Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Smelly but awesome

In efforts to become very aware (not obsessed) about what we are cleaning ourselves and our home with, I thought it would be semi-helpful-very helpful to some if I posted this.
I have loved getting to know the "natural" and organic way to clean my house. John and I have always tried to do what's best for our health and our environment to the best of our ability. It takes some extra work sometimes but usually, it's lots easier and cheaper!
Sometimes this means I have to forgo the favorite smells of clean I remember while growing up. However, the longer I clean "green" the more I realize those so called "clean" smells I remember are really quite toxic.

 There are some very good options as far as both everyday and heavy duty cleaners. You don't have to go bleaching everything in site to clean. (That's a whole different post about how bleach really doesn't do what people think it does..)
 Sacrificing health for a clean look or feeling isn't really worth it. It's worth it to be aware of what is actually in the products you use to clean.  I won't get on a rant or a tangent about toxicity or how most people are poisoning their households with cleaners, soaps etc. I will just encourage you to know what you are using to clean. It doesn't take long to get informed. And while it may seem overhwelming at first, it's worth the education to help with quality of life and health, yes?
Most times a product just infects more than it disinfects for reals.
Some of my favorite brands now are:
Method, Seventh Generation, Melelueca, Mrs. Meyers.

So this brings me to a little recipe my mom used to use.

Ok it is notoriously smelly but it also is famous for working VERY WELL and are you aware of how stinking cheap it is?!?
Well, it's cheap.
I get my big 'ol bottles of vinegar for like $.75 each. Quite easy on the budget, if I do say so myself.
There are ways you can make it less smelly. Also, the smell dissipated after an hour or so in most cases. I use mine for cleaning windows. I use it in lieu of jet dry in my dishwasher, I also use it to mop floors if they need a good scrub.
I'd rather be sniffing vinegar which is quite harmless than be sniffing my favorite lavender scented potion of death.
Sorry, I said I would get on rants.
The end.

So let's educate
 The Vinegar Institute (yes, there is an actual institute..) says this:
Vinegar can be made from any fruit, or from any material containing sugar.

it's made like so:
Vinegar is made by two distinct biological processes, both the result of the action of harmless microorganisms (yeast and “Acetobacter”) that turn sugars (carbohydrates) into acetic acid.

the first process is:
alcoholic fermentation and occurs when yeasts change natural sugars to alcohol 

the second process:
 acetic, or acid fermentation in which a group of bacteria (called “Acetobacter”) converts the alcohol portion to acid. 

Safe, safe, safe. I wouldn't recomend drinking it though or leaving it out for your baby to play with on a regular basis..
And it will sting your nose a little but it's not going to do a lot of brain cell modification or harm if you sneak a sniff.

So, here are some easy uses for this super cleaner. Try a couple and see how they work. See how you save money and see how your house sparkles :)

1. General Cleaner and Disinfectant

From countertops and windows to bathtubs to hardwood floors, countless household surfaces can be cleaned with vinegar. “You can clean and disinfect just about anything with vinegar and water,” Joy B. shares. And as mother-of-two Katherine C. advises, you can use pure vinegar or a diluted solution, depending on the severity of the dirty situation: “Use vinegar full-strength for tough cleaning jobs and to remove lime or hard water stains, or mix the vinegar with warm water for a milder green cleaner.”

2. Fabric Softener

“I use vinegar in the rinse cycle to remove residue from detergent and to soften clothes,” shares mother-of-five Lori P. “I use 1 to 2 oz depending on load size. And when clothes are dry there is no vinegar scent.” As a natural fabric softener, vinegar is an especially smart choice when a family member has sensitive skin or allergies to dyes and perfumes.

3. Odor Remover

Is a strong scent lingering in your home? Vinegar is a natural odor remover. Ontario mom Jessica G. boils vinegar to remove odor evidence of her wood-burning stove, while Ohio mother-of-five Deborah B. simply sets out a small bowl of vinegar: “Remove lingering tobacco odors by filling a small bowl or saucer with apple cider vinegar and placing it in the room where the odor is…. within a few days your room will smell fresh and clean.”

4. Stain Remover

Whether you’re cleaning carpets or cloth diapers, vinegar is a powerful stain remover. Mother-of-one Toni L. explains: “Put a good amount of baking soda on the stain, then spray/sprinkle some white vinegar over the baking soda. It will go really bubbly and smell very strongly of vinegar. Put in wash and ta-da! Stain gone!”

5. Blemish Treatment

Vinegar is also a simple remedy for curing pimples. As Joanne E. suggests: “To banish blemishes fast combine 1 tsp. salt and 3 Tbs. vinegar in a bowl and dab on pimples using a cotton ball. Let sit 30 minutes, then rinse with lukewarm water.”

6. Drain Cleaner

Moms like Jodi L. swear by baking soda and vinegar for freshening up kitchen drains: “To keep sink drains clean and odor free I periodically pour baking soda into the drain, then white distilled vinegar. The foaming actions cleans the pipes.”

7. Pots and Pans Cleaner

Why spend 20 minutes scouring off burnt food when vinegar and baking soda can do the work for you? As mother-of-three Sharon G. suggests: “Use vinegar & baking soda for stainless steel pots…Sprinkle the bottoms (inside bottoms) of the pans with baking soda, put on over the heat (stove) pour on vinegar after a minute. This will lift any baked-on crud.”

8. Weed Killer

Vinegar is a helpful tool outside, too. As Vicki H. advises: “Vinegar in a spray bottle kills grass and weeds in sidewalk cracks too...my new fave.”
taken from circleofmoms.com


Like I said, it can be overwhelming but at least it spurs us on to change. 
Happy and Healthy cleaning!!

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