Before stocking up on a variety of cleaners and pesticides that may be hazardous to your health, consider trying the old-fashioned, safer kind.

By Rose Alexander

Before the mid-20th century with its plethora of chemical developments following World War II, families relied on many natural substances to kill germs and protect their health in the home. Today, hazardous chemicals can be found in all kinds of household products from personal hygiene items to kitchen cleaners. As a result, many consumers are returning to the days of old in search of safer ways of cleaning their homes and keeping property pest-free. Here are a few tips that might be of help.

1. Use isopropyl alcohol as a mild facial astringent instead of the expensive brand-name products that often use glycol or phenol. Be careful not to use alcohol near the eyes or facial membranes, and do not use too much. A little daub, perhaps diluted by half with water, can go a long way. You also can use this product for polishing certain metals like a chrome toaster. Check the bottle for directions or visit several Websites for details. Never mix one product with another without first finding out if it is safe to do so.

2. Cook spices as a house deodorizer. Boil a teaspoon each of cinnamon and cloves in a cup or two of water. The resulting scent will help make the house smell fresh and sweet-smelling so you can avoid the use of aerosol sprays or potentially harmful additives that can be hard on the lungs or eyes.

3. Try egg yolks and yogurt for a hair conditioner. Try one or the other separately to see how well each one conditions your hair. Mix to a soft, creamy texture, and apply with your hands to your head, working through each strand of hair. Leave on about three minutes and then rinse. Repeat any of these steps if necessary.

4. Pour a half-cup of bleach into the toilet for cleaning and removing stains. First flush the toilet to be sure no residual ammonia from the urine interacts chemically with the bleach to create hazardous fumes. Alternatively, you can add a half cup each of baking soda and vinegar and leave it set a few minutes before flushing. Do the same for stopped drains, but not if you have already poured chemical products into the drain, as mixing them with vinegar or baking soda could release harmful fumes.

5. Use baking soda as a mild cleansing powder for kitchen appliances and bathroom fixtures. Sprinkle a little on stained counter space and wipe up with a damp cloth. You can use a little bit of baking soda (often mixed with water) as toothpaste, a foot soak, or as a deodorant when applied dry to the underarms.

6. To repel bugs indoors or out, place strong-smelling spices or substances in the area where you want to eliminate insects. These products include cloves, garlic, nicotine, and other herbs. For roaches, mix a small amount of Borax with flour to attract and then kill them. (Read the package instructions for the exact amount and keep children or pets away from this product.)

Whatever household task you have in mind, there may be a natural ingredient for handling it. Avoid purchasing chemical products that can cause cancer or just plain make you sick. If you want to go a little stronger than all-natural products, search for commercially-prepared products like Simply Green that purport to be safe, when used according to product guidelines, for various household tasks.

Don’t forget the most natural ingredients of all! Make use of clean fresh air by opening windows, even a few inches, whenever the weather will permit. Rinse anything that may have germs with fresh water. Also, allow the sunlight to enter your home through windows and screen doors, as this is another great way to get rid of germs.

Image Reference – Disinfectants

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