As I’ve said before I’m a lazy neat freak. I try to work efficiently so I don’t do any more than I absolutely have to. Last post we talked about the living room and just a few general tips to break down your Green Clean and Lazy Clean schedule. Today I want to hit up at least two rooms that are really important to clean, the bathroom and kitchen.
They are some of the dirtiest rooms in our house and they need to be some of the cleanest. Now, no one has time to clean their entire bathroom every week. A few have time to clean it weekly and some do it as I do, split up over the course of the month.
So let’s get started.
It’s often the heart of the home. Family gathers round for food and snacks while they talk about their day. Or not depending on your family. Still, it is an important place as it holds a key to survival….food. Not to mention that we should keep it clean for another reason. There are studies that indicate there’s more E.coli in your kitchen then there is in your bathroom, which is shocking as it’s a fecal bacterium.
Here are a few tips to keep your kitchen clean and green.
A note on toxic cleaners: a lot of them have pesticides in them. You may ask what’s so bad about that, they’re used on our food right? Well first, they aren’t tested for very long. Second, cleaning and killing are two very different things. There are plenty of beneficial bacteria that these cleaners destroy along with the bad. We don’t want to kill the ones that help with digestion, the ones that help make vitamins in our body, or the ones who help fight off various diseases. (Yes there are good bacteria.) Not to mention that the more bacteria we kill, the more resistant some of these bacteria become, which could lead to super bugs.
1 Choose less porous surfaces for your countertops if you’re redecorating. The same thing goes for cutting boards. It will help you cut down on the bacteria.
2 Talking about porous….ditch the sponge. It holds onto more bacteria than anything else. Particularly that E.coli I was just talking about. Or you can clean it by nuking it in the microwave or putting it through the dishwasher. Well, supposedly. I’m not sure I trust that.
3 Don’t microwave plastic unless it is Tupperware. They’re one of the few companies who have actually tested the safety of their products in a microwave. Pyrex is another good company. There are some plastics that are fine in a microwave, but a lot of the plastic we use isn’t tested or safe for use in the microwave. Some have additives that can be released when heated. It’s much better to invest over time and get rid of your old stuff than to risk your health.
4 Ditch the non-stick pans. While it’s easier to clean there are better alternatives. However, there’s some question as to whether or not they are safe. Alton Brown cautions the use of them in his Kitchen Gear book. Not only does it easily break off (so you have to put extra care into its maintenance), but you have to be careful what tools you use with it. Not to mention that you lose any chance of deglazing your pans, which makes for a tasty sauce to go with your meal.
Also, in my opinion….one of the best nonstick pans is a wok. You can cook most things in it and I’ve never had anything stick. I got mine and all the tools for 10 bucks with a coupon (originally 20.) Otherwise avoid the nonstick pans. Studies have shown that a chemical used in their production has been found in the blood of the general population.
For baking I suggest silicone and aside from my wok just about everything else I use is cast iron….which your children’s children will be able to use so long as you take care of it.
5 Get all natural cleaners or make your own. Phosphates in the normal cleaning supply are not good for you. Many of the chemicals in some of our cleaners have endocrine or hormone disrupters, which can mimic estrogen in the body. Such imbalances have been linked to breast cancer, allergies, asthma, ADHD, and learning disabilities.
6 Avoid most antibacterials. Apple Cider vinegar is a great alternative. It is all natural and doesn’t involve spraying pesticides around your home….yes you read correctly pesticides. The EPA has it posted on their site and even worse…they may not be working.
7 Avoid bleach. Not only is it super toxic, but it contains pesticides. Not to mention that you have to wash the item before you disinfect it and then you are supposed to leave the bleach on for thirty minutes for it to be effective in the first place. That link also has some other scary information on bleach.
8 Return to tap or filtered water. Don’t waste your money on bottled. While your tap is required by law to be cleaned, disinfected, tested for bacteria and parasites, and must be filtered (if you can call it that in most places), none of those things are required of bottled water. Not to mention that there are heavy metals in the plastic that break down over time no matter what temperature you keep them at. (http://santevia.com/why-single-use-plastic-bottles-are-killing-you-and-the-environment/)
9 Get more microfiber to break the old dirty mop, bucket, and water routine. One, a mop holds dirt to the point that eventually it is just moving it around. Second, dealing with all that water is nasty. Third, who wants to even touch that bucket again after it has been used so many times?
The solution….well what we did was buy the cheap Swiffer, but we don’t buy the wipes. We bought microfiber that can be washed and cut it into little squares that fit the Swiffer. We just wash them with rags and stuff at the end of the month. A half a yard should make you at least ten if you measure. Other than that just use the vinegar, water, and oil solution I mentioned in the first post.
10 When you do dispose of your toxic cleaning supplies look up how to properly dispose of them. Most of them aren’t safe to just be thrown in the trash. The EPA even lists most of these items as household hazardous waste.
11 Save the planet by not using plastic bags. Or at least reuse them until they are dead. We used to keep them every year for cookie season in Girl Scouts, but now we give them to a family that uses them to seal up dirty diapers. Beyond that, when I have my own place, I try to use reusable grocery bags to cut down on waste.
- Ditch the toxic cleaning supplies and personal care products. Look for more natural products or make your own. There are more chemicals in your bathroom than just about anywhere else in the house. There are just too many problems associated with them.
- Ditch antibacterial soaps. The AMA doesn’t even recommend them anymore.
- Look for natural shower curtains. Many of the plastic ones contain toxins. I know this isn’t something everyone can do. I know I can’t afford it right now. But it is something to think about.
The biggest problems in our bathrooms are the products we use to clean us and the products used to clean it…so please read the labels carefully and do your own research on these harmful chemicals. It really is easy to find a way to eliminate most of these products if you just look for recipes online.
This one is pretty basic.
- If you have respiratory issues or wake up with itchy eyes you might want to consider putting a cover over your mattress because they are a likely culprit. Or you can vacuum your mattress once a month if that’s a little too expensive for you.
- This is the biggest room to ditch the carpet because the mites are just all the more hiding in there.
- Ditch the toxic cleaning supplies, they may be getting rid of the dust bunnies, but what are those toxins doing to those you love?
- Be careful on your sheets; cotton is treated with many pesticides. If nothing else you need to wash all your linens often to kill those pesky mites.
- In some countries they do not make their bed every morning. The idea is that it lets the moisture dry out which makes your bed a more hostile environment for those mites.
- Air out your bedroom, this will also keep it dry and hinder those pesky bed mites.
I could go on to share more tips for the laundry room, kids rooms, and for pets, but from here on out it’s just going to get more repetitive. A lot of it is just removing toxic chemicals from your house. The second is working smarter instead of harder.