So first up on my list was:
“Green cleaning, what’s it all about? – switch to homemade or eco-friendly cleaners and test them out”
Since this is my blog and my project, I’m going to define Green Cleaning/ cleaners as follows: a method of cleaning that is less toxic to myself and the environment than what I was previously using and also works. Basically I would like to avoid: artificial fragrances, synthetic dyes, chlorine bleach, ammonia, petroleum-derived ingredients, and other harmful ingredients, such as Triclosan as much as possible. Although it’s difficult to tell what’s in some cleaning products since they aren’t required by law to tell you what is in them.
My number one concern was the cleaner we use in the kitchen. We clean a lot and also tend to prepare food on our counters a lot, so it began to dawn on me that perhaps we don’t need the same chemical spray I use to clean the toilet with. I searched through a ton of websites and found a lot of different recipes, but this was the most common:
All purpose kitchen spray:
50/50 mix of vinegar and water
essential oil of your choice – I used lemon… a lot of it
You don’t need to add the oil, but if you don’t I hope you enjoy the smell of vinegar. It doesn’t last that long, but it does come on strong. I added about 20 drops of the oil and that seemed to overtake the vinegar (will depend on the strength of your oil). I have been using the concoction for about a week now and all seems good… I think. That’s been the difficult part of this project, I don’t really have any data to work with. I can’t really count the bacterial level of my counters before and after or the residue of toxic chemicals in my food. Some aspects were easier to judge though, for example my chrome is shining and my shower mold is a leaving. So I guess this one will be based on trust and a little science. Here’s what we know about how vinegar cleans from the About.com Green Cleaning page:
” The low pH (i.e., 2.0 pH for lemon and 2.2 pH for vinegar) and acid content of the citrus and vinegar (i.e., citric and acetic acid, respectively) make it an inhospitable environment for many microorganisms to grow. So it is great at combatting germs and mold while you clean!
In addition, the high acidity level of lemons, limes, and vinegar help loosen mineral deposits, such as lime and calcium, and dissolve soap scum due to their alkaline nature. Plus, this cleaner helps remove stains, such as coffee and tea, so it is especially great for cleaning kitchen sinks and more.”
Other ways I have started using vinegar (sometimes with it’s superstar sidekick baking soda):
As a rinse aid in the dishwasher
spraying down the shower curtain
cleaning mold off the shower grout
magically cleaning the microwave
Hooray, I’m sold.