Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Book Review: Mrs. Meyer's Clean Home

A couple months ago, I was contacted and asked review a new book on green cleaning - Mrs. Meyer's Clean Home: No-nonsense Advice That Will Inspire You to Clean Like the Dickens. Knee deep in Green Housekeeping, a green book club book, I was truly in the spirit for spring cleaning and happily agreed.*

The disadvantage of reading and reviewing two books on the same topic back to back is that it is nigh impossible to escape comparisons. So I won't even try.

Let's assume you are in the market for a book on green cleaning. Green Housekeeping is dense, well documented, covers nearly everything imaginable that relates to being green or cleaning. Mrs. Meyer's Clean Home, by contrast, is less encyclopedic, easier to maneuver and, well, less green.

In many ways, the book is not so much about green cleaning but about cleaning the way our grandparents did. For certain, those of the older generation cleaned their home without all of the chemicals and disposables in which our generation indulges. Vinegar, baking soda, a little vodka, some rags and a whole lot of elbow grease got everything clean.

They also did things like line their toasters and everything else within reach with aluminum foil that was thrown out every couple weeks. Or refuse to remove their shoes when entering a home (theirs or one in which they were a guest) because it is "inhospitable." Thelma (as I came to think of her) believed the latter was a reflection on a home owner worrying more about keeping a clean home than making a guest feel welcome. Well, sorry, Thelma, but more and more of my friends (and my family included) leave our shoes - and the toxins they collect - at the door. It is, apparently, a modern eco-phenomenon.

All in all, it was a quick and easy read. Skimming through it felt more like tea with my great aunt Thelma than an actual book. I emerged with a better picture of how my grandmother cleaned and a few gems - like washing a burned pot by boiling equal parts water and vinegar with a little salt and letting the whole mess sit overnight. Works like a charm, I swear it!

Recommended: for those interested in lifestyles of past generations and folks looking for cleaning tips.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

*You may be familiar with the Mrs. Meyer's name, which the author's daughter adopted for a line of green cleaning supplies sold at Whole Foods and other outlets.


hmd said...

Sounds like something I should read! As we've been using up the old cleaners, I've been making some of my own with vinegar, water, baking soda, etc. I'll definitely be checking this one out. Thanks!

Kale for Sale said...

We've been a shoeless house for so long I feel awkward leaving them on at other people's homes. Funny how normal changes over time. It seems contradictory that Mrs. Meyers would have a book about using basic ingredients for cleaning when they sell a different plastic packaged product for every surface found in a house. Each scented with an enjoyable array of natural oils however. Thanks for the review. I need a kick in the butt to establish some new cleaning habits.