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Spring Cleaning the Frugal, Natural Way

By Cyndi Roberts

Remember the days when spring meant cleaning the house from top to bottom? Well actually I don't, either, but I have read about it and seen it done in old movies.

Still, there comes a time when we all must do at least a little cleaning. Maybe you prefer to start in one room and work your way through the house a little at a time. Some people might like to clean all the walls at one sitting and the next time wash all the window coverings.

Whatever routine you use when you clean, using these hints for natural cleaning products can save you money. Other advantages are no extra packaging to dispose of and fewer toxic chemicals in your home.

• To clean windows and mirrors, mix equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray on windows and wipe off with crumpled up newspapers.

• To remove stains from carpet and upholstered furniture, mix equal parts of white vinegar, liquid dish detergent and water. Spray on stains, scrub with a brush and rinse with water. Another trick is to use shaving cream to clean carpet stains. Just scrub it in, rinse and let dry.

• For a natural carpet deodorizer, sprinkle carpet with baking soda. Let sit for a few minutes, then vacuum as usual.

• Mix equal parts olive oil and lemon juice for a natural furniture polish. Just apply with a soft cloth and buff to a shine. You can also use this on wood paneling.

• When you have cleaned out your kitchen drawers, a bay leaf placed in the bottom will discourage bugs.

• For a general all-purpose cleaner (instead of cleaners like Fantastik, etc.), mix 2 teaspoons each of borax and baking soda in 1 quart water. Put in a spray bottle.

• Put an old sock on your hand, dampen it a little, and dust the leaves of your houseplants. Add a dab of mayonnaise and your plants' leaves will shine!

• To clean the toilet, sprinkle in baking soda and scrub with a brush.

• If you have rust stains in your bathtub or sink, pour on hydrogen peroxide and sprinkle on a little cream of tartar. Let it sit for a half hour or so, then wipe clean.

• For cleaning bathroom tile and fixtures, mix 1/2 cup vinegar with 2 cups rubbing alcohol and about 1 tablespoon of liquid dishwashing soap. Add this to a gallon of water.

• Pour a cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar down your drain, followed by a quart of boiling water, to deodorize it and keep it flowing freely.

By using ordinary household products to clean, you can save money and at the same time do something positive for our environment.

© Cyndi Roberts

Cyndi Roberts is the editor of the bi-weekly newsletter "1 Frugal Friend 2 Another,” bringing you practical, money-saving tips, recipes and ideas. Visit her online at to subscribe and receive the free e-course, "Taming the Monster Grocery Bill."

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