Spick and Span: A Guide to Natural Cleaning Products

Turn everyday items into natural cleaners with this guide.

| March/April 2005

Put these everyday household items to new use as natural cleaners or look for these ingredients when you're buying natural, nontoxic cleaning products.

Baking Soda
What it is: Slightly alkaline sodium bicarbonate is a mineral.
Uses: Nonabrasive soft scrub that removes and prevents odors
Where to get it: Grocery store

What it is: Solid, pliable wax made by bees
Uses: Furniture polish, floor wax, candles, healing balms and salves
Where to get it: Candle-making, soap-making and art-supply shops or beekeepers' apiaries
Precautions: Because of the heating process, supervise children.

What it is: Natural mineral compound. Disinfects, deodorizes, softens water, inhibits mold growth.
Uses: For use in the kitchen, bath, garbage, basement, ovens and other heavily soiled areas.
Where to get it: Grocery store
Precautions: Protective gloves for individuals with sensitive skin or those prone to allergic reactions.

Castille Soap
What it is: Olive oil-based soap
Uses: A gentle, natural cleaner in cleaning solutions, shampoo
Where to get it: Soap suppliers, natural foods and health stores
Precautions: Remove soap scum or buildup that may occur. Follow with a vinegar rinse.

What it is: Vegetable stalk
Uses: Rub on cutting boards to absorb odors
Where to get it: Grocery store, farmer's market

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