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Jun 14, 2007
General Cleaner
Baking soda and vinegar. Or lemon juice combined with borax paste

Floor Cleaner
One cup vinegar in 2 gallons of water

Window Cleaner
One cup vinegar + 1 qt. warm water. Rinse and squeegee

Aluminum Cleaner
2 Tbsp. cream of tartar + 1 qt. of hot water

Brass Cleaner
Worcestershire sauce. Or paste made of equal amounts of salt, vinegar, and water

Copper Cleaner
Lemon juice and water. Or paste of lemon juice, salt, and flour

Chrome Cleaner/Polish
Apple cider vinegar to clean; baby oil to polish

Stainless Steel Cleaner
Baking soda or mineral oil for polishing, vinegar to remove spots

Fiberglass Stain Remover
Baking soda paste

Mildew Remover
Paste with equal amounts of lemon juice and salt, or white vinegar and salt

Drain Opener
Dissemble or use plumber's snake. Or flush with boiling water + one-quarter cup baking soda + one-quarter cup vinegar

Wood Polish
Olive or almond oil (interior walls only)

Hand Cleaner
Baby oil or margarine

Head & Shower
Baking soda; brush thoroughly

Rug/Upholstery Cleaner
Dry corn starch sprinkled on; vacuum

While baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, and vegetable oils are far less harmful than bleaches, scouring powders or detergents, they are still toxic to marine life. Use all cleaning products sparingly and minimize the amount discharged into the water. Never dispose of any cleaning products down the thru-hull drain; dispose of them on shore.

and here's one on hair care...

Note for non-geeks: Psylocke is a telepathic mutant from the X-Men with purple hair...

Going Shampoo-Free

'Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful', Indeed

by <>Marissa Sammy

Last year, I stopped shampooing my hair.

... Okay, let me back up a bit. When I was young, I used to have long, poker-straight hair, down to my elbows. When I was thirteen, I cut it all off; in their intense joy at no longer having to sustain all that weight, my hair cuticles went "Wheeeeee!" and instantly sproinged up into curls that have been with me ever since.

The problem was that my hair tended to get frizzy. I have thick, dark hair and so it would stand out from my head in a most unflattering triangle formation that drove me insane. Pulling it back resulted in a lot of breakage, and shorter hairs would slip free and make an awful squiggly halo around my hairline. It was a mess.

I longed for sleek, stylish hair that looked shiny and smart, but I am strictly a wash-and-go type of girl and never cared for messing around with blow-driers and straightening irons. So I decided to try defining my curls, which led to extensive experimentation with all manner of creams, lotions, conditioners, serums, and masques. None of them helped. They were prohibitively expensive or they gave my hair a horrendous oily, weighed-down look.

Compounding all this were two things: despite being dry and frizzy at the front, my hair tended to get greasy right at the crown; and during my X-Men phase, I thought Psylocke's hair was the coolest thing ever and dyed my hair purple. If you have dark hair, you know that you have to bleach it out first in order for any colour to take, so that's what I did. Multiple times. Which left me with a headful of thin, unbearably brittle and bushy hair that tended to form itself into a misshapen purple afro.

So this is the glorious state I was in last year ­ overprocessed, tangly hair that tended to lank greasiness in the back and unmanageable frizz in the front. Arnold Rimmer from Red Dwarf frizz (and for those of you unfamiliar with the show, let me just say that one of Rimmer's nicknames is "Old Toilet-Brush-Head"). Frustrated with my godawful hair and the array of conditioners and shampoos I owned, I decided to go shampoo-free.

I had already done this, in a sense, by taking the advice of a fellow curly-head and washing my hair with conditioner, which contains enough soap in it to get your hair clean while preserving moisture. This had worked for a while, but then my hair started feeling as though it was coated with shortening and I couldn't stand it.

But the new method offered what seemed like a good alternative: washing your hair with baking soda.

It seemed strange at first, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Baking soda had fabulous cleansing properties, neutralized odour, absorbed grease, and best of all was cheap and environmentally friendly. I gave it a go and from the very first wash, was impressed with the softness, thickness, and bounce of my hair afterward; it felt as though I'd just used a clarifying shampoo, but one that didn't leave my hair feeling thin and weak. I kept using the stuff, washing every other day, and my hair began to improve. My hair formed thick, perfect curls without any product, and the problematic limp hair at the crown of my head fluffed up of its own accord. Finally, my hair had body at the top and control near the ends, instead of the other way around! Plus, it air-dries beautifully, which is a huge plus.

A few of my friends and family have tried it, with mixed results; my sister found it didn't work for her longer hair, and my mother tried it because she's found her hair getting stiff as she gets older but was disturbed by the absence of lather. Some friends love it, some feel it didn't clean their hair enough. All of my friends with curls really love it, so I think anybody with problematic curls will probably find it beneficial. If you're black and have natural hair, it will probably make your hair more manageable as well (I'm ethnically Indo-Caribbean, so my hair is somewhat in-between) or at least be useful as a clarifying method, as detailed by <>MotownGirl.

If you're interested in the fine details of washing your hair with baking soda (with scientific talk about sulfates and alkalis, plus different suggestions for different hair-types and issues), check out this <>Shampoo-Free website.

For fellow curly-heads, I can't recommend this method of hair-cleaning strongly enough! I recently coloured my hair ­ with a regular drugstore brand, none of the strip-and-dye this time ­ and although my hair needs a little more moisturizing than before, the baking soda is still keeping it looking good. I'll finish off with my tried-and-true tips for dealing with curly hair without getting bushy:

- When cutting, be sure to angle the scissors/razor into your hair from the ends; uneven lengths form nicer curls.
- When drying your hair, scrunch with the towel instead of rubbing.
- If part of your hair gets greasy before the rest, wash just that part to avoid drying out other areas.
- If you're letting your hair air-dry, don't run your fingers through it! Pin it up if you think you might be tempted.

I hope this has encouraged some of you to try going shampoo-free; it won't cost you much, and if it works out for you, think of all the money, time, and energy you'll save in the future!
Visibility: Everyone
Posted: Thursday June 14, 2007, 8:01 am
Tags: hair cleaning household for and tips eco-friendly [add/edit tags]

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Vicki Murray (119)
Thursday June 14, 2007, 8:36 am
Thanks for this!

Purple J. (19)
Monday June 25, 2007, 1:29 pm
I'll try the NO POO, and let you know how it goes!


pElAgUS hellot
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Tamarindo, Costa Rica
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