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Monday, 25 March 2013

Simpler Living Tips #1: Cleaning

   There are aisles dedicated to cleaning products, most of them highly specialized: a floor cleaner, a window cleaner, toilet cleaner, dusting spray, etc.  I used to buy and use many such items, but I decided to simplify—fewer products, fewer chemicals, less cost. To clean my house, I now use exactly four cleaning products: water, vinegar, BORAX and baking soda.  Allow me to explain:


Since being introduced to the microfibre cleaning cloths made by Norwex®, I discovered how to clean windows, mirrors, counter tops, toilet seats, floors and walls with water.  Because the cloths lift up dirt and contain antibacterial silver, just making them damp with water and rinsing them out allows you to clean safely and effectively. 


  • If you do not have the cleaning cloths referred to above, you can still clean your windows simply by mixing vinegar and water in a spray bottle.  Spray the window or mirror and then wipe with newspapers.  You might think that the ink from the newspapers would ruin your cleaning job, but they don’t.  This method does not leave streaks.
  • Soap scum on bathroom tiles or shower curtains can be removed with full strength vinegar and a lint free cloth.
  • Brass and aluminum clean up well with vinegar
  • Use as a deodorizer by placing one cup in an open container in the room with an offensive odour.  This can be done in the kitchen while you are cooking fish or another food with a strong smell.  Although it takes a bit of time, isn’t that better than the unpronounceable chemicals were spray as room deodorizers?
  • To clean your washing machine’s inner workings, run a hot cycle with 2 litres of vinegar added.  Once or twice per year is a good guideline for this one.


  • Use it to clean toilet bowls.  Sprinkle into bowl, swish and let it sit at least 10 minutes before flushing
  • When my children were in cloth diapers, I dissolved borax in a pail of water to soak diapers until the pail was full.  I dumped the entire pail into the washer and used the spin cycle to remove the liquid.  Then add detergent and wash the load of diapers.
  • Use as a laundry detergent booster, see the instructions given on the package.


  • To deodorize shoes or carpets, shake generously and let it do its work for at least 30 minutes.  Then vacuum.
  • Use as a no-scratch powder in toilets, sinks and bathtubs with a sponge or scrub brush.
  • Cleans silver, glass cookware and any metal pan that needs scouring.
  • An open container in the refrigerator removes odour.
  • Baking soda and vinegar together with hot water can keep your drains clear.


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