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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  • No scrubs seen in this ‪#‎TBT…take a look at these Sinai #nurses. To help us celebrate the 150th anniversary of ‪#‎SinaiHospital, share with us what Sinai means to you. Send your stories and pictures to sinai150@lifebridgehealth.org. We’d love to hear from you! #LifeBridgeHealth #Maryland #Healthcare

    lifebridgehealth: "No scrubs seen in this ‪#‎TBT…take a look at these Sinai #nurses. To help us celebrate the 150th anniversary of ‪#‎SinaiHospital, share with us what Sinai means to you. Send your stories and pictures to sinai150@lifebridgehealth.org. We’d love to hear from you! #LifeBridgeHealth #Maryland #Healthcare"
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    lifebridgehealth: "Special thanks to the Hope for Henry Foundation for bringing #superheroes, including former Baltimore Raven Ray Lewis, and many smiles to the kids and family members at the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children's Hospital.  #SinaiHospital has a partnership with the #HopeForHenry Foundation to support children and families facing #cancer and other serious illnesses. #Baltimore #Community #RayLewis #Healthcare #LifeBridgeHealth"
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    lifebridgehealth: "Congratulations to the #LifeBridgeHealth SuperStar employees for March! These employees have been nominated by their coworkers for going above and beyond the call of duty, everyday. Thank you for all that you do! #TeamLifeBridge #employeeofthemonth 
From top left to bottom right: Tavon Hargis of @carroll_hospital, Ann Taylor of #SinaiHospital, Florence Marchetti of #NorthwestHospital, Paulette Carter of #Levindale"
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  • #SinaiHospital #telecommunications staff, circa 1981. This old PBX phone system would be replaced with a computerized unit. Happy 150th anniversary to Sinai Hospital! #TBT

    lifebridgehealth: "#SinaiHospital #telecommunications staff, circa 1981. This old PBX phone system would be replaced with a computerized unit. Happy 150th anniversary to Sinai Hospital! #TBT"
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    lifebridgehealth: "What's happening here? ‪#‎LifeBridgeHealth CEO Neil Meltzer and some LifeBridge Health friends recently recorded some important #health messages for a new partnership with @wbaltv11. Look for more details, coming soon! #lightscameraaction #sneakpeek #maryland"
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    lifebridgehealth: "Kelly loves the new “cute" socks in her @givingcomfort kit! A partnership between ‪#‎LifeBridgeHealth and the @mckessoncorporation, the #GivingComfort program provides patients of the Alvin & Lois Lapidus #Cancer Institute with comfort kits that include items like soft blankets and socks, inspirational messages, books, magazines and more."
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    lifebridgehealth: "The Central Sterile Services Department at ‪#‎SinaiHospital, circa 1952, is where the hospital’s medical equipment and devices were sterilized between uses. Happy 150th anniversary to Sinai  Hospital! ‪#‎TBT #LifeBridgeHealth #Baltimore"
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    lifebridgehealth: "#LifeBridgeHealth's Population Health department is always "cooking up" ways to connect with our communities, including a recent visit the American Heart Association's Test Kitchen. LifeBridge Health is working with the #americanheartassociation to bring healthy cooking sessions to people in our communities. #healthyliving #healthyfood #mealprep #baltimore #AHA"
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    lifebridgehealth: "It was an indoor beach party at the annual reunion of #SinaiHospital’s Jennifer Gandel Kachura Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (#NICU). Hundreds of people came together with NICU #caregivers last weekend to enjoy face painting, leis, food and toys. Above all, they celebrated how much each graduate has grown since last year’s reunion. Thank you to all who participated and to the fantastic #doctors, #nurses and other caregivers who attend to Sinai's littlest #patients day in and day out! #event #reunion #healthcare #Maryland #LifeBridgeHealth"
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