Borax- simple, cheap, non-toxic. Good replacement for any powdered cleanser.
Distilled vinegar- also cheap, non-toxic. A great replacement for bleach as it has excellent germ killing power. Cut it with water, depending upon how you are using it. Here are some websites that give further explanation:
Baking soda- if you buy this in bulk, it is cheap. This is great to use for absorbing orders on a rug, and mixed with vinegar if you need an abrasive cleanser with the germ-killing powers of vinegar.
Ooooo I just got this email from Re-Nest (www.re-nest.com) that suggests using kosher salt and lemon to clean copper. Can't wait to try that one! Do I even have any copper items in the house? Hmmm...
No, I don't but I DO have some wrought iron that I recently purchased at a garage sale. It's a plant stand, I think. At least that is how I intend on using it. Looks like it was once painted white, then painted black on top. It had some rust on it and I'm not sure I want to paint it yet. So I waxed it. That's right, I got some wax and rubbed the entire thing down. This will prevent it from rusting and give it a slight shine. You can use candle wax (naturally made candles will be easier to work with), or other kind you may have in the house. Save those candle stumps! I actually used car wax. Clear shoe polish wax will work as well. I am trying to rid the house of chemicals slowly, so rather than waste money and just throw it all into the landfill I'm determined to get rid of them by using them up.
Need to strip paint from hinges or other hardware? Creative Quilt Girl (www.creativequiltgirl.com) can help with her simple baking soda and water soaking solution. That's one I will actually use, since we have plenty of unnecessarily painted hardware in this 112 year old house! Where do I start? I'll let you know next time. Ciao!