Sunday, September 28, 2008

Greene Housekeeping

I've been reading Ellen Sandbeck's Green Housekeeping with a cautious eye.  While I've been happy to switch to Method and Seventh Generation substitutes, I'm hesitant to ditch all of my green cleaning products in favor of white vinegar and baking soda.

Call me cautious, but the bottom line is that I'm new to running a household, and often feel overwhelmed.  This is what makes me easy prey for the big consumer product companies and their over-processed, over-packaged chemical fiestas in the cleaning aisle.

There is something about Green Housekeeping's tone that can make you crazy - at least if you're a novice like me, prone to feeling guilty.  But I'm happy to report that I got up the courage to try one of her suggestions, and it worked like a charm.

While our dishwasher is just a year old, I've never been sure how to clean it.  Other than wiping it out a few times, I've pretty much just put in dirty dishes and hoped for the best.  But after 14 months of hard service, it was undeniable that our clean machine needed some TLC.

So I grabbed Ellen's book and looked up her suggestions.  Here it is:

Fill a bowl with two cups of distilled white vinegar.  Place it on the bottom rack of the dishwasher and run a regular cycle.

Success!  It was easy, fast, cheap and impeccably green.

She has another suggestion for cleaning out a garbage disposal using vinegar and baking soda.  I'm going to try this one next week.  (I used up the last of my white vinegar on the dishwasher.)  
I'll also be taking a quick glance at the products I didn't buy to do these jobs - my local grocery store sells a $4 bottle of something designed to clean garbage disposals and a similar product for dishwashers.  Can I count those towards our financial savings?

Hmmm ... not sure about that.  But we can certainly count them towards a greener planet.

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