Thursday, March 22, 2007

Going green at home

I admit that going green isn't easy. We're down to one minivan and a scooter. The scooter is husband's transportation to work and it is saving us money and hopefully saving the environment a bit. I can't ditch the minivan yet because on at least three days a week I'm transporting 4 in carseats -- I don't think the Prius would do. Once the kids are out of the carseats we'll scale down to something that drinks a bit less.
I've recently started focusing on going green at the old homestead. I am a bit of a clean freak -- don't read that as neat freak because mess is apparent in all areas of my home but dust and grime are less likely to be found. I have always been a heavy user of all sorts of dangerous substances to clean my house. The more powerful, the better, I always thought. You name it and it was probably in my laundry room/garage. I loved buying cleaning products -- some women like shoes, I love the newest thing from Mr. Clean.
I remember a year or so ago I was shopping in Whole Foods (something I rarely do because it is too much for our humble finances) and I noticed their natural cleaning products. I stopped for a second to browse the offerings but moved on without much thought.
Last month things changed. The drain in our master bathroom shower decided to stop working. Husband went out and bought some liquid plumber or something. Didn't help. Next stop the hardware store for advice and they pointed us to this crazy lye containing product that had a skull and crossbones on it. They said it would do the trick. I worried for husband's safety as he poured the junk down the drain and ventilated the room. Next morning drain was still being a jerk. Back to the hardware store where we bought a snake -- what a sight it was with husband and I trying to get that thing down the drain. It did el-zilcho. I hopped online to find help and was pointed to a natural remedy of baking soda and vinegar. Husband was still cursing at the drain as I poured in a bunch of baking soda and vinegar. The drain hissed and fizzed at us -- we waited a few minutes and then poured boiling water down the drain. Presto, chango, the clog was cleared. All it took was a little help from some natural ingredients.

Since then I've been online looking for recipes for natural cleaners. I've been using baking soda paste to clean the grout in my bathrooms, a mixture of vinegar, soap and water to clean windows and surfaces like that, a little baking soda sprinkled on the carpet before vaccuming, hot water and vinegar to clean our granite and kitchen floors, etc....
There are two things I will find hard to give up -- Comet for my kitchen sink (nothing gets it as white as my beloved Comet) and Pledge for my wood surfaces. I read something about using cooking oil on wood, but that really just freaks me out. I may give it a try, but I'm highly skeptical.
Oh, I lied, I do admit to loving the clorox wipes for everyday use on bathroom counters and toilets -- germs freak me out and my brain won't let me believe that my vinegar and water mixture is killing the germs on the seat. I have a bunch that I stocked up on and when that is gone I told myself I'll buy no more. We'll see....

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