Keep a Clean House with the Eco Expert

Debra Lynn Dadd discusses termites, green cleaning, fabric protectors and lead in dinnerware.

| September/October 2001

Termite Treatment

I have a heavy termite infestation in my home, and I’ve been told that I need to tent and fumigate. How can I find out about the toxicity of pesticides the exterminators want to use?

—David Anderson, Woodacre, CA

The best place to start is the website for the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides ( The website includes free fact sheets on a number of frequently used pesticides ( and on less toxic ways to manage pests. If you don’t find what you need, there are links to about two dozen other sites that give information on pesticide toxicity and alternatives.

Using Vinegar for Cleaning

I downloaded two articles from the Internet on the subject of vinegar for cleaning. One of them stated that there was no need to rinse when using vinegar as a polish. Another suggested spraying with a one-to-one water-vinegar mixture and then wiping it off. The article does not specify whether you should wipe with a damp cloth, dry cloth, or sponge. Can you clarify?

—Edward Hirsh, via email

I recommend diluting vinegar with equal parts of water. I wipe it up with a sponge or a soft, dry cloth. When cleaning windows, I use an old newspaper, which really makes glass surfaces sparkle. I never have found the need to rinse.

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