Green Cleaning: Baking Soda Week #1

Eco-inspiration: “Cooperatives …. This simple example shows that, while the existing world order proves powerless to assume its responsibilities, local individuals and groups can make a real difference. They are able to instill a greater sense of responsibility, a strong sense of community, a readiness to protect others, a spirit of creativity and a deep love for the land. They are also concerned about what they will eventually leave to their children and grandchildren.”  (Laudato Si, #179)

Eco-tip: Is there anything more miraculous than vinegar? After all these months spent on clever uses of vinegar, let’s add baking soda to the mix!

  1. Cleaning coffee and tea pots: Remove coffee and tea stains and eliminate bitter off-tastes by washing coffee maker parts, and coffee and tea pots in a solution of 1/4 cup baking soda in 1 quart of warm water. For stubborn stains, try soaking overnight in the baking soda solution and detergent. Additionally, clean mug / cup stains by sprinkling baking soda on a cloth / sponge and scrub the stains away!
  2. Cutting boardsSprinkle baking soda on a damp cloth / sponge and scrub cutting boards to deodorize.  No more onion / garlic aftertaste in the bananas and oranges!

Eco-reflection / discussion / action: Think about Pope Francis’ writing in the eco-inspiration offered for this week. Our existing world order does appear to have many cracks, does it not? Problems exist and are growing at an alarming rate while those holding the power fail to act. Citizens rise to the occasion, aware of their children and grandchildren. Take time to pray about this in the coming days. What do you want to leave for those who come after you? Are you aware of the existence of cooperatives, community sustained agricultural groups, etc. in your area? Do a little research and learn something about how people are connecting these days.

Flower 1

New Mexico, USA


Spring Break from Cleaning!

Taking a break between our good friend VINEGAR and our next friend BAKING SODA! A faithful reader of Tending Sacred Earth blogposts is Kathy Ann Carder McKee. Kathy is an advocate for Earth Justice and taught her children and now her grandchildren the need to reverence our Common Home. Kathy and I go “way back” to “Maumee playground days” (and the lunch room!!) and meet each other on Facebook. About a week and a half ago, Kathy posted something that she has given me permission to share.  Pictures included here are credited to Kathy. She also credits her daughter Sara McKee Scafuro, who found the idea, and did much of the sewing with her mom’s coaching.

Kathy and Sara are into “upcycling” and found a great creative way to use an old shirt … just look at all the wonderful creations born of one old shirt! Even the family dogs benefited with a bow and a dress collar! The first photo in the upper left hand corner is the only leftover scrap! AMAZING! Way to go, Sara and Kathy!

What ideas does this give you?



Green Cleaning: Week #20

Eco-inspiration: “True statecraft is manifest when, in difficult times, we uphold high principles and think of the long-term common good. Political powers do not find it easy to assume this duty in the work of nation-building.”  (Laudato Si, #178)

Eco-tip: Here is the “last hurrah” for wondrous vinegar:  windows and wine!

  1.  Window cleaner #1:  Make a solution of 1 part warm water and 1 part distilled vinegar. Wash the windows with this and dry with a soft cloth. This should produce shining, streak-less windows. Dried paint on windows is removed with hot vinegar.
  2. Window cleaner #2:  Use newspaper dipped in vinegar to scrub windows or, a mix of one quart water, a few drops dishwashing detergent and two tablespoons of sudsy ammonia for an alternative window wash.
  3. Wine stains:  Spots caused by wine can be removed from 100 percent cotton, cotton polyester and permanent press fabrics if done so within 24 hours. To do it, sponge distilled vinegar directly onto the stain and rub away the spots. Then clean according to the directions on the manufacturer’s care tag.

Eco-reflection / discussion / action: Thinking of the long-term common good is a struggle at the local level let alone on the national or global stage. Ponder this awareness relative to your own life … personally, within the family unit, within a community, etc. What makes it so difficult for human beings to consider the common good? What might you do this week to stretch your own mind – and heart – in working for the common good?

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Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

Green Cleaning: Week #19

Eco-inspiration: “The myopia of power politics delays the inclusion of a far-sighted environmental agenda within the overall agenda of governments. Thus we forget … that we are always more effective when we generate processes rather than holding on to positions of power.”  (Laudato Si, #178)

Eco-tip: Our tips on vinegar’s miraculous powers are coming closer to the finale!

  1.  Unclog the showerhead: Corrosion may be removed from showerheads or faucets by soaking them in diluted distilled vinegar overnight. This may be easily accomplished by saturating a terry cloth towel in vinegar and wrapping it around the showerhead or faucet.
  2. Varnished wood renewal:  Varnished wood often takes on a cloudy appearance. If the cloudiness hasn’t gone through to the wood, the cloudiness can be removed by rubbing the wood with soft lintless cloth wrung out from a solution of 1 tablespoon of distilled vinegar in a quart of lukewarm water.  Complete the job by wiping the surface with a soft dry cloth.
  3. Water or alcohol marks on wood:  Stubborn rings resulting from wet glasses being placed on wood furniture may be removed by rubbing with a mixture of equal parts of distilled vinegar and olive oil. Rug with the grain and polish for the best results.

Eco-reflection / discussion / action: I have tried the showerhead tip and this does work! If you are doing spring cleaning this week, give this a try! Vinegar cleans and shines!

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Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

Green Cleaning: Week #18

Eco-inspiration: “Political and institutional frameworks do not exist simply to avoid bad practice, but also to promote best practice, to stimulate creativity in seeking new solutions and to encourage individual or group initiatives.”  (Laudato Si, #177)

Eco-tip: Teakettles and toilet bowls!

  1.  Tea kettle deposits: Over a period of time, depending on the water supply, lime deposits will form in a tea kettle. The deposits may be removed by gently boiling a 1/2 cup of vinegar in the tea pot which has been filled with water.
  2. Toilet bowl cleaner #1: Stubborn stains can be removed from the toilet by spraying them with vinegar and brushing vigorously. The bowl may be deodorized by adding three cups of distilled vinegar. Allow it to remain for a half hour, then flush.
  3. Toilet bowl cleaner #2:  Pour one-cup vinegar into the toilet bowl, then toss in a handful of baking soda. The mixture will foam. When the foam subsides, scrub and rinse.

Eco-reflection / discussion / action: I need to try all three of these ideas! How about you? Our water in my part of Wisconsin leaves a funny pink residue. Scrubbing is constant. Perhaps these ideas will help!


Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA