The following suggestions are alternatives to purchasing unnecessary hazardous materials and to help the homeowner better avoid toxic waste build up.
Ants—Wash counter, floors, etc., with a mixture of 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water. You can also grow pennyroyal, spearing southern-wood, or tansy around your home.
Fleas and ticks—Add 1 tsp. vinegar to 1 quart water per 40 pounds pet weight to bathe the animal.
Fleas—Beat an egg yolk with 1 Tbsp. of molasses and finely ground black pepper and set out mixture in shallow plates.
Mosquitoes—Plant tansy or basil around your yard. Other measures are to burn citronella candles or wear citronella oil.
Alternatives include hand picking or use of insecticidal soap. Keep garden clean.
Add 1/2 cup baking soda to 1/2 cup warm white vinegar. Pour down drain. After 15 minutes, flush with boiling water.
Scrub with 2 tbsp. or more of baking soda or borax in 1 gallon water, using very fine steel wool (0000). Wear gloves. For very baked-on spots, try scrubbing with pumice (available at hardware stores). As a last resort, use a pump oven cleaner that says, "No caustic fumes" and "No lye."
TOILET, TUB & TILE CLEANERS
Baking soda can be used as an abrasive for most household needs. Add 1/4 cup vinegar to each quart of water for cleaning and dis-infecting. Add salt or baking soda and/or cream of tartar to intensify solution effects.
Rust—Scrub with lemon juice mixed with salt.
Grass—Use 70 percent isopropyl alcohol or turpentine and wash thoroughly.
Fruit/Juice—Use boiling water and then soak if necessary.
Blood Stains—Use household ammonia and rinse with cold water; or use a corn starch paste, then rinse with cold water; or use club soda and water.
Chocolate—Before washing, soak in club soda, rub shortening into stain, and wash; or apply milk to stain to keep from setting.
Perspiration—Sponge stains with white vinegar or lemon juice; or soak in water with two dissolved aspirins.
Stainless Steel Sinks—Rub with olive oil to remove streaks.
Use mineral oil or mixture of 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 Tbsp. white vinegar, and 1 qt. warm water, apply and wipe dry.
ALL-PURPOSE HOUSEHOLD CLEANER
1 quart warm water, 1 tsp. liquid soap, 1 tsp. borax, squeeze of lemon or splash of vinegar.
This solution can be used for a multitude of cleaning jobs including countertops, floors, walls, rugs and upholstery.
-Leave open boxes of baking soda in refrigerators, closets and bathrooms.
-Open doors and windows for good ventilation. Use stove fan when cooking.
-Use flowers, herbs and spices to add subtle fragrances to indoor air.
1/4 cup vinegar in 1 quart warm water. (Do not use this as a windshield wiper solution as it may damage the pump — use plain water for this purpose.)
Scrub with baking soda or borax; for extended mold inhibition, do not rinse off.
RUG AND UPHOLSTERY CLEANER
Use the All-Purpose Household Cleaner.
Use baking soda or a nonchlorinated commercial scouring powder.
All-Purpose—1/4 cup borax in 2 cups cold water, soak the stain prior to washing as usual.
Blood—Pour 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution directly on the stain, rinse with water and wash as usual.
Ink—Apply a paste of lemon juice and cream of tartar; allow it to dry, then wash as usual.
DEGREASER (engine and tool)
Use a water-based cleaner in place of kerosene, turpentine and commercial engine degreaser.
Use a nonchlorinated, abrasive scouring pad or fine steel wool.
Use 1/2 cup borax in 1 gallon hot water. To inhibit mold and mildew, do not rinse off borax solution.
Vinyl floors—1/2 cup vinegar or 1/4 cup borax with 1 gallon water. Polish with club soda.
Wood floors—Damp mop with mild vegetable oil soap.
Warning: - Borax is the most caustic of the cleaners on this list. Store it with special care in cabinets out of the reach of children, and use it well diluted. Latex gloves are advisable.
Recent studies have shown that synthetic pesticides, herbicides
and fertilizers are a significant source of hazardous waste from households.
You can reduce the amounts of these chemicals on your lawn and garden by
using organic gardening techniques.
Organic gardening methods include using natural predators and other biological controls, planting pest-resistant, climate-friendly and native species, and using natural fertilizer, and least-toxic pesticides selectively and only when necessary.
Both Rodale's Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening and The Chemical Free Lawn: The Newest Varieties and Techniques to Grow Lush Hardy Grass provide valuable information on synthetic chemical free gardening.
What is compost? - Compost is an artifi-cial manure. It is created through the decomposi-tion of plant or vegeta-ble mat-ter. Some soil is added with the com-post, but a large portion is rotted plant materi-als. Compost can be con-sidered as one form of farm fertiliz-er, but is most often used in vegetative or flower gar-dens. Com-posted materi-al keeps soil in good condition by increas-ing its or-ganic con-tent.
NOTE: Do not compost meat, fats, oils, greases, or dairy products. They do not compost as easily and may attract ani-mals. Also, cover table scraps of vege-ta-bles with leaves or grass clippings to avoid pests and odors.
Contact the Iowa State University Exten-sion Office at the Johnson County Fair-grounds for more details.
Americans use over one billion sharp objects in their homes to administer health care every year. These "sharps" include lancets, needles, and syringes. If not disposed of in puncture-resistant containers, they can injure trash handlers; can increase the risk of infection if they come in contact with other contaminated materials such as bandages, dressings, and surgical gloves; and can pollute the environment.
To help prevent injury, illness, and pollution, follow these simple
steps when disposing of sharp objects and contaminated material.
| • Needles
• Lancets and
• Other sharp objects
Contact your local pharmacy for a commercial sharps container.
It is also recommended that:
• soiled bandages
• disposable sheets and
• medical gloves
be placed in securely fastened plastic bags before you put them in the garbage can with other trash.
How to Stop