Eco-friendly and druidic ways to clean the house!

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morgane_snowy_owl
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Eco-friendly and druidic ways to clean the house!

Postby morgane_snowy_owl » 04 Aug 2010, 21:03

Hello! :hiya:

I am quite passionate about eco-friendly behaviors. Both my husband and I are doing our best to reduce our ''ecological footprint''. Here is a recipe I've been using years. It's a paste that is very good for cleaning sinks, bathtubs, toilet and countertops. The teatree oil desinfects, and its combination with peppermint or lemon essential oil leaves a nice fresh scent behind.

1 cup baking powder
2 tablespoons (or more) of liquid soap (preferably Castile or olive oil soap)
1 teaspoon of teatree essential oil
1 teaspoon of peppermint or lemon essential oil
1 tablespoon of white vinegar (optional)

Mix the baking powder and liquid soap, adding more soap until the mixture forms a soft and pliable paste. Add the essential oils and mix well. Store in an airtight container. It keeps forever... a little goes a long way. Put it on a sponge or toilet brush, spread it on the dirty area and rinse, or leave it overnight (I do that for sinks, toilets and the tub).

For the laundry:

Detergent:
1 cup of liquid castile soap (olive oil soap)
2 cups of hot water
1/3 cup of salt
1 cup of baking soda

Mix salt and baking soda in hot water until dissolved. Add soap and mix well. Pour into an old detergent container. Use 1/4 to 1/2 cup of detergent per laundry cycle, depending on how dirty your laundry is.

Softener:

Use white vinegar as you would use regular fabric softener (either during the rinse cycle, or just pour it in the fabric softener section of your washing machine)

or

Put a few drops of the essential oil of your choice on an old clean rag and use it as you would use a sheet softener. It lasts for 5 cycles. Wash it and re-use it.

or

Tie a big bundle of lavender buds or any dried herb of your choice in an old pantyhose or cheesecloth. Leave it in the dryer and use it until the smell is gone.

I'm still looking for two other all-natural homemade replacements: a spray that cleans windows and mirrors without leaving traces, and another spray or recipe for floors and dusting.

I have these recipes that I still have to try:

Oven or toilet spray

5 tablespoon of borax
2/3 cup of vinegar or 4 teaspoon of citric acid
3 tablespoon of liquid castile soap

Dissolve the borax in 1 cup of very hot water. Add the rest of the ingredients. Pour into a 1L spray bottle and fill with more water.

Window spray

1 teaspoon borax
2 cups water
1 teaspoon liquid castile soap
1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
1/4 cup ammonia
1/2 vinegar

Dissolve the borax in 1 cup of the water. Add the rest of the ingredients and pour into a 1L spray bottle. Spray and clean with newspaper.

Dishwasher powder (can be used for baths and sinks too)

1 cup borax
1 cup baking powder
1/2 cup citric acid
3 tablespoons of grated soap
20 drops of essential oil

Mix all the ingredients, adding the essential oil drop by drop. Store in a glass container. Use 2 tablespoons per cycle.

Any other ideas?

Yours in the Peace of the Grove,

Morganexx
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katie bridgewater
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Re: Eco-friendly and druidic ways to clean the house!

Postby katie bridgewater » 04 Aug 2010, 23:50

Guess what? Me again...

It's quite fashionable here in the UK to use simple cleaning methods and things like bicarbonate of soda and vinegar for cleaning. There is a reality TV show called 'How Clean is Your House' where the experts show simple cheap solutions to problems like limescale and cleaning carpets. Not really my bag, since I live mostly outdoors and our indoor space is tiny but it's interesting if you're into cleaning!

For washing up I use a tiny amount of biodegradable washing up liquid, to remove dust I have the amazing luxury now of mains electricity so I indulge in a weekly hoover of our 2 tiny caravans. Other than that I don't really use anything except hot soapy water for cleaning and a feather duster.

I am very proud that apart from the emissions caused by supplying our outside tap with clean water, we now do a fortnightly CO2 neutral laundry. It takes 1-2 hours a fortnight (less if just clothes, and more if we are doing bed linen etc). We heat the water using woodshavings from Corwen's workshop and fallen twigs in our 2 Storm Kettles, and then we scrub, posser, rinse twice and mangle. We just use natural soap-flakes. It gets clothes cleaner than a washing machine and the mangle is equivalent to a spin dry. Some people seem to think this is a lot of work, but actually it's great fun (especially the water fights!), and so what? I'd rather work hard for my clean clothes than slog my guts out to pay for a washing machine that was made in China by someone else also slogging their guts out, and will last just a few years. My mangle, washboard and posser are all older than me and still going strong! I feel really empowered by knowing that over its lifespan the equipment I use will have a minimal impact on the environment, the energy I use comes mostly from our arms and not from a distant power station, and I will never again come home from work to find a puddle on the floor and all my knickers trapped inside the machine...not to mention how much I love putting on a PROPERLY clean garment! Plus it's sociable and keeps us active and out in the fresh air. I love my green laundry days!

