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   Use Temperature Instead of Chemicals to Clean(1)

We put a few temperature-based house cleaning methods to the test, and found most of them work. Use Temperature Instead of Chemicals to Clean?Some of these cleaning solutions are widespread urban legends. Others are from an exhaustive list of alternative cleaning methods provided by the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County, Illinois. The agency acknowledges it simply compiled the list without testing any of the methods. Do you really need a pantry full of cleaning chemicals? Or can ice, boiling water, steam cleaner,baking soda and vinegar clean most everything?
Use Temperature Instead of Chemicals to Clean(1)

1)Boil away weeds
Verdict: Success
Boiling water can help clean up outdoors as well. We poured boiling water on a weed-infested concrete seam between the driveway and the sidewalk. The weeds quickly shriveled and wilted, and pulled out easier than adjacent weeds that hadn’t been boiled to death. On the other hand, boiling water to pour on each weedy spot seems like an impractical and energy-intensive alternative to hand-pulling and spraying with cheap, white vinegar, which I have found quite effective so far.
2) Boil away drain clogs
Verdict: Undetermined
Last year, I had a particularly nasty clog in a bathroom sink. My first line of attack was a pot of boiling water. It did nothing but, to be fair, drain chemicals and a hand auger also failed. I had to call in a local plumber. Since then, I have poured a monthly pot of boiling water down each drain to keep it clear. So far so good, but it’s hard to definitively say the boiling water is helping.
Some, including my plumber, recommend just using boiling water. Others say it should be followed by salt or sodium carbonate. Still others swear by a more complicated tincture: Thoroughly mix 1 part cream of tartar with four parts salt and four parts baking soda. Pour ¼-cup of the solution down the drain,floor cleaner then add one cup of boiling water. Watch it bubble, then flush with cold water.
For a slow or blocked drain, try pouring in one cup of salt and one cup of baking soda, then flush with a pot of boiling water.
3)Boil kettles clean
Verdict: Success
To remove calcium and lime deposits from coffeepots, kettles, etc., boil equal parts water and vinegar, then let it work overnight. Rinse thoroughly and the item should look like new. This has long worked perfectly on our electric kettle.


4)Boil away microwave splatter
Verdict: Success
To clean off microwave grime, we tried boiling four tablespoons of lemon juice in a cup of water for about five minutes. We used a wide bowl to allow lots of steam to condense on the microwave. After carefully taking out the bowl, we easily wiped out splattered stains that typically require some elbow grease, a scrubbing sponge and all-purpose cleaner.
On a related note, we recommend sterilizing wet kitchen sponges regularly in the microwave. We don’t have the scientific equipment to verify the findings, but researchers at the University of Florida found that two minutes in the microwave can kill most bacteria and viruses on sponges. However, for safety, be sure the sponge is very wet and contains no metal. Also, take care when removing the hot sponge after sterilizing.
5) Boil to whiten clothes
Verdict: Fail
We were told boiling socks in lemon water could make them bright white again. Not so much. My baby boy’s socks have dulled and “grayed” over months of washing in mixed-color loads and gentle baby-safe laundry detergent. Even after a lemony boil, they were still distinctly more gray than his new bright white socks. To be sure, I did not test really grimy socks, and I’m guessing some dirt can be boiled out of clothing.
We also tried boiling a slightly yellowed cotton vacuum cleaner onesie in a pot with three parts water and one part cream of tartar. The onesie came out the same color but coated with gritty cream of tartar.
6)Boil away pan stains
Verdict: Fail
We mixed two tablespoons baking soda with ½-cup vinegar in a non-stick frying pan with stubborn stains and burn marks, then giggled as we watched it fizz. We added a cup of water and boiled the mixture for 10 minutes. The pan was still stained at the end of the test, but the range was dirtier. Cover the pot to avoid splattering little white spots all over the stovetop. To be fair, this mixture may work on other stains, but it didn’t take care of the black spots on our pan.

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