Non-toxic cleaning tips
I used the search function and went back eight pages, so if there's a topic about this somewhere else (deeper than eight pages in), my apologies for the repost...
Personally, I hate cleaning chemicals with a passion that defies description, especially in/around food areas... So I'm offering up a few helpful tips to get away from those nasty things, and hoping to pick up some tips I hadn't thought of myself!
1) Pour salt on a halved citrus fruit (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit... whatever your preference) and use it like a scouring pad. Great fresh scent, and the salt crystals won't damage glass/stone/etc.
2) Olive oil and lemon juice (4 oz and 25 or 30 drops, respectively) in a spritzer and shake well. Use it as a polish for wood.
3) A tablespoon of corn flour in a standard spritzer of water makes a great glass cleaner.
4) Powdered chalk and water mixed into a thick paste makes a nice silver polish (just for rebuffing, light cleaning, not heavy tarnish).
5) Eucalyptus oil is nice for dissolving glue and other sticky stuff.
6) A non-gel toothpaste and a medium bristle toothbrush takes crayon off the walls very well.
7) Weakly brewed tea (just your standard orange pekoe) cleans glass and mirrors.
8) Regular old Borax laundry soap (the 20-mule team variety, for those that remember...) sprinkled behind stoves, refridgerators, backs of cabinets, etc is a great insecticide (also very nice for a combo carpet deodorizer/flea killer) because the fine fine powder gets drawn up into their breathing spicules and tears them apart.
9) Old pantyhose makes great scouring pads. (Don't take their new pantyhose, gentlemen, they get *very* angry for some reason... I learned the hard way that my wife's tongue can get sharper than my Messermeisters...)
10) Not exactly non-toxic, but beats the fumigation alternatives... Put a flea collar in the vacuum bag/chamber. It'll kill the fleas before they can escape back to the house-at-large. Yes, I have several dogs, and they're outdoor/indoor... :D
11) If something splatters all over the microwave or oven, put some water in a safe pan (I use my pyrex, personally) and add a goodly amount of sliced lemons or oranges and steam the heck out of the inside... Smells nice, and the vaporized aromatic oils break up the grease.
12) Coffee in cheesecloth or muslin makes a good fridge/freezer odor-absorber.
13) Crumbled up tinfoil works well to clean off baked or grilled on food from oven and grill racks, roasting pans, etc. Basically, if it's metal, you can scrub it clean in no time.
14) The old vinegar and baking soda trick still works wonders... Good for foamy cleaning (kitchen sink, pipes, garbage disposal, and other places like that).
There's my most commonly used ones... Hope you enjoy and get lots of those nasty chemicals out of the house!
Great topic! I hate the SMELL of most chemical cleaners. Here are three more:
1. When using a charcoal grill, lay a sheet of aluminum foil on the (hot, still in place) grill rack SHINY SIDE DOWN as soon as you remove the cooked item(s). Do NOT lower the lid. Most of the greasy gunk will burn off.
2. To sanitize your kitchen countertops, keep a spray bottle each of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide (do not mix in one bottle). Spray countertop with one, then the other (doesn't matter what order). Let set for 10 minutes, then wipe dry. I also use this on cutting boards after I've washed them. Just rinse after the 10 minutes.
3. Baking soda mixed with enough water to make a paste makes an excellent "Soft scrub". Great on sinks.
One of my favorites is using one of those hand held steamers. The super hot water kills just about everything and loosens stuck on food. I've used it extensively in the kitchen and bathroom. wipes up easily.
Orange peal oil is graet at cutting through stubborn stick gunk. It will take pine tar off of your skin.