Saturday, April 30, 2011

Eco-Cleaning Tips

-- Positive Eco-News --

I was re-reading a selection from the book titled: Diet for a Poisoned Planet and found that furniture polish, which has all kinds of undesirable stuff in it that can be absorbed through the skin and lungs (for the pressure-spray varieties). 

One way to reduce the exposure is by spraying a semi-moist rag first – rather than aiming at the furniture and spraying a big fog of stuff out. So take a rag, let a few drops of water fall in the center of it wring it tightly to spread the water around… then spray the rag, holding the rag sort of cupped and out just far enough from the spritzer to get the optimum amount on it. This reduces a lot of the waste involved here and will make the can last longer – reducing your costs. But also, because it isn’t being sprayed into the air and on a hard surface, the spray is less likely to get in your lungs. Spraying the rag, also reduces direct skin contact during the application process. Buff your furniture with the rag, giving the rag a spray when necessary. Don’t just wipe, actually buff the surface – this will work the stuff into the grains of the wood. 

Alternative to the pressure-spray disposable cans one can buy in the supermarket – we can look at using mineral oil, lemon oil and orange oil instead – or mix pure olive oil with equal parts of vinegar. Use a spritzer type sprayer for this application such as those pump action ones you can find in kitchen departments for dispensing oil in cooking pots and baking wear. 

If the furniture is really dirty and needs a scrub down it is recommended to use a vegetable oil based soap. I inherited a wooden piece from my mother, a smoker, and used a light application of baking soda and vinegar to remove the odor, a degreaser where handling marks had built up and then a heavy application of furniture oil and lots of buffering using the recipe above. 

Coffee stains and some tobacco stains can be removed with toothpaste, scrub with a soft, damp cloth and rinse well – then apply the polish. Furniture that has a varnish will only need a light wipe with a damp cloth. If the cloth is wetted with hot vinegar-water, it will have better cleaning power. If you have raw wood furniture (no varnish or protective coating) be sure to dry the furniture after washing it, right way, let it air dry for a few minutes and then apply the polish.

All of these ideas apply to wood cupboards, wood doors and other wood surfaces such as flooring. 

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