My green book club recently met to discuss the book, Green Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck. The book was a breezy read - more how to and encyclopedia on green cleaning techniques than book, really. Ms. Sandbeck touches on nearly every aspect of cleaning a home from doing the dishes (Yes, Greeen Sheeep was right! You can use a combo of washing soda and borax in lieu of dishwasher detergent!) to mopping to organic gardening.
The group's number one take away? Throw our your sponge! It's nooks and crannies are full of all kinds of icky stuff that you really can't kill (even in the dishwasher or microwave) and you certainly don't want to spread that stuff around your kitchen table, counters and sink. The author's suggestion, and I think it was a good one, is to switch to soft towels to use as dish rags. For those stubborn pots and pans, fold your dish rag up in a square and use it inside of a mesh bag (like the ones onions or oranges come in). Works like a charm! Then, remove the mesh, rinse it out and set to dry, while tossing your dish rag in the laundry.
The book is chock full of useful little tips like the ones above - ways to chip away at your dust and grime as well as any chemicals still residing in the dark depths of your cupboards. For the most part, the tips are helpful and make sense. Less clutter results in less cleaning time. Vodka shines, vinegar cleans. And so on.
Ms. Sandbeck does go a little overboard here and there, She drones on and on about fire safety and about botulism. Still, the book is a worthwhile resource for anyone looking to keep a greener, cleaner home.
Recommended: for the green homemaker in all of us
Rating: 3 out of 5
I loved her 2 earlier books: "Slug Bread & Beheaded Thistles" and "Eat More Dirt: Diverting and Instructive Tips for Growing and Tending an Organic Garden." they were full of great tips and illustrated by the author. I give them both 4 or 5 stars!
I've tried the borax/baking soda dishwashing trick 6 or 8 times, now. It works OK, probably not quite as well as Cascade, but it's close. It leaves a little residue, but if I use vinegar as a rinse agent, that takes care of it. Also, I find I have fewer ant problems in the dishwasher when I use borax/soda than when I use Cascade. A nice side effect.
Diana: Thank you for the recs. I'll have to check those out as I'm hitting the garden these days.
Donna: Interesting re the ant issue. I've not tried the Borax/Baking Soda yet. Waiting to run out of the 7th Generation I've still got.
never thought of the mesh idea, been using cloth forever though - great idea when a scrub surface is needed
re: ants - they cover my counter tops in the spring, i put diluted maple syrup or sugar and borac acid in bowls on the counter and several days later they are gone
In tonight's news program, they were talking up baking soda, vinegar and soap. From that you can make anything.
Have to admit, I'm a LONG time user of dish rags. Those little hand knitted ones are my favorite gift.
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