Friday, July 9, 2010

Eileen Cleans

or, An Ode to Vinegar and Baking Soda.

I am a bit hesitant to branch out into topics beyond eating, but I've had a few requests, so I'll address some ways I extend my food philosophy to other areas of my life. I figure, if I'm not eating it, but I'm breathing it in, slathering it on my body, spreading it around my home, or pouring it down the drain, the Food Rules should still apply. After all, this philosophy isn't just about protecting my health or my taste buds, or the environment as singular interests. It's about acknowledging that all life exists in relation to all other life.

So am I eating whole, local, sustainable food and cleaning with manufactured chemicals? Heck no. And why not? Pick your reason:

-They're toxic to me.

-They're toxic to the rest of my environment.

-They're not produced in an environmentally safe way.

-They're freaking expensive.

And what about "natural" cleaners? Well, they're still a steep and unnecessary expense. Plus, there's no universally accepted or regulated meaning to the word, "natural," so the first three reasons may still apply as well.

I only use two main ingredients in cleaning: vinegar and baking soda. I mix 2 parts white or cider vinegar (which I buy in bulk) with 1 part water in a spray bottle. I use this to clean a number of things:

-kitchen and bathroom counters



-windows and mirrors (it doesn't leave streaks)

-anything metal (great at removing rust)

-floors (in mop water)

If you're concerned about the vinegar smell, it's completely gone by the time it dries.

I mix baking soda (which I also buy in bulk) with a few drops of an essential oil for scent (I like lavender) in a shake-able container. You could reuse one of those plastic Parmesan cheese shakers or a mason jar with holes in the lid. I use this as an abrasive on things that really need scrubbing, like:

-counter tops

-stove top and burners

-dishes with stuck-on food

Just sprinkle on some baking soda, scrub with a wet rag, and wipe away. I also sprinkle it on carpets before vacuuming to deodorize.

Some other miracle uses?
-softens laundry in place of fabric softener
-works the same in place of hair conditioner
-can be used in place of "Jet Dry" in dishwashers

Baking Soda
-cleans hair in place of shampoo
-can be added to dry dishwashing or laundry detergents to stretch their use
-deodorizes shoes, couches, and bodies

More on these uses later. For now, what do you clean with?


  1. Well done Eileen. I too heart vinegar for so many things. Used along with water in a spray bottle, it is excellent in cleaning a dog's ears and it keeps the bugs off, too. Brilliant. Thanks for the tips and keep 'em coming.

  2. Me? I clean with Soft Scrub bleach. :)

  3. I don't clean. I pay these lovely young women to clean for me and now, after they see this, I guess I'll be stocking up on vinegar!

  4. Mer, I hope you're kidding...