There's a website for people like me:
http://www.lehmans.com/

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Re: Eco-friendly and druidic ways to clean the house!

Postby wyeuro » 05 Aug 2010, 03:02

great recipes, much need for our planet.
i love the sound of your lifestyle, katie. i've been living like that for 30 years with only some solar power in the last fifteen or so. i wash my clothing in a bucket with a plumber's friend and my strong right arm for agitator action. i use vinegar and water to clean most things, and herbs for freshness and beauty. our used household water all goes on to the food garden, so we care a lot about what sorts of toxins are in it. i make my own soap out of goat or chook fat, so i know that it doesn't use unethically produced palm oil, and is cruelty free. nothing tastes better than ecological sanity - 8-) er, did that make sense?

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Re: Eco-friendly and druidic ways to clean the house!

Postby Zylah » 05 Aug 2010, 04:45

Morgane, great recipes - thank you so much for sharing! :shake: I will try the herbal replacement for dryer sheets right away.

I use strictly vinegar and baking soda for cleaning; hydrogen peroxide for really stubborn stains. Books on this subject that I love are Ellen Sandbeck's 'Green Housekeeping', 'Organic Housekeeping', and 'Green Barbarians'. She RAWKS!! :grin:
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Re: Eco-friendly and druidic ways to clean the house!

Postby Julysea » 05 Aug 2010, 08:42

I know this may sound flippant, but I seriously believe we all need to embrace the dirt a bit more. I know lots of people who seem to reach for horrible chemicals every time there's so much as a speck of dirt in their home or on themselves or their clothes, and I wonder how we got to the point where it is socially prescribed to do so? Maybe I'm just lazy or have a high tolerance level for dirt, but I think it is far healthier, for ourselves and the planet, to lower our standards a bit. And then, as Katie says, when things are really dirty, to just use hot water and a microfibre cloth or a tiny squirt of eco-friendly washing up liquid. :grin:

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Re: Eco-friendly and druidic ways to clean the house!

Postby morgane_snowy_owl » 05 Aug 2010, 15:43

Good morning guys!

I really enjoyed reading your posts today; I'm glad the topic is triggering such interesting comments that allow me to get to know fellow OBODs a little better.

hum, what is "washing up liquid"??? All-purpose soap? Do you guys clean your windows with vinegar and water?

Katie,
Wow, you took eco-friendly living to a whole other level than we did, and I'm really glad to hear how harmonious and peaceful it makes you. :cloud9:

My husband and I are dreaming of a simpler lifestyle like the one you seem to have, and if we had the choice we would buy a land and build a truly eco-friendly house powered with solar energy and heated with a geothermal system, grow our own food as much as we can, and so on. But right now, we both work in Montreal, which is a big city on an island, with the second worst average commute time in the whole country (yup, worse than Toronto and Vancouver!). We have no choice: if we want to keep our jobs and have a decent quality of life (commute), we have to live in a regular house in suburbia and make it as ecological as we can. We use public transportation, bikes and walking as much as we can, our next car will be a hybrid for sure and the idea of owning two is revolting. But do we need a car? Yes, we do.

The reality we face, with today's way of life, forces you to draw a line somewhere. For example, if we are allowed to have egg-laying hens in our yard, we'll happily have two, and so we'll stop buying eggs. Less transportation costs, less cruelty, truly organic eggs, etc. But hey, sometimes the temperatures goes down to a flipping -40 degrees Celsius in the winter... how will we keep the hen warm? Electric heating. We know that buying milk and dairy products encourages the meat industry and, in some cases, the mistreating of animals... but right now we are not able to produce our own milk and dairy... and we choose not to live without it. When I was breastfeeding and thinking about cows being separated from their calf barely 24h after birth, who screamed sometimes for 5 days in a row because they just couldn't bear the separation, I felt really bad... but my husband reminded me of that line... I wish we lived in a different world, but we don't, this is where we're at, and we're forced to make tough choices, knowing we can't be perfect. When I feel bad, I think about the hundreds of animals who didn't suffer and die these past years because of our family's vegetarian lifestyle, and it's a consolation.

Likewise, there is no 100% clean energy... burning wood releases CO2 in the air, and here in North America we are often reminded that burning wood pollutes the air and we should avoid it as much as we can. We seldom light a fire in our house because of that, which is really sad. Nothing makes me happier in our harsh winters than lighting a nice fire in the living room and sit by it. Electricity is relatively clean here, because of our huge and numerous rivers. Even then, hydroelectricity also has important disadvantages... it does affect ecosystems, forces animals and people to relocate, and so on.

