And Finally, Don’t Forget My Insanity Sale Going on At The WOTC’s Store

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The Old Farmer’s Almanac for April 20: MAKE YOUR OWN CLEANERS

 

MAKE YOUR OWN CLEANERS

By Christine Halvorson and Kenneth M. Sheldon

Make your own cleaning products. Homemade cleaners are simple and a great way to save money.

WARNING: Never mix cleaning products containing bleach and ammonia, as dangerous fumes will result.

OVEN CLEANER

2 tablespoons dishwashing liquid
2 teaspoons borax
¼ cup ammonia
1–½ cups warm water

Mix the ingredients together, apply to oven spills, and let sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Scrub with an abrasive nylon-backed sponge and rinse well.

EASY SCRUB

¾ cup baking soda
¼ cup borax
dishwashing liquid

Combine the baking soda and borax. Mix in enough dishwashing liquid to make a smooth paste. If you prefer a pleasant smell, add ¼ teaspoon lemon juice to the paste.

JEWELRY CLEANER

¼ cup ammonia
¼ cup dishwashing liquid
¾ cup water

Mix all the ingredients well, then soak your jewelry in the solution for a few minutes. Clean around the stones and designs with a soft-bristle toothbrush. Buff dry. (Caution: Don’t use this with gold-plated jewelry; with soft stones such as pearls, opals, or jade; or with costume jewelry, because it could ruin the plastics or loosen the glue.)

HEAVY-DUTY DISINFECTANT CLEANER

¼ cup powdered laundry detergent
1 tablespoon borax
¾ cup hot water
¼ cup pine oil, or pine-based cleaner

Slowly stir the detergent and borax into the water to dissolve. Add the pine oil (available at hardware stores and supermarkets) and mix well. For bathroom cleaning, use the mixture full strength. In the kitchen, dilute it with water.

WOOD FLOOR POLISH

½ cup vinegar
½ cup vegetable oil

Mix the ingredients well, rub on the floor, and buff with a clean, dry cloth.

RUG CLEANER

¼ teaspoon dishwashing liquid
1 cup lukewarm water

Combine the ingredients. Use a spray bottle to apply the solution over a large area, or use the solution to spot-clean nongreasy stains. (Don’t use laundry detergent or dishwasher detergent in place of dishwashing liquid, as they may contain additives that can affect the rug’s color.)

TOILET CLEANER

1 cup borax
¼ cup vinegar or lemon juice

Combine the ingredients to make a paste. Apply it to the inside of the toilet bowl, let sit for 1 to 2 hours, and scrub.

MILDEW REMOVER

1 tablespoon powdered laundry detergent
1 quart chlorine bleach
2 quarts water

Combine all the ingredients in a pail. Wearing rubber gloves, wash off the mildew.

FLOOR WAX REMOVER

1 cup laundry detergent
¾ cup ammonia
1 gallon warm water

Mix all the ingredients together and apply to a small area of the floor. Let the solution sit long enough for it to loosen the old wax, at least 5 to 10 minutes. Mop up the old wax (or scrape it up, if there’s a lot of it, using a squeegee and a dustpan). Rinse thoroughly with 1 cup vinegar in 1 gallon water and let dry before applying a new finish.

FURNITURE POLISH

1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice
1 tablespoon boiled linseed oil
1 tablespoon turpentine

Combine the ingredients in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake until blended. Dampen a cloth with cold water and wring it out until it’s as dry as you can get it. Saturate the cloth with the mixture and apply sparingly to a small area at a time. Let dry for about 30 minutes, then polish with a soft cloth. Note that this mixture gets gummy as it sits, so make just enough for one day’s work.

GLASS CLEANER

2 tablespoons ammonia
½ cup alcohol
¼ teaspoon dishwashing liquid
a few drops blue food coloring
water

Combine the ammonia, alcohol, dishwashing liquid, and food coloring, then add enough water to make 1 quart. If you prefer a nonammoniated cleaner, substitute 3 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice for the ammonia.

