I feel a bit ‘Stepford Wife’ writing a blog about (green) cleaning. Isn’t it boooring - don’t we want more in life!? Yes. But the fact is that the mundane tasks in life need to be done. The facts are also that the way we live is not sustainable and it really is crunch time in terms of the need to CHANGE. No area of our lifestyles is immune - we need to look at everything we do and think “is this working with the environment, or against it”. I don’t have all the answers but I know this - you and I need to keep addressing these issues and thinking about how we live.
In hindsight, it potentially wasn’t the most sensible time to give up ‘cleaning products’ but I did just that in the weeks and months after my first child was born. My horrified friends would throw up their hands and cry “you’re not properly CLEANING your house and you have a newborn baby”!?!?
I had been cleaning the bathroom one day - I had parked my baby up on the bathroom floor and began the spraying and scrubbing routine on the bath. I got that horrible feeling you get in your throat when you spray and breathe in close proximity - it suddenly occurred to me that he was breathing all this gunk in too. Then I thought about bathtime only an hour away - even if I rinsed well, there would be some product left over which he would then be marinating in very shortly.
Not to mention the thought of where it was going next on it’s journey once I had rinsed it away. Cleaning product labels are usually covered with warnings about getting it in your eyes, about wearing gloves when you use them, some even too harsh to have on your skin. If we are so careful about not getting into contact with those chemicals ourselves, isn’t it logical to worry about where it goes next and what else might be exposed to it once it’s left our drains?
It didn’t sit right with me so I finished up the bottles I had and bought a book full of green cleaning recipes.
The advantages are it’s much cheaper, I know what’s going into my cleaning products because I put it there myself, I can be creative with smells (essential oils), I’m using a simple, chemical free product, I have one plastic bottle that I refill - I’m not buying new plastic bottles when it runs out and my cupboard is not full of endless bottles of products.
The disadvantages are that not all of the methods I now use give me an ‘advert style' sparkling home but I’m OK with that. I don’t want to live in an advert. Some of the methods take more work - bleaching a loo gets instant stark white results. The alternatives are not as ‘nuclear’ as bleach and so take more patience and lower expectation of the results.
After five years of trial and error I’m now down to these practises:
Instead of bleaching the loo clean - use coke. Leave it in the loo to soak overnight and you have to do it a few nights running as it isn’t as ‘nuclear’ as bleach
I have an all-purpose cleaner - one cup of vinegar, fill the bottle with water, add essential oil. It will separate but just shake it before using. I use this to clean all my surfaces and floors.
Bicarbonate of soda does sinks, baths and showers - and it does it really well. Border-line advert, even!
So, there you have it! A few tips and tricks from me on how to keep on top of the boring yet necessary business of cleaning and minimising your impact on the environment too.
Thanks so much for sharing these Beth - I have always been conscious of what we let run into our water courses and so need to get on and do a bit of research into the effects of any cleaning products (eco or not) on this, from an ecologist's perspective. Agreed - if it's something you can eat it is surely better than the toxic chemicals with all the warnings. We know just how our homes can get messed up with wet dogs and muddy kids running in and out so a green clean routine is just the ticket - win WIN!
Just a little note to say that we are adding a few discount codes for the latter half of the month. So, to see if anyone's got this far and fancies joining the GROWbox revolution, if you use the code CLEANGREEN you will get 10% off you GROWbox order. Enjoy!
July's GROWbox will be focussing on world food, places around the world and nature that we need on every continent - Order now!
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