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5 Helpful household cleaners

Maris Callahan is the author of "In Good Taste," and, as an avid self-taught home cook, is widely knowledgeable about all things culinary. She is especially passionate about helping women on-the-go cook healthy, delicious meals and snack...

Cleaning your home doesn't have to be hard. Whether you do the sweeping and scrubbing or you employ a housekeeper, it can never hurt to have shortcuts that makes cleaning faster and easier. Gisela Lowenstein, creator of The Glow System, was a busy wife and mother trying to balance it all when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After her treatments she felt empowered to create a 50 minute DVD that teaches you how to clean each room in your home more efficiently and effectively. Use Lowenstein's five favorite household products to get the job done faster and easier - so you'll have more time to relax and attain balance in your own life.

Various Household Cleaners

DISHWASHING LIQUID

Sure, it will clean your dishes, but you can also use your favorite brand of biodegradable detergent or dishwashing liquid to clean and disinfect surfaces in kitchen and bathrooms that commonly contain grease and/or bacteria. Think outside the dishwasher next time a jug of your favorite brand is on sale.

WHITE VINEGAR

It has a strong odor and is an extremely effective cleaning agent. Vinegar acts as an antiseptic to remove stains and other antimicrobial substances from the surfaces in your home. If you have kids, vinegar will help you remove sticker and crayon marks from walls or countertops. If you mix one part vinegar with three parts water, you can use it to clean glass and mirrors and rinse clothes that discolor easily (like bright reds and blues). Need a scouring agent? Create a paste of vinegar and shortening to loosen grime from pots and pans.

BAKING SODA

Another household product with a number of properties and uses, baking soda is good for removing odors and stains in closets and refrigerators. You can also mix it with water and make a paste to clean ovens, freezers and refrigerators. Baking powder will typically absorb odors, so keep an open box of it in the refrigerator to keep your kitchen smelling fresh.

MICROFIBER CLOTH

Microfiber is commonly used for apparel, upholstery and industrial filters but more recently, it has become a popular cleaning product. Dry or with water, microfiber cloths will grab dust from surfaces, shelves or corners without the use of cleaning products. Its gentle material won't scratch your floors or furniture and is an ideal cleaning product for anyone suffering from allergies or athsma.

BORAX

Also known as sodium borate, Borax is an important boron compound, a mineral, and a salt of boric acid. It is usually a white powder consisting of soft colorless crystals that dissolve easily in water, sold in your local grocery or drug store. Borax is a common ingredient in many detergent brands but to use on its own, dampen clothes, mattresses etc. with water then sprinkle Borax, let dry and vacuum or rinse to remove odors and bacteria. On clothing, Borax is typically more gentle than harsh detergents.

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