Green Cleaning

Recently I realized that this blog isn’t just about Allyssa or even about Shane.  It’s about all of us.   To that extend I’m going to post some of my recent thoughts, etc.

Lately I’ve been thinking about green cleaning.  While I’ve thought about it before, and looked into going more green, I ended up just checking out the books, and reading through them.  I never actually made any of the formulas or tried them.

Recently though, I picked up some DR BRONNER’s Liquid Castile Soap – Lavender Organic, 8 oz, I had been doing some reading on castile soap and finally decided to try some. It is a gentle soap in which a little goes a long way.  It is actually a soap and not a detergent like most of what we find is stores now.  The reason to stay away from detergents when possible is that not only are they harsh, but they are also make out of petroleum products.   Things that are not only bad for us, but also bad for our environment.

I am starting with the household cleaners and such I use.  They are expensive to buy, and filled with chemicals which are hard on the skin, typically stink, and aren’t safe for my family or our environment.  While I knew that the castile soap could be used, I wasn’t sure of portions and what would compliment so I went to the library again and picked up some books.

From The Naturally Clean Home: 100 Safe and Easy Herbal Formulas for Non-Toxic Cleansers by Karyn Siegel-Maier I made a wonderful Lavender Soft Scrubber.  It worked great all over the bathroom, including Allyssa’s plastic tub which I found had a soap scum ring.  I love the scent, it’s super soft on my hands and I had everything already, most of it in the kitchen.  Since lavender has antibiotic, antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties, I also know that it’s a healthy clean and not  just appears clean.  It’s also something I can use to clean those tough spots in the kitchen and  not have to worry about nasty chemical residue when I do.

I also picked up Organic Housekeeping: In Which the Non-Toxic Avenger Shows You How to Improve Your Health and That of Your Family, While You Save Time, Money, and, Perhaps, Your Sanity by Ellen Sandbeck.  She has some wonderful tips and is more from the how to get it done right and quick so you can move on to something other than cleaning school of thought.  She has a great tips about how to disinfect food and counters.  It uses hydrogen peroxide and vinegar.   Basically hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) releases it’s extra oxygen when it comes into contact with organic material, heat or light.  Why that makes it a great cleaner is that microorganisms find pure oxygen extremely toxic. Which means when it meet organic matter, it kills the organisms and leaves water behind.

So why do you need the vinegar?  Through testing it turns out that while hydrogen peroxide is 100 times more effective than vinegar together they are 10 times more effective than just hydrogen peroxide.  As for what to do, it’s a simple dual spray system.  One bottle needs to be dark and completely opaque and that is for the hydrogen peroxide (just the regular 3% solution you get from the drug store is perfect).  The other bottle of another color is for the vinegar (just your normal white vinegar).  First spray with vinegar then follow up with the hydrogen peroxide (until it no longer bubbles).  Then you’re done.  No need to even rinse, and it’s completely safe for humans consumption after.  If you are doing produce remember to wash off the dirt and grit first.  For meat just follow the two steps.  For counters and other surfaces just follow the two steps and you’re all set, no need to even wipe it dry.

One last note though, do not use vinegar to clean calcium-based stone, such as marble, limestone, dolomite, and calcite since vinegar will dissolve them over time.  Organic Housekeeping has some other wonderful tips as well, so I definitely recommend giving it a read.  I’m going to try some other tips she gives, but I haven’t yet.  I like her tips on how to keep your mop water clean, but it will make more laundry.  So I’ll have to pick up some more dish cloths and give that and some of her other tips a try.

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