Using Stuff Up

Spring cleaning at my house is rather like Spring itself in Olympia:  intermittent at best and sometimes lasting for 6 months.  Since my last couple of articles on healthy household cleaning were well received (i.e. nobody called me to complain about them), I thought I’d offer a few more ideas for using up things around your household, none of which make the task of cleaning easier but at maybe it will make life more interesting.

First, though I want to recommend the Healthy Home Companion and Green Cleaning Recipes.  These free brochures are available from the Thurston County Hazardous Waste Program (ironic, isn’t it?), by calling 754-4111.  Here’s one of their recipes:

All-purpose Cleaner

1 2/3 cup baking soda

½ c liquid castile soap

½ c water

2 T vinegar

16-oz. bottle with flip-top cap

Mix baking soda and liquid soap with fork in bowl.  Add water.  Add vinegar last. Pour into squeeze bottle; if too thick, add more water.  Shake well.  Squirt in tub, sink, toilet, counter, etc.  Scrub and rinse.

Now it is time to go on to finding ways to use up the stuff you’ve got around the house.  Got some leftover Alka Seltzer past the “safe to consume” date?  You can clean a toilet by dropping in two tablets, waiting for twenty minutes, then brush and flush.  It also makes a great vase cleaner.  Drop in a couple tablets to clean out the glass or porcelain.  Two tablets in a glass of water with your jewelry will shine it up like new.  Four tablets soaking for an hour in your thermos will get rid of that residual coffee.  Got a pot with burned-on grease?  Try six tablets, letting it soak for an hour and then applying a little elbow grease (that’s scrubbing for those of you under 50 years of age).  Three tablets down the sink followed by some white vinegar and some hot water will help clear a clogged drain.

Did you buy the dryer sheets in the Giant Economy Size at Costco and now you’re wondering how you’ll ever use them all? Try threading one through a belt loop when you’re outdoors to repel mosquitoes.  Since they eliminate static electricity, use one to wipe down your TV screen to keep the dust from resettling on it.  Use a sheet to help dissolve soap scum on your shower doors. Run a threaded needle through a