When I start explaining to people about my journey to leading a more healthy and sustainable lifestyle by going green, I usually share the following story, so I figured it was a good way to start off my posts here at the Prime Parents’ Club.
When I found out that I was pregnant with my son, I was hit with the most intense joy I had ever known.
Then about thirty seconds later, the fear set in.
I had unknowingly been pregnant for two weeks! What had I eaten? Had I consumed any—horror of horrors—deli meat? And soda! I had been drinking soda? Then my mind turned to more practical matters. Was the soap I was using okay? Oh my goodness, and what about cleaning products? All of those nasty chemicals! What if I was going to have a radioactive baby because I had used bleach?
In tears, I called my mother, who got to hear that not only was her first grandchild on the way, but her oldest was unable to get off the floor of the bathroom because she was fairly certain that she had already poisoned said child.
Once she had calmed me down, in that way only mothers can, she suggested, “Well honey, there are all sorts of natural cleaning products that you can buy now. But honestly, why don’t you just use vinegar?”
When people ask me about going green, and we start talking about cleaning products, one of the first complaints that I get is how the eco-friendly ones are so expensive. And they are! The stuff I use to clean my hardwood floors costs about five dollars a bottle. The good news, however, is I can offset that cost by using a cheap disinfectant to clean almost everything else, from my bathtub to my toilets, from my kitchen sinks to my counters.
And that, of course, is vinegar.
As my mother reminded me that day, vinegar a natural disinfectant that packs a powerful punch against all sorts of bacteria, germs, and even mold—and you can buy a cheap bottle of it at any grocery store. I use a spray bottle of vinegar to clean out my sink after we do the dishes or I rinse off meat—just a 1/2 cup of vinegar mixed in with about 2 cups of water lasts me a good long time. I also use it to spray off my kitchen counters before and after cooking, and since vinegar is naturally biodegradable, using it means I have no negative impact on my environment—and no toxic fumes going into my nose (or baby’s).
The reason vinegar is such a powerful cleaner is it is an acid, and so it can easily break down bacteria (and also grease if you are cleaning a stubborn pot or pan). I use that same squirt bottle to attack the soap scum that builds up in my showers or in my bathroom sinks, and it even works well as a glass cleaner. I will dump about ½ cup to one cup of vinegar into my toilet and then scrub it out, and it gets it nice and clean. You can also spray vinegar onto fruits and vegetables while you are preparing them to kill off any unwanted germs.
A natural, eco-friendly cleaner that’s easy on the wallet? You really can’t go wrong.
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