Redefining Clean

So I might be turning hippie, but I’m kind of digging that scene these days. More and more often, I find myself eating better, cleaning cleaner, and recycling virtually everything that comes from my kitchen waste. Whatever you wanna call it, it’s kinda fun. Maybe you can try it too.

About two years ago, I started getting a little weary of paying a butt load for my laundry detergent. This weariness led me to explore some real down home ways of cleaning our smelly threads. Scattered all throughout the interwebs, there hung many a homemade detergent recipe, all with the same three basic ingredients. I decided to try. I decided and I did. I did and I liked. I liked and now I make. I make a new batch of laundry soap around every 6-8 months. And it’s like gotta be less than a United States dollar to make each bottle. Worth being a tree-huggin’ hippie? Yes.

Recycling has been a part of my routine since college, starting small with paper, moving into plastic, stepping it up a notch with cardboard boxes, and now doing basically everything I know that I can legally take and drop off at Images Center. Paper shreds, tin, aluminum, glass, egg cartons, magazines, lids, and the like. We tend to have to do the drop off more frequently as the years pass on.

Composting was probably the next thing in line. Why not? Food scraps no longer need a place in the trashcan when I can make dirt in my backyard! I’m actually pretttty lazy when it comes to composting… and I’m still trying to figure out the best way of storing food waste in the house until it’s time to dump it out in the bin. The stirring of the bin kind of gets neglected too, but ya know, it still makes dirt. And not to mention really great dirt for my precious vegetable garden. Love.

After composting came, we stopped using the dishwasher. Not because of the water waste, or the harsh chemicals that are found in the dish detergent. Mostly because our dishwasher sucked. Now the dishwasher is a drying rack.

Then a month ago as we perused through our instant queue, we found another healthy-freaky-documentary called Chemerical, which follows a family through a challenge of going toxin-free in their home. We won’t be doing this. But it was sure an interesting film. It raised a lot of unanswered questions in our heads, and most likely needs to be taken with a grain of salt, but it opened my eyes to things in my home that really aren’t all that necessary to have. Why buy a different cleaner for every appliance and surface in the house? That’s kind of a really good question. What makes something clean? Is it the “fresh” smell? Is it the suds? Is wiping down your table or countertop with bleach really making it clean AND safe for you to eat at and for your child to lick all over if they so choose? It also questioned the validity of using hair products that are unknowingly full of toxins too. And then there’s toothpaste. And deodorant. And body wash. And dish soap. And air freshener. And hand soap. And lotion. Oooh boy.

Lucky for me, I haven’t totally gone off the deep end. I still currently use deodorant, I brush my teeth, and I actually do wash my hair. But it’s really got me thinking about choices I can make when it comes to exposing my family and myself to chemicals. We ordered some new body wash that is free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, and more. This week we’ve been using it, and it’s different. But not bad. I might start buying their shampoo. Who knows?!

My next big thing (aside from all the other big things going on in my life right now) is to gradually start replacing a few of the big bad cleaners in my house. I started with Comet Scouring Powder. This stuff really is the bomb. I have used it ever since I was a kid, and it does a dang good job and cleaning my pure white kitchen sink (who makes a sink pure white?). I really haven’t ever found anything that works better than Comet. I was pretty unconvinced that any natural cleaning agent would be able to top it. In fact I told Logan that Comet may be the one cleaner that I can’t live without. Alas. I did some research and found a homemade recipe for Scouring Powder. On one of my million snow days, I tried it out. A shake shake here and a crack crack there and my SOS pad and I were off.

OMG. I had to wear sunglasses to even look at my sink. It was so bright and dazzling white, it probably looked like Moses’ face did when he came down from being in the presence of God. Okay maybe not. But pretty close. Even Logan agreed that it was the cleanest he’d seen the sink in the history of living here. See ya, Comet.

What will be next? Probably dusting oil. The coolest thing about a lot of these recipes I am finding is that you already have all the ingredients just sitting around in your house. And I’m in no big hurry. As I clean things, I will look into the natural way to clean that object. If I don’t like it, I’ll use the old stuff until I find something that I like better.

This kind of living seems a little extreme. But I’m kind of excited about it. I’m beginning to redefine clean in my house, and I like it! Check out my new sidebar menu addition for the newest tested and proved natural cleaning products!

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