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The natural detergent

The natural detergent
News from The Hindu:

The house-help Mary calls it ‘soapkai’ or soap fruit. Known locally in Kannada as “Antwaalad-kai,” in Hindi the name is “Ritha.” This is the soap nut, a saponin laden miracle of nature. Its Latin name is Sapindus Mukorossi or the Indian Soap Berry. Thanks to the local authority and the Forest Department, many trees of the “Ritha” have been planted in the neighbourhood. Summer is the fruit fall season and below the tree one finds a lot of the fruits lying around.

Chitra, an architect, is a big fan of the Ritha berries. On her daily trip to the office on the cycle she never fails to stop and pick up some of them. They are brought home and then dried in the hot sun. Once dry they are put in water and boiled for some time till all the saponin comes out. After a few hours a nice, thick soap liquid is ready. This liquid soap is now ready to be used for many a purpose.

The first is as a clothes washer. A few drops can generate a rich yet gentle lather and clean up the collars of the dirtiest shirts. The liquid can also be tossed with clothes into the washing machine and it does a thorough job of cleaning clothes. The best part is that the wash water is now free of phosphate and other harmful chemicals and can be used for the garden without fear of them harming the plants. The soap nut liquid can be used…………… continues on The Hindu

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Spring cleaning: You can do this
News from Charlotte Observer:

Finally – finally! – spring has arrived. The flowers are blooming, the trees are turning green again and – hey, how did those baseboards get so dusty?

Amid all the joys of spring comes something not quite so inviting: spring cleaning. Done right, it can breathe new life into your home and free your spirit from the weight of clutter, soap scum and dog hair.

“Spring is new beginnings,” said Beth Dannenhauer, owner of the Maid in Heaven cleaning service in Charlotte. “It kind of transcends into the house: ‘Let’s just give this a good cleaning.’ It’s good for the soul.”

And, she points out, it’s also good for the body. Accumulated dust mites, airborne allergens and dust particles can make us sick, especially in today’s nearly air-tight homes.

“Healthwise,” said Dannenhauer, “it’s very important to get that house clean, get it disinfected, do those chores that you maybe don’t do but once a year.”

But while most of us feel at least a tiny twinge of that spring-cleaning bug this time of year, not everyone actually rolls up sleeves and gets it done. We like the idea of a tidier, healthier home, but we don’t really like scrubbing baseboards.

Geralin Thomas, owner of Metropolitan Organizing in Cary, says there are ways to make all those deep-cleaning chores feel less like, well, chores.

“Sometimes it’s…………… continues on Charlotte Observer

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