pouring in white distilled vinegar.

Cure a cement pond before adding fish and plants by adding one gallon of white distilled vinegar to every 200 gallons of water. Let sit three days. Empty and rinse thoroughly.

Sanitize outdoor furniture and picnic tables with a cloth soaked in white distilled vinegar.

Kill slugs by spraying them with a mixture of 1 part water and 1 part white distilled vinegar.

To catch moths use a mixture of 2 parts white distilled vinegar and 1 part molasses. Place mixture in tin can and hang in a tree.

Keep rabbits from eating your plants. Put cotton balls soaked in white distilled vinegar in a 35mm film container. Poke a hole in the top and place in the garden.

Remove berry stains on your hands by rubbing them with white distilled vinegar.

Clean plastic patio furniture with a solution of 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar to 1 gallon of water.

Wash fresh vegetables with a mixture of 1 tablespoon of white distilled vinegar in 1 ½ quarts of water.

When cleaning an outdoor fountain, soak the pump in white distilled vinegar to remove any mineral deposits.

Clean a hummingbird feeder with white distilled vinegar—soap or detergent can leave behind harmful residue.

Remove mold from terra cotta pots by soaking in a solution of 1 cup white distilled vinegar, 1 cup chlorine bleach, and 1 gallon of warm water before scrubbing with a steel wool pad.

Polish car chrome with full-strength white distilled vinegar on a soft cloth.

Remove unwanted decals and bumper stickers by covering them with a cloth soaked in white distilled vinegar, or by repeatedly spraying them with full-strength white distilled vinegar. They should peel off in a couple of hours.

Rid the windshield wipers of road grime by wiping them with a white distilled vinegar-soaked cloth.

Remove the leftover odor after a rider has been carsick by leaving a bowl of white distilled vinegar overnight on the floor.

Get rid of hard water stains on your car with a rinse made from 3 parts soft water to one part white distilled vinegar.

Wipe vinyl upholstery with a mixture of equal parts white distilled vinegar and water.

Remove winter road salt residue on car carpeting by spraying with a mixture of equal parts white distilled vinegar and water, then blot with a soft towel.

Remove the hazy film that builds up on inside windows by spraying with white distilled vinegar.

Remove dirt and stains from car carpeting with a mixture of half white distilled vinegar and half water.

When doing car maintenance, soak rusty bolts and screws with white distilled vinegar to make them easier to remove.

Loosen chewing gum stuck to carpeting or upholstery by soaking it in white distilled vinegar.

Create an all-purpose window cleaner with a few ounces of white distilled vinegar in a quart of water.

Give leather upholstery an extra shine by cleaning it with hot white distilled vinegar and rinsing with soapy water.

Make your car extra shiny
by adding a few drops of white distilled vinegar to your bucket of water.


Drinking two glasses of Gatorade can relieve headache pain almost
immediately -- without the unpleasant side effects caused by traditional
"pain relievers."

Did you know that Colgate Toothpaste makes an excellent salve for burns?

Before you head to the drugstore for a high-priced inhaler filled with
mysterious chemicals, try chewing on a couple of curiously strong Altoid
Peppermints. They'll clear up your stuffed nose.

Achy muscles from a bout of the flu? Mix 1 Tablespoon of Horseradish in a
cup of Olive Oil. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, then apply it as a
massage oil, for instant relief for aching muscles.

Sore Throat? Just mix 1/4 cup of vinegar with 1/4 cup of honey and take 1
tablespoon six times a day. The vinegar kills the bacteria.

Cure urinary tract infections with Alka-Seltzer. Just dissolve two tablets
in a glass of water and drink it at the onset of the symptoms. Alka-Seltzer
begins eliminating urinary tract infections almost instantly -- even though
the product was never advertised for this use.

Eliminate puffiness under your eyes..... All you need is a dab of
Preparation H, carefully rubbed into the skin, avoiding the eyes. The
hemorrhoid ointment acts as a vasoconstrictor, relieving the swelling

Honey remedy for skin blemishes... Cover the blemish with a dab of honey and
place a band-aid over it. Honey kills the bacteria, keeps the skin sterile,
and speeds healing. Works overnight.

Listerine therapy for toenail fungus... Get rid of unsightly toenail fungus
by soaking your toes in Listerine mouthwash. The powerful antiseptic leaves
your toenails looking healthy again.

Easy eyeglass protection.. To prevent the screws in eyeglasses from
loosening, apply a small drop of Maybelline Crystal Clear Nail Polish to the
threads of the screws before tightening them.

