Monday, April 27, 2009

Greener Cleaner

I used to be a very cluttered person. And I never really knew how to clean. But as I have begun to cleanse internally, the mental and emotional clutter has started to clear and naturally, I now desire an external space that reflects my internal space.  Suffice it to say, I now can be found cleaning and tidying a lot more often than I ever thought I would. When things are in order it gives me a sense of peace. It is very calming.  Cleaning gurus "as seen on TV" often speak to the opposite order of things, that organizing your space will give you mental clarity. While that may be true, I see that as more of a band-aid. A symptom reliever - like taking a pain reliever for a headache.  Something that masks the symptom but does not heal the source.  From my studies of homeopathy, I have learned that we heal from inward to outward, therefore permanent change can only start on the inside. You know, the same that any weight loss program will tell you. You have to heal the deeper problem to be able to truly heal and ultimately achieve a healthy body.  

Ok blah blah blah, fast forward. I clean a lot now and obviously I want to move away from chemical cleaners so that when I do so I am not giving us or our planet a dose of toxins.  I have switched mostly away from paper towels, though I find them quite necessary for dog accidents and other equally foul jobs.  I use micro-fiber towels and rags for all of my wiping needs these days.  They work well and can be thrown in the laundry with our abundance of dish towels and cloth napkins.  

I have found that pumice stone, the one made to scrub callouses off your feet, does a fantastic job at removing hard water stains from the toilets, tubs, and showers.   I still use a commercially prepared green cleaner for general toilet scrubbing. Well, let's just call it yellow- green, because its made by Clorox and I intend to stop purchasing their products sooner rather than later. But the ingredients are natural so at least it has that going for it.

I use a lot of lemons. At least a dozen a week, probably more.  I felt bad throwing the rinds in the compost knowing they contained all that lovely lemon oil that could be used if I could only get to it.  Thank goodness for Google.  I learned that throwing a bunch of rinds in a bath tub overnight could then be drained and shined to a gleaming finish. I was skeptical at first and so was Evan when he saw our tub with floating with the beginnings of lemonade. He was gracious enough to shake his head and dismiss it as one of my odd experiments.  It turns out it really did leave the tub sparkling and I got one more use out of the lemons before they were retired to the compost bin.

When we visited Vermont this winter I picked up a local green magazine called the Green Living Journal.  It was really a great little periodical. I really wish one existed in our area.  In it was a list of green cleaner and cosmetic recipes. I have tried a few so far. 

Tub Scrub:  Mix 1/2 cup of baking soda and enough liquid soap (I use Dr. Bronner's) to make a frosting-like consistency.  Great for scrubbing sinks, showers, and the like.   I then was informed I could add this mix to my dishwasher along with plain vinegar in the rinse cup. This worked very well but I should issue the caution that only a tiny bit was needed.  The first time I had a bit of a bubble-overflow all over the floor.

Spray Cleaner:  1 tsp Borax, 1/2 tsp detergent, 1/4 cup distilled vinegar and 2 cups of hot water. Mix and add to a spray bottle.

There are also recipes for floor shine, linoleum spray, window wash, toilet bowl, oven cleaner, drain cleaner, facial astringent, and lotion.  They also have a sesame oil sunblock which I plan to try very soon. I'll report back on that.

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