CARPET FRESHENER

1 cup crushed dried herbs (such as rosemary, southernwood, or lavender)
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda

Combine all the ingredients in a large jar or other container with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well to blend. Sprinkle some of the mixture on your carpet, let it sit for an hour or so, and then vacuum it up. It will give the room a pleasant smell and neutralize carpet odors.

SCRUBBING HAND GENERAL-PURPOSE CLEANER

1 teaspoon borax
½ teaspoon washing soda
2 teaspoons vinegar
¼ teaspoon dishwashing liquid
2 cups hot water

Combine all the ingredients. If you don’t have washing soda (generally found in the laundry section of supermarkets), use 1 teaspoon baking soda instead. For a more pleasant smell, use lemon juice instead of vinegar. Be sure to label the bottle accordingly.

SOURCE:

The 1999 Old Farmer’s Almanac Home Library Series

The Old Farmer’s Almanac for April 20: SPRING-CLEANING NATURALLY: 6 INGREDIENTS

 

SPRING-CLEANING NATURALLY: 6 INGREDIENTS

When it comes to spring-cleaning or any kind of housecleaning, I use an array of six admirably versatile natural cleaning products: vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, salt, borax, wood ash.

I started using these products many years ago, mostly because so many commercial cleaning products gave me headaches and irritated my eyes and nasal passages. The headaches stopped, the natural products worked well, and they’ve saved a lot of money over the years.

Also, let me admit that I count myself among the “good-enough” group of rural dwellers. I live with a wood stove (smoke, ash, wood chips, sawdust), solar greenhouse (dirt, dust), and garden (time!) which makes maintaining high cleaning standards challenging.

Astonishing versatility

I continue to love the fact that this half-dozen of natural products singly or in combination will clean my toilet, tub, teeth, upholstery, carpets and windows, super-clean our grubbiest laundry, deodorize our pets and our car’s interior while they also soothe sunburns and insect stings, relieve an itch, gargle away many sore throats, and wash and condition my hair.

And please note: four of the six are pantry staples and safe enough to eat.

Below, I remind you of just a few of the ways I use these products for tough cleaning and deodorizing tasks.

Vinegar
I use white vinegar in a spray bottle to sanitize kitchen and bathroom surfaces, prevent or remove hard-water scale from the coffee pot, tub and toilet, as a window cleaner, and to remove labels from products or stickers from walls. It will unplug most drains by pouring half a cup of baking soda, followed by a cup of white or cider vinegar. (Don’t use a commercial drain product first, as you could create toxic fumes.)

I’ve learned those tough, longstanding, tough limescale stains in sinks and toilets that no amount of scouring will clean will eventually give way after repeated, long soakings with white vinegar.

Oh, and a couple of tablespoons of ordinary olive oil in a cup of vinegar works well to dust and polish wood furniture.

Baking Soda 
Especially in combination with salt, baking soda works well for scouring sinks and tubs, brushing your teeth, wiping down and deodorizing the refrigerator, removing smells and stains from carpets and upholstery (rub in, leave for an hour, shake or vacuum out).

Lemon Juice 

Half a cup in a gallon of water helps brighten white clothes without bleach (especially if you hang the clothes in the sunshine.) Sprayed or rubbed on straight, lemon juice removes stains from countertops and rust stains from clothing. Clean toilets with a paste of baking soda and lemon juice; squirt lemon juice for fresh smell.

Half a cut lemon left on a shelf will deodorize the fridge. Sprayed or rubbed on with a cloth, straight lemon juice (or straight vinegar) will remove mold and mildew from many surfaces.

Salt
One part table salt mixed with four parts each of borax and baking soda makes a good scouring powder for tubs, sinks and toilets. Adding a little vinegar to a teaspoon of salt makes a good scrub for removing coffee or tea stains from mugs and cups. (And don’t forget the health benefits of salt.)

Borax

Borax helps clean the tub, remove tough stains in laundry. I add it to baking soda and salt to make a general purpose scouring powder.

