When it comes to housekeeping, take cues from grandmothers, who worked naturally, before the advent of synthetic cleaning products. Though they used vinegar and water for most household cleaning tasks, each had a few baking-soda tricks up her sleeve. Today we’d call such habits “green.” Here are a few of their no-mess, no-fuss recipes:
Air freshener: Put some cloves in a pan of water and simmer it on the stove. For bathroom odors, a simple lit match often does the trick.
Disinfectant: Vinegar is a good natural disinfectant. But if you have newborns or immunosuppressed family members who need microbiocidal action, a commercial disinfectant is called for.
Drain cleaner: Dissolve greasy clogs by mixing ½ cup baking soda and 1 cup distilled white vinegar in boiling water. Pour the solution down the drain and cover with a drain plug for several minutes. Flush with tap water until it clears.
Fabric softener: Add 1 cup distilled white vinegar to your machine’s wash cycle.
Floors: In a bucket, mix 1 cup distilled white vinegar and 1 gallon warm water. After washing floors, rinse with water. Don’t leave large pools of water to dry.
Mildew remover: Mix vinegar with water, or sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge to clean affected areas. Proper ventilation and dehumidifiers can reduce or eliminate the growth of mildew and mold.
Scouring powder: Lightly sprinkle baking soda onto dirty surface. Wipe with a sponge. Rinse well.
Window cleaner: Try spraying club soda on the window and wipe with a clean linen towel. Or clean with 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar in 1 quart warm water.