Dogs, cats and other companion animals are frequently exposed to a vast array of toxins inside and outside the home. Many toxic substances are carcinogenic, but even if a toxic substance is not carcinogenic it can still cause problems for your dog’s and cat's health. Toxic burdens on your dog’s and cat's system weaken biological functions causing damage, and suppress the immune system. Toxic-load that can lead to many health issues including cancer. Daily exposure to the air born vapors, droplets, and surface residue of chemical based household cleaners are one of the villains a dog’s system must fight to stay healthy. You can help reduce the daily stress on his/her system by making your own dog and cat friendly household cleaners. In addition, many of the chemicals are lethally poisonous to dogs and cats and other animals.
The recipes provided below are also ‘green’ recipes - environmentally friendly. And one more big plus - they are not tested on animals as many standard household cleaners are!
The ingredients used in the recipes are natural products…
Apple Cider Vinegar. organic, unfiltered, unpasteurized - also known as ACV has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties (primarily from the acetic acid and malic acid in ACV).You can read about the many health benefits of organic unfiltered, unpasteurized ACV here.
Baking Soda - also known as sodium bicarbonate has antiseptic and a water softening properties, it is excellent for removing stains and grease.
Lemon Juice - the juice of lemons is a natural chelating agent, natural preservative, anti-bacterial and anti-septic. You can use lemons in many other ways to support your dog's health too - read more here.
Salt - is a natural abrasive cleaner. Coarse salt offers greater abrasive action than fine salt.
Don't use iodized salt (common table salt) as it is toxic, use i.e. Himalayan salt, or Sea salt.
Water - it is best to use water that is not heavily laden with hard minerals.
Brass and Copper - In a bowl, mix ¼ cup of Himalayan of Sea Salt salt with lemon juice to make a paste. Apply the paste to copper or brass pots and pans, let sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinse with warm water. Buff dry with a soft cloth.
Counter Top Stains - Rub half a cut lemon over the surface; let the juice sit for a few minutes, then wipe clean.
Carpet Cleaner - I use organic vinegar to remove all sorts of stains from carpet including blood, dirt, doggie accidents. Just spray or pour some vinegar on the stain, or fill your carpet cleaner reservoir with vinegar rather than chemical cleaning agent - let the vinegar sit for a few minutes then rub it by hand or go over it with the carpet cleaning machine. You can also use baking soda. Just sprinkle baking soda on the spot then spray vinegar on top and follow the same process mentioned above. You can also use Himalayan or sea salt to remove fresh carpet stains, such as red wine, coffee, etc. Pour the salt on the stain, leave the salt until the spot dries and the vacuum-up the salt.
Disinfect Surfaces - To disinfect surfaces mix 1 part ACV with four parts water, if you would like to add a scent you can squeeze some fresh lemon into the mixture. Or you can disinfect and freshen surfaces like wood cutting boards by rubbing a cut lemon over the surface. Let the lemon juice sit for a few minutes prior to wiping clean.
Drain Cleaner - Pour ½ cup of baking soda down the clogged drain then immediately pour ½ cup of vinegar. Vinegar and baking soda react together and fizz. Cover the drain to contain the fizzing action within the drain. After the fizzing action subsides, pour a litre or two of boiling water down the drain. For really clogged drains, you may need to use a drain snake after the boiling water.
Floor Cleaner - (hard floor surfaces) Mix 1 part ACV with four parts water, if you would like to add a scent you can squeeze some fresh lemon into the mixture. To remove scuff marks from the floor - sprinkle the marks with baking soda and wipe clean with a warm, damp cloth.
Furniture Polish - Mix ¼ cup of olive oil, 4 tablespoons of vinegar and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, apply to furniture with a soft cloth.
Glass Cleaner - Mix 2 cups water, ¼ cup ACV or organic white vinegar and ½ teaspoon of a non-toxic liquid dish. You will need to filter the resulting liquid through a small screen sieve and then pour the liquid into in a spray bottle. Spray on and then use newspapers to wipe down the surface for a streak free result.
Grease - Fill a spray bottle with plain organic white vinegar (you can also purchase extra-strength vinegar meant specifically for cleaning). If you do not want to use a spray you can simply dip a sponge or cloth in vinegar. Use the vinegar to wipe down counter tops, dishes, pots and pans, cook tops, ovens, exhaust fans, etc. You can also use lemons, just combine the juice from two lemons with ½ cup of ACV and use this to wipe down surfaces.
