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Five organic and non-toxic ways to keep your car clean: Take a deep breath inside your auto

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I am one of those people who consciously choose to use organic ingredients whenever I can. That goes for the food I eat to the products I use.

Organic has become a big buzzword in our nation and economy. I grew up in a tiny town in the country and we had a garden. My parent’s parents had gardens. We grew vegetables, picked them and ate them. My grandfather had a farm with cows and wide, open spaces. I was taught to respect the land, the environment and what lived on it and in it.

“Organic” is something I took for granted. We didn’t talk about it much; we just tried our best to live it.

We hear and read about products containing toxic ingredients -- frequently -- harming humans and the environment. I thought I’d dig around to find the best ways in which to clean your car with ingredients that will have you breathing easier when you start up your vehicle.

1. Interior

We all know vinegar is a great solution for cleaning (and for keeping weeds at bay in your yard) and that goes for autos too. Club soda is a great spot cleaner and lemon juice makes everything smell good. Combine those three ingredients in a spray bottle (a cup of soda, half cup vinegar and quarter cup of lemon juice) plus a few squirts of dish soap without petroleum and you can clean everything inside the car, including the trim. Spot test the fabric in an inconspicuous place before going all out. Your vehicle will smell like clean like a lemon grove on a sunny spring day. Visualize that as you sit in traffic, but keep your eyes open and don’t look at your phone – that’ll spoil the whole Zen affect you’re trying to achieve.

2. Exterior

Combine quarter cups of baking soda and dish soap (without petroleum) in a gallon jug of water. When you’re ready to wash your car, shake it up and then pour about a cup of the solution in a bucket. Wash and rinse as usual. Then dry off with a soft cloth and squeegee excess water. The non-toxic ingredients that sluice down your driveway and into the ground won’t harm you, your neighbors or the environment.

3. Windshield

White vinegar and water is a great cleaner for glass and the smell goes away in minutes. Wipe with newspaper and it will be streak-free. reports that cream of tartar sprinkled on the windshield and wiped down with soapy water and then rinsed and dried well can prevent it from becoming coated with grime and other particles. I hope it works for parking under trees with birds as well.

4. Headlights

Several sources I checked swear by using toothpaste to scrub headlights. I’ve not tried this but if you’re going to try it, use one without all the funky ingredients such as triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate, and one of the worst – diethanolamine. I use HELLO toothpaste on my chompers so keep a tube in the garage for a quick headlight clean when you need it. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) rates it a 2 on the risk factor scale for toxins. Your teeth and your headlights will be gleaming.

5. Tires

Make a paste of baking soda and water. Grab a scrub brush and work it in to all those nooks and crannies. Take a few minutes to pat yourself on the back for taking the time and initiative to practice good-for-yourself-and-good-for-your-environment practices and then, rinse. For the chrome, that vinegar and water bottle you’ve mixed up for other ego-friendly projects -- spray it on your wheels and rub with a cloth or sponge, then rinse.

I read a few online sources that touted mixing cheap vodka with water and dishwashing soap and pouring it into your windshield-washer reservoir for an alternative to buying that big jug of blue stuff. I’d advise asking a professional before doing that. I don’t know about you, but there are other things I’d rather mix vodka with.

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