De-chemicalising the house, part two: cleaning products

April 4, 2008 at 11:24 am 2 comments

Spring, ladies and gentlemen, has sprung.

How do I know? Because I’m not wearing any shoes!

I gather the weather tomorrow (when I’m going to be outside waving cardboard planes around in the market place to convince Gordon Brown to include aviation in the Climate Change Bill) is going to be mingy, but for today, I have dug out my flip-flops and flung open the windows and am trying to forget that I only had three hours’ sleep last night. Blimmin’ work. And sourdough. I just flopped into bed and remembered it needed more flour and water stirring into it so had to get up. Quite why I felt it was so urgent when I was getting up in three hours is beyond me, but I suppose it stopped the jargon swimming around in my head.

So, appropriately enough for spring, here is the long-awaited post about my cleaning habits.

It should be quite short, we have a small house and we’re lazy, so cleaning is pretty minimal.

Here is my kitchen cleaning cupboard:

Again, there are many mainstream, petrochemical-filled products, largely inherited from the bf’s old student house. Yep, the other housemates moved out, leaving a box full of unfinished cleaning products, because, obviously, just buying new ones in their new place was easier.* So we swiped them! Then I decided I didn’t want them, I wanted vinegar instead.

Vinegar is fab stuff. As well as stopping me smelling on a daily basis and (more or less) sorting out my hair after the unfortunate avocado oil debacle last week, it can also be used as fabric softener and as surface cleaner.

And in salad dressing.

I have a little spray bottle which I bought in the hardware shop and have now invested in a huuuuge bottle from Summer Naturals (bulk buying = less packaging and fewer pennies).

Lemons are also good. The bf will be nagged until August to get me a lemon tree for my birthday, when I will be able to grow my own in the sitting room. Self-sufficient in lemons. Awesome. So, lemons, as well as being good for (blonde) hair and salad dressing (and cheesecakes and and making lemonade), can be used to descale your kettle, and I scrub any particularly persistent stains on the hob or work surfaces with them too. They have a myriad of other uses too, I’m sure.

Bicarb is another good cleaning product, and has successfully got some red wine out of our carpet.

The only products specifically bought in bottles for cleaning that I use regularly are toilet cleaner, washing-up liquid and washing powder. As we use up the stuff we have, we’ve been replacing them with Ecover or Bio-D products, although I’m not entirely happy with Ecover’s rolling five-year rule on animal testing, and there is still the packaging issue, as I can’t find anywhere nearby that does refills. Grr.** The washing up liquid, floor cleaner and toilet cleaner have all worked fine, but there was a small quality control issue with the laundry liquid didn’t get things clean.***

On the basis that using solid soap, flakes or powders is better than liquid (doesn’t require so many preservatives) and I wanted something that actually worked, we went for some Bio-D powder. It seems to get things cleaner, but left some white powder marks on the bf’s black shirt, and he sulked and wants something else. (However, he still doesn’t get to choose the next lot, as I refuse to take advice on laundry from someone who doesn’t separate whites from colours unless you stand over him and threaten to move to a bedsit in London if he ruins your white bra.)

I also bought some borax, but I don’t know what to do with it. I’d just read about it and thought it sounded useful.

Anyway, I have to toddle off and pick up some plant pots from someone on Freecycle. Maybe I should have thought of this before I eased open the ancient, creaky sash windows. Hmm.

Ooh, and GTM nominated me for an award, which made me feel very grown up, and I will come back later once I’ve had a proper think about who to pass it onto.

* One of his housemates was a nut, though, and properly anal about cleanliness. She’d tidy the
sitting room up and leave all your things in an outraged pile outside your door, and then you’d be taking an important phone message for her and couldn’t even find a pen. I shudder to think how she’d have reacted if we’d wanted to clean things with lemons.

** The ever-wonderful Wiggly Wigglers offer refills. I think you have to buy from them in the first place, though.

*** Let’s just say, I’ve never had a problem before with stains from that time of the month, but since I’ve been using Ecover, I’ve ruined quite a lot of underwear, a pair of pyjamas and a pair of jeans.


Entry filed under: house, seasons.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Holly  |  April 18, 2008 at 11:07 am

    Hydrogen peroxide does a good job of getting out those monthly stains (or any other blood you happen to encounter). The faster you soak them the better, I’ve found. You can soak the stained part in a basin for a few hours, or just douse it in HP right before you do the laundry. The fun part is that it foams on contact. White foam. Red foam would be disturbing.

  • 2. Hamster  |  April 19, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Red foam would be disturbing indeed!

    Can you just buy hydrogen peroxide then? Does it not bleach your clothes? (Thinking of bleached hair, here =)…)


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The Heritage Crafts Network

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