Thursday, May 5, 2011

Trade It Thursdays: Could It Get Any Simpler??

Here is what we use in our house to clean the toilets, showers, sinks, counters, windows, mirrors, floors, walls, doors, door knobs, tables, fridge, our carpets (!) and probably whatever else I left out:
-white vinegar
-baking soda

Could it get any simpler???

We have a bottle that has 100% vinegar in it for hardcore disinfecting and another one with about 1/3-1/2 vinegar and 2/3-1/2 water for normal cleaning.  When we steam clean our carpets we use vinegar in place of the chemical cleaners.  I do not want my daughter or our pets laying all over chemicals absorbing them and breathing them in!  I also sprinkle baking soda all over the carpets before cleaning them.   

Let's talk about what vinegar is capable of! 

Vinegar is a moderately strong acid with a pH of 3.1 (for all of you super scientific people out there) which means that it is good at cleaning alkaline type dirt, etc.  Examples of alkalies are hard water stains, soaps, soap scum, mineral deposits, etc. 

Vinegar is not so great (at all) for cleaning up grease.  Think about oil and vinegar... they separate.  Really just some good soap and water is best for those kind of problems. 

Vinegar is also a very good disinfectant.  In 1997, O. Peter Snyder, Jr., PhD. with the Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management did a study about the effectiveness of our current system of washing and sanitizing in the hospitality field.  His conclusions were that "The FDA code and health departments across the United States have emphasized the use of sanitizing chemicals as the critical point for making food contact surfaces safe. These data show that this assumption is not always accurate. Wiping the surface with a clean cloth soaked in vinegar appears to be a very effective sanitizer, based on the data. Simply rinsing and scrubbing a dirty surface with flowing water seems to be more effective than cleaning and sanitizing food contact surfaces with a cloth dipped in a quaternary ammonium compound solution. It is also known that when a quaternary ammonium compound solution becomes dirty in an open bucket into which dirty cloths are dipped, the solution becomes susceptible to degradation by filth, dirt, and other debris."  and "It is recommended that action be taken to get vinegar approved as a food contact surface sanitizing agent, especially for the home."  Basically, he found that the vinegar was the best sanitizer and that wiping a surface with flowing water is more effective than cleaning them with previously used cloths from an ammonium compound solution.  Of course we do not always use the same solution while we are cleaning but he also states that it would be especially good for the home as a sanitizing agent.  In case you want to read about the whole experiment.

The Heinz spokesperson, Michael Mullen, stated that the only reason why vinegar has not been labeled as a disinfectant is because they have not registered it with the EPA as a pesticide.  How weird would that be to see on their bottle?  You can read about the EPA's standards and requirements here.

An interesting idea: I know my house (the clean parts) are perfectly fine to lick.  I don't worry about germs, bacteria, or dirt.  I believe that the vinegar takes care of most of that important stuff.  I also know that drinking vinegar has excellent health benefits, so lick on!  On the other hand, when I would use other commercial cleaning products I was paranoid about my daughter ever coming into contact with the chemicals obviously, but also with her rolling in the carpet that was just cleaned with major chemicals or touching the counter and sticking her finger in her mouth!  Ahh!  Oh and who wants to rewash the same thing over and over, which is what you are doing when you rinse off the chemicals and you are usually directed to do so from the label. 

Here's another study, which explains a study done about cleaning fruits and veggies.  We also use vinegar to clean off all of our fruits and veggies before any of us eat them. 

Baking soda.  It is a mild alkaline that has soo many uses... I can't wait to find out more!  It is obviously non-toxic, as we use it in baking, and it occurs naturally but can be made artificially.  Here is a simple explanation as to what exactly baking soda is along with many more uses.

Just a little sprinkle:
-to put out grease fires
-to help get rid of odors in fridge, carpet, litter box, anywhere
-to clean out drains add some then rinse down with vinegar (great thing to show the kids too as it bubbles up!)
-to clean silver
-remove scuffs
-sooo many more!

Just try it!!  What's the worst that could happen?  You have a little vinegar and baking soda laying around?!?

Start Small....
Let your kids clean the windows with vinegar this week!  I would use the diluted bottle for that.  Let them go at it!!  and maybe they can do the mirrors, too!!

Next week we are Trading our conventional chemically laundry detergent for a super inexpensive, easy to make, environmentally friendly and more importantly- family friendly detergent!  This is something I have yet to do, but my wonderful cousin will be our guest blogger and will be teaching us all how to do it!!  Here is what you will need:
-1 c washing soda
-1/2 c borax
-1 bar of castile soap
-5 gallon bucket with a lid

That is for a year's worth of detergent, depending on how much laundry you do.  I'm going to make about 1/2 & stick it back in an old push-spout laundry bottle.  See you next week!!!

What is something that you would like to know more about Trading??  Shampoos, dishwashing soap, house clutter, organic, processed, upcycling clothes?  Any ideas???

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