Homemade cleaning products

Country Cleaning

by Tina Shake

My daughter, Petunia, is distressed. Last month, while she and I were cleaning and moving the bat houses outside (I mean as we were doing our regular cleaning), little Eugene had developed a small rash on his cheek from an ill fitted gas mask. I told her that finding a proper fitting gas mask was getting more difficult by the day. However, Petunia informed me that she had visited a friend as they were cleaning their home and the whole family did not have to wear those contraptions. Why that family could even burn candles while they were cleaning? That family didn't have to open every window in the house for an hour to air out the rooms. Imagine that. If I could have learned their secret last year, I wouldn't have had to shovel snow out of my living room when I tried to clean during a blizzard. It took an hour to find Eugene that day, but on the bright side, he is the only two-year-old who knows how to build his own igloo.

Petunia and I ran over to her friend's house and learned the art of chemical free cleaning. I was mesmerized on the differences in households. The poor dear, although she was a whiz at cleaning a house and had plenty great tips for me, I felt that I should help her out. I wanted to let her know that she needn't buy fancy dusting cloths. Eugene had some old diapers that he had grown out of, and the brown stains just matches the dust residue perfectly. No need to waste money. Petunia said I shouldn't take her glory, and I should just hold my tongue. So I listened to her cleaning secrets quietly.

The first secret was ketchup. Ketchup is great for cleaning copper, even spaghetti sauce will clean copper effectively. Here is the scoop. Please clean one or two articles at a time. If you decide to smear ketchup on every pot and pan that you own, you will have company come over. It is hard to explain to guest that you are cleaning your kitchen. Resist the temptation to draw pictures on the pans with your fingers. Ketchup is not finger paint. Just leave it on the pan for a few hours and you will see a huge difference.

Now, if you are like me and are tired of hunting through Russian mail order catalogs for updated gas masks, you will love this next tip. To make a great all-purpose cleaner, combine two cups of rubbing alcohol, one tablespoon of liquid dish washing detergent (not the dishwasher detergent as it contains bleach.), one tablespoon ammonia and two quarts of water. Stir well, and fill a clean spray bottle. Spray to cleanse an area and rinse. This works wonders on your kitchen floor. Those possum tracks are so difficult to remove. Not that I have a possum problem, my neighbor does.

Cornstarch cleans and deodorizes carpets! Just sprinkle it on and let it set for a few minutes before you vacuum. Do not let your dog roll in it before you get the vacuum out. My poodle "Killer" rolled in it and I found out that vacuuming a dog is not a proper thing to do. Killer is almost done with his doggie counseling.

Lemon juice will whiten items and cut through grease and stains on aluminum and porcelain. Please use straight lemon juice. Do not listen to your husband when he says that making lemonade and using that will work the same. Lemonade will make your surfaces sticky. Yes, it does work as a fly catcher, but flies stuck to your aluminum and porcelain are not sanitary according to the Department of Health. Not that they ever had to visit my squeaky clean home.

Clean silver like "magic!" Put foil in the bottom of your sink, and then add baking soda, salt and very hot water. (The hotter the better.) Place your tarnished silver and silver plated items in the sink and let them soak for a few minutes. The tarnish will magically disappear and deposit itself on the foil. Your neighborhood won't believe its eyes. Oh, don't charge admission to your neighborhood. You need to have a business permit and comply with zoning laws. Not that I tried that.

Anyway, we are a gas mask free family now. Killer's counselor has suggested that we find a chore for Killer to raise his self-esteem. I am thinking that maybe he could help clean off the ketchup on the pans. Hey Petunia, how's the new fly catcher doing? Oops, here comes the Department of Health. Those darned spot inspections.

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