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Spring Cleaning: In Praise of Baking Soda

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I’ve always tried to be conscientious about my cleaners, especially since we sometimes use our greywater for watering things like fruit trees, corn, and bushes during a long, hot droughty spell. In fact, I did a blog series several years ago, analyzing the cleaners I used and what I could purchase locally that would be greywater friendlier. At the time I was looking mostly for ready-made products to buy. Turns out, it was a whole lot simpler than that. Here’s what I’ve learned.

First spring cleaning project – bathroom. Here’s my tub. 

Bathtub before
Some of you may remember when we remodeled our bathroom (back in 2013). The bathtub was original to the house, which was built in the 1920s. It’s an old clawfoot style, and while we liked it, the original finish was chipped and scratched. The surface underneath was rough and stained. Dan bought a kit and refinished it. It looked great for several years and then started to chip off. The surface underneath was terrible to keep clean. I’ve been using Bon Ami on it for years, but it still always looks dirty. This time, I decided to try something different. 

My tub cleaner was a paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide.

I dabbed it on, let it sit for awhile, then scrubbed hard.

For cleaning rags, I like old cotton socks. These are the ones that are too far gone to darn, so I cut off the toes to mend more salvageable socks and use the rest for rags. The loopy inside of the sock is pretty good for scrubbing. Here’s what the tub looks like after cleaning…

I was thrilled at how well this worked! So
much better than my commercial product.

After the bathroom, it was on to the kitchen. I found the baking soda made a wonderful scrubbing cleanser alternative for the kitchen sink. Then I found a video on using baking soda to clean the oven. I was really impressed with her results and had to give it a try. 
Oven before.

First, I swept out crumbs, then I made my baking soda paste.

It’s just baking soda and water, mixed to a spreadable paste.

I blopped it on with a clean paintbrush.

I let it sit and work for about 24 hours.
It’s recommended to keep it damp.

The back, sides, and door wiped up easily. The bottom,
however, required some scrubbing and scraping.

Can’t argue with the results!

I’ve always hated cleaning the oven because of oven cleaners. I’ve been burned because they are so caustic and they smell terrible! It’s such a relief to find something effective and safe. Plus, baking soda is a standard pantry stock-up item for me. Cheap, and with only a cardboard box to deal with as waste; better on both counts than the stuff in a spray can! 

I also use a lot if vinegar when I’m cleaning (learning how to make my own!). It works great on mirrors and sinks. If the sink needs scrubbing, I use baking soda. Washing soda is fantastic for a perking cycle to clean the coffee pot. Salt is my favorite for cleaning cast iron skillets and cutting boards. And I’m not so lazy that I don’t mind applying a little old-fashioned elbow grease. 

Do you use natural cleaning products? What are your favorites, especially for stubborn areas?


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