Sunday, January 3, 2010

Green Clean

Mr. F. is a closet hippie. You would never guess from his outside appearance that he would dabble in making his own deodorant (which works amazingly by the way, but that is another post altogether....), play around with going "no-poo," and make his own cleaners out of harmless ingredients like vinegar and baking soda. For one thing, he is a freakin' engineer, which means his personality lends itself to being particular *cough* anal *cough* especially when it comes to cleanliness. He is also has the smell sensitivity of a woodland animal and can detect the barest hint of mildew, dust, scent, dirt, etc. To me, this personality doesn't exactly mesh with my preconceived images of earth-loving, water-conserving, natural-styling, dreadlock-wearing hippies.

I grew up in a liberal state and went to a comparatively liberal university. I knew a lot of hippies and environmentalists. I even considered myself an environmentalist. I was all for recycling and protecting our natural resources. However, there was a line that I was not going to cross: I was not going to smell; my apartment wasn't going to smell. I was going to be clean, my clothes were going to be clean, and my living space was going to be clean. To me, that meant showering everyday, using chemicals to clean the bathroom, and washing my clothes using powerful detergents after a couple of wearings. I just didn't believe that you could not smell and be clean and while also being environmentally friendly.

Mr. F. changed all that for me. I remember coming to his house and seeing a spray bottle on the kitchen counter that he used as a multipurpose cleaner. I was surprised to learn that it only contained vinegar and water. "And this works?" I asked. But it was apparent that it worked. Mr. F.'s apartment both smelled and looked nice and clean. This was a epiphany for me! Being environmentally friendly did not necessarily equate to a faint smell of mustiness and body odor.

Not only are these cleaners more environmentally friendlier, they are also considerably less expensive than those you can buy at the store (both the traditional and also the "green" cleaners). You can stock up on big bags and containers of borax, vinegar, and baking soda and be set for most of your cleaning needs. I also don't have to worry about any toxic fumes and how that might affect both me and baby F.

"Chinese Waves" dishrag detail

For Christmas, I gave a way Green Cleaning Kits to my sisters and a couple of friends. In them, I included some dishrags that I had knitted (a really nice, simple pattern), a dish cloth, a spray bottle, some basic ingredients, and a collection of recipes. I thought I would share with you the recipes as well in hopes that you may also be inspired to make greener, cleaner choices. If nothing else, it could save you a few pennies every month. On the document, I have included the sources where I obtained most of the recipes. Those books are great resources for basically any cleaning question/need.

Let me know how these work for you.


yola said...

The cleaning kit came just in time to clean up the sty. Thank you! :D

hope you had a great new years!

Janssen said...

This is awesome. I'll definitely be using this! Thank you!

Wild Rose said...

thanks for the kit. what a lovely idea. we have quiet battles around here over the use of chemicals or not. we will start using the homemade kind and see if we can make a convert ...

Melanie said...

What a great gift! Thanks for sharing your recipes.

Alicia said...

Cleaning green is definitely a healthy choice and a great gift to give others. I also make my own cleaning products with vinegar and tea tree oil and have found that my family doesn't get sick as much now that we have rid our home of harsh chemicals.


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