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People always ask: what can little old me, do by myself, to help preserve our environment? There are so many things that people can do. Pollution often comes from many small sources. So if each of us does our part, we really can make a difference.

How we clean our house is a place to start looking. If you use toxic chemicals you can hurt yourself and your family by being over-exposed to them. Read the labels if you do not believe me. Remember that just because a product is sold in the supermarket does not mean that it is safe if mis-used. Quite the contrary is often true.

Also, many toxic household cleaner products get dumped into the drain. And from the drain, the cleaner ends up in our streams, rivers, and ground water. If the chemical is toxic in your home, it is toxic to our water as well.

They say that dilution is the solution to pollution. To some extent that is so. But how about just not using some of this stuff? That is much better than relying on dilution. After a while, dilution loses its effectiveness.

Enter the EPA. Its website contains helpful information for those electing to use safer products at home. Why does that always have to be "someone else?" This time, why don't you be the one who tries to do something good for the environment? Here are some products that you can use:

  • Baking Soda: use to neutralize acid, scrub shiny materials without scratching, clean and polish aluminum, chrome, jewelry, plastic, porcelain, silver, stainless steel, and tin.
  • Borax: to inhibit the growth of mildew and mold, boost the cleaning power of soap or detergent, remove stains, and kill cockroaches.
  • Cornstarch: to clean windows, polish furniture, shampoo carpets and rugs.
  • Isopropyl Alcohol: to disinfect.
  • Lemon Juice: to clean glass and remove stains from aluminum, clothes, and porcelain.
  • Vinegar: to dissolve mineral deposits, grease, remove traces of soap, remove mildew or wax buildup, polish some metals, deodorize, clean brick or stone. It will also remove the metallic taste in coffeepots and shine windows without streaking. Vinegar is normally used in a solution with water, but it can be used straight.

    You can find recipes for using these ingredients on the EPA website.

    Citrus has been advertised recently for household cleaning purposes. Companies use citrus for metal polishing and degreasing. It may also have insect fighting qualities.

    The natural alternatives sound new and health-food store-ish. But actually, most of these non-toxic cleaning methods were in fashion prior to World War II. Boy how science has progressed!

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