One of my living simply goals was to figure out how to clean my house without drenching it in toxic chemicals. Most of the time after I clean my bathroom, I've got a headache and my skin smells heavily of bleach which I can't help but think is NOT GOOD! Our forefathers (or more like foremothers) cleaned house without 409, so why can't I? Plus buying cleaning product for the kitchen, bathroom, windows, and dusting can add up at $3-4 a bottle.
So I set out to learn the secrets of my ancestors - a clean house without killing myself (perhaps literally).
Turns out, this is really the easiest thing ever. I did a quick Google search and found a zillion websites with a zillion different formulas. I picked the All-Purpose cleaner and whipped it up using ingredients I already had in the house in about 5 minutes. No big secret here, no ancient ancestral recipe - just stuff around the house.
Here's what I did and the website I used:
All-Purpose Cleaner Formula
1/2 cup of vinegar
1/4 cup of baking soda
1/2 gallon of water
Instructions: Mix together.
Brilliant, huh? To top it off, baking soda is about $1 and vinegar $2, and you can get multiple batches out of one purchase of these ingredients. Read - CHEAP!
Once I had my new fandangled cleaner, I was inspired to clean my refrigerator (hurrah another benefit of homemade cleaner!). I wish I had taken a picture of the fridge because it was gleaming - sparkling! Since then, I've cleaned the entire stove (pulled off knobs and all). I have to admit when you look closely on the glass front of the oven, there are some streaks, but nothing life-threatening.
I also don't worry about kneading or rolling out pizza dough directly on my counter since I know there aren't any toxic chemicals that will get absorbed. Some of you might be concerned about germs or bacteria...me, not so much. I'm of the general mind that germs only make your immune system stronger. (Granted, we don't cook meat at our house, and I haven't used the home-cleaner in the bathroom yet. Those bacteria scare me more!)
All to say that taking a step back and discovering a simple new answer to a daily task feels good. It feels empowering to choose your own method, even if it's as small of a decision as how you will clean your house. When I pull out that spray bottle to wipe down my counter after washing the dishes, I give myself a teeny little pat on the back and feel a bit of pride.