Monday, March 29, 2010

Expensive Unhealthy Cleaning Equipment

I first had an inkling that powerful cleaning agents were bad for you when my husband used St Moritz oven cleaner to clean our stove when I was pregnant with Lee. Bad move. Maybe it was just my uber-sensitive pregnant nose, but I was unable to breathe near my husband for the next few weeks. He smelled like chemicals. I forbade him from using that stuff again if he wanted me to be able to tolerate his presence. Pregnant or not.
Chemical cleaners have warnings on them "Do not breath near this product. Make sure to use in a well ventilated area." Why? Because they're filled with nasty stuff that you don't want inside your lungs.
When you use harsh chemicals to clean, no matter how well you think you've washed it, you can't prevent some chemicals from remaining on the clean surface.
However bad it is to breath in those chemicals, it is, undoubtedly exponentially more unhealthy to ingest those chemicals that get absorbed into your food when your food touches those "clean, sterile" chemical covered surfaces.

With that said, why do people prefer to use harsh chemicals to clean things, especially chemicals as harsh as that grease cutting oven cleaner?
Because, after all, how else can you really get rid of grease and other filth from things caked well onto surfaces?
Easily enough.

Mean, Green, Clean- and Frugal Too!

I spent the past little while working extra hours as a cleaning lady to bring in some extra cash. To constantly be using harsh chemicals would mean breathing in poisonous fumes, so I was determined to discover if I could do a decent job of cleaning without jeopardizing my health in the process.
I've discovered that you can do a very thorough job of cleaning, using no specialty cleaning chemicals, and just a few useful cleaning "tools", necessitating in just the slightest little bit of "elbow grease".

Allway Tools GTS Glass And Tile Scraper

Baking soda and vinegar are the only consumables I use to clean.

The "tools" I use are:
A glass and tile scraper
Metal scrubbers
Regular scouring pads
An old toothbrush
Microfiber cloths
Little brooms and dustpans
A spray bottle
A scrub brush
Some old clothes turned into rags
...and some various odds and ends

To clean a filthy stove top, all that is necessary is to make a paste of baking soda and water and apply it to the dirtiest parts of the surface.  Use a metal scrubber (shown above) and or scouring pad to scrub off the stains. The baking soda cuts the grease and makes it come off quickly and easily. The grease should come off with minimal effort.
Then, use the scraper to scrape off the more stubborn spots.
Sweep it all off using a mini broom and dustpan.

If there are still more spots that didn't come off from the first two attempts, try pouring boiling water onto the stain, let it sit for a few minutes, and then repeat the first two steps. Boiling water loosens oil, and that, combined with the heavy duty scrapers and baking soda managed to remove even the nastiest looking oven stains. No harsh cleaning chemicals needed. No need to waste money on toxic chemicals when the cheap, green cleaner will do a fine job of cleaning.
(Because this method involves such little water, I am even able to use it on my temperamental stove that requires "special cleaning fluids" because water will kill the spark generator.)

Diluted vinegar in a spray bottle works very well to clean most surfaces. With this mix, I clean floors, cabinets, windows, mirrors, etc. Windex is wholly unnecessary and is overrated. Diluted vinegar works the same way. Vinegar is a disinfectant as well, for those nervous about that aspect.
Vinegar is what I use when I want a sprayed solution. I use baking soda when there is grease involved or when scrubbing is necessary, as baking soda works well as an abrasive agent.

As a last tip: Newspapers scrunched up is the best way to clean windows and glass without leaving streaks. Spray with the vinegar water solution and dry off with your scrunched up newspaper. Works like a charm.

Why spend lots of money for toxic cleaners when you can do the job easily enough and avoid ingesting all those chemicals? Better yet, why pay lots of money for "natural cleaners" when you, most likely, have your own natural cleaners sitting in your own pantry?

Do you use chemical cleaners in your home? Store bought natural cleaners? Or just plain old baking soda and vinegar?

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