In the 1950s and 1960s, June Cleaver and Donna Reed ruled over fantasy homes in which there was virtually no dirt.
That relentlessly home-sweet-home fantasy shifted in the 1980s with "Roseanne," and more recently "Mom" and "Modern Family."
But still, you rarely see anyone on TV scrubbing floors, scouring tubs, or seriously de-greasing a stovetop (unless it's for laughs).
Nonetheless, chances are you've got plenty of high-powered cleaning supplies under your sink. The average American household spends around $160 a year on bleach-based and antibacterial products, aerosol sprays, and powdered cleaners filled with noxious fumes and toxic chemicals that linger in your air longer than you can imagine.
How harmful are they? A new 20-year study published in the "American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine" found that frequent housecleaners — whether they do it for a living or for themselves — experience lung damage equivalent to a 20-year, pack-a-day cigarette habit!
Fortunately, alternatives do exist.
• Vinegar eradicates scum, grease, and grime. Spray on shower tiles; let sit for 30 minutes; rinse. You can wash linoleum with vinegar-water mixture; windows, too.
• Salt is a natural abrasive. Use kosher salt and the juice of half a lemon on cutting boards to clean deeply.
• Baking soda is a proven virus-killer that deodorizes and cuts through grime. Mix one-half cup of baking soda with one-quarter cup vinegar to clean toilets and drains.
• Straight lemon juice knocks out mold and mildew.
• Grapefruit extract can be combined (20 drops) with two cups of water in a spray bottle to clean all your surfaces.
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