Non-toxic household cleaners

I was reading a post at Apartment Therapy about avoiding chemicals in household cleaners, and I noticed a comment that I thought summed it up perfectly.

Back in the old days, folks used vinegar, lemons, baking soda, borax, soap and hot water to clean their homes until chemical companies convinced everyone that we had to have strange pink, blue and green liquids in plastic bottles…

…and it turns out that all we really ever needed was vinegar, lemons, baking soda, borax, soap and hot water.

I haven’t totally switched to all-natural products yet, but I am completely on board with using baking soda and vinegar.

spraybottle.jpgMy favorite simple spray cleaner is homemade, and it doesn’t leave me gasping for breath when I use it. I mix these 3 ingredients in a spray bottle:

  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/4 cup of white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of liquid soap

It works great on glass and countertops, especially with microfiber towels.

I like using baking soda to scrub my stove, sink and bathtub. It makes a really good carpet freshener too. Once or twice a year I sprinkle it over the carpet and use a broom to sweep it in. I let it sit overnight and then vacuum it up the next morning.

I also find the Shaklee products appealing, but even with all the recommendations I still haven’t tried any yet.

Really, when did “clean” start to be equated with toxic fumes and skin rashes?  
Cleaning does not have to be so painful. I want better.

Lane Then and Now

20080305 - Lane - 2Fashion tip: A vintage element is made modern by mixing it with a current look, such as how Lane combines her ’80s-reminiscent stackable bracelets with stylish emo hair.

We went to the water fountain park, and it was not until I came home and saw the pictures that I realized just how much she has changed.

This is Lane now:

20080305 - Lane - 6

This is Lane 6 months ago:

20070818 - Lane 1 20070818 - Lane 2
20070818 - Lane 4 20070818 - Lane 3

Could this possibly be the same little girl?

Six months ago she did not know how to walk, and now she has created a walking style that is more like a little dance, with small steps and a side skip.

Six months ago she would eat almost anything we fed to her, and now she knows how to feed herself with a spoon, and she only eats foods that are yellow.

Six months ago she was learning to call me Mama. Now she has her own baby that she feeds, nurses, diapers, and kisses good night. She delights in pretending that her baby is calling her mama.

She loves to play “Where’s the baby?” She squeezes her eyes shut as if to hide, and if we don’t say anything, she will prompt us: “Baby?” Then we are supposed to call out “Where’s the baby?” so she can open her eyes and laugh hysterically. She thinks her name is Baby. I’ve tried to teach her that her name is Lane, but she absolutely will not say it. I point to myself and say Mama, and then point to her and say Lane. She points to me and says Mama, but then points to herself and insists that her name is Baby.

She still likes to wear things on her head. She asks for hair barrettes by calling them P’s, which means pretty. When we go out she dresses up with her hat, coat, purse, bag, baby, doll stroller, bracelets, and my fur scarf, which she loves.

She likes to talk on the phone, draw with pen, and go out for coffee and cake.

She says goodbye to trees and stuffed animals.

She rearranges all my stuff.

She is still brave and fearless.

A Paper Towel Alternative

It gives me great satisfaction to not need something. My weekly shopping list almost never includes paper towels.

The roll of paper towels that is sitting under my sink has been there for ages. I don’t even remember when I bought it. I have found something that works so much better —

these little beauties:

my microfiber towels.

I found them at Walmart in the automotive section. They are cheap (a package of 8 for about $5), but they are surprisingly durable. I bought a package of 8 towels almost a year ago, and half of mine are still new. I keep washing and reusing the same towel over and over again, but it hasn’t frayed or faded.

One microfiber towel will clean my whole apartment. I use it to clean mirrors and glass, dust, wipe countertops, clean the shower, and mop the floor. When I’m done with it, I just throw it in the laundry. I usually let it air dry, but it can also go in a low-heat dryer.

I often use homemade spray cleaner, but because of the microfibers, these towels can even be used without any cleaner. They’re that good.