Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Team Green Clean

I'm all for going green. We've done the organic co-op (it sucked), the composting (it rocked), we own one car, and produce 300% more recycling than garbage (and where is our prize??). But something I have a hard time really getting behind is the whole all-natural cleaning thing. If it doesn't smell like bleach, I don't think it cleans. I used to adore Clorox Clean-up and would still use it if Matt hadn't used it randomly several times bleaching things like pillows, kitchen towels, and shower curtains. We now use Windex Antibacterial, which is bleach-free but still has a great, chemical smell that lets me know that everything is squeaky clean. And if you keep your eyes out, you can get great deals/rebates on this product... we've gotten about 4 bottles of windex free in the past year :)

When we started trying to have a baby, we limited my exposure to chemicals because, well they're chemicals and they're toxic (I read The Complete Guide to Organic Pregnancy... great book whether you're pregnant or not). But, I would still handle the cleaning, airing out the house as needed to get rid of those wonderful fumes.

Now that I am finally pregnant (24 weeks tomorrow!!), my wonderful husband is cleaning the house. It's not only about the chemical exposure, but it's also the manual labor of it all- it's just not good for a high risk pregnancy. And we worked really hard to get pregnant so we aren't leaving anything to chance.

In theory, it's fantastic to have someone cleaning for me... but it's driving me UP. THE. WALL. for several reasons:

1. He works all week, only to come home and spend his free time cleaning and organizing. Not only is he ADHD, but he also knows nothing about cleaning. Some spots get missed and it takes him 2 hours to clean our tiny bathroom. On average, it takes him 8 hours to clean our 900sqft cottage; it's takes me 2. And I just cringe thinking that his "down time" is taken up with my responsibilities. And when he's finally done and things still aren't clean, I just can't bring myself to tell him because all I really want is for him to relax.

2. He only cleans once a week, which I think is a totally reasonable expectation for a 27-year-old man who works full-time (plus). But it grosses me out. Our place is teeny and our dogs shed like crazy. I cook and bake all week. Our house is down-right gross in 3 days - and I need a clean house. I do not function well in the filth.

So, I finally decided to problem solve. Sure, it's over half-way through the pregnancy, but to my credit, we've lived in three different places in the past 3 months so I've been a bit busy just getting life settled. How am I going to avoid cleaning chemicals/heavy cleaning while pregnant?

Four words: vinegar, water, rubbing alcohol, spray-bottle (spray-bottle is one word because it's hyphenated). Mix equal parts water and vinegar in a (new) spray bottle and you've got a surprisingly inexpensive all-purpose cleaning solution. Mix one cup water, one cup rubbing alcohol, and 1 tablespoon vinegar and you've got window cleaner. I plan on using my special cleaner everyday on the kitchen counters and every-other-day in the bathroom for upkeep. We also purchased a cheap-o lightweight vacuum that I can take around the house daily to make it a little less hairy.

I am a bit weary of these things actually working well because they're so simple. I found some other cleaning recipes that are for stronger solutions, though I really don't think I'll need it if I'm cleaning on a daily basis. I just made these today and will try them this week to see how I like the cleaning solution and process. Hopefully these substitutes will get me by until the weekend when Matt can bust out the real stuff and give the house a good scrub-down.