Thursday, August 14, 2014


When I was a kid, my mother used to catch me in the bathroom, mixing up concoctions of lotions and perfumes.  It was horrible stuff; little wonder Mom objected.  That desire to experiment, though, probably explains my current passion.  It thrills me to take basic ingredients, common in our house, and mix up new recipes to create a wide variety of household and personal care products.  My most recent experiment led, ultimately, to an inexpensive, environmentally safe way to clean calcium-lime deposit from the showerhead.
The product I first sought to replace was chlorine bleach.  Years ago, I limited its household use to laundry, only (for ecological and personal health reasons.)  Even this limited use was too much, though, so I kept searching for an alternative -- something less toxic on the environment and less corrosive to fabrics and my hands than conventional bleach.  The substitute I found  is so mild I can wash my hands with it, yet it works as well (if not better) than chlorine bleaches, which tend to cause yellowing of many white fabrics.  This homemade bleach recipe is very quick to make, costs me pennies per use, and has even brightened those yellowed items.  This bleach leaves laundered fabrics free of chemical assault and refreshingly UNscented, as is the washing machine, also.
The most impressive result I got with this bleach, however, was not in the laundry room.  I had tried a number of household cleaners, both home- and commercially-made, and couldn’t find anything to clean the growing calcium-lime deposit from the showerhead.  Other people recommended bleach to remove the build-up, so I figured I’d try this new recipe instead.  After removing the showerhead, I soaked it, for a few hours, in a small measure (about 1 cup) of this mild mixture:
1/2       cup                  Hydrogen peroxide
2          tablespoons      Lemon juice (Or:  substitute 1/2 teaspoon citric acid)
3-1/4    cups                 Water
5          drops               Lemon essential oil 

Makes a little less than a quart.  Use approximately 1 cup per load of laundry – results vary depending on water hardness.

I wouldn’t have believed the results if I hadn’t seen them first hand!  The crust, now fallen away from the showerhead, was a slurry of scale at the bottom of the measuring cup[prose].  The liquid had changed from clear to a slightly green-blue tint, but there was no toxic fumes or odors.  A few persistent grains still clung to the plastic on the showerhead, but a quick brushing removed them.  The showerhead now looks as clean as it did when new.
The success of this “other application” for the new mixture proves there is often other potential uses for these homemade products. The ecological concern, which prevented me from using bleach as a cleaning agent, is no longer present and that opens up other cleaning possibilities.  Once again, the results of simple test has jazzed my experimental spirit.  This is what keeps me avidly seeking out new recipes, as well as finding new applications for the fantastic products already discovered!