Parent to Parent: Spring Cleaning and Earth Day, Together
Parent to Parent
Spring Cleaning and Earth Day, Together.
by Patti Hermes
April 22nd is Earth Day. If you’ve fallen off of some of your environmental resolutions you made last year, here is one to stick with: spring cleaning the environmentalist way. It’s not only good for the environment, it’s better for your family and for the entire community.
Now in most people’s thinking, spring cleaning and the environment do not go together. Unless you count recycling all those plastic bottles we buy from the grocery store that are full of chemicals that we sprayed around our homes and rinsed down the drain, what else can we do? How about not using the chemicals in the first place?
Sure there are less toxic ways of cleaning our homes, and you can disinfect your countertops without polluting. My grandmothers were cleaning their homes before Formula 409 and they were fine. Yes, some of the “old ways” take a bit more elbow grease, but you probably need more exercise anyway. And you may find some of these tips are surprisingly easy.
Imagine buying most of your cleaning supplies in the baking aisle of the local supermarket. Well, that’s where you’ll find your distilled white vinegar and baking soda, the backbone of household cleaning. Stock up on plenty of vegetable oil for polishing, as well. Don’t forget the lemons for the “lemon fresh scent”.
In the laundry aisle, pick up some borax and washing soda. If you can stand it, a little ammonia in the right places adds some muscle to tough cleaning jobs. Use rubber gloves to save your hands, washable rags to save on paper towels, and plenty of reusable spray bottles.
Now for the actual recipes, there are tons of them on the internet. Just google “clean without chemicals” and you’ll find what you need. Basically, vinegar and water clean many surfaces, especially windows (wipe with newspapers – no streaking!). Borax works well as a disinfectant and in place of bleach. Check recipes carefully, as some ingredients can be reactive when mixed, and use what works for you.
Remember that even though your cleaners may be made out of the baking aisle, they are still cleaners, and should be kept out of reach of children at all times. And make sure to clearly label all of your bottles, so you know exactly what’s what, and avoid any costly accidents.
If homemade cleaners are just not going to happen in your home, you still have plenty of options in avoiding the typical toxic cleaning chemicals. There are many companies that will do the mixing and bottling for you and you can purchase environmentally friendly concoctions both on the internet and even in your local supermarket.
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