Wednesday, April 21, 2010
In this world, the passage of time brings increasing order. Order is the law of nature, the universal trend, the cosmic direction. If time is an arrow, that arrow points toward order….
In such a world, people with untidy houses lie in their beds and wait for the forces of nature to jostle the dust from their windowsills and straighten the shoes in their closets. People with untidy affairs may picnic while their calendars become organized, their appointments arranged, their accounts balanced. Lipsticks and brushes and letters may be tossed into purses with the satisfaction that they will sort themselves out automatically. Gardens need never be pruned, weeds never uprooted. Desks become neat by the end of the day. Clothes on the floor in the evening lie on chairs in the morning. Missing socks reappear.
–from Einstein’s Dreams, by Alan Lightman
This is not my world.
I’ve been thinking lately about cleaning, and I was hoping to have something useful to say but alas I do not. But maybe I will eventually.
In the meantime, I do make my own cleaning products, and I occasionally teach a class on making cleaning products at The Scrap Exchange. The next one is this Thursday 4/22. If anyone is in the area and would like to come, please call the store at 682-2751 to register.
For those of you in other lands, I’ll give you the only recipe you really need.
It’s for an all-purpose spray cleaner, like Formula 409 or Fantastik or one of the $8 Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day products. It’s great on kitchen counters, appliances, vinyl floors, walls, baseboards … pretty much everything. I’ve used it to clean mildew off of blinds that I thought was permanent, and it works great on the bike tire smudge marks that always end up on the wall behind the rack that holds my bikes.
My friend Cathy called me four times when she was cleaning her house after moving in to tell me how much she loved it. Last week I was talking about the upcoming class with a friend, and she said she and her sister bought the recipe cards I put together to sell at the Scrap, and when they’re out of cleaner, they get together to make more. She said, “It cleans better than anything I’ve ever used!”
It’s good stuff.
All-Purpose Spray Cleaner
1 teaspoon washing soda
2 teaspoons borax
1/2 teaspoon liquid detergent
up to 1 teaspoon antiseptic essential oil (lavender, tea tree, clove, cinnamon, lemongrass, sweet orange, rose, birch, eucalyptus, thyme, rosemary)
2 cups hot water
Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake to dissolve and blend the minerals.
You can get washing soda and borax in most large supermarkets. They’re in the laundry aisle, usually in the “laundry aids” section, with fabric softeners and things like that. Washing soda is sometimes harder to find than borax. They both usually run around $3 to $4 a box. The essential oils are optional but make it smell nice. I do not put in a teaspoon, I usually just use a few drops, usually lavender because it makes cleaning the house a lovely, soothing experience. For the liquid detergent, I use Ecover, which is what I use for my dishes. Any mild dishwashing detergent would work.
I calculated the cost at one point and I think it was less than 5 cents. If you really want to save money, stop worrying about food and start making your own cleaners.