Tackling Sugar Ants, Dirty Ovens and Clogged Drains Cheaply and Naturally
ANTS: Each year, as the snow melts and the flowers bloom, I enjoy watching my children as they watch, in awe, at the ants that build their mounds and carry food from wherever they were fortunate to find it, and back to their home. As much as I like seeing my children awestruck by the ants, I am not a fan of them coming into my home. Fortunately I have only had one experience with this, which happened to be a couple weeks after moving into our new house. I would find them in the bathrooms and in the kitchen. This was a problem that I had never encountered before and I knew I wanted to tackle the little pests in a natural way. After doing a little research online, I choose my weapons: Apple Cider Vinegar and Cinnamon!
Ants don’t like the scent of the apple cider vinegar and the aroma of the cinnamon makes the ants lose their scent trail, thus making them forget all about how to find what attracted them into your home in the first place. I used both, first cleaning anything I thought might be attracting the ants, plus the surrounding areas, with the apple cider vinegar. I then sprinkled the cinnamon all along the counters and floor where the ants seemed to be entering, and I left it. The ants haven’t come back and it’s been three weeks.
OVEN: Ants aren’t the only hindrance that I was greeted by when moving into the new house; enter one filthy oven caked with grease! The easiest thing to do would have been to press the self-clean button, but that is not a viable option since it can actually be more toxic than standard chemical based oven cleaners on the market. Self-cleaning ovens are lined with Teflon, and when the temperature of the oven is running at around 900 degrees, toxic gasses are emitted into the air. Along with Teflon, substantial amounts of Acrolein and Formaldehyde can be emitted from self-cleaning ovens on the first cleaning cycle (Examiner). Our bodies cannot readily breakdown the chemicals used in making Teflon, nor can it fully eliminate Formaldehyde and Acrolein in a timely manner. The result is a host of symptoms, including asthma, headaches, dry and itchy eyes, birth defects and lung irritation. In addition, some of these chemicals are know carcinogens.
Instead of pressing the self-clean button or using a chemical based product, I resorted back to my most basic and effective cleaners: baking soda and vinegar. In order to get my oven back to a clean state, I started by coating the bottom of it with baking soda. I then poured a little bit of water, along with white, distilled vinegar on top of the baking soda, using just enough to moisten the baking soda and to get it bubbling. Next, I closed the door and let that sit for about four hours. I then used rags to scrape off the baking soda and used a sponge to scrub the remainder of the grease off. And that’s it – my oven is clean!
CLOGGED DRAIN: The last obstacle I faced when first moving in, was that of a clogged drain; this was something I already knew how to take care of. My long hair, combined with soap scum and the dirt that my children bring it, make for a clogged tub about twice a year. I don’t believe in pouring the likes of bleach or Drano down my drain, so I use something completely toxin free – boiling water. I’ll admit that I was skeptical when I first read about this, but I figured that it certainly couldn’t hurt. Before starting this short and simple process, I used baking soda and vinegar in the drain to clear up any grime towards the top of the pipe. Then, so as not to burst any pipes, I let the warm water run a bit in the tub while I was boiling the water in the largest pot I have. When it was ready I took it straight to the bathtub and poured it in. And then I was done. The clog was gone, and stayed gone!
So often spending money on toxic chemicals is not needed to fix a lot of the obstacles that come along with living in a house or apartment. A little elbow grease and a few items from your kitchen is all it takes!
*This article first appeared in the July 2013 issue of the Great South Bay Magazine