It’s time for spring cleaning, so why not try cleaning with an environmental attitude? If you’re ready to throw open the windows and get “winter” out of your house, try these recipes for natural cleansers. Taken from “The Healthy Home” by Linda Mason Hunter, the ingredients are common household items.

WINDOW CLEANER: two teaspoons white vinegar and one quart warm water; mix well. Use a linen towel or other soft cloth to clean.

GENERAL CLEANSER & DISINFECTANT: one-half cup borax in water, and apply with a sponge.

TOILET BOWL CLEANER: baking soda and vinegar. Sprinkle some baking soda into the bowl. Drizzle with vinegar; scour with a toilet brush. This solution cleans and deodorizes.

MILDEW REMOVER: one-half cup vinegar, one half cup borax and warm water. Dissolve vinegar and borax in water. Mix fresh for each use.

CERAMIC TILE CLEANER: one-fourth cup vinegar and one gallon water. Mix vinegar and water well. The cleaner will remove most dirt without scrubbing and without leaving a film.

COPPER CLEANER: combine vinegar and salt. Apply the mixture to copper surfaces with a rag, and rub clean.

FURNITURE POLISH: two parts olive or vegetable oil and one part lemon juice. Mix oil with lemon juice. Apply the mixture to furniture with a soft cloth, then wipe dry.

These recipes involve more than just buying and opening commercially prepared cleaners, but the results are worth it, both environmentally and economically.

After your spring cleaning, try keeping your home fresh with a natural decorative approach – house plants. Many plants actually have “preferred appetites”.

The spider plant and golden pothos ivy enjoy formaldehyde, which is released from carpeting, plywood and insulation. To help remove trichloroethylene (found in dry cleaning fluids lacquers, varnishes and adhesives), use flowering plants such as chrysanthemums and Gerbera daisies.

English ivy like benzene, a carcinogen released by paints, plastics, inks and tobacco smoke. And for a general air cleaner, try split-leaf philodendron and ficus.

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