Sunday, August 29, 2010

Aisle four – Household challenges: Cleaning, washing, Wiping and Wrapping

• Challenge 11: Domestic cleaning without chemicals
• Challenge 12: Green washing: laundry the eco way
• Challenge 13: Does recycled toilet roll pass the test
• Challenge 14: Can a girl live without clingfilm?

Okay – confession time upfront: I pay for a cleaner to come to my home twice a week, for a total of six hours. Have done since I re-returned to the paid workforce again in mid 2006. It is the only way I can balance paid work with my health challenges.

So … if it was just me, then I could say I clean almost 100% chemical free. I am a fan of ENJO cleaning gloves and other microfiber cleaning cloths and when I was doing all the cleaning, that is what I used for everything from the oven to the floors to the windows. And it is my main choice for cleaning in my workplace (for which I am 100% responsible!)

But I accept that whoever does the cleaning has the right to choose the tools for the job. So I provide spray cleaners etc for the paid help. I do, however, select the most- gentle, environmentally-conscious products I can and encourage the micro-fibre cloths in preference.

It is the best compromise I can achieve for now.

However, in the laundry (where my cleaner also does the bulk of the work) we reuse the grey water on the garden, so the detergent of choice is as eco-friendly as possible. No fabric softeners, no bleach and cold water wash for everything. We air dry outside in the sunshine from October through May, on our traditional Aussie rotary clothesline. In the colder months, there is generally not enough sun to dry things unless there is a good wind, so we revert to clothes horses over the heating ducts, hanging rails in the laundry and the clothes drier on occasions when time and space are short. (Drying a king-size doona cover on anything other than a full clothesline is a nightmare!)

Toilet paper: okay, here I fall over completely! We all have our weakness and nice toilet paper is mine! I have tried and failed conversion to recycled paper toilet rolls and the quality just didn’t pass the test. So consider this a fail!

BUT! I hardly ever use cling film, foil or baking paper and only have paper towel for the most icky of tasks. I use cloth hankies and napkins and Tupperware for food storage. Perhaps this compensates for my toilet paper failure???

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