Crunchy Groovy Cleaning: All the Shine, None of the Toxins

feather duster

Our great-grandparents had the right idea about chemical-free cleaning.

You might not realize it, but household cleaning can be dangerous. Toxic chemicals and claustrophobic spaces may seem like snapshots out of a horror film, but they're right under your kitchen sink.

Most people know about the lethal mix of bleach and ammonia, but there are lesser known chemicals that pose similar threats, like allergies, asthma, sinusitis and bronchitis. Many of these chemicals reside in the household cleaners you use every day. The good news is that healthier, safer alternatives are just a few inches away, up in your cupboard. These eco-friendly options will keep the green in your wallet and not on your shower curtain.

To bust up that nasty clog in your drain, you don't need liquid plumber, you need baking goods (no, really). Just pour one-half cup of baking soda and one-half cup of white vinegar down the drain. Chase this combo with a pot of boiling water, which will break down the fats left behind by soaps and greases.

Commercial air fresheners may mask unwanted odors, but once that citrus melange wall plug-in fades, the funk from Mom's gym shoes and the stink of wet dog will return with a vengeance. To permanently absorb the odors, place baking soda or vinegar with lemon juice in small dishes around the house to absorb odors. You can also create your own potpourri out of your favorite herbs and spices.

If your darling granddaughter is a budding Georgia O'Keefe and she's turned your front hallway into her first gallery showing, consider wiping the walls down with a damp sponge and some baking soda. This will wipe away paint, crayon and maker (unless, of course, you want to hold on to her doodles of your poodle in case she gets famous!).

There's nothing more soothing than sunlight or moonglow filtering through a window. Unless, of course, that light is lost in a big smudge. Getting your windows crystal clear is easy-peasy: Just mix two teaspoons of white vinegar with one liter of warm water, and use newspaper or a cotton cloth to wipe them down. The texture of newsprint lets it cut through grit and grime; newsprint is also super-absorbent, so it holds the vinegar mix really well.

Got wood woes? If you've forgotten your coaster and fear that your favorite wooden coffee table is ruined forever, don't despair. If the stain is a “white ring” (new/shallow), use a hair dryer to try to evaporate the water trapped under the wood’s finish. If that doesn’t work, add a dollop of mayonnaise to the wooden surface and wipe it off after.

Salt and lime juice: margarita topping or rust remover. Actually, this dynamic duo does both! If you have a rusty faucet, shower rod or stove top, just sprinkle salt on the metal and add lime juice. Wait about two or three hours (depending on how bad the rust is) and scrub away the residue. Underneath, you'll find sleek, clean metal.

Does your tub look like the creature from the black lagoon's summer home? Rub it down with some baking soda and a damp sponge. Baking soda has been marketed as "the everyday miracle" and it truly is. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer, which also makes it an ideal toilet cleanser.

For more quick tips about breathin' easier and living more mindfully, check out Md.MD for Life magazine.

- Written by Marcus Dieterle, a senior in the Literary Arts program at Carver Center for Arts and Technology, where he serves as a managing editor of his school’s newspaper, Catalyst. In addition to journalism, he works in the genres of fiction, poetry, scriptwriting and acting as the sole sound source of stability among the goofballs — ahem, friends — that he has grown to adore

 

To schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained physicians and find out why LifeBridge Health is Baltimore's premier health care organization, call 410-601-WELL.

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  • In this week's #TeamLifeBridge spotlight, meet the eight providers and 20 support staff members of the Carroll Medical Group. This large team is big enough that our patients can easily find a provider whose personality fits well with theirs, but small enough to have a warm, family-oriented atmosphere. #Maryland #LifeBridgeHealth #Employee #EmployeeSpotlight #EmployeeAppreciation #Healthcare

