Five house cleaning secrets for a greener life

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Most house cleaning products can be expensive, hard on our planet, and toxic to pets and...

Most house cleaning products can be expensive, hard on our planet, and toxic to pets and children. Luckily, you don't have to ditch cleaning altogether to live a greener life. Trash the commercial cleaners in your cabinet and instead use these common household products for your next mess.

Cornstarch: An ingredient in most foods, cornstarch is also used to remove grease and blood stains. To remove a blood stain, mix cornstarch and cold water to a pasty feel. Apply on the blood stain and let dry in the sun. Repeat until stain is removed.

Cornstarch also assists in the kitchen as a silverware cleaner and nonstick abrasive for bakeware. It also absorbs excess moisture. You can use it in closets, or even place it in shoes to stave off athlete's foot.

Toothpaste: Toothpaste works on carpet spills, small grass stains and drink rings on the coffee table. With a toothbrush and a little elbow grease, toothpaste can help with any small spill. It also works in the kitchen as a refrigerator seal cleaner and even in the garage, as you can use it to polish your vehicle's headlights. To get rid of a shirt collar stain, apply toothpaste to the stain with a tad of water before throwing the shirt into the washer. Repeat the process until the stain is removed.

Ammonia: Ammonia is one of the strongest cleaning chemicals in your home. Effective on its own, ammonia works best when mixed with water. It's often used to clean an electric oven, but it also works on gas ovens--just make sure the pilot light is out. You can also use ammonia as a grease and stain remover and insect repellent.

To remove soap scum, don rubber gloves, add equal amounts ammonia and water to your spray bottle. Spray down the area, then rinse with hot water, and wipe the area dry.

Club soda: Are you spending money on expensive jewelry cleaner? Put your diamonds in a glass of club soda overnight to bring back their brightness. Primarily used as a drink mixer, club soda wipes away window smudges and upholstery stains. If your little one has an accident in the bathroom, once the urine has been removed, apply club soda to the area. It will erase any stains and lingering odor.

Borax: Also known as sodium borate, Borax has been a dependable cleaning agent for more than a century. With just a dab mixed with water, the natural powder is a stain remover for clothing and stainless steel surfaces. It also knocks out odors and is a handy bug repellent. Sprinkle Borax on your mattress and let it settle for a while, then vacuum in order to rid your home of bed bugs.

For more house cleaning ideas, check out these handy green housekeeping tips and tricks. And if your house needs a thorough cleaning, contact your local Atlanta-area cleaning service.

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