Bookmark and Share

Natural household cleaning products

Cleaning your house can be a chore, but it shouldn’t compromise your health. Part and parcel with the concept of optimum health is taking care of the environment — including the environment in your home. An entire industry has been built on developing natural cleaning products — everything from nontoxic bathroom cleaner to environmentally friendly dish soap. In addition to the products you can buy from health-food stores and a variety of catalog companies, there are a number of books that describe how you can make your own cleaning products from common household ingredients, such as vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, potatoes, tea tree oil, baking soda and even white bread.

Here are some down-to-earth, nontoxic suggestions for cleaning your home naturally with basic household ingredients, for a clean, safe home that doesn’t expose your family and guests to toxic chemicals.

Baking soda: An all-purpose cleaner; especially effective on glass coffee pots and glassware; removes red-wine stains from carpeting. A paste (made with water) can shine stainless steel and silver; the paste can also remove tea stains from cups and saucers. Make a paste with a castile- or vegetable-based liquid soap and a drop of essential oil (tea tree or lavender) to clean sinks, countertops, toilets and tubs. Pour 1 cup down the sink to clear a clogged drain, followed by 3 cups of boiling water.

Boiling water: Use weekly to flush drains and avoid clogs.

Coarse salt: Cleans copper pans and scours cookware. Sprinkle salt on fresh spills in the oven, then wipe off. Sprinkle salt on rust stains and squeeze a lime or lemon over them, let sit for several hours and wipe off.

Essential oils: Mix lavender or tea tree essential oils with water and spray on kitchen or bathroom surfaces for an environmentally and people-friendly antibacterial spray.

Grapefruit-seed extract: Add a few drops to water in a spray bottle for an odorless way to kill mold and mildew.

Lemon juice: Use as a bleaching agent on clothing, and to remove grease from your stove and countertops. Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice to 10 drops of (real) lemon oil and a few drops of jojoba oil to clean and polish wood furniture.

Olive oil: Use to lubricate and polish wood furniture (three parts olive oil to one part vinegar; or two parts olive oil with one part lemon juice).

Potatoes: Halved potatoes can remove rust from baking pans or tinware — follow with a salt scrub or dip the potato in salt before scrubbing.

Tea tree oil: Can be added to vinegar/water solutions for its antibacterial properties. Use it to kill mold and mildew, and on kitchen and bathroom surfaces instead of chemical products. Add 50 drops to a bucket of water to clean countertops and tile floors.

Toothpaste (white, plain): Cleans silver; can remove water stains on wood furniture — dab on, allow it to dry and wipe off.

White vinegar: Cleans linoleum floors and glass (from windows to shower doors) when mixed with water and a little liquid soap (castile or vegetable). Cuts grease and removes stains; removes soap scum and cleans toilets (add a bit of baking soda if you like). Pour down drains once a week for antibacterial cleaning. Add to water in a spray bottle to kill mold and mildew.

Weekly activities at The Den

Friday, July 24 — Geezers, 9 a.m.; book club, 10:30 a.m.; picnic in the park, (reservations required), noon.

Monday, July 27 — Gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Summer Phillips — goldsmith, 12:45 p.m.; Canasta, 1 p.m.

Tuesday, July 28 — Gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Meditation for Healing, 1 p.m.

Wednesday, July 29 — Dance for Health, 10 a.m.; Take the Right Step, 11 a.m.-noon; Ageless Yoga, 1-2 p.m.; Alzheimer support group, 1 p.m.

Thursday, July 30 – Pancake breakfast benefit.

Friday, July 31 – Geezers, 9 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; birthday celebration, noon.


Summer Phillips has more than 35 years in her career in the jewelry world. Summer creates custom, “one of a kind” jewelry and restyles unused jewelry. Join us on Monday, July 27, at 12:45 p.m. to learn how to care for your precious jewelry. Summer can help you make your dreams come true for any of your fine jewelry needs.

Stack ’o Pancakes

Start your day off right by enjoying a stack of pancakes slathered in warm syrup and served with bacon or ham along with fresh fruit, juice and coffee. You can enjoy this breakfast at the Silver Foxes Den (located at the north end of the community center), 451 Hot Springs Blvd. on Thursday, July 30, from 7 to 9 a.m. Your cost is $5 per person, so bring the whole family, crew and a hearty appetite. For more information, you may contact the Silver Foxes Den at 264-2167.

Alzheimer’s support group

Elaine Stumpo, Regional Director for the SW Alzheimer’s Association hosts our monthly gathering for individuals who are supporting loved ones who are living with memory loss. Learn how to be supportive of someone with memory loss by participating in this support group the last Wednesday of every month at 1 p.m.

Silver Foxes Book Club

Do you love to read? Do you have a desire to discuss what you read in a group setting of inquiring minds? Then we have just the thing for you. Kathy Hamilton from the Sisson Library hosts the Silver Foxes Book Club on the fourth Friday of every month at 10:30 a.m. in the Den. Kathy can also obtain books on CD, cassette, and in large print. Stop by the Silver Foxes Den to sign up or call 264-2167.


Suggested donation for older adults age 60-plus is $3, kids 12 and under and guests $6. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act, United Way, and Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other contributions and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $9.75. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar opens at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served at noon.

Friday, July 24 — Picnic in the park, barbecue ribs, corn, cooked greens, potato salad (reservations required).

Monday, July 27 — Lemon baked fish, scalloped potatoes, spinach, and banana.

Tuesday, July 28 — Stuffed peppers, corn, oriental veggies, apple sauce with raisins, roll.

Wednesday, July 29 — Taco salad with lettuce and tomato, beans, orange juice, watermelon and cornbread.

Thursday, July 30 — Pancake breakfast benefit.

Friday, July 31 — Dijon chicken, brown rice with parsley, salad, broccoli and roll.