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Columns November 24, 2015  RSS feed

According to Vern

Vern Six

This week is Thanksgiving. The start of the holiday season and one of my single favorite days of the year. I am, after all, a fat man and like to eat. I also happen to be married to the best cook I have ever met. But time spent with her family and reflecting on all the blessings of the previous year are really what this holiday is all about for us.

The first time I met Ranae's family was at their Thanksgiving Day feast in 2000. It was quite the spread. We had four tables, complete with the leaves installed, pushed together in the family's dining room, just to seat everyone. The tables extended clear into the family's den. Her father cooked the turkey that year and since I was the new guy, he asked me to help. Which meant... I got to help clean up after we all got through eating.

Cleaning up usually involves some chemical cleaner in most people's homes. I am extremely sensitive to "gases" given off by the "sol" cleaners (Pinesol, Lysol and others). These products contain a chemical known as phenol which is a very toxic derivative of coal tar. The health hazards that have been presented by pets that have ingested this chemical (from licking their paws or any surface cleaned by the chemicals) range from respiratory problems to kidney or liver failure. Since my injury, I only have one fully functioning lung which has increased my sensitivity to these cleaners. Don't even get me started on commercially available oven cleaners. Yikes!

Luckily, you don't have to buy into the corporate nonsense of harsh chemical cleaners to keep your house cleaned and disinfected. Just like I showed you when I wrote about cleaning cast iron or doing your laundry in previous articles, there are great alternatives to cleaning surfaces and ov- ens, etc.

For an all-purpose surface cleaner and disinfector, we use two very simple and inexpensive liquids... Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar. Vinegar by itself is not a disinfectant but it is a great anti-fungal. Hydrogen Peroxide, paired with Vinegar make a cleaning combo that has been tested to outperform even household bleach. Yes, Kevin, even Fabulosa doesn't do as well.

Simply place each liquid in its own spray bottle. (Note: The hydrogen peroxide must be in a light proof spray bottle. When exposed to light, hydrogen peroxide deteriorates quickly.) It doesn't matter which you spray on first, but simply spray the surface to be cleaned with the same amount of each liquid and then wipe clean just like you would any other commercially available cleaner. Do not wipe the surface in between spraying the two liquids. Also, don't make the mistake of thinking you can combine these two liquids in one container. You should not do so as it will make them much less effective.

Even people who don't have reactions to the "sol" agents, can find the harsh fumes given off by commercial oven cleaners to be too much to deal with. We use a natural alternative that works just as well. Start with either a 1/2 cup of homemade liquid soap or 1 tablespoon of Dawn dish washing soap. Add in 1 1/2 cups of baking soap and 1/4 cup of white vinegar. Stir into a thick paste, adding some water as needed to make it "paintable". After removing your oven racks, use a paint brush or a pastry brush to apply a thick paste to the entire inside of your oven. Avoid any heating elements.

Let the paste set up over night. Then fill a bowl with warm water. Dip a scrubber, wipe and repeat until the oven is clean. You will most likely have to change the water frequently.

Well, that's it.... a few more ways to save money and clean your home.

Ranae and I would like to wish each and every one of you a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving holiday.

At this time of year, I always recall a great quote from Albert Einstein, "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." I pray everyone sees the miracles in their lives and is thankful for them.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Vern Six is a freelance computer programmer and entrepreneur. He is a United States Army certified survival expert and former Christian missionary. Vern has been a hobby blogger for nearly five years and now has his "According to Vern" blog published in numerous newspapers around the world. You can learn more about Vern by visiting his website at http:// AccordingToVern.com


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