natural

Wellness Tuesday Tips: Natural Cleaning 2.0

By Cathy Smith

Have you ever stared at a clogged sink and wondered if buying a toxic chemical is worth the environmental impact?

Recently, I wrestled with this dilemma over my bathroom sink. I tried the salt, vinegar and boiling water method. Still, every time I brushed my teeth or washed my hands there remained a murky pool. Stubborn.

Flash…the light bulb went on! What is the best scrubby, bubbly substance? I scooped out the excess water and poured in 2 tablespoons of 35% hydrogen peroxide and watched it go to work. I did this twice more and left it overnight, in the morning the drain was clear. Simple, effective, and non-toxic. What more could I ask for?

Let’s explore some household uses for hydrogen peroxide.

The Co-op sells food grade hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in 3%, 12%, and 35% concentrations. Do not let 35% peroxide touch your skin -- it is extremely irritating. All recommendations below are utilizing 3%. As my Dad used to say, “Do as I say and not as I do.”

Veggie wash: In a sink of cold water add ¼ cup H2O2 to remove some pesticides and dirt. Allow veggies to sit in the wash for 5-10 minutes; swish and rinse.

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Toothpaste: Mix H2O2 with baking soda and salt for a brilliant smile. Miss the fresh flavor? I add essential oils of peppermint or clove to taste, 2 drops per ¼ cup. Boost the whitening action with a dash of powdered charcoal.

Toothbrush sanitizer: Keep germs at bay by storing your toothbrush in a glass filled with peroxide. Refresh weekly.

Cutting board cleaner: Spray your wood cutting board between uses, especially after chopping meat, rinse when the bubbles subside.

Toilet Bowl: Pour ½ cup in the bowl, let sit 20 minutes, scrub clean.

Ice Chest: Spray to disinfect between camping trips or tailgate parties.

De-skunk pets: Had a bad run in? Remove the offensive odor with this: 16 oz hydrogen peroxide, ½ tsp dish washing liquid, 1/8 cup baking soda, and 32 oz water. Adjust for the size of the animal (or human). Scrub and promptly rinse, the peroxide will lighten fur just as it does hair.

There is a natural solution for nearly everything in life. We here at the Boise Co-op strive to be your resource of healthful information. We love being a vital part of our community!

Naturally Dyed Eggs

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Egg dyeing is a fun way to celebrate this time of year—and it's a tradition that goes way back—as much as 5,000 years when Persians celebrated springtime with eggs colored with plant-based dyes. Plant dyes can be just as useful today and they're plentiful; in fact you very well might have dye-worthy ingredients in your kitchen already.

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Here are some great plant-based dyes—fruits, vegetables, spices and flowers.

Items Needed

White eggs (or try brown, keeping in mind color results will vary), egg carton, stock pan(s), water, white vinegar, slotted spoon and natural materials for dyeing (see table).

Optional: Tape, string, rubber bands, cheese cloth squares, natural beeswax crayons to create designs on eggs, and vegetable oil for an extra sheen. 

Hot Bath Method

  1. Place uncooked eggs in a stainless steel stock pan. Add water 2-3 inches above eggs. (When using bottled juice, fill 2-3 inches above eggs. Do not add water.) Add natural dye ingredients and 1-2 tablespoons vinegar per quart of water.

  2. Cover and bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Carefully remove eggs with a slotted spoon and air dry.

Cold Bath Method

The process for cold dyeing is much the same as the hot method except the eggs and dyes are cooked separately.

  1. Simmer the dye ingredients (water, vinegar and dye matter) for 20-30 minutes or longer, until the dye reaches your desired shade.
  2. Allow the liquid to cool and submerge hard-boiled eggs in the dye for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Carefully remove eggs with a slotted spoon and air dry. 

Notes, Tips & Techniques

Color variation

Colors may vary depending on steeping time and foods used to dye eggs.

Deeper colors

Beet dye including pulp (top), onion skin dye with celery, bay and ivy leaves wrapped in cheese cloth (middle two), turmeric dye with rice wrapped in cheese cloth (bottom).

Beet dye including pulp (top), onion skin dye with celery, bay and ivy leaves wrapped in cheese cloth (middle two), turmeric dye with rice wrapped in cheese cloth (bottom).

The longer the eggs stay in the dye, the deeper the color will be; leaving the eggs in the dye for several hours or overnight (in the refrigerator) is recommended for achieving deep colors. Allow the liquid and eggs to cool before refrigerating and ensure that the eggs are completely submerged in the dye. Eggs will be speckled if the dye matter remains in the liquid. For more uniform colors, remove the dye matter from the liquid, by straining the liquid through a coffee filter, before refrigerating.

Egg flavor

The flavor of the egg may change based on the dye, so if you plan to eat your dyed eggs, a shorter dye bath and fresh ingredients may be preferable.

Drying

Make a drying rack by cutting the bottom off an egg carton and turning it upside down.

Decorating

  • Wrap onion skins around eggs, then wrap the entire egg with a cheese cloth square and secure it with string before placing the eggs in the dye.
  • Wrap string or rubber bands around eggs before dyeing to create stripes (use rubber bands for cold dyeing only).
  • Draw designs on hot, warm or cold hard-boiled eggs with crayons. When using hot or warm eggs, the crayon may melt slightly on contact with the egg (if eggs are hot, hold eggs with a potholder or rag to prevent finger burns). Crayon covered eggs should only be dyed in cold dyes as the crayon wax will melt in hot liquids.
  • Gently wipe dry dyed eggs with vegetable oil to give eggs an added sheen.

Posted by permission from StrongerTogether.coop. Find more recipes and information about your food and where it comes from at www.strongertogether.coop.