Wood ash 
In a paste with a little water, cleans glass! Sprinkled on and scrubbed into pavement, bricks, and stone, it will help remove oil stains.

Actually, when you come up against challenging cleaning or deodorizing tasks, try one or more in combination and you’ll probably find something that will do the trick. That’s what I do, and it almost always works.

 

ABOUT THIS BLOG

“Living Naturally” is all about living a naturally healthy lifestyle. Margaret Boyles covers health tips, ways to avoid illness, natural remedies, food that’s good for body and soul, recipes for homemade beauty products, ideas to make your home a healthy and safe haven, and the latest news on health. Our goal is also to encourage self-sufficiency, whether it’s relearning some age-old skills or getting informed on modern improvements that help us live better, healthier lives.

Published on The Old Farmer’s Almanac

 

 

The Old Farmer’s Almanac for April 20th: WHITE VINEGAR: POWERFUL BUT USE WITH CAUTION

 

WHITE VINEGAR: POWERFUL BUT USE WITH CAUTION

USE VINEGAR CORRECTLY TO AVOID HARMFUL SIDE EFFECTS

It’s hard to think of a natural substance that serves such a wide array of everyday purposes as vinegar. While it might seem as if you can use vinegar on everything, it’s also acidic, which means that it can cause damage to your health and home if you use it improperly. Here are things that you should NOT use vinegar for.

THE MANY USES OF VINEGAR

We’re huge fans of vinegar. It’s natural and non-toxic. It’s cheap to buy. It’s versatile.

People use vinegar (Note: not always safely or effectively) to clean windows (sinks, appliances, glassware, coffee-makers, dental retainers, etc.), remove stains, kill weeds, condition their hair, remove smelly-dog odors from fabrics, “age” wood, remove sticky labels, disinfect cutting boards and other surfaces, ease the pain of insect stings and sunburns, prevent fabric dyes from running, fluff up and stiffen egg whites, make cottage cheese from milk, soften fabrics, dry up pimples, lose weight, disinfect wounds, sanitizing fresh fruits and vegetables, and to prevent or treat diverse ills.

Not to mention its use in pickling, and its appeal as a flavoring ingredient in salad dressings, marinades, and cooked dishes, and as an ingredient in refreshing summer drinks or winter tonics (e.g., shrubs, switchel, fire cider).

Whew!

WHAT IS VINEGAR?

Vinegar, whose name derives from the French vin aigre, meaning sour wine, is produced naturally through a two-stage process that starts when yeasts digest the sugars in fruits, grains (and sometimes vegetables) into wines, beers, or grain alcohols. Acetic acid bacteria, ubiquitous in the environment, further ferment the alcohol to vinegar.

Commercially available vinegars have been mixed with water or other liquids to contain between four and eight percent acetic acid—the Food and Drug Administration has a four-percent-minimum standard. The label must indicate the percentage of acetic acid.

So-called “horticultural” or “industrial” vinegars” typically contain between 20 percent and 30 percent acetic acid.

Most supermarkets and specialty food stores offer a wide array of vinegars, often named from the material first fermented into alcohol, but sometimes containing herbs, spices, fruits or other flavoring agents.

But all vinegars, by definition, contain some percentage of acetic acid, which is responsible for at least some of its effects. And some of these effects can cause damage to you, your pets, or the materials you’re working with. So heed the caveats.

WHEN TO USE VINEGAR—WHEN NOT TO USE VINEGAR

Is Vinegar Safe to Eat and Drink?

Yes and no. First, we are only talking about white vinegar with 5% acetic acid, nothing more.

  • If it doesn’t irritate your digestive system, enjoy your 5% vinegars in pickles, tasty dressings and marinades, drizzled over cooked vegetables, and well-diluted in beverages.
  • But don’t start swigging undiluted vinegar! It’s still acetic acid. Especially undiluted, vinegar may harm mouth and digestive-system tissues, A tablespoon is enough for salad dressing or to flavor a quart of drinking water.
  • Children have suffered serious burns from drinking vinegar, and from vinegar compresses used to lower fevers or soothe sunburns.
  • Speaking of child safety: If you have children or child visitors, lock up household vinegars (including those stored under the sink with cleaning compounds).

