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Natural Tips to Clean and Refresh Your Home

Try these easy tips to add sparkle or sweeter smells to your home:

If you have a "home-made" hint to share about our featured ingredient of the month, please click here to submit your idea.

Natural Furniture Polish

Many commercial polishes are too heavy for frequent use and contain harsh chemicals that can ruin the finish of the wood after long-term use. A more "natural" and safe way to polish wood furniture is to use a three-to-one mixture of sweet oil and vinegar. Mix well and apply with a clean cloth as you would traditional furniture polish. (Note: Not to be used on unfinished wood or laquer).

A Refreshing Vacuum

To freshen your house while you vacuum, when putting a new vacuum cleaner bag in, add a cotton ball soaked in clove oil inside the bag (or in the plastic container of bagless models). It fills your home with a nice aroma and doesn’t get into the carpet or harm pets or children.

Homemade Aromatic Jars

Make any room in the house smell fresh for the holidays or any time of year. Take a small, clean glass jar and put a few cotton balls inside. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, such as eucalyptus, peppermint, cinnamon, orange or clove oil, and punch holes in the top of the jar and place jar under a bed, in a closet, near a cat litter box or any other place that needs a fragrant addition. You can decorate the jars by painting the lids with craft paints or nail polish, add some glitter, etc. This is a nice project for young children who can then give them as gifts to grandparents or teachers.

Stinky Garbage

Keep kitchen trash receptacles smelling a bit better by putting a cotton ball soaked in an essential oil such as orange or eucalyptus at the bottom of the container, then put in the garbage bag.

Insect Control

Many families with children and pets are concerned about the fumes associated with commercial spray insecticides. Instead, mix powdered boric acid with equal or larger parts of flour, cornmeal or sugar. Sprinkle where crawling insects frequent, such as cracks and crevices, around baseboards, under and behind the refrigerator, etc. NOTE: Boric acid should not be ingested.

Unsticking the Stuck

Sweet oil does an excellent job of removing sticky adhesives, such as price tags, tape, gum (in hair), paint off glass surfaces, etc., without any odor (Thanks to Patty J. of Alpha, Illinois, for this great hint; winner of the January 2006 "sweet oil hint of the month")

Banish Shoe Odor

After wearing shoes, place a piece of plastic wrap into the shoe and place a cotton ball with a dab of clove oil onto the plastic wrap. This plastic wrap/clove oil cotton ball remedy is also excellent for leather boots and nicer shoes, too - it will not harm the shoes. Shoe odors? Gone for good! (Thanks to Jennifer Ann H. of Houston, Texas, for this great hint; winner of the February 2006 "clove oil hint of the month")

To find a store near you that stocks the ingredients to enjoy these simple home remedies, click here.

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