AT THE start of the Covid-19 pandemic back in March 2020, my Aunt Tita Blitte, cousin Dona and Julie, our all-around helpmate, were in a quandary.
The early, strict lockdown limited their opportunity to buy cleaning agents and bug repellents. It was then they heard from a neighbor, and later they themselves rediscovered traditional ways of solving cleaning problems, and zapping ants and creepy-crawlies like cockroaches.
In honor of World Environment Day, which is being celebrated today, the Powerpuff Girls of the family have pooled their talents and energies to help Mother Earth with DIY remedies to keep the house clean.
“Why not just Reddit it, Obz. I’m sure they have a solution to every problem,” said Peetong, my cousin Dona’s husband. Dona chimed in. “It’s more fun in the neighborhood over the fence asking for a solution to a pesky problem.”
ANTS. When red ants decided to build their camp on our porch, biting us without provocation, Dona tried everything to evict them to no avail. Then over the fence, Dona consulted our neighbor on a good remedy.
Sprinkle baby powder on the opening of the ant’s nest. Generously sprinkle the powder along the tracts used by the ants, and on the ants themselves. It worked.
SALT SCRUB. To remove watermarks, sprinkle rock salt on the affected area. Vigorously rub. Repeat as needed.
BOTTLE STAINS. Rock salt also effectively cleans bottle stains created by wine and soy sauce. Fill the bottle with two or more tablespoons of rock salt. Add a bit of water just enough to moisten it. Shake vigorously.
When stains come off, fill the bottle with half-cup water, shake and rinse. Repeat as needed.
BAKING SODA can neutralize fridge odor. One cup placed in the refrigerator will do the job. Baking soda with a pinch of sugar will kill pesky roaches. One formula suggests a ratio of 1:1:1 of boric acid, sugar and baking soda. Use with care if there are children at home.
ESSENTIAL OILS. Cockroaches are repelled by essential oils like peppermint, lavender and citrus. Dab in places they like to lurk. Essential oils can be mixed into a cup of baking soda. Add broken cinnamon bark or powder. Not only do you have a roach repellent, you also have a room freshener! Keep out of reach of children!
PEST KILLER. Mix one tablespoon chili powder or hot pepper elixir (1/2 cup fresh chilies minced and boiled in two cups water, strained, cooled), one tablespoon dishwashing liquid and one liter water. The solution repels worms, bugs and aphids.
Another bug spray can be made with 1 1/2 tablespoon dishwashing soap dissolved in 1 liter of water. Good for beetles and aphids. (More next week.)