Coca-Cola cure for rust... Forget those expensive rust removers. Just
saturate an abrasive sponge with Coca Cola and scrub the rust stain. The
phosphoric acid in the coke is what gets the job done.

Cleaning liquid that doubles as bug killer... If menacing bees, wasps,
hornets, or yellow jackets get in your home and you can't find the
insecticide, try a spray of Formula 409. Insects drop to the ground

Smart splinter remover... just pour a drop of Elmer's Glue all over the
splinter, let dry, and peel the dried glue off the skin. The splinter sticks
to the dried glue.

Hunt's Tomato Paste boil cure... cover the boil with Hunt's tomato paste as
a compress. The acids from the tomatoes soothes the pain and brings the boil
to a head.

Balm for broken blisters.. To disinfect a broken blister, dab on a few drops
of Listerine.. a powerful antiseptic.

Heinz Vinegar to heal bruises.. Soak a cotton ball in white vinegar and
apply it to the bruise for 1 hour. The vinegar reduces the blueness and
speeds up the healing process.

Kills fleas instantly. Dawn Dish Washing Liquid does the trick. Add a few
drops to your dog's bath and shampoo the animal thoroughly Rinse well to
avoid skin irritations. Good-bye fleas.

Rainy day cure for dog odor... Next time your dog comes in from the rain,
simply wipe down the animal with Bounce or any dryer sheet, instantly making
your dog smell springtime fresh.

Eliminate ear mites... All it takes is a few drops of Wesson Corn Oil in
your cat's ear. Massage it in, then clean with a cotton ball. Repeat daily
for 3 days. The oil soothes the cat's skin, smothers the mites, and
accelerates healing.

Vaseline cure for hair balls..... To prevent troublesome hair balls, apply a
dollop of Vaseline petroleum jelly to your cat's nose. The cat will lick off
the jelly, lubricating any hair in its stomach so it can pass easily through
the digestive system.

Quaker Oats for fast pain relief.... It's not for breakfast anymore! Mix 2
cups of Quaker Oats and 1 cup of water in a bowl and warm in the microwave
for 1 minute, cool slightly, and apply the mixture to your hands for
soothing relief from arthritis pain.

How to Organize a Linen Closet

sheetsTips and Strategies to Avoid the Linen Closet Avalanche

It’s so easy to accumulate a large collection of mismatched and worn-out linens that crowd shelves in heaps, so jammed together that when you tug for a towel or reach for that yellow sheet, everything comes tumbling down.

With these tips and strategies, whipping your linen closet into shape will be one of the easiest organizing projects you’ll ever tackle. And it’s an excellent way to feel that you have at least one organizing project completed and under control.

towelsSort, Purge and Organize
First, sort all your towels and sheets into categories to determine which are worth keeping and which should go. Suggested categories are “Keep”, “Toss” and “Donate.” Turn worn-out and thread-bare towels and sheets into rags or garage dust covers.

How Much is Enough?
Have you ever thought about how much is enough when it comes to linens. A guideline that I follow is that you don’t need more than three sets of sheets per bed and as few as three sets of sheets or bath towels, hand towels, and washcloths per person (more if you change towels daily.) This number gives you one set in use, one in the hamper, and one in the closet ready for action. You’ll need only one or two sets for guests (one on the bed and one in the closet).

Don’t Hoard
Resist the temptation to hoard extra sets of sheets and towels for emergencies. Honestly, what emergency could occur that you would need extras, sheets and towels that really just sit in a closet and never see the light of day? Use the one-in/one-out inventory rule to keep your inventory under control. When you acquire a new set, retire an old one.

Give your Linens Room to Breathe
There are few things more refreshing than the fragrance of clean sheets and towels. But if your linen closet is crammed full, you’ll actually cause the opposite to occur. Textiles experts indicate that air flow is important to the safe storage of most textiles. If linens are crowded without room to breathe, the fibers retain moisture, which attracts mold, mildew and possible permanent damage to the fabric. Experts recommend airing out your linens every three months to eliminate trapped moisture. If you find you have musty smells in your linen closet, experts suggest that you can chase away mustiness with an open container of baking soda, activated charcoal, or calcium carbonate.

