Commercial products for cleaning, polishing, etc. could contain animal substances and more likely have been tested on animals.
Some of them could even be harmful for the environment. Forty-five toxic chemicals emitted from household items mix with air and dust that slowly but surely harm us according to a comprehensive review in Environmental Science and Technology by three universities and two environmental groups of USA.
Below are some alternatives you could use, so do try making some of these household product recipes. And, if you yourself have any effective recipes or ahinsak tips, please do send them to BWC so they can be added on this page.
Humane Insect Repellents
Umpteen pesticides and insecticides are available. Almost all kill. However, the following methods repel the insects:
• Ant control: Pour a line of cream of tartar (mineral) at the place where ants enter the house — they will not cross it. Wash counter-tops, cabinets, and floors with equal parts of vinegar and water to repel ants.
• Anti-termite treatment: Apply suitable anti-termite formulas to wood before monsoon to protect it from being ravaged by white ants/termites. It only works as a preventive.
• Beehive removal: Place a rag preferably soaked in kerosene (mineral) or camphor/kapoor (wood origin) tied in muslin cloth as close to the hive as possible. Keep an exit for the bees to fly elsewhere.
• Caterpillars: Stripping old fruit from the vines and trees will keep insects from laying eggs.
• Cockroach repellent:
1. Place whole bay leaves/tej patta and/or peeled cucumber in locations which the cockroaches are frequently found.
2. The entire house can be made cockroach-proof if boric powder (mineral) is sprinkled or mixed into the plaster/paint on all walls and ceilings before painting.
• Flea and tick repellent: For companion animals. Feed brewer’s yeast and garlic. Also Vitamin B if you can get non-animal alternative. Place herbs such as fennel/kalonji, rue/brahmi, pennyroyal, and rosemary and/or eucalyptus/nilgiri seeds and leaves, where the animal sleeps or on the animal to repel fleas. Add one to two drops of either lemon-grass or citronella/ganjani oil to the dog’s shampoo or in the last water rinse.
• Mosquito repellents:
1. Eucalyptus oil or neem oil.
2. Put a couple of camphor/kapoor (wood) pieces in a small bowl of water and stand below the bed. Ensure that no small children, cats or dogs can reach it.
3. Just before sunset, burn incense/loban (mineral) on coal and carry vessel through all the rooms of the house so the smoke circulates.
4. It is said that high levels of Vitamin B12 in blood prevent mosquitoes from biting. (Veg origin Vitamin B12 tablets are available.)
• Moth and Silverfish repellent: Place red cedar, sandalwood chips or tobacco leaves around clothes, books, etc. Camphor/kapoor, cloves/lavang, potpourri sachets, eucalyptus and neem leaves, also help. Mothballs (Naphthalene) are as effective and do not kill if tied in muslin and suspended in the cupboard.
• Tree guards: Coconut and fruit trees need to be protected from bats, squirrels, birds, etc. Knowing it is not cent percent effective, the ahinsak way of doing it is to cover the coconuts or fruits with netting. However, tall metal fencing put around individual trees protects them from animals eating the foliage.
General household aids
• Air freshener: Leave an open box of baking soda (mineral) in the room so it absorbs the bad odours. Add cloves/laung and cinnamon/dalchini/tuj to boiling water and simmer so that the aroma fills the air. Scent the house with herbs, and open the windows.
• Drain opener: Prevent clogging by using a drain strainer or by flushing drain weekly with boiling water. If clogged, pour ½ cup vinegar down the drain.
• Fertiliser: Kitchen garbage converted into compost.
• Odour remover: On carpet or furniture (from spills or accidents) blot the fresh stain with a cloth soaked with cider vinegar.
• Pesticide: Crush garlic and soak in hot water, then cool and spray the water on plants. A dilute solution of one litre of groundnut oil in a hundred litres of water sprayed on the papaya plants is a desi cure for papaya mosaic disease.
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