Wednesday, May 28, 2008

in which I account for my filthy kitchen floor

Articles and entire books about making your own household cleaners have been around for years now. I've never really understood them. They generally list all sorts of combinations of basic ingredients to mix together in spray bottles or shaker jars to use on specific surfaces, which seems like far more work than necessary.

Maybe it's just that I have a low standard of cleanliness? I clean pretty much everything with just water. If it doesn't come off I'll add dish soap. If it's really stuck on there I'll add baking soda. I don't need premixed containers of Borax and whatever taking up space in my cabinets to get the job done. But then, I don't care if my floors are whiter than white either.

I suppose the purpose of these recipes is to replace the specific products that most people have been (inexplicably) buying for years with an alternative that can be put in the same kind of container and used in the same way. Maybe this makes the transition easier for some people. But I think that it (a) unnecessarily complicates the process, (b) focuses overly much on the commercial products, making the alternatives seem like weak replacements, and (c) encourages obsessiveness over housework ("even if you don't want to poison your kids with chemicals, you should still be spending lots of time cleaning!"). A lot of earthy-crunchy tips seem to focus on making life harder when rethinking your goals and standards may be a better way to go. Your goal is to have a clean house without nasty chemicals and disposable packaging? Well, try using what you have and see if it works, and reconsider whether it's really necessary to scrub the counters with disinfectant every day. Want to stop using toxic lawn chemicals? Just stop and see what happens; if you don't like the results, look for some fixes, but you don't immediately need to start applying liquid manure and attacking weeds with a propane torch. Really, dandelions are no less attractive than hollyhocks.

1 comment:

poz said...

A reading from the Gospel according to Dr. Bronner.