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How Do I... - Sugar Land Resource Center

Hazardous Households Materials
Kitchen Hazards
Abrasive Scouring Powders
  • Dip a damp cloth in baking soda and rub over stains. You can also make a paste with water and apply it to especially stained surfaces. Allow it to set before rubbing clean and rinsing.
  • Toothpaste for light stains.
  • Sprinkle Borax or salt on a damp sponge, scour and rinse.

Air Freshener / Deodorizers
  • To clean the kitchen sink, grind used lemons in the disposal or pour in baking soda.
  • Leave an opened box of baking soda in rooms and refrigerators.
  • For a more expensive touch, a small saucer of pure vanilla will mask odors. To prevent spillage, pour it on a cotton ball. It's also good for removing odors from cars and ice chests.
  • Wrap cloves and cinnamon in cheesecloth and boil in water or leave herbal bouquets standing in open dishes for a fragrant smell.
  • Add a few drops of vinegar to soapy water to remove onion odors from utensils, chopping blocks or hands. Rubbing hands with the cut end of a celery stalk will also remove odor.
  • Light a scented candle.
  • Cover the bottom of your cat's litter box with baking soda before adding litter. It eliminates odor for days.
  • For trash cans, sprinkle Borax in the bottom.
  • Set out a dish of vinegar to get rid of smoke smells and other odors.
  • Ventilate.

All Purpose Cleaners
  • Mix vinegar with salt and water for a good surface cleaner. Dissolve baking soda in water for a good cleaner. Wash painted wood with one teaspoon of baking soda in a gallon of hot water. Rinse with clear water.
  • For finger marks and smears on shiny refrigerators and other appliances, use a solution of about half vinegar and half water on an old piece of terry cloth towel.
  • Clean dish drain boards with full-strength vinegar.
  • Put about a half of a cup of vinegar in your dishwashing water to keep grease from clinging to things.
  • For crayon stains on washable painted walls, put baking soda on a wet sponge, apply and scrub gently.
  • Vinegar will get rid of that slick feeling you have on your hands after using household bleach products. Wash your hands with soap and water, then rinse with vinegar.
  • Appliance cleaners:
    • Dry baking soda even removes burned-on bread wrappers on toasters.

Laundry Room Hazards

Detergents
  • Detergents are a concern because they are used in such large amounts. In general, detergents break down more slowly in the environment than soaps. Two commercial brands of soap flakes are White King and Ivory Snow. When you make the switch from detergents to soap, run your clothes through the washer with one-third cup baking soda to prevent yellowing.
  • Add one tablespoon of vinegar to the rinse cycle to keep colors bright.
  • Use Borax instead of chlorine bleaches.
  • One-half to one cup of vinegar in rinse water will soften your laundry and cut soap.
  • Recipe for using soap:
    • Add one-third cup of baking soda to water as the machine is filling.
    • Add clothes and one and one-half cup of soap.
    • Add one-fourth cup of vinegar or baking soda during the first rinse if water is hard.

Spot Removers
  • All purpose spot remover works well for blood, chocolate, coffee, mildew, mud, and urine.
    • One-fourth cup of Borax in two cups cold water
    • Soak the stain prior to washing as usual.
  • For stains that have set, try a dab of full strength white vinegar.
  • Put a paper towel underneath to blot, and apply a solution of equal parts ammonia and water. (If an ammonia stain remains, blot it with a solution of table salt in water.)
  • Don't use dry cleaning fluids unless absolutely necessary. Use professional dry cleaners for stubborn stains.

Other Household Dangers
Carpet Cleaners
  • Mix one-half cup of mild liquid dish washing detergent and one pint of boiling water. Let cool until it forms a jelly. Whip into a stiff foam with a beater. Apply with a damp cloth or sponge to a small section of carpet and rub gently. Wipe with clean cloth. Allow to dry.

