I’ve spent most of this week just observing myself–seeing what I use, what my family uses, and remembering the several years, when the kids were small, that I only used “natural” products. I felt like the house was never clean.
Which made me (Xan) think– how clean does the house need to be?
I grew up in the 50s and 60s, reared by parents who bought the post war suburban lifestyle lock, stock and spic’n'span. Pearls at dinner, mom at home, perfectly ironed shirts. The whole nine yards. Mothers didn’t work, even college-educated, brilliant mothers didn’t work. Mothers who worked were suspect. Someone else, or no one else, cleaned their houses, which were consequently never quite as clean as ours was. Shelves were always dusted, sinks were always empty, floorboards always swept.
It’s important to remember that the degree of clean demanded by the makers of cleaning products and their tools at Madison Avenue is several degrees beyond where clean needs to be for healthy living. Yes, their level of clean has eradicated water and soil-born diseases, and mitigated the ones transmitted through human interaction. But REAL clean delivers the same benefits, and without the whole new set of insidiously life threatening illnesses from cancer to liver disease to hyperactivity.
Get REAL clean. Spotless is not the goal.
Like Xan, I, Jennifer, have spent a lot of the week considering how much of the products I still use are necessary. I’ve stood in my bathroom staring at what seems like a multitude of products, both body care and cleaning, that rarely get used any more. Cringing only seems natural when you think of all the nasty chemicals that end up literally getting poured down the drain. We’re feeding our fish this stuff, we’re drinking the stuff, we’re keeping it within reach of our children, believing nothing bad will ever happen.
My mom actually tried to convince me to give up window cleaner about 6 years ago. She swore by vinegar, water, and newspapers. But I was hooked on the chemicals at the time. I believed I needed to keep the house sparkling because of the baby – and yet I wouldn’t allow pest control to spray inside the house. What was I thinking? While I didn’t cover my dishes, table, and floor with pesticides, I still used plenty of sprays, anti-bacterial soaps, harsh cleansers, carpet cleaners, bleaches, and detergents on the items my baby was crawling on and eating off of every day.
Ironically it took me running our well dry here at our house to realize the circle of chemicals in the environment. Having a drought and needing gray water for plants to survive makes one understand what harm those cleaners are doing in the waterways – to the water we’re drinking.
Our household has made mega-steps in the last year, thanks to several personal challenges and a few online. We’ve stopped using bottled bath soaps and use local, handmade bars from several different people we know; cut our paper towel consumption waaaay back, using old rags and torn up tee shirts instead; we’ve been making our laundry detergent since November, reducing our plastic consumption; and we’ve been making some of our own bathroom cleaners as well.
It’s taken a while, but we’re getting there one step at a time.
What are you doing to be REAL Clean?