On cleaning

When I moved to Ottawa, I came consciously knowing that I wanted to change my lifestyle. It wasn’t as if I ate junk food all the time, never exercised, littered profusely or anything extreme. I just lived without necessarily questioning, pondering, or discussing the choices that I or my friends made.

I moved into an apartment (a place out of my dreams it was so perfect for me) and right away I encountered my first major decision-point. Cleaning. I didn’t want to buy those fragrance-infused, special-type-of-cleaner-for-each-scenario, ‘lots of packaging’, multicoloured cleaning products. I mean, why does my dishwashing liquid need to be purple!? With a little internet research and a new guidebook called “Green Clean: the environmentally sound guide to cleaning your home” (by Linda Mason Hunter and Mikki Halpin), I learned that you only need a few things in your cleaning arsenal to tackle practically everything. Borax was something I knew absolutely nothing about. When I went to my local hardware store, I had no idea whether I was looking for a powder or a liquid…or where it would be in the store. Now I keep a box handy for cleaning the tub or trying to deal with ant infestations. Vinegar, baking soda, lemons…all items you’d likely already have around the house.

I haven’t started making my own laundry detergent (I use Canadian Nellie’s all-natural powdered detergent) or liquid hand soap but I try to be conscientious in using what I already own to clean. I never suspected that used newspaper is a great “rag” for cleaning mirrors and glass, streak-free! I also love my swiffer dry mop but was feeling increasingly guilty using the disposable dry sheets (not to mention the costs really add up), so last year, I started using microfiber cloths cut to about the same size as the dry swiffer sheets. Now, once I sweep the floors, I have to clean off the hair and large pieces of dust and whatnot before throwing it into the laundry (I admit, there was ick-factor the first few times…but really it’s mostly my hair that I’m touching…), hanging up dry, then reusing it next time I sweep.

The small changes make a difference, both in reducing the chemicals and scents in our house but also in reducing the costs of cleaning.

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