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Green Living Blog: Simple green cleaning products

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Green Living Blog: Simple green cleaning products

Green Living Blog logo After reading this post, don't forget to enter our contest – you could win a new dishwasher. Plus, do you have your own story to tell? Send it to greenchallenge@canadianliving.com (no more than 300 words, please), and you could win one of 30 daily prizes. Today's post is by senior copy editor Austen Gilliland.
I'll be honest: it wasn't until a few months ago, shortly after I set my oven on fire, that I actually harnessed the cleaning power of baking soda.Of course, baking soda is also a pretty good fire extinguisher (thank you, Girl Guides, for teaching me that), and it was because of its fire-extinguishing properties that I grabbed the box and upended it onto the bottom of the oven. But then – oh, the mess! Half a box of baking soda, plus the charred remains of the overflow from a particularly juicy pineapple upside-down cake that I'd forgotten about entirely, until, two days post-baking, I turned to see bright orange flames licking the racks of the oven I'd innocently set to pre-heat and then walked away from. Once the smoke cleared, I set about cleaning up, thinking dark, I-have-a-million-other-things-I'd-rather-be-doing thoughts. But it wasn't as bad as I'd expected: A damp cloth, the baking soda, and some elbow grease were all I needed to clear away even the worst of the burned-on sugar. I ended up cleaning the whole oven that way. By the time I was finished, it looked great, and I'd done it without the eye- and nose-stinging fumes of commercial oven cleaner. Not long after, I moved, and rather than go to the expense of stocking my new home with all the latest fancy bottles of cleaning products, I decided to build on my oven-cleaning success. It turns out that baking soda also works for scouring pots and pans, cleaning my sink and tap, and polishing up tea-stained spoons. Of course, cleaning spoons isn't at the top of your list when you've just moved, and as great as it is, I didn't think baking soda would help with the muddy footprints we'd tracked across the living room floor as we ferried my boxes inside. A quick Google search suggested a likely contender: vinegar. In the kitchen (countertops, cutting boards, stovetop), a spray bottle filled with straight vinegar does the trick. For windows, I use a 1:1 vinegar-water mix, and for floors, 1 cup (250 mL) to every gallon (4 litres) of water. I'm not keen on the smell of vinegar (unless it's accompanied by French fries), but it doesn't linger – and unlike many commercial household cleaners, it's not toxic. (It's also cheap!) Now, if only I could do something about my prodigious paper towel use...
What are your favourite homemade cleaners?Today's code word: cleaning Read more: • 44 things to do with vinegarNatural (and cheap!) household cleaning products45 things to do with saltNatural stain removers
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Green Living Blog: Simple green cleaning products

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