Friday, 13 August 2010

The Three Graces: Baking Soda, Vinegar, and Soap

Throughout Green Clean, you will find recipes for simple home-cleaning preparations. The majority call for baking soda, distilled white vinegar, or liquid soap. These three nontoxic ingredients, singly and together, can deal with most household cleaning tasks.

Baking soda is alkaline and therefore works well on acidic substances such as proteins, grease, and animal messes. It is slightly abra­sive and can be used for scouring. It's also a natural deodorizer and grease cutter, and has mild bleach­ing properties. Some recipes may call for washing soda, which is a more alkaline (and more powerful) form of baking soda.

Vinegar is acidic. It dissolves scale, inhibits mold, and cuts soap scum. For household cleaning always use plain distilled white vinegar. Vinegar works well on alkaline substances and stains such as coffee, rust, tea, and liquor.

Simple castile soap (made with olive oil) and vegetable-based soap (such as Murphy's Oil Soap) have a neutral pH. Soap cleans by attaching to soil at the molecular level, so that the soil can be rinsed away with water.


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