Copyright (c) 2008 Simplified Spaces
Janet Nusbaum, owner of Simplified Spaces, Organizing Consultant and Coach, Senior Move Manager, Speaker, and author of ‘Mom, Can I Help Around the House?’ helps individuals, families and businesses to organize life and navigate transitions. To learn more and to receive Janet’s FREE special report “SHELF LIFE FOR 75 COMMON HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS”, to help you decide what to keep and what to toss, visit SimplifiedSpaces.net


Martha Stewart

More Tips to Organize Linens
MarthaStewart.com also has great tips on Organizing a Linen Closet, with specifications for shelf heights, storage of antique linens and Pest Prevention.

Caring for Antique Linens
For detailed advice on caring for antique linens and heirloom treasures, see the Smithsonian article on How do I store antique textiles at home?

To gently bleach discolored linen or lace, first wash it in cool water, using soap flakes or liquid soap rather than detergent. Then lay the piece flat, on a white cloth, in direct sunlight. Let the sun’s rays have a chance to work some magic; sometimes, this is all that is needed to whiten old lace or linen.

If sun lightening does not work, try our grandmother’s method of gentle bleaching - fill a large pot with
water, allowing plenty of room for the lace or linen to move freely. Add 1/2 cup of baking soda or washing soda, and 1/2 cup of salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer for an hour. After an hour, remove the fabric, rinse in cool water, lay flat and let dry.

Natural Fragrance for a Linen Closet
Women have tucked herbal sachets in amongst their linens for centuries. Make simple lavender sachets by enclosing lavender buds in a square of muslin; gather up the corners and tie with embroidery floss, yarn or string.

How to Organize Your Laundry

doing laundryOrganizing Tips to Help You Conquer the Laundry Monster
Laundry. You sort, you wash, you fold, you blink - and the pile of dirty clothes has grown all over again. Laundry is a fact of life, but approaching the task in an organized way can make it more manageable.

Preparation is Half the Battle
If you have a large family (or lots of clothes!), sorting the laundry can be a daunting task all on its own. Sorting as you go not only ends the need for this part of the project, but also may encourage you to do laundry more often because it’s all sorted and ready to go! Use a multi-compartmented hamper or several laundry baskets and as you throw in your dirty clothes just drop them in the appropriate section (even kids as young as preschoolers can learn to do this — make it fun for them, give them a small reward (an extra 15 minutes of TV? staying up 10 minutes later?) each time they get everything in the right spot!)

overflowing laundry basketsmall laundry basketToss items that need dry cleaning into a special basket or bag as soon as you take it off. This way, when you are ready to go to the cleaners you can just grab them, rather than having to hunt for them in all the dirty laundry (ugh!)

Make a habit of always keeping a spare of laundry detergent, dryer sheets and whatever else you use regularly. That way you never have to drop everything and run to the store to complete your laundry (or use that as a reason to not complete the laundry…)

Put Away the Clean Clothes
clothes hanging on lineKeep hangers and a folding hanging rack near the dryer. Save steps by putting hanging items directly on hangers rather than folding and toting them first. As you fold clean laundry, place items in baskets by person to simplify the process of putting it all away. Get everyone in on the act. Even small children can help put away some of their own clothes — socks, underwear, etc. Older kids can put it all away. If you share the burden, it’s not so overwhelming.

We know it’s hard, but go through your drawers and closets and purge things that are never worn. Putting laundry away is much faster and more pleasant if you don’t have to struggle to cram the clothes into an overstuffed space.
Set a side a small drawer or basket for socks that have lost their mate in the wash. Sooner or later the other sock will turn up and the pair can be put away with all the others.

Other Laundry Tips
Consider sprucing up and organizing the laundry area. A clean and well-organized space makes any task more enjoyable. Schedule set laundry days and stick to them. It’s amazing how much more you can get done when you have a schedule.

Short of inventing disposable clothes, laundry is here to stay, but these tips should make it quicker and a little more manageable and you will never have a morning with nothing to wear.

Jul. 9th, 2009

Natural Spring Cleaning

window cleaningmop
Spring Cleaning, The Natural Way

Stay away from toxic chemicals and resolve to do your spring cleaning the natural way this year.

Spring cleaning goes beyond normal everyday cleaning. It’s a major project of home revitalization: to make everything new by removing dust and dirt, to make sure everything is in good repair, and to put things in order, so that you will have everything in your household in working condition for the coming year.

Here are some tasks that are traditionally included in a major spring cleaning:

- Put away winter clothes and take out spring and summer clothing.

- Sweep and vacuum floors, walls, and corners.

- Wash floors and carpets.

