Sunday, July 3, 2011

Reducing Waste - Cleaning Supplies

Continuing along in our series on reducing waste, I'd like to discuss the massive amount of product that advertisers would like to convince us are necessary for cleaning our homes.

Years ago I did a series of classes on thrift.  Sounds exciting, doesn't it.  Yawn.  As I was preparing for these classes, I realized there are four basic cleaners you need to take care of your home.  I'm not talking about some of the out of the ordinary tasks we are occasionally faced with, which may need something more specific.  I'm talking the day to day ordinary boring cleaning we all have to do. 

Category #1 is a detergent.  We all need some sort of soap for cleaning our kitchens, bathrooms, floors, walls, etcetera.  Soap is soap, so you can use dish detergent, old shampoo, liquid soap, you name it, if it bubbles and smells good and tackles dirt, go for it. 

Category #2 is a disinfectant.  Once you have cleaned whatever it is you're cleaning, you may want to disinfect it.  I learned in a food safety course I had to take for work that you have to wash a dish and then disinfect it, otherwise you're just disinfecting the dirt on the plate.  Makes sense.  There are lots of choices for disinfectants, but the three safest and cheapest are vinegar, bleach, and rubbing alcohol.  (Referencing the food safety course again, according to the gov't, bleach is a safe sterilizer because when it evaporates, it's gone.  No harmful residue on dishes or surfaces.)  My mum says in her early nursing days the nuns would have the girls disinfect everything with rubbing alcohol if there was an outbreak in the hospital.  I have used it in my home when we have our own little outbreaks, and let me tell you, it really makes the chrome sparkle!

Category #3 is a grease cutter.  Something to make things sparkle in your house.  I like vinegar and water.  Windex is most people's choice.

Category #4 is a scouring agent, to get the tough dirt and grime and soap scum.  Comet, Old Dutch, baking soda, even salt will work.  

So there you have it, four relatively inexpensive, safe cleaners, and you should have a sparkling clean house! 

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