Bird Safe Cleaning

There is hardly a corner of our world that is unpolluted by man-made chemicals. A good place to start to eliminate this problem is at home, especially when spring-cleaning. Many chemical contaminants are acutely toxic and their effects may lead to a bird’s death.

Even at low levels they can affect biological functions by disrupting the endocrine or hormone system. Often contaminants interfere with the chick’s ability to fight infection making them susceptible to disease. So now that the bad is stated, let’s try to get to the good of cleaning safely.

Using non-toxic cleaners is a good way to ensure the safety of your feathered friends. All Purpose Cleaners like Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) is a relatively new disinfectant that kills staph, strep, candida, salmonella, and e-coli microorganisms. Add 20 drops of grapefruit seed extract to a 32-ounce spray bottle filled with water. Use on all surfaces around the house. Grapefruit seed extract can be found at GNC or do an online search.

We use a lot of vinegar and water throughout our home in different solutions. We use a light solution for spritzing cupboards and washing them down. Use heavier solutions for the heavier jobs and straight on for the nastiest places.

Baking soda with water is a good all-purpose cleaner (1/4 cup baking soda to 1 quart water). Sprinkle baking soda on surfaces to be cleaned or make a paste with baking soda and a small amount of liquid soap. Scrub with a damp nylon scrubbing pad, soft cloth, sponge, fine steel wool or my favourite is home-made scrubbies.

White distilled vinegar diluted in water removes baking soda residue. Dry with a soft cotton cloth … recycled cotton clothing serves as a good cleaning and drying cloth.

Vegetable-based liquid soap diluted in water makes a good all-purpose cleaner.

Add 1 cup of soap flakes to 1 quart of boiling water to make soap jelly. Stir until dissolved. Pour into jar and let cool. Mix with water as needed.

Kitchen

Multiple chemical sprays and solutions are not necessary to clean appliances and surfaces in the kitchen. Mix a small amount of liquid soap with water in a spray bottle, mist surfaces, and wipe dry with a sponge or cloth. For stains on counters, squeeze fresh lemon juice on the stain and allow it to stand for 45 minutes, sprinkle baking soda the area and rub with a sponge or soft cloth.

Burned or baked on food in cookware – 2 tablespoons liquid dish washing detergent and 3 teaspoons baking soda. Add ingredients to enough water to cover the burned on food; boil for 15 to 20 minutes and wash normally. Or sprinkle cookware liberally with baking soda and add just enough water to moisten. Let stand for 3 hours and lift the burned food out of the pan.

Stained cookware – use steel wool or scrubbie and solution of lemon juice and baking soda. Cover the discoloration for 30 minutes; then scrub and rinse clean. Also you can use pink solution for this job as well as all of the above jobs.

Ovens – for lightly soiled ovens, make a thick paste of water and baking soda or Pink Solution straight on with use of a scrubbie or nylon scrubbing pad. If the oven is greasy, add a small amount of liquid soap. To remove spots, use very fine steel wool, which can also be used for the toughest spots as well. Commercial oven cleaners are available that are non-toxic and do not contain lye, but read the label carefully.

To clean underneath the refrigerator, tie a sock around the end of a yardstick. When one side is dirty, turn the sock inside out and repeat. This is a good use for those socks with holes in them.

Bathroom

To clean the sink, shower, tub and tile grout, soak with diluted liquid soap, sprinkle on baking soda, scrub with a nylon scrubbing pad and rinse. For this job I use Pink Solution with a scrubbie.

Use a stiff tooth brush or scrub brush for tiles. If any residue occurs, rinse with vinegar and cold water. Remember always rinsing with cold water removes soap faster. For a serious soap scum, use very fine steel wool. Rinse with cold water and, if necessary, add vinegar to rinse. Buff dry.

To disinfect bathroom surfaces, spray with a solution of one quart of water and 20 drops of GSE.

Mildew remover – spray mildew with hydrogen peroxide and open windows.

Prevention: Keep surfaces dry. Bacteria, viruses, mildew, and mold cannot live without dampness. Wipe down surfaces with white vinegar after cleaning. It prevents the growth of mold and mildew.

Lime deposit remover: spray a solution of 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons salt, and 1 cup water on lime deposits and let stand overnight. Rinse with cold water.

Vinyl Floors

Fill a bucket with a gallon of warm water and add 1⁄2 cup of white vinegar. To cut grease on vinyl floors, dilute a small amount of liquid soap with water. To remove black heel marks on floors, rub with a pencil or typewriter eraser. To prevent water spots, dry with a cloth after mopping.

Carpets

Products like ‘Carpet Fresh’ have been linked to bird deaths. The producers of ‘Carpet Fresh’ say it is safe for animals, but they admit that birds have a complicated immune system and because they are different from dogs and cats that it may be harmful re: their site.

For spills, immediately blot with a clean cloth or paper towel. For most spots, mix liquid soap with water in a spray bottle. Spray lightly and blot with a cloth or towel. For grease, cover with baking soda. Allow the grease to be absorbed by the baking soda before vacuuming. For odours, sprinkle carpet with plan baking soda. Let sit for 15 minutes, then vacuum.

Carpet shampoos may contain toxic ingredients such as ammonia and perchlorethylene, a known carcinogen. Plant-based cleaning products such as citrus cleaners are preferable. Use a steam- cleaning machine with 10 to 15 drops of grapefruit seed extract per gallon of water. Many hospitals are now starting to use this extract or products made from this extract for carpet cleaning.

Wood Furniture

Products like ‘Carpet Fresh’ have been linked to bird deaths. The producers of ‘Carpet Fresh’ say it is safe for animals, but they admit that birds have a complicated immune system and because they are different from dogs and cats that it may be harmful re: their site.

For spills, immediately blot with a clean cloth or paper towel. For most spots, mix liquid soap with water in a spray bottle. Spray lightly and blot with a cloth or towel. For grease, cover with baking soda. Allow the grease to be absorbed by the baking soda before vacuuming. For odours, sprinkle carpet with plan baking soda. Let sit for 15 minutes, then vacuum.

Carpet shampoos may contain toxic ingredients such as ammonia and perchlorethylene, a known carcinogen. Plant-based cleaning products such as citrus cleaners are preferable. Use a steam- cleaning machine with 10 to 15 drops of grapefruit seed extract per gallon of water. Many hospitals are now starting to use this extract or products made from this extract for carpet cleaning.

Windows

Window and glass cleaner: 1 gallon water, 1 cup white vinegar. Apply with cloth or spray bottle and clean with a linen cloth. Make sure your bird is secured when cleaning windows so that they do not fly out while you are cleaning.

For extra sparkle, polish clean windows with a crumpled piece of newspaper when nearly dry. Or crumple up black and white newspaper and dip in white vinegar. Wipe the glass until almost dry, then shine with dry newspaper. The drawback to this method is that newspaper print may rub off on the wood surrounding the glass. Best used for inner portions of large expanses of glass. When polishing windows use up and down strokes on one side of the window and side-to-side strokes on the other to tell which side has streaks. Lemon juice removes greasy fingerprints on windows.

Also see Air Fresheners to safely make your home smell wonderful!