A cleaner, greener home
Last week, I confessed that my husband and I have done a poor job of making our new apartment a home.
While admitting that our disorganized quarters - complete with box room - is a problem was an excellent first step in making a change, I admit there's still much to be done. In fact, everything else.
But, I decided the first step was to look at the way I clean. While keeping organized certainly helps with cleaning, the products I use play a big role in our lives.
My husband hates when I use commercial cleaners - both due to the stinky fumes as well as a firm belief that every time I scrub, spray and shine our home I'm killing brain cells that I will likely need for our future happiness and prosperity. (In my defence, I do make a point of always opening a window.) But the smells bother me too - aggravating migraines, drying out my skin and contacts and just generally making the room unpleasant.
So, inspired by this regular squabble, I went to a DIY green cleaning course last month (read about it here) and learned how to mix up my own cleaners. I felt empowered as I mixed up the lemon essential oil, the washing powder and the vinegar, thinking about how I was doing my part for the environment, being resourceful and healthy and saving money to boot.
But, alas, as a busy, young woman, mixing up cleaners like Grandma used to wasn't the perfect solution. Yes, they worked great - barring the laundry soap, which I thought was too messy because it's powder, not my preference of liquid (which was prompted by the great laundry soap spill of '03 in residence) - and are supposed to be just as effective as cleaning with all those harsh chemicals, just better in every other way.
But, the smell of vinegar, while a vast improvement, did not trigger the joy I hoped for from a gleaming home, and, particularly in the kitchen and bathroom, I feared lingering little germies (I'm a bit of a germophobe. Growing up, I didn't like calling home on pay phones because other people had used them). And lugging buckets of washing soda, vast quantities of vinegar and other necessities from the store to measure and mix before cleaning just lengthened an already long and boring process.
So I sought out an in-between solution - off-the shelf natural brands. Now, companies in Canada are not yet required to label their products and there's no stringent testing to certify things as organic or all natural, so you've got to take manufacturer's claims with a grain of salt. I try to look for the Eco-Logo to reassure me that these products are indeed making an effort and haven't just been made over to capitalize on the green trend.
These products, of which I've now tried several brands, satisfy the eco-conscious, healthier side of my cleaning needs. They don't stink - a particular favourite is a cucumber scented all purpose cleaner - or burn my eyes. I don't need to open all the windows and turn on the fans when I'm using them. Gloves are often not required.
And, those precious brain cells that my husband is so worried about seem to be thriving.