Furniture & Floor Polishing
  • Combine one-half cup of vinegar to one gallon of water.
  • To remove fingerprints, quickly rub a slice of potato over the surface.
  • Scratches on wood surfaces can be removed by rubbing the meat of nuts over the scratched area. Pecans and walnuts both work though it is best to match the nut with the wood.
  • Mix one teaspoon lemon oil with one pint of mineral oil in a pump spray bottle.
  • Use light, soapy water to clean and soft cloth to shine.
  • Rub toothpaste on wood furniture to remove water marks.
  • Mix one teaspoon olive oil, juice from one lemon and one teaspoon water.
  • Use small amount of mayonnaise and soft cloth.
  • Rub crushed raw nuts on the wood for an oily polish.
  • Melt one tablespoon of carnuba wax into two cups of mineral oil.
  • For unsealed wood, use almond oil, raw linseed oil or mineral oil.
  • One part lemon juice, two parts vegetable oil.

General Purpose Cleaners

  • Natural biodegradable cleaners such as "Lifeline" can be purchased in most health stores.
  • Mix half a cup of Borax with one gallon warm water, and shake well.
  • Mix half a cup of ammonia and one-third cup of baking soda in a gallon of warm water. Use as needed, and store remainder in a large jug.
  • Dissolve four teaspoons of baking soda in warm water.
  • For a good surface cleaner, mix vinegar with salt.
  • For a more abrasive cleaner, rub soiled surface with one-half lemon dipped in borax, then rinse.

Glass / Mirror Cleaners
  • Dilute one-fourth to a half cup of white vinegar in a quart of warm water, spray on window or mirror, then rub with newspaper on the glass to dry.
  • Measure three tablespoons of ammonia, one tablespoon of white vinegar and three-fourths cup of water into a clean spray bottle.
  • Use a solution of one to two tablespoons of lemon juice in a quart of water.
  • Mix half a cup of cornstarch and two quarts warm water. Mix well and apply with a sponge, then wipe windows dry with a soft cloth.
  • Dip a wet sponge in baking soda to clean a glass oven door.
  • Mix one-half cup vinegar, one pint rubbing alcohol and one teaspoon dishwashing liquid with enough water to make a gallon of cleaner.
  • Glass and ceramic surfaces can be cleaned with baking soda sprinkled on a sponge, nylon scrubber, or ball-scrubber made from old panty hose.

Wall & Floor Cleaners
  • Borax and hot water.
  • Vinyl floors: Mix half cup vinegar or one-fourth Borax or a teaspoon with one gallon of water. Polish with club soda.
  • Adding sour milk or skim milk to rinse water will shine the floor without polishing.
  • Wood floors: damp mop with mild vegetable soap, such as Castile soap or Murphy oil soap.

Bathroom Hazards
Toilet Bowl Cleaners
  • Use a solution of baking soda and water or sprinkle baking soda around rim. Scrub with toilet brush as needed.
  • Mix hot water, a few tablespoons, Borax and one-eighth teaspoon. "Lifeline". Use pumice and scrub.
  • Use half a cup of Borax to one gallon hot water.
  • Baking soda and vinegar.
  • Make a paste of Borax and lemon juice. Let sit for two hours, then scrub.
  • For tough lime deposits in the bowl above the water line, line the bowl with paper towels and pour vinegar over the towels to get them wet. When the deposits dissolve, take paper towels out and scrub with a toilet bowl brush.

Tub & Tile Cleaners
  • Mix Borax and vegetable soap with hot water.
  • Measure one-fourth cup baking soda, half a cup of white vinegar and one cup of ammonia into a bucket. Add one gallon of warm water and stir until the baking soda dissolves.
  • For ring around the tub, apply vinegar full strength to a sponge and rub, then follow up with baking soda and water.
  • Rub area with half a lemon dipped in Borax, rinse and dry with a soft cloth.
  • Pour full-strength vinegar in the track of your sliding glass shower doors, let stand and then rinse well. Ventilate well.
  • For soapy buildup on chrome bathroom fixtures, pour undiluted white vinegar on them and let it remain for about five minutes before you rinse well. For hard-to-remove stains, cover the stain with a tissue and spray with vinegar so that it remains moist for a longer soak, then apply "elbow grease", rinse well and polish dry.
  • For lime deposits, soak shower heads or faucet parts in vinegar overnight to remove hard-water buildup.



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