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Lemons, baking soda and vinegar mix to create a magic trilogy

Mar. 10, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- March is the original going green month and a good time to start a spring house cleaning project with a "green" attitude.

More than likely our Irish ancestors used some of the going green cleaners environmentalists tout today. They used them because that was all they had. Today we use them because we think they will leave a lighter footprint on our surroundings but still get the job done.

Curtains, rugs and other household textiles were once washed, beaten and hung outside to air. Walls, furnishings and floors were also wiped clean with some fairly basic cleaners. The Internet is full of suggestions we might want to look at to see if it is an avenue worth pursuing.

Some of the basics included things most of us have on our larder right now. The lemons, vinegars and baking soda once used by our forebearers are still great cleaners and can be easily integrated into the household routine. Not only will they keep us green but also they will cost less than most commercial cleaners.

It's like rediscovering a secret our grandmothers and great grandmothers knew from the time they were able to hold a cleaning rag. For example, they knew a mixture of the magic trilogy of lemons, vinegar and baking soda would not only clean the bathroom tile but also make it sparkle plus get rid of the mildew. Or how about a simple solution of vinegar and water in a spray bottle making a good all purpose cleaner.

About.com says the use of vinegar in the cleaning process works because "the acetic acid in vinegar kills viruses, germs, bacteria and mold. It also dissolves tough mineral deposits and stains like those found in sinks, toilets and tubs." They go on to tout the use of vinegar as inexpensive and safe for most surfaces. It did say not to use it on marble and recommended testing an inconspicuous corner of the area to be cleaned before using. They also have recipes one can access for the cleaners, as do other green sites.

No one says baking soda like Arm & Hammer - they have been around for 165 years and seem to still be going strong with this basic of basics. Their web page gives advice on how to use baking soda for everything from cleaning carpet to brushing your teeth. We all know and appreciate baking soda and sometimes we forget just how versatile it can be. This site is worth a look for some new ideas or just as a refresher of what you have forgotten.

The Mother Nature Network (www.mnn.com) offers a load of ideas and recipes for cleaning with lemons. Our brass and copper pots get a new shine with just a bit of lemon as do the chrome faucets that dress our kitchens and baths. A mixture of lemon and salt can do wonders for a gas grill or instead of salt add sugar and use it for a facial scrub. It is very interesting what a body can do with just a lemon, so it's worth checking out.

There are numerous other natural cleaners and recipes one can put to work for a green attitude as you clean. Even so, vinegar, baking soda and lemon seem to be products everyone has on their shelf, so that's a good place to start. To broaden your horizons just go surfing on the Internet and before you know it you too can be helping the environment by using natural products.