Here are tips for cleaning and maintaining your car using healthier and environmentally preferable alternatives.
There is a less toxic antifreeze available made of propylene glycol instead of the more common ethylene glycol. Propylene glycol is safe enough to be a food additive; ethylene glycol is toxic enough to be considered household hazardous waste. Quite a difference. Propylene glycol antifreeze is available from automotive supply stores.
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Caution: Ethylene glycol antifreeze has a sweet smell that is attractive to animals but will poison them if they ingest it. Do not pour it down the drain if you have a septic system. If you are on municipal water, dilute the antifreeze with large quantities of water before pouring it down the drain. Some service stations recycle antifreeze; try to find one. Otherwise, save it for your community's household hazardous waste pickup day.
Windshields - Glycerin Windshield Fluid
A solution of 10 percent glycerin and 90 percent water has a freezing point of 28°F. If the glycerin percentage is increased to 58 percent, the solution's freezing point drops to -10°F. A solution of 5 percent denatured alcohol has a freezing point of 25 degrees F, if the percentage of alcohol is upped to 35 percent, the freezing point drops to -16°F. Combining glycerin and denatured alcohol in a 20 percent solution each with 60 percent water has a freezing point of -23° F.
This formula can be used on painted surfaces and chrome.
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- Enough liquid soap to make a paste
Combine the ingredients in a bowl. Scoop onto a sponge and scrub over splattered bugs until they are loosened. Rinse well. Makes 1/2 cup.
Preparation Time: A few minutes
Shelf Life: Make only enough to use at a time; it will dry out
Oil Away Bird Droppings - Dab some vegetable oil on a rag and wipe off the droppings. Wash with soapy water, then rinse.
Better Basics for the Home: Simple Solutions for Less Toxic Living
Copyright 1999 by Annie B. Bond. Published by Three Rivers Press.
Reprinted with permission of the author.
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