Squeaky Clean and Thrifty.
Supermarket shelves groan under the weight of many and varied cleaning potions. Television advertisements highlight the superior results, all achieved with minimum of fuss and effort, of these cleaning products. We’re led to believe that a whole range of cleaning products are necessary to keep the home clean and therefore we have cupboards which bulge with a variety of cleaning products which all come at a cost, both financially and environmentally. It is important to run a clean and fresh home. The good news is that keeping a home clean does not have to cost a fortune, nor does it have to negatively impact our health or the environment and there is no need to use a different product for everything.
Contrary to what advertisements would have us believe, cleaning does demand a bit of elbow grease at times and the trick is to keep on top of cleaning so that it is a regular chore but not a really difficult chore. It is amazing what can be achieved with a bucket of hot water, some rags, a few bubbles and some elbow grease. Staples for cleaning include white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, essential oils and disinfectants. I love to use my essential oils in the home as they leave a fresh, invigorating fragrance as well as being anti bacterial, anti fungal and basically anti everything plus they leave no residue of nasty chemical toxins. Some old time cleaning hints are worth trying; oil of cloves will kill mould, use linseed oil, olive oil or coconut oil to polish timber furniture, ammonia or cloudy ammonia, eucalyptus oil and Borax have many household uses. I recommend John Schluter’s 1001 Greener Household Hints, Hinkler Books ISBN 186515456-3 for useful, economical and environmentally kind cleaning ideas.
As a general rule we use too many cleaning products and we use too much of the product. The amount used in most cases can be reduced and I will use washing detergent as an example. Provided you do not have exceptionally dirty, greasy clothes to launder, washing detergent can be reduced as most of the dirt is removed through the agitation of the clothes in the wash and through good rinsing, so experiment to see how much (little) detergent is really needed to produce a clean wash. Sunlight and fresh air are nature’s cleaners and de-odourisers so allow as much fresh air and sunlight into the home as possible. Peg the washing on the line and save that electricity by not using the dryer plus the sunlight and breeze will give the wash a lovely fresh smell.
There are many books available on simple, thrifty and green household cleaning products as well as lots of information on the net. A bit of trail and error and adjustments may need to be made and not every idea you read will be a good one but the same as with my cooking, I like to read a lot of information to understand principles and basics and then play.
Next blog, I will include some recipes and some hints. But remember, if it is is good for you, generally it will be good for the environment, for your health and your bank balance.