Insect Control - To keep household pests such as ants, spiders and fleas rub lemon juice or leave lemon peels in bug-prone areas such as baseboards, windowsills, kitchen cabinets.
Laundry Softener - Add a ½ cup of organic vinegar to the rinse cycle to soften clothes, linen, towels, etc. Vinegar naturally breaks down and dissolves laundry detergent - this softens the fabric.
Laundry Brightener - Lemon has natural bleaching properties, so for whiter fabrics add ½ cup of lemon juice to the rinse cycle.
Mildew - Mix baking soda with vinegar or hydrogen peroxide to create a paste; apply to bathroom grout, let stand for 30 minutes, then scrub.
Odor Control - Mix the juice of a fresh squeezed lemon to a ½ cup of water - pour into a spray bottle and spray.
Oven Cleaner - You will require the following ingredients to make this cleaner…
1 box (16 ounces) baking soda;
1/2 cup salt;
1/4 cup baking soda;
1/4 cup water;
3/4 cup organic white vinegar;
10 drops lemongrass essential oil.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl then add just enough water to make a paste. Remove oven racks, pans etc. from the oven and preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Leave on preheat for 15 minutes then shut the heat off. Using a sponge or cloth, spread the paste on all of the surfaces (inside the oven) that you want to clean. Allow the paste to sit on the surfaces for 20 -30 minutes. Then combine the vinegar and the two essential oils in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray the vinegar solution on the surfaces that have paste and wipe clean with a sponge or cloth. Then use warm water on a sponge or cloth to wipe the surfaces clean.
Pots, Pans and Dishes - To remove caked-on food from pots and pans, sprinkle with baking soda, add water and let them soak for a few hours. The baking soda will loosen the caked-on food. You can also add a little vinegar if you want to.
Rust - Mix Himalayan or sea salt with a little organic cream of tartar and add only enough water to make a paste. Apply the mixture to a rust stain on metal - allow the object to sit in the sun until the paste is dry, remove the paste with a little warm water. You can also make a similar paste using lemon juice and salt…add enough lemon juice to salt to create a paste, apply the past to the rust, rub with a soft dry cloth and then wipe clean with a little warm water and dry with a cloth. You can also soak the item in vinegar or wrap the item in vinegar soaked paper towels - then wrap in plastic to keep the towels from drying out. After a couple of hours or days (depending on the amount of rust) once the rust is loosened take a steel wool pad and remove the rust.
Sink Garburators - To cut odours and bacteria in your garbage disposal cut a lemon into chunks and place in the garbage disposal, turn garburator on.
Soap scum and Hard Water Deposits - Pour undiluted lemon juice on deposits, or rub a cut lemon over the resistant spots.
Stain Removal from Fabric - In a spray bottle, mix ½ cup organic white vinegar, ¼ cup baking soda and 3 cups then spray on fabric for a pre-wash laundry stain remover. Then toss the clothing into the washing machine. To remove dirt and grease from clothes add ½ cup of baking soda to the wash cycle.
Tile Grout Cleaner - Fill a spray bottle with 1 part water and 1 part vinegar, spray the solution on the tile and scrub with a toothbrush or other narrow brush.
Toilet Cleaner - Vinegar is anti-bacterial and deodorizes. Pour 1 cup of ACV or organic white vinegar into the toilet and let sit. Then add a few tablespoons of baking soda, brush and flush the toilet.
Wall Washing Solution - Dust the wall, then mix 1quart warm water, with ¼ cup organic white vinegar, 2 tbs of biodegradable liquid soap. Once you have finished washing the wall with the solution wipe the wall down with plain, warm water and then wipe the wall dry with a soft towel or cloth.
Whiten Toilets, Sinks, Bathtubs, etc. - Sprinkle the entire surface with a thin layer of baking soda and let sit for 10 minutes. Then spray or sprinkle on enough water to form a paste and scrub porcelain. You can also spray with vinegar instead of water. For extra whitening power you can also sprinkle with salt in addition to the baking powder.
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Article and graphics by Karen Rosenfeld