- Clean window panes, sills, and frames. Replace thick winter curtains that keep heat in with light summer curtains that allow breezes through. Remove storm windows, hang up screens.

- Brush or vacuum stuffed furniture and remove spots.

- Wash every surface in every room that has accumulated dust or grime.

I like to finish a spring cleaning by bringing in loads of spring flowers and placing them in vases in every room.


With so much cleaning going on, I always make sure to use cleaning products that are simple, safe, and eco-friendly.

When choosing a cleaning product for a specific job, I use the least-toxic, most-effective product, in the smallest effective amount.

Cleaning products are the only household products regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission under the 1960 Federal Hazardous Substances Labeling Act, which requires products that contain hazardous chemicals to carry warning labels. In general, it is best to avoid using products that say “Danger,” “Poison,” or “Warning,” on the label.

Many safer products carry the “Caution” label, even though they are acceptable to use. Fortunately, the least toxic products voluntarily disclose their complete ingredients on the label, so you can determine for yourself the safety of the product. There are even cleaning products now made with organically-grown ingredients.

washingNontoxic cleaning actually requires very few specialized ingredients. I do all of my cleaning with a squirt bottle of fifty-fifty distilled white vinegar and water, liquid soap, and baking soda. For laundry I use a natural soap powder and chlorine-free oxygen bleach. Other substances I have on hand for occasional cleaning needs are salt, lemon juice, borax, and chlorine-free Bon Ami scouring powder.

See Homemade Surface Cleaners for a variety of homemade surface cleaner recipes using natural, non-toxic ingredients.


While scrubbing away at your spring cleaning, there are two things you can resolve to do in the coming year that will make cleaning easier. These will also reduce the amount of cleaning products you use, saving resources and money. But the most important thing to me is that they save time and reduce the amount of cleaning needed.

First, I incorporate preventive maintenance. I put a cookie sheet on the rack under a casserole that is likely to spill over, for example, which pre-empts the need to scour baked on food from the oven. If the casserole spills, the cookie sheet can be effortlessly soaked clean in a few inches of water in the kitchen sink.

I also keep in mind the adage “A stitch in time saves nine,” which means if you take that first stitch to fix the tear before it gets bigger, you’ll save having to make nine stitches later. In cleaning, this translates to wiping up the spill when it happens, cleaning surfaces before they are caked with dust and grease, just cleaning as you go while there’s not much to clean. It’s only when we don’t clean that we may need harsh chemicals to tackle what would have been an easy job earlier.

About the Author: Hailed as “The Queen of Green” by the New York Times, Debra Lynn Dadd has been a consumer advocate for health and the environment since 1982. Visit her website for 100s of links to 1000s of nontoxic, natural and earthwise products, and to sign up for her free email newsletters.

Jul. 9th, 2009

Natural Homemade Kitchen and Bathroom Cleaners

brighten homeTry a few of these natural homemade cleaners and you may re-think inviting Mr. Clean into your home.

Note: Borax is usually sold in boxes, near the laundry detergents or fabric softeners in the grocery store.

For more homemade cleaners, please see our article and recipes to make Homemade Surface Cleaners.

Non-Toxic Kitchen and Bathroom Floor Cleaner
mop floor 1/2 cup vinegar
2 gallons water
2 tbsp natural liquid soap
1/4 cup baking soda
15 drops lavender essential oil
Combine the ingredients in a mop bucket, and mix. Mop your floor, then give a once over mopping of clean water.

Natural Grease-Fighting Cleaner
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup baking soda
wiping surface1 gallon hot water
1 tsp natural liquid soap
5 drops orange or lemon essential oil (alternatively use lemon juice)
Mix ingredients in a bucket and clean any greasy surface.

Gentle Sink and Tub Cleaner
1/3 cup borax
1/3 cup baking soda
10 drops lavender essential oil
1 tsp natural liquid soap (optional)
Combine in bowl. Use as you would scouring powder. Rinse thoroughly. Great for porcelain and enamel.

Appliance Polish
Try rubbing club soda onto your appliances and sinks; it cleans and polishes at the same time!

Natural Mold and Mildew cleaner
1 cup borax
2 cups water
1/2 tsp tea tree oil
Combine the ingredients. Apply to affected areas, and let sit for at least two hours. Rinse. Note: It is much easier to prevent mold and mildew than to clean it. Fungi like dark and moist areas, so let in the light and fresh air! Make sure you have good ventilation, and keep things clean so nothing icky has a chance to grow.

clean toiletToilet Cleaner
1 cup borax
1/4 cup lemon juice
Mix together. Pour into toilet and let sit (overnight is best). If toilet rings are a problem, take out some toilet water and scrub rings with a borax/lemon paste. Alternatively, scrub gently with steel wool or pumice.

