a mind is a terrible thing to waste on housework

I have to confess I once was clean & mean, but no longer. The back story is I have chilled out and don’t spend hours scrubbing my home as I did in the past, but we won’t go there, it’s a sad tale of time ill spent. Now, I clean less and I have a lighter touch with the quantity of proprietary products I use. Not only am I saving the environment: I’m saving money.

I’d rather write a blog post than do the dusting.

My cleaning strategy was out of touch with reality. I needed disregard the magnet on my fridge and engage my mind… for a while.

I tended to be loyal (unimaginative?) when it came to household brands, eg using Radiant washing powder forever. I’d try “green choice” products for other cleaning but without much expertise, or effort.My brain lagged behind my body, the body that forced me to consider healthier alternatives. Using proprietary products left me wheezing and with peeling skin.

I consulted books that languished nicely dusted on my bookshelves, about healthy natural living. Bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar became my go-to products.

A “clean” seminar hosted  by my workplace made me better informed about labels & ingredients (www.sasiclean.com.au_cleanguide & www.freshgreencleancom.au ). It also gave me tangible tools such a squeegee for the shower and washable microfibre cloths used just with water – it’s amazing how much you can clean with just water. I always used a microfibre duster & cloths, just never understood the science of how they work.

I use white vinegar instead of fabric softener and dishwasher rinse aid. Laced with water soluble herbal oils in spray bottle it became my base cleaning product on all surfaces except glass & mirrors – plain white vinegar for these; and my best timesaver is to leave those for the G.O. to do… Depending on the season, I vary the oils “flavouring” the cleaning vinegar. In the humidity of summer I use clove oil, and the chill of winter, lavender and eucalyptus: for wiping over outdoor areas, citronella oil.

Different appliances and requirements when we moved apartments finally prompted me to change my brands. Now, where bicarb & vinegar don’t suffice I use the smallest amount of a certified green choice cleaning product possible. In 9 months, washing at least once a day for 2 people, including 6 days a week of the G.O.’s construction site work clothes we’ve used about a kilo of green choice washing powder.

Dishwashing detergent makes great laundry stain remover, or a sprinkle of bicarb with a drizzle of vinegar over the stain sizzles it up. The combo is a great toilet and shower floor cleaner as well. No brand white vinegar is 99 cents or less a litre and a box of bicarb is a couple of dollars.

It’s not much in the big scheme and I still have a long way to go before I’ll be happy with my environmental footprint but I’m doing better than I was. I have money in my purse, only a couple of cleaning products in my cupboard and time for better things than domestic goddess duties.

10 thoughts on “a mind is a terrible thing to waste on housework

  1. That is a great post. I don’t know how many times I read about vinegar being a universal cleaner and I still forget so perhaps your post may remind me and stick in my feathery head this time. I do however use it for conditioner instead of that gunky stuff that clogs up my hair and the drain. Excellent stuff. When I use up the last lot of shampoo (soon) I may embark on the risky process of using bicarb as shampoo which another environmental cost-conscious friend says works perfectly well (she hadn’t tried the vinegar though!!).

    Years since I’ve used anything but ‘green’ products, as much for the animal testing issues as anything else, but why bother paying for them when there is a perfectly effective ‘natural’ product kicking around the house?

    Construction site work clothes? Tell me about it! 😀


      1. I’ll let you know how it goes 😀 But the vinegar is great, seriously, I just use ordinary white wine vinegar, cider vinegar would be fine too. And no, the smell doesn’t stay so you don’t smell like a fish and chip shop before you ask. Really leaves mine shiny and soft 🙂


      2. Grew up using white vinegar as a rinse. The smell isn’t a problem. Great for dark hair – blonds used to always use lemon juice instead. But not doing that bicarb hair shampoo thing! (When sailing, have used just ivory soap bar as shampoo….but not long term)
        For cleaning around the house,have always considered bicarb and vinegar great.


  2. I love the post’s title. I agree. 🙂
    Vinegar amazes me. It clean outside and in. I swear by apple cider vinegar as the best treatment for a sore throat and cough. 🙂


  3. While living in Iceland I was told that the Viking women would use cow urine to condition their hair. I have this ridiculous image in my head of women dressed in warm viking attire with long golden plaits following cows around with a bucket. I prefer the vinegar option. Will try that first.


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