Alternative Solutions

The Environmental Health Center offers the following “safer solutions.”

For This: Try This:
Ants Red chili powder at their entrance
Chrome polish Apple cider vinegar
Dish detergent 1/2 cup baking soda + liquid
Flies Well watered bowl of basil
Ink spot remover Cold water +1 tablespoon cream of tarter + 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Moth Repellant Cedar chips enclosed in cotton
Pet odor removal Cider vinegar
Roach repellant Chopped bay leaves and cucumber
Window cleaner 2 tablespoons vinegar in 1
quart warm water
Air Freshener Use herbal bouquets, pure vanilla on a cotton ball, or simmer cinnamon and cloves
Mold and Mildew *Bleach
Drain Cleaner 1/2 cup baking soda + 1/2 cup vinegar, wait a few minutes, then 2 quarts boiling water; repeat process
Rusty bolt/nut Remover Carbonated beverage

*Never use chlorine bleach on nylon carpeting.

The article containing the above information (“Making Your Home Environment More Healthy!”) also suggested baking soda as a “Rug/Carpet Cleaner.” NOT a good idea.

There are also grocery store products for pet urine odor control in carpeting that contain baking soda. Again, NOT a good idea.

Reason: First of all, baking soda is not a good overall cleaner for carpeting, because it cannot cut the broad variety of soils that accumulate. It will work on some soils, not on others. Second, the substance is extremely difficult to get out of carpeting. And, once used, when your carpet is cleaned, the baking soda causes pile yarn to become stiff.

Watch Out For Casters (Wheels) on Carpeting

A physical exercise device has been advertised on televisions that employs casters or wheels. And, in the advertisement, the person demonstrating the device rolls it back and forth over carpeting in the exercising process. Rolling wheels or casters of any type or size—from desk chairs, roller skates to wheelchairs— over carpeting produces a rippling effect in the carpet backing. In time, repeating this practice will cause the backing to separate, ruining the carpeting. When wheels are unavoidable, the carpeting should be not be installed over pad but glued directly to the subfloor. Of course, with desk chairs, the problem can be eliminated by simply placing a desk -chair pad between the chair and the carpeting.

“What caused the black line on the carpet under my hot-water-heater closet door?”

Would you believe ‘dust,’ airborne particles? This black line or dark line is called a “soil filtration line.” The difference in air temperature inside and outside the closet causes air to flow beneath the door almost continually. And air contains many contaminants, such as dust, soot from vehicle exhaust, industrial gases, and oils from cooking vapors. As the air passes under the door, the carpet is acting as an air filter, collecting the contaminants in the air. You will see evidence of the same kind of soiling in other areas of your home: 1) Under the doors to rooms that are normally kept shut, such as spare bedrooms; 2) around floor vents; and 3) along some walls at the crevice between the baseboards and the carpet. Under floorlength drapes, sometimes the shape of the pleats is inscribed on the carpet by soot in the air. What we’re talking about is “air pollution” inside the home. It settles on floors, furniture, drapes, shelves, pictures, knickknacks, … everything! It’s unhealthy and should be periodically cleaned away.

On vacuuming and vacuum cleaners

If your vacuum cleaner doesn’t have a HEPA filter, you’d be smart to use sub-micron vacuum bags. Sears has them for almost all vacuum cleaner makes and models.

Efficient Vacuuming CANNOT Be Rushed

Move your vacuum cleaner no faster than one lineal foot per second. Vacuum each square foot at least twice. Then repeat the vacuuming at a 90-degree angle when possible.

Don’t Do It!!!

Never use a vacuum cleaner on the delicate fringe on oriental rugs. If you do, it will become stringy, frayed, and dingy.

You BETTER check it!

Often enough, people tell me they vacuum frequently. But when I examine their carpeting, I know something is wrong. In checking their vacuum cleaner, I often find that the vacuum bag is packed FULL. Make it a habit to check the vacuum bag each time you start to vacuum. And change it when it’s twothirds full. If the bag doesn’t seem to be filling up, chances are the vacuum channel is plugged up.

Listen to your vacuum motor

While you’re vacuuming, the sound pitch of the vacuum cleaner motor should remain fairly even. If the pitch drops too sharply when you pull the vacuum cleaner backwards, either 1) you’ve got the vacuum head set too low or 2) the belt that drives the vacuum cylinder has gotten too loose and should be replaced.

Get rid of your feather duster! Dust isn’t just dust’!!!

*“Studies … show that dust from the air filters in the ventilation system contains between 100 and 6,700 bacteria per gram of dust (approximately 2,800 – 190,000 bacteria per ounce of dust), dust from ventilation ducts contains between 50 and 50,000 bacteria per gram of dust (approximately 1,400 to 1,400,000 bacteria per ounce of dust), and the floor dust contains similar numbers of bacteria. Endotoxins from the cell walls of dead, gram-negative bacteria may be a cause of sick building syndrome symptoms in most people. ” [ *Source of the above:]

Other dust studies show that dust also contains many other biological contaminants such as dust mite and insect excrement. And the bad news on dust doesn’t stop there. It has heavy metals in it as well as many organic contaminants—soot, industrial residues, even pesticides.

There’s a product on the market now called Swiffer. It’s sold in grocery stores. Swiffers are electrostatic towels made for the specific purpose of gathering dust without stirring it into the air, which is what feather dusters do. Electrostatic towels are a handy tool for people with asthma, as well as for those who don’t want the ailment. Dust is a definite