Clean Cleaning

July 8, 2010

(Almost) Good Enough to Eat

You know me as one who bakes and cooks, not so much as one who cleans. It’s not that I keep a pigsty, not at all. It’s just that, more often than not, there’s something that has higher priority than cleaning. On occasion, I love to turn up my uncool mixed tape of an iPod and clean clean clean. But this feeling doesn’t overcome me often, this feeling of wanting to scrub and tidy. However, I enjoy a clean house a lot. When my house is clean I feel as though there’s potential. Maybe it’s more that I feel inspired. For the longest time, perhaps as long as ten years, I have wanted to use up the dredges of my toxic cleaning sprays and powders and concoct my own less eye-burning cleansers from such humble ingredients as baking soda*, vinegar** and essential oils. This is not something I could rush since there’d be no sense in disposing of harsh cleansers without using them. The filthy state of working too much this past year resulted in me cleaning even less than usual. This is not as grimy as it might sound since, for me, home less + not cooking = less mess. There was low product consumption. Suffice to say that my caddy with rubber gloves and scrubbies has stagnated. In fact, they were kind of looking vintage. A few days ago was the last day of using a tub cleaner that caused me to involuntarily hold my breath. How noxious. Here’s to potential!

Pickled Lavender Cocktail for Glass

1 cup water

1 cup distilled white vinegar, no need to break out the fancy stuff

1/4 teaspoon lavender essential oil

This kind of smells like lavender pickles, if there was such a thing. Mix all ingredients together and pour into a spray bottle for a virgin cleaning cocktail. If you have a penchant for quick evaporation and a proper cocktail, use half water and half rubbing alcohol. There’s something to be said for a homemade cleaning concoction that wipes glass to a sparkle and transports you to the South of France with one spritz. As with store bought glass cleaners, I’ve found that you can use this on glass, mirrors, stove tops, counter tops and spinning tops.

Creamy Tub Scrub Frosting

1/2 cup baking soda

2 tablespoons dish soap

A few drops of lavender oil, or another antiseptic essential oil such as tea tree or rosemary or…

I don’t even know where to start with this one, I love it so much. The smell  – delightful. The opposite of wanting to hold your breath. And, once mixed, it has the consistency of frosting. That is so appealing.  It seems as if you are going to clean, say, your greasy and grubby stainless stove top with creamy dollops of lavender icing! The luxurious texture of this tempted me to taste, as if I was frosting vanilla cupcakes. Just for the record, I didn’t. And, I’m not exaggerating, it’s the best product I’ve ever cleaned said stove top with. It wasn’t at all necessary to don my crusty rubber gloves, so that made scrubbing easier. Once all your scrubbing is done you will find that you need to use a fresh cloth rinsed in clear water for final wipe down so as not to end up with a foggy stove. Measure baking soda into a bowl, and using a fork, mix in dish soap and essential oil. Add more or less dish soap to achieve a lovely, frosting-like creaminess. I store mine in an eye-rollingly cute vintage jar with a glass lid. This worked sparkling magic on my pots, tubs and whistling kettle.

Four on the Floor Hardwood Swab

I’m not keen on washing floors. Not keen at all. Mops don’t do a great job. There’s always wet, grey and hairy debris lurking around the baseboards in gritty groups after swabbing. Or is that just me? Nothing, nothing beats the back-breaking, red-knee inducing, down on all fours, floor washing with a bucket and a rag. Insert a Cinderella sigh here. A clean floor doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I revel.

1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

1 tablespoon dish soap

You probably know to combine above into a large bucket with hot water. If your bucket is on the super size, add another splash of vinegar. A clever suggestion, not from me: Drop in a mint tea bag or two for a breath of fresh floor.

* This is a did you know? Did you know that baking soda is alkaline? And bacteria cannot live in an alkaline environment.

** Vinegar is one of the all-time best antiseptics and antibacterial products ever. I read it on the internet so it must be true. Here’s some percentages to make it even more believable: Vinegar kills 99% of bacteria, 82% of mold and 80% of germs and viruses. That leaves 1% – 20% unaccounted for. Huh. Something to think about.

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6 Responses to “Clean Cleaning”

  1. brian gourley said

    Am I out of my window cleaning job ?

  2. Jen said

    MMmmm. I can smell your clean p(a)lace!

  3. Debra said

    This was such a cool post I had to forward it to my lavender expert friend Kathy Gehrt (2010, Discover Cooking with Lavender). What a great improvement over the simple baking soda and vinegar cleaners.

  4. Holly said

    Dawne! Love love love this! I was just thinking the other day that I wished I had some recipes for making my own cleaning products and voila! Thank you so much!

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