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Juicing up your cleaners

doityourself

Many foods in the refrigerator and cupboard have uses beyond the daily menu, and there are many reasons to use them. Some cost less than their comparable name-brand products; they are usually more environmentally friendly and in some case;, there isn't a product on the market that does the job as well.

In Cambodia, limes are plentiful and inexpensive. They are also very useful: The juice is high in citric acid, and the rind is full of essential oils, making them perfect to use as a cleaner. Citric acid is also very effective in killing most household bacteria.

If you are cooking with onions, garlic or peppers and want to quell the smell, make up a bowl of lime water using very warm water and half a sliced lime. It's the same mixture you get at a seafood restaurant to rinse your hands. After cutting the vegetables, rinse your knife and hands in the limewater. Use a small cloth to wipe down your cutting board. If you are working with very hot peppers, rub a wedge of lime on your fingers to neutralize the pepper oil.

Wood cutting boards should be rehydrated monthly with vegetable oil to keep them from cracking as well as to fill up the pores of the wood. This helps to keep bacteria from finding a hiding spot for breeding.

The buildup that forms in and around water fixtures is a different kind of lime, mainly calcium carbonate. Since it's soluble in weak acid solutions, using a mixture of the juice of one lime to 330ml of water will break down the lime scale without scratching the chrome. Scrub down the entire fixture with the solution using a toothbrush to get into all of the crevices. If there is quite a bit built up, let it soak for a while and repeat as necessary.

Limes will also take care of the deposits in your water kettle. For a kettle, electric or stovetop, fill halfway with water, add one quartered lime, and steep for 20 minutes. Empty the container and rinse thoroughly. This should be done monthly to prevent buildup of lime scale.

White vinegar contains acetic acid, which is also a good cleaner. To make an excellent, streak-free glass cleaner, add a tablespoon of vinegar to a clean spray bottle and fill with water. Spray onto your glass and mirrors, and wipe dry with newspaper.

One cup of vinegar mixed into three gallons of hot water makes an excellent floor tile cleaner. Not only does it work as a degreaser and sanitiser, but it will leave your floors free from soapy residue. If you want a better smell to it, just squeeze in a couple of tablespoons of fresh citrus juice.

To make a general purpose kitchen and bath cleaner, mix one-fourth cup vinegar, two tablespoons baking soda, the juice of one lime and one litre of water. This combination will clean water deposits in the shower, shine chrome and act as a mild degreaser. If you use it in a spray bottle, shake periodically to keep the soda mixed in.

You probably have a few spray bottles of various cleaners on hand already. As they get used up, rinse them out with a warm lime juice and water mixture. Take care not to mix vinegar with any products containing bleach, as this creates a toxic gas.

To get off the labels, fill up a stainless steel or plastic container with a gallon of warm water and add a half cup of vinegar. Let soak for one hour and peel off the labels. If the glue is stubborn, use the edge of a spoon to scrape it off. Label the bottle with a CD marker.

Now you know why so many cleaners say, "Made with lemon" and "With baking soda" on the label.
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If you have any questions about keeping your house in order, email Jet at diy@phnompenhpost.com

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