Washing and cleaning

The chemicals in washing and cleaning detergents we use in our homes are harmful for your health. It is difficult to eliminate them totally, but you can at least limit your exposure. We may replace the detergents with soap nuts, baking soda, white vinegar, and olive oil or coconut oil. I paid under $30 for two pounds of nuts four years ago. I have been using them for laundry, washing dishes, floors, counter tops, and furniture and still have about a quarter of the package left for the fourth year. They come with little linen bags they should always be used in (do not put the nuts directly into the washer, they fall apart), but if you lose your bags, a sock will do the job.

Sometimes using a chemical may be necessary to remove very stubborn stains or to unclog the sink. This happens occasionally though, and we can limit our exposure to a necessary minimum.

Dishwashing soap:

 Save your last dishwashing soap bottle. Heat up about 2-3 cups of water and pour over a few (3-5) soap nuts (always in their little bag that comes with them). Let them brew until the water cools off. Take the nuts out, and let them dry. You may reuse them a couple of times for laundry. Pour the water into the dishwashing soap bottle. Use a little bit, just like a regular dishwashing soap. Apart from washing dishes, you may use it for washing floors, counter tops, and furniture.

 If a stainless steel pot or pan gets burned badly, heat up water with a heaping tablespoon of baking soda in it and leave for a couple of hours or overnight. The burn will come off easily.

Washing sinks, tubs, and toilet bowls:

 Sprinkle the surface with baking soda and pour a little bit of white vinegar. Wait a little bit and rinse it out with water. Use latex gloves.

Furniture polish:

 Use a tiny little bit of olive oil or coconut oil on a paper towel.

Washing floors:

 Just water is enough to remove dust and dirt. You may add some soap nuts solution or vinegar to cut into stubborn dirt.

Laundry:

 Use 4-6 soap nuts in their little bags for each load. You may reuse them a few times. Change the nuts when you see no more foam in your washer. For hand washing clothes, brew them in a mug or a little bowl the same way as making the dishwashing soap and add to the bowl with your laundry.