Tag Archives: green

To Clean “Green” or Not to Clean “Green”… That Is The Question


When I was young and my mom cleaned house, I used to think the dusting spray made the whole house smell like lovely fresh lemon. The other day when I dusted, I was suddenly disturbed at the horrendous sort-of-lemon fumes. (OK, who am I kidding; it was actually a few years back that I noticed.) It wasn’t a fresh smell at all. In fact, I was concerned that the manufacturer had switched the label on the dusting can with a can of bug spray. If you’re assuming that I pitched that can and immediately ran out to buy another can for fear of wiping down my entire house in bug spray, I’m sorry to inform you, you’re wrong. I don’t have time for that shit. These days, by the time I get around to dusting it’s usually when I have serious concerns that the health department is going to stop by and make arrests on a count of “deplorable living conditions.” Anyhoo, I’m just now getting around to going Green with my cleaning. Am I late to the party?

I have been most concerned about the offensive dusting spray and harsh bathroom chemical cleaners. I looked up natural ways to dust the house and found a recipe using the juice of a lemon, a t. olive oil, and a t. water. At first I thought it sounded like a good idea but after considering it has to be made fresh each time, which means I have to have a lemon on hand, and that a lemon runs about $0.70 each, it seemed kind of like a hassle and could get pricey. Instead I went with Method dusting spray from Target for $3.99. Considering it will last at least 6 months and probably closer to a year, it makes for a much cheaper and more convenient cleaner. It claims to be made from plant-based, non-toxic ingredients and even directs you to the website on their bottle if you want to know more about the ingredients at methodhome.com/ingredients. Oddly enough I can’t find the ingredient Quaternium-15 on their list. Should I be suspicious? A conspiracy theory about a corporation making false claims? It didn’t smell toxic when I used it. It didn’t really have much of a smell at all, and cleaned nicely. My wood is so shiny you can see all the little scratches my son made in all the furniture. I like it.

Next, for the bathroom I learned that 20 Mule-Team Borax, the famous laundry booster, works great as an all-purpose cleaner around the house. It is a natural mineral, sodium tetraborate (whatever that is) and costs $3.38 a box. Several websites I read boasted about Borax for non-toxic house cleaning, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. It’s a powder so I sprinkled it on the vanity, filled my bucket with hot water, and scrubbed. It cleaned the vanity great! That was easy! Next the toilet – where I stopped dead in my tracks eyeing all of the non-flat surfaces. How’s this gonna work? I felt like a baseball spectator who, instead of showing up to the game with a big #1 finger and a cold beer, I showed up armed with a colander and a jar of Vaseline. Wait a minute; no, no, no, this is all wrong. The powder isn’t going to sit on all of the surfaces for me to clean. Especially the flusher. That’s probably the most important part. Everyone touches the flusher first with their poopy hands. It’s filthy. I decided to dump some Borax into my hot water and swirled it around, soaked a rag in it and wiped the toilet down. Since my head was right next to the toilet after I had “cleaned” it, I noticed it still smelled. Why does my toilet still smell? My irritation was growing as I turned to the bathtub. The tub floor was easy enough but it was the same problem with the tub walls: nowhere for the Borax powder to sit. And after my wiping I noticed it still smelled dirty too. I looked at the bathroom floor and decided instead of wiping with the solution, I would pour some Borax on the floor to scrub. Yah, that didn’t work out the way I anticipated. All the little powder pieces would delicately lift off the floor and float further and further away from my increasingly aggressive rag. I started feeling like I was secretly being videoed for America’s Funniest Home Videos complete with canned laughter. Cleaning shouldn’t be this difficult. And as I did the last wiping out the bathroom floor I couldn’t help but notice it still smelled! IT STILL SMELLED IN THE BATHROOM!

Is anyone reading this an expert green cleaner? How do you do this? Am I a complete idiot? Has pregnancy dropped my IQ 50 points? I have not seen a spray “green” bathroom cleaner anywhere. I’m starting to think I just might go back to harsh chemicals. As much as I don’t want to do this since I’m painfully aware of how breathing in toxic fumes and contact with chemicals absorbed into the skin can affect a baby in-utero, sort-of clean really doesn’t cut it for me. When I take the time to clean, I expect things will be clean when I am done. If anyone reading this knows of a better way, please, I beg of you, I implore you, share it here…