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Health & Parenting

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Good Housekeeping

Spring into Cleaning Action continued...

Gentle scouring cream: This can be used on tubs, tile floors, stainless-steel sinks, and appliances. Place 1 1/2 cups baking soda in a bowl. Add about two teaspoons of essential oil of citrus, mint, or lavender. Gently whisk together; apply with a dampened sponge. If you need more abrasive action, try using a loofah or a scrubber pad.

Air freshener: Just cooked a big fish dinner and want to rid your kitchen of the odor? Avoid spraying artificially scented sprays into the air and instead boil a pot of water with orange or lemon peels, or cinnamon sticks. You can also try lighting a paraffin-free candle, naturally scented with essential oils such as mint and myrrh.

Carpet freshener: In a medium bowl, crush 1/2 cup of dried lavender; stir in 1 cup baking soda. Sprinkle the mixture onto the rug, wait a half hour, then vacuum thoroughly.

Basic furniture polish: In Natural Cleaning for Your Home (Lark Books, 1998), Casey Kellar offers this "recipe." Mix 1/2 cup sweet almond oil, 1 tablespoon wheat germ oil, 1 tablespoon melted beeswax, 2 tablespoons sulfated castor oil (available at health food stores). For lemon- or pine-scented polish, add 3 to 5 drops of essential oil. Apply sparingly with a clean, soft rag.

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