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Environment-friendly cleaning product formulations made at home


In the following pages of this article, I intend to give some inexpensive- environmentally friendly cleaning solutions that can be easily prepared and used at home.


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Environment-friendly cleaning product formulations made at home

Dr Sohayb Al-Niaimi, Vice President of Sahba technology Group, provides some quick-fix cleaning solutions around the house

Dr Sohayb Al-Niaimi (B.D.S., M.Sc.)

Vice President,

Sahba Technology Group

Some have reached me through my grandmother and mother. Others, I have read in the many books written by the ‘Queen of Clean’ Lind Cobb, (e.g., Talking dirty with the Queen of Clean, Pocket Book, 1998). Following this author’s methodology, I will discuss easy methods that can be implemented to keep the main sections of a normal home in our part of the world clean. However, these formulations should neither be considered as a complete substitute for commercially available brands nor more effective than them, but rather seen as a support system made out of readily available material at a time when commercial brands are unavailable.

Raw materials
White vinegar, baking soda, washing soda, soda water (club soda), borax, ammonia, bleach, lemon juice, sugar and olive oil
The kitchen
There is no room in the house that gets messy faster than the kitchen.
• Refrigerator odors
Many odors may be removed by placing a small cup filled with charcoal in the middle rack. Stronger odors can be removed by placing a container with coffee grounds. When you wipe out the refrigerator use a cloth moistened with white vinegar.
• Stainless steel sinks
Clean with a paste of baking soda and water and rinse well, then rub with a soft cloth soaked in white vinegar so as to remove spots and brighten the sink.
• Wooden cutting boards
To disinfect, spray on from bottle containing 1 liter water and 3 teaspoons of liquid chlorine bleach. After 5 minutes, rinse with hot water.
• Cooker tops
Clean the surface only when it is cool with dishwashing liquid. Apply this with a paper towel or soft cloth. Rinse thoroughly and towel dry. Avoid abrasive cleaners.
• Ovens
Preheat oven to 200°C and leave for 15 minutes. Shut off and leave door closed, fill a shallow glass dish with ammonia and place on the top shelf and on the lower shelf, a pan filled with 2 cups of boiling water. Close the oven and leave overnight. Remove water and ammonia and scrub with sponge and steel wool and then rinse.
• Drains
Pour 1 cup of salt and 1 cup of baking soda down the drain. Follow with a kettle of boiling water. Don’t use the drain for several hours.
Once a month pour a handful of baking soda into the drain and add ½ cup of white vinegar. Cover the drain for several minutes and then flush with cold water after 30 minutes.
• Stainless steel cutlery
Mix the following ingredients in the kitchen sink
¼ cup chlorine bleach
½ cup water softener
1 gallon very hot water
Immerse cutlery in the solution for 30 minutes and wash as usual.

The bathroom
The bathroom is probably the room that most guests always see and have the most private time to observe.
• Tile and grout cleaner
Combine 2 parts baking soda, 1 part borax and 1 part hot water, adding additional water as necessary to form a thick paste. Apply to the tile and grout and scrub with a soft brush. Rinse well.
• Cleaning fiberglass tubs and showers
Heat white vinegar until it is hot, pour into a spray bottle. Spray it on the tub or shower heavily. Wait 10-15 minutes and then moisten a scrubbing type sponge with more of vinegar and scrub. Rinse well and dry.
• Cleaning mineral deposits from shower head
Fill a plastic bag with undiluted white vinegar. Tie this around the shower head and leave overnight. Remove the bag, scrub the head with a brush and it is ready to use.
• Cleaning chrome faucets
Use white vinegar on a cloth or sponge to remove water spots and soap scum. Dry and buff with a soft cloth.
• Toilet :
Flush the toilet first. Spray white vinegar around the inside of the toilet, and then sprinkle borax on the vinegar. Let soak about 30 minutes and then scrub with a piece of fine, dry, wall sand paper. Repeat several times until clean.

Livingroom / bedrooms
• Cleaning ceramic tiles
To 1 gallon warm water, add 2 table spoons ammonia and 1 table spoon borax. Use a rag or chamois-type mop. Rinse mop, frequently changing the water. Dry it with a clean terry rag.
• Cleaning walls
Prepare the following solution using 1 gallon water, 1 cup ammonia, and a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid.
Wash the wall with this solution using a natural sponge. Rinse well. Tie a clean dust cloth loosely around a broom head and use to dust ceiling and wall. Give the broom a shake now and then complete one full wall or ceiling before taking a break.

• Cleaning wood furniture
Combine ¼ cup white vinegar and 1 cup olive oil in a clean container. Shake before use.
Apply to furniture with a soft cloth and wipe it off and buff with another clean soft cloth.
• Cleaning wood floor
Brew 1 liter of boiling water with 2 tea bags. Let it come to room temperature. Ring out a soft cloth to just damp and clean floor. Buff with a soft cloth if desired.
• Upholstery
It is marketed with a code that allows the consumer to know what type of cleaning the manufacturer recommends. The codes carry the letters W, S, S/W or X.

Cleaning carpets
Most residential carpets are made from one of the following five fibers: nylon, polyester, silk or wool (or a combination).
Other properties of carpets are:
- Face weight: more fibers are almost always better.
- Fiber density: carpets with high density tend to look better longer and will have a soft feeling when walked upon.
- Carpet padding: the best pads are thin ones and never thicker than 1 cm.
Carpet cleaning should be done by professionals. However, spot removal can be done at home.
- Coffee and tea spots: Blot up the entire spill immediately, then pour soda water until completely wet. Blot by folding a rug and standing on it, turning the rug as it absorbs moisture.
• Gum
Freeze with ice in a bag and chip off all that you can. Add little petroleum jelly into the remaining residue and roll the gum into it.
• Glue
Saturate with white vinegar then take it out of the fiber.
• Ink
Blot with rubbing alcohol
• Removing indentations in carpets
Lay ice cubes in the indentations caused by the furniture. Leave overnight and then fluff the gap with the tines of a fork the next day.
• Candle wax
Put ice in a plastic bag and lay over the wax, allowing it to freeze. Chip off all the wax that you can. Next, lay brown paper over the wax and press with a medium hot iron.

Electronic equipment
• Telephones: Apply Listerine mouthwash with a soft cotton pad or rag. Do not rinse.
• TV screens: Turn off the power. Apply alcohol to a rug or paper towel and wipe the screen thoroughly, then buff.
• Compact discs: Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 250ml of water in a spray bottle, shake well and spray on the disc, wiping with a soft cloth from the center hole to the outside edge.
• Computers: Mix 1 part alcohol and 1 part water and apply to the keys with a cotton swab. Dust the screen and spray with antistatic product.

Pest control
• Ants
For ants on the counter, wipe the counter down with white vinegar.
Sprinkle dried mint or red pepper where they are entering the house and in the cupboards.
• Cockroaches
Kill cockroaches with a mixture of 1/3 borax, 1/3 corn meal, 1/3 flour and a dash of sugar. Sprinkle this in crevices under sink and vanities.
• Mould and Mildew
Mix 1 liter of chlorine bleach and 1 tablespoon powdered laundry detergent with 3 liters water.
Scrub the mildew-stained surface with the solution and allow it to stand until the discoloration vanishes. Rinse thoroughly and allow it  to dry.

Odor control
Most of us associate clean with what we smell. Here are some ideas:
• Burned food: Boil a few slices of lemon in a sauce pan to clear the air of the smell.
• Fried food: Place a small bowl of white vinegar next to the stove when you fry foods especially fish.
• Mildew smell in dresser drawers: Put a slice of white bread in a bowl and cover with white vinegar. Leave enclosed in the drawer for 24 hours.
• Deodorizing shoes: First sprinkle some baking soda in the shoe, then place it in a plastic bag and freeze it for a night or two. Allow the shoes to come to room temperature then shake out the baking soda.

Baby corner
• Shoes: rub them with the cut side of a raw potato prior to polishing.
• Gum on hair: rub cold cream into the gum. Use a dry towel type rag to pull down on the hair strands until it is out, and then shampoo.
Flower vases
• Cleaning Vases: Fill the vase with warm water and add two denture cleaning tables. Let it soak overnight. Wash, rinse and dry it well.
• Shining leaves: Wipe the leaves with a solution of half milk and half water.

I hope that with the contents of this article you can solve all the cleaning challenges in every room of your home.