Thursday, November 5, 2009

Oh, the sweet taste of phosphates...

The other day, a friend wrote a post about her recent experience with making laundry soap. They are adopting from Ethiopia (insert the awwwing noise that people make when they have just heard that someone's having a baby) and have been looking at ways to "save a little here and there".

It got me to thinking about a book that I have sitting on my kitchen counter-always. It's called "Green up your Cleanup" (The Green House) by Jill Potvin Schoff.

I've read through it even though I think it's more suppose to be like a cookbook--a book you reference, but not necessarily sit down and read it. It does have a lot of great information though just as you would find in a cookbook. It has recipes on cleaning supplies and how to store them, alternate cleaning solutions from your normal hazard cleaning ways, and lots of information as to why you ought to avoid certain chemicals from your home.

Greening up is something that came along my way when I decided to get a parrot.

His name was Pickles. No, we don't still have him for a few reasons, but I'll save that for another day...okay, well if you for some reason desire to know-shoot me an email. BTW-I won't be waiting for that email. Moving on....

So around parrots or any other bird, it is un-advisable for you to use any kind of cleaning chemical, air fresheners, candles, or teflon pans if you wish to be able to keep your sweet, little chirping (or high-pitched, ear piercing, put cotton in your ears squawking sound that Pickles made) pet around. As even a small amount of exposure to any of these things can cause immediate death. So as a new parrot owner that spent way more on the bird and necessities than any of her full blood dogs, I didn't want to accidentally kill it.

Then (being the sharp one that I am) got to thinking, IF these "harmless" chemicals were really that harmful to a small creature, I wonder what it does to our bodies over a period of 100 (I'm being hopeful) years of lifelong exposure. Surely it couldn't be that innocent.

A few reasons why you may look into possibly going greener even if you do it in stages:

First and foremost, "Green up your Cleanup" tells us that "...there is almost no government regulations of the chemicals used in cleaning products in the United States." Think about that for a moment. The companies are allowed to do as they wish when it comes to chemicals that we expose ourselves to daily and are even able to keep those recipes as confidential.

The book also states:

"A study by the Environmental Working Group tested the umbilical cord blood of 10 American babies born in 2004 and found an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants in each baby's blood."

"Phosphates are banned from most cleaning products, but automatic dishwashing detergents have an exemption and can still contain up to 20 percent phosphates. Phosphates that end up in our waterways cause algae blooms that deplete oxygen and kill off fish." (our DISHwashing soap. Dishes. Those things we EAT off of!)

"The EPA reports that levels of air pollution inside the home can be two to five times higher than outdoor levels."

Okay, so those are the more personal reasons. There are MANY environmental reasons.

Are you feeling warm and fuzzy yet?

Yeah, me neither (as I can smell the sweet smell of fabric softener lingering on my shirt. Mmmmmm....fabric softener)

SO what do we do from here? Well, personally, I think it's time for a change. It's time to try out the greener, healthier possibilities. I've had the book. I've made a few changes here and there, but I definitely think it's going to be cheaper and easier than what I'm anticipating. Probably. Maybe. I'll let you know. ;)

If you are up to the challenge, get the book and some basic supplies to get started. The must have's.

Here is what you are looking for:

Liquid soap -a mild liquid soap (something like Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap). She tells us that a little goes a long ways and a lot of the recipes have this included.

Borax located in the laundry section at the store

Baking soda

Washing soda

White distilled vinegar

Lemon juice -"fresh squeezed is the best, but bottled can be used in a pinch"

Powdered oxygen bleach

Club soda

Citric acid -can be found online or in places that sell canning supplies (also called sour salt)

Essential oils
-for scenting your cleaners. "Look for ones that say 100% pure"

Alright green team. Put your hands in. Goooooooooo GREEN!

(too cheesy? yeeaahhh..probably!)


GinSpaghetti said...

I'm not quite there yet... but only because I have to vent my dryer in the house (awful builder, don't ask... or email :P) -- so I use Tide (scream, I know, I know...) but only because it smells sooo good venting inside. When I can vent normally again I am SO up for trying this!

What are some good green books? When we move we're hoping to green up a LOT more and I've been looking for some books that have an overview and indepth things just like this...

Da MiMi said...

I particularly love the recipe for floor wash. Works wonderfully and cheap as can be!

On another note, hmmm, I seem to remember, "no, no, 'ickles!!" being frequently heard when lil ole Pickles was around,.

Shannon Plumb said...

Thanks for the shout out! You are so motivating me to go greener! I need that book!:)

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