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Unusual Foods You Can Use to Clean up Around the House

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola

Did you give up soda and still have a few cans left? No problem! Use that leftover Coke to clean your toilet bowl or remove motor oil from pavement. Need a quick fix for a blood stain? Pull out the peanut butter and rub it out.

These and other hints from The New York Times readers offer great ways to utilize foods and beverages you have on hand for a cleaning project, or to repurpose parts of foods you might otherwise throw away. For example, a fresh pineapple rind and a shake of salt will clean up copper bottom pots, while a cup of unbrewed, ground coffee will absorb the mildew in a closet.

cleaning

While you might not want to use coffee because it’s fairly expensive (unless it’s a little too old to brew), the idea is, if you have a pressing problem with mildew and you have some coffee on hand, it is something you can use. On the other hand, Coca-Cola is a relatively inexpensive way to clean drains, toilets or motor oil stains — although it really makes me think: If it can clean the clogs out of a drain, what is it doing to your stomach?

The bottom line is you don’t need costly, toxic chemicals for most, if not all, cleaning projects. Commercial cleaners emit fumes that can cause headaches and respiratory difficulties, and even organ damage and cancer with long-term use. Plus, they often come with a mixture of fake fragrances — another toxic overload — to make your house smell clean.

If you think you can avoid some of these toxins by reading labels, think again: You can’t tell what types of toxic chemicals might be lurking in your favorite cleaning supplies because such labeling is not required. Even some labeled as “green, natural and organic” have been found to emit hazardous air particles.

The thing is why would you want to spend all that money and risk breathing in all those chemicals, known or unknown, when you can opt for a fresh orange, lemon, lime or pineapple rind and do the same job — and get the REAL fresh smell?

Another effective cleaner you probably have in a kitchen cupboard is baking soda, which is a safe, non-scratch scrub for metals and porcelain, yet it can also clean your oven and even unclog a drain, when mixed with vinegar.

Speaking of vinegar, it works on most anything (you’ll want to use the white vinegar) and it’s incredibly economical. If you’re wanting to kill surface bacteria like those responsible for food poisoning, 20 drops of oil of oregano mixed with 2 teaspoons of castile soap and 1 cup of water will do the trick.

And, for that fresh, clean smell from the REAL thing — lemons — both the juice and peels can be used throughout your home for cleaning and deodorizing. For example, freeze lemon slices with vinegar in ice cube trays, then put a few down your garbage disposal once a week and voila! You have a clean and fresh disposal.

Coconut oil is another product with antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal compounds shown to inactivate microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast and fungi. Around the home, coconut oil is particularly useful for cleaning, sanitizing and conditioning wood items, such as cutting boards and furniture, but you can also use it for lubricating squeaky hinges and sticky mechanisms instead of WD-40.

It also works well for moisturizing and softening leather goods in lieu of leather conditioners and for removing chewing gum from virtually any area, including carpets and hair.

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