Clean and Green

cleanEven though I am a peace loving environmentalist, I am not really a dirty hippie, because I don’t like to be dirty (so there, see I don’t fit so comfortably into that box:). I tried to have dread locks but couldn’t deal with not washing my hair. I like the house to be sparkling and as soon as I have some extra money I’m going to invest in a green cleaning service! In the meantime, we do our own cleaning with baking soda, borax, lemon, natural bleach and vinegar. Sometimes we use washing soda but I don’t like to wear rubber gloves and it burns the hands. For implements, we use old toothbrushes, cleaning brushes and rags made from old cotton t-shirts or undies. I’m not very good at following recipes but I’ve included links so you can if you want to. We get all our cleaning supplies (except the lemons) at Grass Roots including refills, as everything is in bulk If you are in Edmonton, the Earth’s General Store is the place to go. I’m hoping to gather resources for other cities too, but for now, this is all I’ve got.

Dishes
We use Nature Clean natural dish detergent and a knitted cloth that my mom made. You can refill your bottle at many health and bulk stores (like the above mentioned).
We also used an old onion bag tied in knots as a scrubby.

Laundry
Again, we use Nature Clean Liquid Detergent that we can refill. We’ve had the same bottle for 3 years now and I’m getting rather attached to it. Oh, how I hope it never breaks!
For stains, we use a number of things- dish soap, toothpaste, cold water and borax, hydrogen bleach-depending on what the stain is. Some day I’ll get around to making a household remedy post including amazing stain removal techniques.

Walls and Floors
Hot water and a squirt of either vinegar or natural (hydrogen) bleach does the trick. Lemon juice is nice too.

Bathroom
Sprinkle borax on and in the toilet, then squirt with lemon juice and vinegar. Leave it for a few minutes before wiping off with a cloth or toilet brush.
I usually use baking soda and vinegar in the tub (and sink), unless it’s really dirty, at which point I would use borax and natural bleach, with the same technique as with the toilet.

Mirrors
Spray with a mixture of vinegar and water (about half and half) and wipe clean with scrunched up newspaper.

Things that are rusted
Lime and salt works wonders on rust! I cleaned my whole bicycle that way. Cut a lime in half and squeeze some of the juice onto the rusty part, then put some salt on it and scrub with the peel of the lime. If it’s really bad, you should let the lime juice and salt soak for an hour before scrubbing.

I think that’s it for now, let me know if you have any questions.

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7 Comments

Filed under cleaning, tips

7 responses to “Clean and Green

  1. J

    Thanks for all the great cleaning tips!
    how do you manage to refill the nature clean laundry detergent?

    The cookbooks How it Vegan and the Garden of Vegan have great recipes for cleaning supplies, hair conditioners, face cleansers etc. I love those cookbooks!!!

    Also: in reference to a post from awhile back about elastics and twist ties… my boyfriend and I are always finding elastics on the ground – mostly around the post office drop off boxes (I guess they drop more than mail…). We pick them up, wash them and use them until they break. Keep your eyes peeled next time you are out (or maybe this is just in Regina?!).
    J

  2. We refill it at Grassroots. You can get refills at many heath food or bulk stores. Sorry I don’t know where in Regina specifically, though I bet if you got a few people to request it at Nature’s Best, they would bring the big bulk containers in for refills.

    OOOO I’ve wanted the Where it All Vegan books for a long time-now I have a really good reason for the purchase. Thanks!

  3. ADR

    Hi Sarah and Kyle,

    Just a quick note about drying plastic bags — to avoid turning a fan on (and using hydro) a friend taught me to stick washed bags on the fridge with a magnet (opening pointing downwards).
    About the hair conditioner thing, you could try a tiny bit of olive oil, which works for dry hair like mine. It’s also possible to purchase raw coconut oil or coconut cream (in a glass bottle) and do a deep conditioing treatment with it. Cold, black coffee is good for people with fine hair. Just comb it through, leave it for a while and rinse. Smells good too.

    Keep up the inspiring work!
    — ADR

  4. Thanks for the suggestions Aimée. Actually I have tried olive oil and coconut oil (I talked about it in a previous post) but it turned my hair into a horrible greasy mess. I will try the coffee though. We have also totally stopped using the fan-we got huge amounts of criticism about it and found other ways to dry the bags. In fact Kyle does bag tai chi with them before hanging them on the fan to air dry (we don’t turn it on anymore-it’s just a good place to put them). May be you can see Kyle doing it some time- it’s quite lovely. I always used to just stick them to the cupboard and let them dry, but Kyle noticed they stayed a bit wet and then we both worried about bacteria.

  5. Karinina

    Thank you, thank you, thank you sooo much for this article. It hasn’t been long since I realized how much garbage human produce every single day, and it made me think how to actually start little steps in being environmentally friendly in my own home. Once again, thank you so much for the tips :]

  6. In Montreal, you can get many cleaning supplies in bulk at La Coop Maison Vert.

    http://www.cooplamaisonverte.com/en/node/1

    They currently do not have vinegar in bulk though. It is something I use a lot and would love to just bring my container for a fill-up.

  7. Pingback: What is the one item you can’t live without? « Say No to Trash

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