Grout Cleaner
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup borax
1/2 cup baking soda
Combine together. The mixture should be a thick paste. Scrub the grout with a toothbrush and rinse.

Non Toxic Oven Cleaner
Spray the oven with water and sprinkle with baking soda. Leave it overnight, and scrub with steel wool in the morning.

Drain Cleaner
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup sea salt
1/2 cup baking soda
Pour all ingredients down the drain . Wait half an hour, than follow with a kettle of boiling water (taking care not to scald yourself with the steam). This works best if done often to prevent accumulation. Always remember to see if a plunger will do the trick first, and never pour grease down the sink. Strainers are great for preventing clogged drains in the first place.

Homemade Dishwasher Cleaner
1 tbsp borax
3 tbsp baking soda
2 drops of a citrus essential oil
Combine ingredients and use in dishwasher. Remember to rinse dishes first! Tip: Vinegar makes crystal and fine china sparkle!

Combatting Dried or Baked on Food on Pots and Pans
If you have a pot or pan that you know is going to use up your elbow grease, put some water and dish soap in it and simmer for about 15 minutes before washing. Alternatively, sprinkle the culprit with water and baking soda and tackle it in the morning.

Automatic Coffeemaker
Put one cup of vinegar through the coffee maker just like you were making coffee. Follow with at least two full pots of water. This should break down the build up of coffee and mineral stains, and make your coffee taste better.
Natural Kettle Cleaner
Equal parts water and vinegar
3 tbsp salt
Put ingredients into kettle and simmer for 20 min. Leave overnight, and rinse well in the morining.

Easy Blender Cleaner
Fill the blender half-way with hot water and add a touch of vinegar. Puree away.

Refreshing Fridge Cleaner
1/2 cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed if you have it)
2 cups water
1 tbsp baking soda

Cutting Board Deodorizer
Rub the surface of your cutting or bread board with lemon to remove unwanted odours. Or, you can try a baking soda paste.

Jul. 9th, 2009

Homemade Surface Cleaners

spray cleanerLearn how to make your own environmentally-friendly spray cleaners. These homemade cleaners are cheap to make yourself and always ready to use.

Natural All-Purpose Spray Cleaner
2 tbsp vinegar
2 cups water
1 tsp borax
10-15 drops tea tree oil
Combine the ingredients and put the mixture into a clean spray bottle. Shake well. Use as you would any all purpose spray cleaner. Ideal for countertops. Tea tree oil helps prevent mold and mildew.

Simple Surface Cleaner
1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
Mix vinegar and water together and keep in spray bottle. This is a useful, everyday mixture to wipe down kitchen surfaces without the need for rinsing.

Non Toxic Heavy Duty Cleaner
1/4 cup vinegar
1 cup water
1 tsp borax
10 drops orange essential oil
5 drops lemon essential oil
Mix the water and the borax. Combine the rest of the ingredients to the mixture, and put into a clean spray bottle. Shake. Wipe surface clean and rinse. Ideal for grimy surfaces.

woman cleaning windowsHomemade Glass Cleaner
1/3 cup vinegar
2/3 cup water
Combine the vinegar and water in a clean spray bottle. Use just like Windex. (If you can’t stand the smell of vinegar, club soda works well too.) Tip: Dry windows with newspapers.

Anti-Streak Window Cleaner
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup isopropyl alcohol
Mix in a clean spray bottle, shake, apply and rinse. This mixture is great for windows that have accumulated build-up. If the glass is really greasy, you can add a drop or two of natural liquid soap. This cleaner should due the trick after one or two applications, and I recommend you return to a vinegar cleaner as soon as possible (due to the rubbing alcohol).

Natural Stain Remover
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp natural dish soap
1 tbsp vegetable glycerin
Mix together, shake and store in a clean spray bottle. Rub well into the stain (the sooner the better!) and wash clothes as usual.

Painted Cabinets Cleaner
1/4 cup baking soda
1 cup ammonia
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 gallon warm water.
Mix ingredients and pour into a spray bottle. Spray onto painted surface and rub in with a sponge. Rinse with a clean sponge dampened with water. Wipe dry completely.


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