Zylah,
Thanks for the references, it sounds awesome! But.... you have three books on green housekeeping and yet it all comes down to using three ingredients for the whole job? Are they really useful? The books, I mean! :D Because you made me curious!!!!

Julysea,
Absolutely, society has become very, very OCD about cleanliness. And look where it has taken us... people worship antibacterial products, and swallowed tons of antibiotics... to end up with weaker bodies! I have two dogs, a baby and a husband, believe me, my house is NOT the cleanest of the neighborhood! :grin: I hate contemporary styles where everything looks like a surgery room... too clean, too cold. However, I do enjoy the Japanese view of cleanliness... the efforts to fight materialism and tend towards a minimalist lifestyle... fewer objects, but all very useful, and all very beautiful... I love waking up to a kitchen area that is free of clutter, I love to eat on a clean table with flowers from my garden, and I don't want to burden myself with the daily stress of looking everywhere for something and getting frustrated...

Okay, my two cents for now...

Peace and Friendship,

Morgane
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Re: Eco-friendly and druidic ways to clean the house!

Postby Zylah » 05 Aug 2010, 17:59

Zylah,
Thanks for the references, it sounds awesome! But.... you have three books on green housekeeping and yet it all comes down to using three ingredients for the whole job? Are they really useful? The books, I mean! :D Because you made me curious!!!!
Morgane
LOL, Morgane :-) - not at all, it's just the most pertinent thing to this topic that I've applied. The books are full of amazing stuff, like vermicomposting, for instance. I just mentioned the thing that came to mind first, probably since I use it every day, so it's in the foreground. :)
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Re: Eco-friendly and druidic ways to clean the house!

Postby katie bridgewater » 06 Aug 2010, 11:00

hum, what is "washing up liquid"???
Is liquid soap used for doing the dishes, a chore which we call 'washing-up' in the UK.
Likewise, there is no 100% clean energy... burning wood releases CO2 in the air, and here in North America we are often reminded that burning wood pollutes the air and we should avoid it as much as we can. We seldom light a fire in our house because of that, which is really sad. Nothing makes me happier in our harsh winters than lighting a nice fire in the living room and sit by it. Electricity is relatively clean here, because of our huge and numerous rivers. Even then, hydroelectricity also has important disadvantages... it does affect ecosystems, forces animals and people to relocate, and so on.
As trees grow, they absorb CO2 from the air around them. When they die and rot, they release this CO2 straight back into the atmosphere. If you burn the wood, you release this CO2 back into the air, but there is no net increase in the amount of CO2 present. This is what 'Carbon Neutral' means. If on the other hand you burn fossil fuels, you are releasing CO2 which is held captive in the ground in massive quantities. This causes a net increase in the CO2 levels in the atmosphere, and will affect the balance of life on Earth if we continue to allow indulge in it.

So to burn fallen or coppiced branches from living trees who will continue to grow is CO2 neutral. To burn trees that have been replaced with new trees is also CO2 neutral (The FSC mark is awarded to sustainable forestry products). To burn wood from places where trees have been felled but not replanted is not CO2 neutral.
All forms of power generation have a carbon cost because of the infrastructure required.

Not everyone can burn wood because over half the world's population live in cities, so some infrastructure is bound to be necessary if people are to have clean water and warm shelters. But the least damaging in principle is to burn wood efficiently for heating and cooking. The only damage is the release of particulates into the atmosphere, which is far more of a problem from diesel engines in cities or coal-fire power stations.

So I honestly think you should allow yourself the pleasure of sitting by a fire in winter - it will do no harm to the Earth if you source your firewood carefully, and it is a pleasure that every single one of your ancestors would have had without feeling guilty. It's easy to get overloaded by the guilt of doing anything but you are part of this planet and you must use the little you need to be able to experience you life as it should be.

Absolutely, society has become very, very OCD about cleanliness.
Dirt is just 'stuff' that we deem to be in the wrong place! So mud on my carpet is dirt, but likewise, concrete where there should be mud is dirt too to me!

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Re: Eco-friendly and druidic ways to clean the house!

Postby morgane_snowy_owl » 06 Aug 2010, 13:47

Zylah, so if I wanted one of these books for my bday, which one would you recommend? :)

As always Katie, your comments are interesting and informative!
As trees grow, they absorb CO2 from the air around them. When they die and rot, they release this CO2 straight back into the atmosphere. If you burn the wood, you release this CO2 back into the air, but there is no net increase in the amount of CO2 present. This is what 'Carbon Neutral' means.
Okay, I didn't realize that. Right now, we're still burning the wood that came with the house and all the usable scraps left from the huge renovations we did. After that, I'll do my best to find wood from someone who reforests as well...
But the least damaging in principle is to burn wood efficiently for heating and cooking. The only damage is the release of particulates into the atmosphere, which is far more of a problem from diesel engines in cities or coal-fire power stations.
See, his is exactly why I feel guilty when I burn wood at home. I do it recreationally. Here in Montreal, we regularly have smog warnings or levels, it is a reality. Not as bad as Mexico, for example, but it's there.

