In many ways, the best home cleaners are the ones that come to your house and do it for you. Unfortunately, mine seem to have suddenly abandoned me so I’ve been doing the cleaning myself. Also unfortunately, I’ve realized that many of my cleaners, including the “environmentally friendly” ones, don’t exactly fit the parameters of being truly green.
The first “unfortunately” happened shortly before Easter, and became dire when we were expecting company in a week and were in serious need of a cleaning. Because we’d had cleaners for so long, I didn’t have any bathroom cleansers, though I have amassed a random assortment of items that can be used to create any number of household cleaning products–white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, castile soap, baking soda (lots and lots of baking soda). I found this awesome recipe for my bathroom cleaning and more. It made enough to do my 2.5 bathrooms and then some. I also used it on my stainless steel kitchen sink and coffee pot with awesome results. Also awesome–no need for those awful plastic gloves you have to wear to protect your skin from those traditional cleaners…which made me wonder, if you have to wear gloves to protect yourself from the cleaner, is it really all that clean?
I still had some bathroom cleaner left over and thought I’d try it on my copper pots, but it didn’t really work. But I was so flush with excitement and in the cleaning zone that I thought I’d find another make-your-own recipe for my pots. I read that you can use a mixture of lemon juice and sea or kosher salt mixed into a paste, then rub it on and watch the magic. My mom had gotten me a bottle of RealLemon juice ages ago. Why? I have no idea. But anyway, I thought this would be a good way to try to use some of it up, so I did that instead of squeezing my own lemon juice. Maybe not quite as eco friendly, but better than the other chemical stuff I had, and the results were amazing. Copper never looks as good as the day you took it out of the box, but this came pretty darn close. Added bonus–I didn’t have to wear those gloves, so I was able to really get into the hidden parts of my tea pot. Even my clean-freak mom was impressed.
My second “unfortunately” came when I read this post on goop.com about household cleaners. Aside from being surprised by the cleaners they highlighted in the article, I was shocked to go on the Environmental Working Group’s household cleaner database and find that things I thought were green had terrible grades. Most disappointing was my laundry detergent–Charlie’s soap. We got it when we were washing cloth diapers because it was so highly recommended for that purpose, and we liked the way it made our clothes feel. We purchased the mother lode of it last Christmas, enough to supposedly last four years though I think it could last longer. Over time, I found that it really made our whites pretty dingy, and colors tended to bleed quite a bit. I have several things that were a mix of navy blue and a crisp white that are now a bit more blended 😦 But all in the name of saving the environment, right? Well, it turns out it got a grade D. Guess who will be switching detergents post haste.
I am also now obsessed with the EWG’s Skin Deep website and app. I’ve been scanning every beauty product in my house to see how it fares, and I’m sure the other customers at the Wynnewood Whole Foods thought I was super weird holding all of these products up to my phone. Some of the products around the house were surprisingly not terrible (my kids’ Coppertone sunscreen and our Johnson & Johnson’s baby soap, for instance), and others that I thought would be high on the safe list were not so great (my Aveda conditioner). The terrible things have been removed, like some of the other sunscreen I had for the kids. The not-so-great stuff will be used up then replaced; and the good will, of course, remain.
I must admit I was really surprised by the results of my latest home detox. I thought I was up on all of the greeny stuff and was quite disappointed with myself for falling for what appears to be so much hype. Thank goodness for groups like the EWG that help expose the truth behind the hype, and help us create a truly clean home. Now I can truly breathe easier 🙂