    lifebridgehealth: "In this week's #TeamLifeBridge spotlight, meet the eight providers and 20 support staff members of the Carroll Medical Group. This large team is big enough that our patients can easily find a provider whose personality fits well with theirs, but small enough to have a warm, family-oriented atmosphere. #Maryland #LifeBridgeHealth #Employee #EmployeeSpotlight #EmployeeAppreciation #Healthcare"
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    lifebridgehealth: "#TBT Did you know there’s a mini-museum inside #SinaiHospital? Located behind the cafeteria near the tray return, “Sinai Pride” provides a look back in time, displaying notable medical instruments, historic photos and more. Stop in and check it out!"
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  • Lavish #holiday feasts can interfere with important daily routines for people with diabetes. This holiday season, manage your blood sugars by balancing your choices. Desserts with sugar can still be part of special occasions when you have diabetes. But remember that they count toward your total carbohydrates. You shouldn’t just add holiday desserts to what you would usually eat. Instead, cut carbohydrates elsewhere in your meal so that you can have dessert without adding to your total carbohydrates. #WednesdayWisdom #NDAM

    lifebridgehealth: "Lavish #holiday feasts can interfere with important daily routines for people with diabetes. This holiday season, manage your blood sugars by balancing your choices. Desserts with sugar can still be part of special occasions when you have diabetes. But remember that they count toward your total carbohydrates. You shouldn’t just add holiday desserts to what you would usually eat. Instead, cut carbohydrates elsewhere in your meal so that you can have dessert without adding to your total carbohydrates. #WednesdayWisdom #NDAM"
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  • Ready for some #Thanksgiving leftovers? Here are some pictures from the #TurkeyTrot, which supported The Y in Central Maryland. #LifeBridgeHealth was a proud sponsor of this year's event, and our CEO Neil Meltzer was one of the starters for the race in Towson along with the Y CEO John Hoey. Thanks to everyone who participated, including many of our LifeBridge Health employees and their families. #Maryland #community #supportlocal #communityevent #run #exercise

    lifebridgehealth: "Ready for some #Thanksgiving leftovers? Here are some pictures from the #TurkeyTrot, which supported The Y in Central Maryland. #LifeBridgeHealth was a proud sponsor of this year's event, and our CEO Neil Meltzer was one of the starters for the race in Towson along with the Y CEO John Hoey. Thanks to everyone who participated, including many of our LifeBridge Health employees and their families. #Maryland #community #supportlocal #communityevent #run #exercise"
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  • Patients, families and staff enjoyed meeting #Maryland's First Lady, Yumi Hogan, who stopped by to help out at the annual #Thanksgiving lunch at the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children's Hospital at Sinai. #SinaiHospital #LifeBridgeHealth #Healthcare

    lifebridgehealth: "Patients, families and staff enjoyed meeting #Maryland's First Lady, Yumi Hogan, who stopped by to help out at the annual #Thanksgiving lunch at the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children's Hospital at Sinai.
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    lifebridgehealth: "In this week's #TeamLifeBridge spotlight, meet the dedicated team members of Total Women's Health of #Baltimore. This team, led by Dionne D. Oliver, M.D., works hard to communicate and collaborate with each other, not only to do their jobs effectively but to provide superb patient care. We thank you for all that you do!"
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  • #NorthwestHospital is proud to partner with Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) on a health care magnet school, the Northwest Academy of Health Sciences. We look forward to working with these amazing students who are truly the future of health care!

    lifebridgehealth: "#NorthwestHospital is proud to partner with Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) on a health care magnet school, the Northwest Academy of Health Sciences. We look forward to working with these amazing students who are truly the future of health care!"
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  • #DYK In 1895, #SinaiHospital became one of the first medical facilities to devote an entire ward to treating children. We continue to offer exceptional pediatric care to thousands of #children in and around #Baltimore.

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    lifebridgehealth: "Nearly two dozen kids from Ohr Chadash Academy and Beth Tfiloh came to #Levindale last month to decorate the #sukkah, a temporary shelter constructed for the #Jewish festival of #Sukkot. We are so appreciative of the colorful and festive #art they created as well as for their time and enthusiasm #LifeBridgeHealth"
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