There is no new water under the sun, explains Julie Massey, a county Extension marine agent with Texas Cooperative Extension.
"We're drinking the same water the dinosaurs drank," she says.
That's why Massey developed the Mix It Yourself Cleaners for the Home program. By using materials like baking soda, mineral oil and vinegar to make household cleaners, people can help reduce the amount of pollutants going back into their water supplies via sinks, commodes, tubs and lawns.
"Even though that water will be treated, you want the highest quality water going back into the water supply", Massey notes.
Reducing the number of chemicals used in the home has other benefits.
"One of our county agents counted the number of cleaning products she had in her home - more than 50," Massey recalls. "By using these alternative cleaners, you cut down on the number of things you have to buy so it's cheaper, too."
The main ingredients for Mix It Yourself include baking soda, liquid detergent, mineral oil, white vinegar, salt and lemon juice.
"I think these work really well in the home. Especially if you have small children or pets," she adds.
According to Massey, response to Mix it Yourself has been very high in the Galveston area and for a reason she never expected.
"What was amazing to us was that people were having allergic reactions to over-the-counter cleansers."
And Massey says Mix It Yourself cleansers are easy to make.
Spray Bottle #1 -
All purpose cleaner
All Purpose Cleaner
Dissolve baking soda and pour in pump spray bottle. Spray, wipe with sponge. Rinse with clear water. Use to clean and deodorize: kitchen surfaces, bathroom surfaces, chromium plated fixtures and faucets, refrigerator and freezer. Strength can be increased by adding more baking soda to the solution.
¼ Cup White
Mop, rinse and dry.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Sprinkle baking soda into bowl, then drizzle with vinegar and scrub with a toilet brush.
Combine 1 quart water with 1/4 cup white vinegar. Spray on and wipe off with newspaper.
Add ½ cup baking soda and ½ cup vinegar to the drain. Cover tightly and let sit for 15 minutes. Pour 2 quarts boiling water down the drain. If severe clog, follow with a plunger.
More Uses for Baking Soda
Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) is a mild crystal that gently lifts dirt off many surfaces. Baking soda does not harm septic tanks, drainage systems or ground water. Its unique pH makes it effective at neutralizing household odors. Create the right mix for the proper use.
Paste - Mix equal parts baking soda and warm water.
Sprinkling - apply directly onto damp sponge or surface.
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