...hum, but what you're telling me is, when I burn the right wood, it doesn't make any difference... it doesn't add to the already high levels of CO2 because my burning wood is basically just breathing like it would in its natural cycle of life and death even if I didn't burn it. :thinking:

I shared that info with one of my sisters, who is very concerned about the environment, and very against burning wood. I'll tell you what she has to say about that (she's very argumentative, studying to become a layer! :-) ) Where did you get all that info?

As for me, you got me quite convinced! :warm:
Dirt is just 'stuff' that we deem to be in the wrong place! So mud on my carpet is dirt, but likewise, concrete where there should be mud is dirt too to me!
:-) Tee hee hee, I like the way you look at things!
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Re: Eco-friendly and druidic ways to clean the house!

Postby Corwen » 06 Aug 2010, 17:12

Where did you get all that info?
It is fairly straightforward if you understand the carbon cycle, we study that in school here in the UK. The wikipedia entry summarises it fairly well:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_fuel# ... tal_Impact

Wood can be burnt on an industrial scale and there are pilot programmes in the UK and established power plants in Scandinavia. Usually coppiced willow is used as fuel for combined heat and power in this country:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2005/ ... ons.uknews

There is the particulate issue, but good stoves produce a lot less particulates than old fashioned ones (pellet stoves and masonry stoves/kakkelovn produce practically zero particulates), and it is only an issue in built up areas where it can reach critical levels. The real problem there is population density and population numbers, rather than wood. There is a trade off between a wood stove that has no effect on the climate but may release particulates and a gas or oil boiler which is 'cleaner' but damages the climate of the whole planet and of course we know all about the environmental impacts of the oil/gas industry. People worry about particulates being bad for health, but personally I think exposure to other carcinogens in the form of petrochemicals, household cleaning products and processed food outweigh the impact of particulates many times over.
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Re: Eco-friendly and druidic ways to clean the house!

Postby Corwen » 07 Aug 2010, 00:59

Aaaaaanyway back to the topic!

Does anyone here remember Eubanks, the hand powered carpet cleaning machines? Looked like the bastard offspring of a vacuum cleaner and a mop, they had brushes inside which went around when you pushed, and then when you were finished you held it over the bin, pulled a lever and all the dirt fell out. I remember using one as a kid, it seemed to pick stuff up from the carpet pretty well, I wonder if you can still get them?
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Re: Eco-friendly and druidic ways to clean the house!

Postby Jake » 07 Aug 2010, 02:34

So mud on my carpet is dirt, but likewise, concrete where there should be mud is dirt too to me!
Perfect! Do you mind if I steal this and say it constantly?
Does anyone here remember Eubanks, the hand powered carpet cleaning machines? Looked like the bastard offspring of a vacuum cleaner and a mop, they had brushes inside which went around when you pushed, and then when you were finished you held it over the bin, pulled a lever and all the dirt fell out. I remember using one as a kid, it seemed to pick stuff up from the carpet pretty well, I wonder if you can still get them?
You can! Search for "Ewbank manual sweeper." You find them being used over here all the time in places like hotel lobbies because they don't make all that terrible noise.
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katie bridgewater
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Re: Eco-friendly and druidic ways to clean the house!

Postby katie bridgewater » 07 Aug 2010, 17:26

So mud on my carpet is dirt, but likewise, concrete where there should be mud is dirt too to me!
Perfect! Do you mind if I steal this and say it constantly?
You certainly may, Jake! Spread the word & feel the feedom!

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Re: Eco-friendly and druidic ways to clean the house!

Postby morgane_snowy_owl » 17 Aug 2010, 13:37

Okay, here's a little update!

Yesterday, I tried a recipe for dishwashing powder. It can also be used for cleaning sinks, bathtubs and toilets.

1 cup borax
1 cup baking soda
1/2 cup citric acid (I found it at the drugstore)
3 tablespoons of grated soap (I used all-vegetable eco-friendly soap, found it at Bulk Barn)
20 drops of essential oil of your choice (used peppermint)

Just mix the dry ingredients, add the essential oil drop by drop while mixing well. Use 2 tablespoons of the mix for each cycle.

Not getting a wave of chlorine fumes when I opened the dishwasher door was reeeeeally nice! The powder worked so well that dishes in the "no man's land" section were sparkling clean! So were the glasses by the way. :yay:

Next thing I try will be the laundry detergent recipe.

Have a lovely day! :D

Morgane
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