Why don't ya clean up!

If you know me, you know that I like to keep things clean. I can't stand dirty counter tops or yucky floors! I just got this months "Real Simple" and it had an AMAZING article about natural or household items that you can clean with and that are NOT harmful to our environment. Pretty cool! Here are some of the ones that I really liked: 
Counter tops: Dip the cut side of a lemon half in baking soda to tackle counter tops; wipe with a wet sponge and dry! 
Dishes: to increase the grease-cutting power add a teaspoon of lemon juice to your detergent. 
Garbage disposal: (My fav!) Cut a lemon in half, run both pieces through the disposal. No more stinky sink! 
Laundry: to brighten whites add 1/2 cup lemon juice to the rinse cycle! 
Plastic food containers that are stained: run lemon juice on the spots, let dry in a sunny place then wash as usual. 

Leather shoes: wipe away dirt with a damp sponge, then apply a drop of veggy oil to a soft cloth and run the surface to remove scuff marks. 
Rattan and wicker furniture: To prevent rattan and wicker from drying or cracking, lightly brush them with veggy or sunflower oil and gently run in with a cloth. Warm the oil on the stove first to thin it and make it easier to apply. 

China: soak china in a dishpan filled with warm water and 1/2 cup of borax; rinse well. 
Toilet: Pour borax in the bowl and let it sit overnight. Swish the bowl a few times with a toilet brush and flush the next day. 

Coffee maker: Pour equal parts vinegar and water into the machine's water chamber, then switch on the brew cycle. Halfway through, turn off the coffee maker and let the solution sit for an hour. Turn it on again to complete the cycle, then run several cycles with clean water. 
Drains: Clean drains and the pipes they're attached to by pouring vinegar down them. After 30 minutes, flush with cold water. 
Windows: Mix 1/4 cup vinegar, 2 cups water, and a squirt of liquid Castile soap in a spray bottle. Spritz windows and wipe with a sheet of newspaper. 

Can Opener: Dip a toothbrush in a paste of 2 Tablespoons baking soda and 1 teaspoon water and use to dislodge gunk. 
Grills: To combat tough grease stains, dip a moist stiff-bristled brush in washing soda and scrub away. 
Stained teacup sand coffee mugs: (mom this one is for you) Fill with 1 part baking soda and 2 parts water and soak overnight; rub with a sponge and rinse. 

Acrylic accessories: Squeeze toothpaste onto a toothbrush and work it into scratches until they diminish. Wipe residue off with a cloth. 
Tarnished silverware: Put a dab of toothpaste on a soft cloth, rub into the tarnish, then rinse with water and dry with a clean cloth. 

Artificial flower: Place the fake blooms inside a paper bag and pour in salt. Close the bag and salt vigorously. The salt will dislodge accumulated dust and dirt. 
Spill in the over: Pour salt on the spill to soak it up. When the oven is cool, wipe with a damp sponge. 

Other cool surprises-- 
White Bread- Dust an oil painting. Gently dab a slice of white bread over the surface to pick up dirt and grime. 
Ketchup- Remove tarnish from copper and brass cookware. Squeeze ketchup onto a cloth and rub it on pots and pans. They should go back to their coppery color in minutes. Rinse with warm water and dry with a towel. 
Oatmeal- Scrub very dirty hands. Make a thick paste of oatmeal and water; rinse well. 
Rice- Clean the inside of a vase or a thin-necked bottle. Fill three quarters of the vessel with warm water and add a tablespoon of uncooked rice. Cup your hand over the opening, shake vigorously, and rinse. 

I highly recommend this months REAL SIMPLE. There are so many neat ideas for cleaning in it...and well, spring has sprung so that means its time to start cleaning! 

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