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clean green (and delurk)

February 17, 2008

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one evening last week i asked a woman i work with if she had ever tried pre-cooked bacon, because i had a hankering for a blt, but didn’t want to deal with actually cooking the bacon. she told me that pre-cooked bacon is nasty, and that she always cooks bacon in the microwave. what??? i asked her how to do it. she says “take two paper towels . . .”

“oh, wait,” i say, “we don’t use paper towels.”

“how do you live without paper towels?!” she asked, in amazement.

i explained how last time we purchased a roll of paper towels it took almost a whole year to use them up, and had only bought them because we moved to our condo and needed to do some serious cleaning, fast.

we use microfiber cloths and my newest favorite thing: a european sponge cloth made by “twist.” the microfiber cloths go into the washing machine, and the sponge cloth can be sanitized in the microwave on high for 20 seconds, or in dishwasher cycle. we have 20 or so microfiber cloths, it takes about two weeks to cycle through all of them. we have about 8 kitchen towels, i keep two out at a time, one for clean dishes and one to dry our hands.

the woman i work with started blabbering something about germs. well, we’ve survived. and plus, i am more afraid of the chemicals in all those household cleaners than i am of any of the germs they will kill.

why bother killing germs with chemicals when you can just wash them away with soap and water or vinegar? common vinegar, sold at the grocery store in the salad-dressing isle kills 99% of bacteria, 82% of mold and 80% of viruses. i keep a spray bottle of vinegar under the kitchen sink for daily use. vinegar also dissolves soap scum (acid vs. base, it’s just plain chemistry), and works effortlessly to clean the shower. if you don’t like the scent of vinegar, which will dissipate after a few minutes (depending on how much you use), a few drops of peppermint or lime essential oil covers most of the smell. commercial cleaners also have an unpleasant smell that lingers but they also make breathing more difficult, and cause sneezing and wheezing unlike vinegar.

the makers of clorox disinfecting kitchen cleaner state that the product “kills 99.9% of common household bacteria and other germs.” i am fine living with the possibility that vinegar may have let less than 1% of my household bacteria and viruses live, especially since vinegar won’t contribute to the creation of drug-resistant germs like chemical anti-bacterial agents. the new line of clorox green works is a farce, for more reasons than i will address in this post. clorox touts the new product being “99% natural” but these cleaners still use ethanol, artificial colors and fragrances that are harmful to the environment when they get into the water supply, and into the air in our homes.

another issue is cost. a gallon of vinegar sells for less than $2 a gallon. a 32oz. spray bottle of the clorox disinfecting kitchen cleaner sells for between $3.50-$4.40, that adds up to $14-$17.60 a gallon! i purchased our microfiber cloths at target for $8 for a pack of 10 (in the isle with car products, the same cloths in the household cleaning isle cost almost twice as much). cheep no-name brand paper towels retail for about $2 a roll, how long would $8 worth of paper towels last in your home?

i also use baking soda and club soda for cleaning . . . but that can be a post for another day.

you can start small. next time you run out of kitchen cleaner or one of those daily shower sprays buy a gallon of vinegar and a spray bottle. not only are you now able to help the environment by halting the use of chemicals and using a refillable bottle, you are also saving a whole lot of money.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 11, 2008 11:28 am

    Good post! Will have to try the vinegar. Does the smell really go away?

  2. jvalways permalink*
    June 11, 2008 4:55 pm

    yes, the smell goes away. also, if you put a few drops of essential oil in the spray bottle that helps a lot, my favorite is lime. you could dilute, but that would have an effect on the bacteria killing power.
    i also learned this weekend that vinegar will kill plants and works really well for the weeds that grow in the cracks of sidewalks and driveways.

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