Natural Cleaners for Tough Stains

Posted on July 30, 2008 by Allie

Audrey writes:

Thanks for posting my tip Allie.

Now I have a question for you. Since I’ve banned bleach from my house I don’t know what to use to clean the basket of my coffee maker. I’ve always just soaked it in bleach solution and it came up clean as a whistle. I’ve now tried soaking it in dishwashing soap with baking soda and scrubbing it with a brush – no good. Any ideas greatly appreciated!

Hi Audrey!  Good for you for banning chlorine bleach in your home!  I had noticeable respiratory symptoms any time I used chlorine bleach.

If you’re looking for a chlorine bleach substitute for other household cleaning jobs, consider oxygen bleach or a peroxide based bleach.

But for your coffee basket, I have two suggestions.

  1. Vinegar and baking soda will often do the trick (and make you feel like you’re doing a grade school science experiment).  I make a paste of the two ingredients, slather it on to the area I’m cleaning, and let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing.
  2. Salt.  I had horrible stains and splatters on my stainless steel tea pot and used salt to scrub it with amazing results.  I used hot water to rinse, but made sure the salt was still granulated and not dissolved for extra scrubbing power.  To read more about using salt as a cleaner, check out this older post.

Hope this does the trick!  Let me know how it goes!

Thanks, Audrey!

If you have a green question, drop me an e-mail at AlliesAnswers at gmail dot com.

No Comments +

  1. Allie- I just went back and read your previous post on salt. I’ve used salt for a long time to clean up red wine spills (yes, that means I drink a lot of red wine, and yes, it spills more than i would like- ha!) I never thought of using it elsewhere for stains. We have a stainless steel sink, so no worries there, but I just made raspberry jam last night and there are stains on the counter…hmmm…will have to try the salt tonight! Thanks :)

    July 30th, 2008 at 4:18 pm
    Comment by Jill
  2. Whay difference does it make if your coffee basket is stained? Who looks? I don’t mean to be critical here, but isn’t there something more pressing on the agenda? Novel reading? Petting the pooch? Anything? If not, next time get a black coffee maker- you won’t notice.

    July 30th, 2008 at 10:23 pm
    Comment by Equa Yona
  3. Lol Equa!

    July 31st, 2008 at 5:15 am
    Comment by Audrey
  4. that’s why my coffee maker is black ;)

    July 31st, 2008 at 5:18 pm
    Comment by kir
  5. Haha, dittoing Equa Yona! But I do insist on putting both the carafe and the basket in the dishwasher whenever I can (which is a lot less often than you might think, given my boyfriend’s propensity to forget things like this–which is why I usually drink tea). Our carafe is stainless steel, so no worries there.

    Personally, I’ve always felt hydrogren peroxide to be scarier than bleach. At least bleach degrades into something that’s not a free-radical.

    March 16th, 2009 at 8:00 pm
    Comment by Jules

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Tip of the Day

If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It

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According to Real Simple, if every American made an effort to launder less — cutting out just one load of laundry a week per household — we’d save enough water to fill seven million swimming pools each year.

So if it looks clean, and it smells clean, call it clean and wear it again. Consider hanging worn clothes out on your clothesline to freshen them up between wearings.


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