Review: Salt, Lemons, Vinegar, and Baking Soda by Shea Zukowski

Knowing that it would be right up my alley, my mother-in-law bought me the book Salt, Lemons, Vinegar, and Baking Soda by Shea Zukowski for Christmas last year.  The book is a total of 208 pages and is divided into four chapters; “Salt,” “Lemons,” “Vinegar” and “Baking soda.”  Each chapter is then sub-divided into sections:

  • Brief History of _____ (salt, lemons, vinegar or baking soda respectively)
  • How it Works
  • Kitchen Uses
  • Laundry Uses
  • Personal Uses
  • Household Uses
  • Outdoor Uses
  • Pet Uses
  • Kids’ Activities

At the end of the book is a handy housekeeping reference chart, which lists household chores divided into the categories: daily, weekly, monthly, spring, summer, fall and winter.  It then gives you the page numbers that each salt, lemon, vinegar and/or baking soda recipe pertaining to that chore can be found on.

Over the years I have read several books on homemade cleaners and, I have to say that I really like this one a lot.  Most books feature recipes with too many or hard to find ingredients.  If I’m going to go to the trouble of making my own cleaners, I want the process to be just as easy as it is to go to the store and buy its chemical laden counterpart.  In the introduction you will find a list of ingredients and tools that you will need (in addition to the salt, lemons, vinegar and baking soda) to make the 200+ recipes found within.  Most recipes also cross-reference other recipes that may be of use as well, which can be helpful.

Salt, Lemons, Vinegar, and Baking Soda is the book I go to first for homemade cleaners because it is easy to navigate and the recipes are basic.  I consider it my first line of defense against household cleaning.  However, when I need something stronger for problem areas, I do have to look elsewhere.   This makes a great place to start if you’re new to making your own cleaners.  If, however, you’ve been making your own for years then there is likely nothing new to be had in here for you.  Taken for what it is, a simple beginner’s guide, this is a fantastic reference!

Pros

Very handy housekeeping reference chart.
It features all ingredients and tools that I already have on hand.
I don’t recall any recipes that had more than 4 ingredients.
There is only one simple recipe for each area instead of numerous options to overwhelm newbies.
Uses primarily all-natural and non-toxic ingredients that are child-friendly.
The book itself is small with thick pages.

Cons

Less of a “con” and more of a common sense warning: while most ingredients are all-natural and non-toxic, you’ll need to be careful of those containing vodka and ammonia if you have small children.
Many recipes can be found for free online.
Most recipes are ones I’ve seen time and again.
There are absolutely no pictures.

I give this 4 out of 5 stars.

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