Monday, May 28, 2012

Booky cleaning inspiration

After five months of waiting, Amazon has finally come through for me and delivered this thing to my door. "Self-Sufficiency Household Cleaning", by Rachelle Strauss.

The self-sufficiency guides look pretty good - they've got volumes on soapmaking, beekeeping, weaving and cheesemaking. The principle is, as the title suggests, self-sufficiency - doing things from scratch, in enough quantity or with enough regularity that it can become your only source of whatever is in question.

This book begins with a general explanation of the reasons for making your own cleaners - the benefits to your health, your family, your bank balance and the environment - not to mention freeing up space in your cupboards - and emphasises the principles of keeping things simple, and that preventing dirt from building up is preferable to cleaning it off. It goes on to identify some of the toxins commonly used in household cleaning products - including chlorine, formaldehyde, fragrances and triclosan - and explains their potential harm, citing legislation and research (eg by IARC) where appropriate.

Then it introduces you to the key ingredients of green cleaning. Those who have already been introduced to this surprisingly fascinating world will not meet many new friends, but I do like the easy way the information is presented and the properties of the different things are explained - I think there is a tendency even in the DIY-simple living blogosphere to find and share recipes rather than understanding the properties and principles behind them. With this information, we can improvise and personalise.

She then goes through the house room by room, examining each 'standard' household cleaning product (laundry detergent, drain cleaner), explaining what it does and what properties we are therefore looking for, before identifying several possible combinations. There are recipes, but the key focus throughout is giving you the understanding and knowledge to make your own cleaning products for your own needs. I thoroughly approve of this approach and can recommend this book if you are starting to explore green cleaners.

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