Friday, December 19, 2008

My Journey to Greener Cleaning

I have this nasty little habit. I don't like to sleep wearing anything with sleeves at night. However, this is Indiana and it's cold. So, before I jump into bed I throw whatever long sleeved shirt I was wearing in the floor where it conveniently waits on me until I scramble out of bed in the morning. This brings me to my topic.

Once upon a time when I was living in Ohio, I engaged in this same routine, only to find as I entered the bathroom a very large, furry, black spider perched upon my upper arm. I can't even begin to express the magnitude of my horror. I began to swat at it. I was screaming so much that I woke my roommates upstairs from their peaceful slumber. They ran downstairs panicked thinking that an intruder had entered the house. It had. Only it had eight legs. As I'm trying to swat this invader off of my arm it begins running up toward my shoulder. Now I'm really freakin'! I know that the tainted sweatshirt has to come off. Only problem is the vision of the furry vagabond getting entangled into my hair as it does. Needless to say, it all worked out in the end. I was able to get my shirt off without letting Spidey nest in my 'fro. Why I still engage in this risky behavior - I'm not sure. I guess my need for unencumbered sleep out weighs the thought of spiders trying on my wardrobe. I do, however, check for them before I throw the shirt on now. That was the only time I've ever found spiders in my clothing, though. Unless you want to count the time when one had layed eggs in my shirt which began to hatch right after I put it on. That was another story which will have to wait for another blogging session, though.

Anyway...this morning as I picked my shirt up off the floor, I realized that I hadn't seen any spiders in the house at all for several months. (The ones we were getting in this house were itty bitty. Not at all like the ginormous wood spiders we'd get in Florida. (My husband, who hates spiders accidentally petted one once. But that's also a story for another day.) Focus, Pam, focus. Anyway, after realizing it's been quite some time since I've seen even a trace from one of our arachnid brothers, I remembered the hedge apples. If you've never heard of them, they're nothing really like an apple at all. They are the size of a very large orange or small grapefruit and have this very lumpy, yellow-green skin. A few months ago some friends of ours brought a bag of them to us. Evidently, when placed around the foundation of your home and by the entrance ways, they will keep bugs away. They are supposed to work for something like 3 years or so. They are very expensive if you can find them to buy them. Our friends have a tree full of them by their house, which happened to be a very high traffic area out in the country while the hedge apples were ripe for the pickin'. I'm thinking that there must be something to them.

I have been in search of non-chemical approaches to cleaning, fertilizing, pest prevention and so on for the past couple of years now. My son's stint with asthma that landed him in the hospital for a while got me goin' on this journey. I have found, to my amazement, that the natural remedies that I have been using are actually much more effective than their chemical counterparts that I spent much more money on. So today will begin the first installment of my weekly tips. I'm always looking for greener and more effective ways to do things. So, if you have any good tips, please, feel free to share. Today I'll share my favorite all purpose cleaner. Next week I give you an incredibly effective carpet stain removal.

For an all-purpose cleaner that is awesome in the kitchen, bath, and for floors and windows:

In a 32 oz. spray bottle (the kind you can pick up for a buck at the dollar store)
mix a 50/50 solution of distilled water and white vinegar. Add a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice to it and...voila! A cleaner to be reckoned with! This kicks butt on stove top grease, too.


  1. No way! OK, so how does that cleaner smell? I am anxiously awaiting the capet stain remover because I am in need of one.

    Oh and by the way...when can we expect the next installment on the spider sagas? YOU CRACK ME UP!

  2. This cleaner does smell like vinegar while you're spraying it. But the smell goes away as soon as it's dry.

  3. You could also be your cleaner that is keeping the spiders away! I did some research when I moved into my current apartment because we had major issues with both spiders & ants! I try to do things naturally when I can. What I read was that spiders don't like anything citrus. It recommended using a spray bottle with any citrus essential oil, mixed with water & spray surfaces in your home....especially around areas they can get inside! I guess spiders "taste" with their legs....and they don't like the taste of citrus! Also....ants don't like vinegar! As soon as I started using vinegar to mop the floors....they vanished!

    1. True! I hadn't thought about the citrus playing a role in keeping them away. Thanks for pointing this info out!

  4. I just tried this cleaner and the smell goes away almost immediately! and you get a clean smell! If it gets rid of spiders and ants I am using it always!!


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