Is Vinegar Safe for Home Remedies?

  • Before using vinegar as a do-it-yourself remedy, read this fact sheet from the National Poison Control Center.
  • No matter how many testimonials you read or hear about the miracles of vinegar, don’t use it to self-medicate without consulting your doctor. Vinegar may interfere with prescription or over-the-counter medications or supplements you take. Treating yourself for a serious medical problem before consulting your doctor may delay appropriate medical treatment.
  • For the same reasons, unless suggested by your doctor, stay away from acetic acid/cider vinegar tablets, widely promoted for weight loss.
  • Swabbing a small wound, pimple, or insect sting with household vinegar may help sanitize the area and relieve the pain, swelling or itching. Don’t use vinegar as a compressDon’t saturate any large area of skin with vinegar, and don’t cover a vinegar-treated area with a bandage.
  • Don’t use undiluted vinegar or use vinegar preparations to freshen your breath or whiten your teeth. Its acid may erode tooth enamel and injure sensitive tissues.
  • Forget the commercial hair conditioner and rinse with a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar but dilute the vinegar in a quart or so of warm water. (The vinegar will remove the residues of hair-care products and close the hair cuticles, protecting them from splitting and giving your hair a sleek, well-conditioned look.)

Is Vinegar Safe as a Garden Herbicide?

Here’s the basic information for using strong vinegar to kill weeds. If you do choose to use it, store and handle it with extreme care.

  • Because most people think of vinegar as a common and benign pantry staple, someone might mistake the industrial-strength vinegar for the household product. So store the vinegar under lock and key away from kitchen staples, and post a warning sign on the bottle if the label doesn’t already contain one.
  • The much stronger acid content of weed-killing vinegars can cause severe burns and permanent eye damage. Wear chemical-resistant gloves, eye protection, long sleeves and pants before you load the sprayer and head to the garden.
  • Don’t spray when it’s windy; spray drift may kill desirable plants nearby. Point the sprayer nozzle away from you. Experts say vinegar works best for small, annual broadleaf weeds and recommend using vinegar sprays on small areas only.

Where is Vinegar Safe to Use and NOT Use for Cleaning?

Important caveat: If you do choose to use vinegar as a cleaning agent, never mix it with bleach, ammonia, or hydrogen peroxide because any of these mixtures will create toxic gases.

  • Vinegar can play an important role in the household laundry. Choose white vinegar(grain based) for all laundry and stain-removal purposes; apple-cider vinegar and other flavored vinegars may stain your clothes, rugs, curtains, etc.
  • A cup of white vinegar in the rinse cycle will dissolve the soap and detergent residues in clothes and in the machine, as well as brighten, deodorize, help soften, and remove many stains from clothes. It’s also safe for septic systems. Note: The user manuals of some new appliances (dishwashers and washing machines) may tell users to avoid vinegar, because it can pit the appliances’ synthetic rubber seals.
  • A mixture of half vinegar and half water in spray bottle is unparalleled for cleaning glass, appliances, ceramic bathroom fixtures, and running occasionally through your coffee pot to eliminate residues. But do NOT scrub stone, marble, or granite surfaces with vinegar solutions; it may be tempting but the acid wears down and etches the stone.
  • Don’t use vinegar on hardwood floors or wooden furniture, as it may damage the finish.
  • Experts also recommend against using vinegar to wipe down computer or smartphone screens, as it may damage their protective coatings.

Vinegar in Food Safety

  • Studies have shown that household vinegar is a pretty good antimicrobial wash for washing fruits and vegetables.
  • For sanitizing cutting boards and other food preparation surfaces, “heat ½ cup white distilled vinegar (5%) in a saucepan to 150⁰F or 66⁰C. Be sure and handle heated liquids carefully as they will be warm but not hot. Using a funnel pour the warm solution into a spray bottle. Immediately spray the cutting board, counter tops or other kitchen surfaces. Let solution remain on the surface for 1 minute and then wipe with a clean paper towel.”

