Thursday, October 10, 2013

Cleaning Up

Fall cleaning is the absolute worst.  Something about having windows and doors open through the summer
adds an extra-stubborn layer of desert dust and sagebrush pollen to the house.  This year, I’m experimenting, using home-made cleaners, exclusively.  Along with old standbys like this glass cleaner and these furniture polishes I've added a few new cleaners.  The results, so far, are astonishing!

Though this blog deals with thrift, the monetary savings, of using homemade rather than my usual store-bought cleaners, are not huge.  The cost of homemade cleaners varies based on cost of individual ingredients and the quantities used of each.  Regardless the formulation, though, all the homemade products I’m using cost less, per use, than their store-bought alternative – which I (once) bought in bulk for maximum economy.  Despite modest savings, that’s not what prompted the switch.  This year, I was interested in using milder ingredients which might prove gentler on sensitive skin and the environment (both indoors and out.)

The problem is, I’m a bit of a clean freak and if these homemade products didn't work, I’d likely break down and buy some environmentally friendly commercial product which would.  It turns out, I don’t have to make that choice.  The cleaners and polishes work as good as or better than all the old products I previously used.

For example, our bathroom had accumulated calcium/mineral deposits dating back prior to our arrival.  I've been working at them, scrubbing furiously, trying to remove that dull coating.  Nothing I used touched it, though.  Then, a few weeks ago, I tried this tub & tile cleaner and, with far less hard work, our tub is actually glossy.  Short of a tub replacement, I thought that was impossible.  Not only is this cleaner a snap to make it makes cleaning a snap!

I had a similar experience with the all-purpose cleaner.  Without any soap, this solution cleans grime with a swipe.  Stubborn gunk, stuck on the window frames – another rental inheritance which also seemed hopeless – scrubbed off this time.  Amazing!  My old cleaners didn't touch the build-up, yet this mild solution was a true performer.  Best of all, after a full day, with bare hands in and out of several batches of this all-purpose cleaning solution, my hands remained soft and suffered no burning sensation.

By far, the most stunning discovery was the distinct lack of allergy symptoms.  I had always assumed the reactions both hubby and I endured were due to all the flying dust, dirt, and pollen while spring- and fall-cleaning.  Imagine our surprise when, after using none of the usual cleaners, after using only home-made cleaning solutions, we've suffered  none of our usual symptoms.  This has never happened before!  Then, it occurred to us:  the lingering odours, so prevalent when using store-bought cleaners, were absent and yet the airborne detritus had been more plentiful than ever.

The chores aren't over yet.  Fall cleaning is still ongoing.  I’m not as swift at it as I once was.  Aching muscles need a day or two to recover before tackling the next room or project.  Good thing I have an arsenal of cleaners that make the workload just that little bit lighter.  Without burning skin and thundering sinus headaches, the process should move along much more quickly, too.  For us, these are reasons enough to switch!