Some time ago I posted an article on this site entitled Homemade Cleaners That Work. Out of everything I’ve posted thus far, this article in particular proved rather popular; not only with family and friends but with you the fans of Sample Stuff. So, it is with some gentle prodding, I return to this subject and explore more homemade cleaners.
Silver Polish – On my previous post regarding this homemade product, I recommended using toothpaste to polish silver. Though I still stand by this remedy, I have had some argue that toothpaste tarnishes the silver. First, let me say that if the silver is tarnishing from the toothpaste, it could be the brand. Perhaps there is a chemical in your toothpaste that doesn’t agree with the silver. I recommend something simple like Arm & Hammer toothpaste. But if you’re not convinced, here is an alternative.
In a glass pan, line the bottom with aluminum foil. Fill the pan with water. Add equal amounts of salt and baking soda. How much of each is determined by how much cleaning power you need. You will not nor should not scrub the silver. Instead, simply drop the silver into the prepared pan and let it soak for about five minutes. Take it out and GENTLY wipe it dry. Any blemishes should have melted away in the bath.
The power of citrus – I touched briefly on this in my last post, but we are again revisiting if for additional uses. Use lemon juice alone or with another agent to remove tough grease stains. Lemons also have a disinfectant quality. Lemon juice, when combined with salt, makes a powerful abrasive which is great for taking on rust or that filthy oven. Try rubbing a fresh cut lemon on your cutting board. The lemon will clean, disinfect, and remove stains from the cutting board. Have a smelly garbage disposal? Cut up a lemon or orange and toss it down there to be digested. It will clean the disposal and have it smelling great.
Tea – Use brewed tea and water to mop hardwood floors. Throw in a smidgen of olive oil for a nice shine.
Cornstarch – Cornstarch is a natural oil absorbent. It can be used in place of baking soda in some cases; for example, removing carpet and upholstery stains. Simply dilute in water or make into a paste and scrub.
Banana Peel – Use banana peel to polish leather. Then, use a dry soft cloth to wipe off residue and bring to a shine. No hard rubbing should be required. Use on the leaves of your house plants and watch them spring back to vibrancy. If you don’t like lemon juice and olive oil as a furniture polish, use a banana peel. Again, wipe off any residue with a dry soft cloth. Peels can also be used for removing ink stains. Use a peel to relieve mosquito bites. Got a scratched CD? Wipe a banana peel in a circular motion around the injured CD, then gently wipe clean.
Ice – Did you accidentally leave that coffee pot on too long and it burned? Try putting some salt and ice cubes in the pot and give them a swirl. This combination will break up any scorched coffee and/or stains. Then once it’s broken up, rinse out the crud. Have any problems with chewing gum? Apply ice to wherever gum is stuck. The cold will harden the gum and make it brittle, allowing you to crumble it away.
Well, there you have it. If you go hunting the internet for more homemade cleaners, they do exist. One cleaner I read involved using ketchup to polish brass. Though this will work, you should note that one of ketchup’s main ingredients is vinegar. That said, plain old vinegar or lemon juice will do the job. The tomato in ketchup just gives you more to wipe off. Now, I know anyone reading this may have other recipes to contribute, and for that I am grateful for feedback; but I caution that many recipes call for ammonia or harsh soaps or some other chemical compound. I didn’t go into those recipes for the simple fact that they are toxic and/or poisonous or just all around unpleasant. Besides, the point is to eliminate those harsh cleaners, and declutter, and if you can use eco-friendly ingredients and still be highly effective, why go there? And finally, if you read this thinking I left out a lot of friendly cleaners, I encourage you to read its predecessor Homemade Cleaners That Work, as the bulk of my recipes are mentioned there. I hope you’ve enjoyed this sequel.