 

ABOUT THIS BLOG

“Living Naturally” is all about living a naturally healthy lifestyle. Margaret Boyles covers health tips, ways to avoid illness, natural remedies, food that’s good for body and soul, recipes for homemade beauty products, ideas to make your home a healthy and safe haven, and the latest news on health. Our goal is also to encourage self-sufficiency, whether it’s relearning some age-old skills or getting informed on modern improvements that help us live better, healthier lives.

Published on The Old Farmer’s Almanac

I Can’t Help Myself, I Love The Old Farmer’s Almanac (SALT FOR PREVENTIVE HEALTH AND NATURAL REMEDIES)

 

 

SALT FOR PREVENTIVE HEALTH AND NATURAL REMEDIES

Try these preventive health measures for salt, a historically important food that can act as a great natural remedy. Salt is inexpensive, but it has many uses for your frugal household.

The human requirement for dietary salt and the relative difficulty of producing it built and destroyed empires, determined trade routes and the location of cities, occasioned wars, and inspired revolutions.

Before the advent of pressure canning and freezing, salting/brining and drying were the only means of preserving food and eliminating total dependence on seasonal food production.

Aside from its use in seasoning food, ordinary table salt has dozens of uses in the frugal household. It will extinguish flames; kill weeds; extend the life of brooms, toothbrushes, and cut flowers; preserve colors in your wash; remove stains from coffee cups; help clean your oven; and more.

 

But this common household staple really shines in the domains of preventive health and hygiene. I use non-iodized sea salt for these and other health practices.

NATURAL HEALTH REMEDIES USING SALT

Flushing Sinuses

Although this use of salt is ancient, modern medical research has shown that flushing the sinus passages with a saline solution can help prevent/relieve sinus infections,relieve postnasal drip.

One caveat: Boil your tap water for a 3 to 5 minutes and then cool until lukewarm before using. I’d sterilize my water for any solution I planned to use in my sinuses, throat, or eyes.

 

As an Eyewash

Dissolve ¼ teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and used it as a wash for tired, irritated eyes.Be sure to boil your tap water for 3 to 5 minutes and then cool before using.

Reducing Under-Eye Puffiness

Dissolve ½ teaspoon of salt in a cup of hot water; soak a washcloth or cotton balls in the solution, and apply to the puffy areas.

Cleaning Teeth

Try a mixture of salt and baking soda for your “toothpaste.“ Pulverize sea salt in a blender or crush it with a rolling pin, mix with an equal amount of baking soda, shake, and store in a small glass jar. Mix with a bit of water, and brush as usual. Both salt and baking soda have antimicrobial properties that kill many of the pathogenic bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease.

 

 

As a Gargle, Mouthwash, or Breath Sweetener

Mix a teaspoon of the tooth-cleaning mixture in a cup of warm water. (Boil your tap water for 3 to 5 minutes and then cool before using.)

Reducing Fatigue

Soak your tired feet or entire body in a warm, salt-infused bath for a restorative effect.

As an Exfoliant

Mix equal parts of sea salt and olive oil and rub gently over the body for an exfoliating, moisturizing scrub. Rinse with warm water. For the face, mix equal parts of salt and honey.

 

Relieving the Pain of Insect Stings

Mix salt with a bit of water and apply to the sting immediately.

For Poison Ivy

Soak the affected areas in hot salt water to help relieve the itch and dry up blisters.

 

ABOUT THIS BLOG

“Living Naturally” is all about living a naturally healthy lifestyle. Margaret Boyles covers health tips, ways to avoid illness, natural remedies, food that’s good for body and soul, recipes for homemade beauty products, ideas to make your home a healthy and safe haven, and the latest news on health. Our goal is also to encourage self-sufficiency, whether it’s relearning some age-old skills or getting informed on modern improvements that help us live better, healthier lives.

Published on The Old Farmer’s Almanac