The Topic: Cheap, Clean, and Green
The Dish: Truth time, my dear readers: I'm a total slob. I could try to lie and say, "I'm just a bit messy. I like my space to feel lived in!" but that is called blatant denial. It seems like every year I have to face my dirt demons, due to my inability to stay in one place for very long. I'm in the middle of a cross-city move at the moment, and after days of cleaning, I just keep telling myself that next time, I'll do better. The silver lining to this moving mayhem is discovering some awesome cleaning products that not only can kick the ass of my apartment filth, but also don't cost an excessive amount of money or use harmful, harsh ingredients.
1. Baking Soda. Tried and true, baking soda is king at killing odors, and helped remedy the horror that was my food explosion-filled fridge. Sprinkled over a damp surface, it made pulling up stuck-on grime a cinch, and took away the awful smell of days(weeks?)-old sweet-and-sour sauce (I will stand by that that was a guest's doing, not mine). Mixed with hot water, it also deodorized the produce bins, as well as my household trash cans. The uses for it are endless, and it's delightfully cheap.
2. White Vinegar. Another classic standby, it's amazing what vinegar can do. Diluted with water, it's a great counter cleaner once I'd removed the heavy grime with baking soda. It also made an impressive window wash and removed all the mineral build-up in my electric kettle (for this, I let it soak overnight). I also keep reading about how baking soda and vinegar make not only a great 6th grade science experiment, but also a dandy drain cleaner, though I have yet to try it. Another favorite use is soaking pesky adhesives with a vinegar solution—think stickers on the fridge, furniture, and bathroom decals—making them much easier to remove.
3. Bon Ami. How this company has been around since 1886 and I just discovered their powder cleanser a few weeks ago, I'll never know. Baking soda is great, but for the real heavy grime—think stained stove burners, shower grout, impossible tile floors—a healthy sprinkle of Bon Ami, a little water, and some determined scrubbing make everything good as new. Non-toxic, biodegradable, and hypoallergenic, it also comes in a recycled paper container which can be recycled again, and costs less than $2. And of course, no animals were harmed in its making. If you're not ready to go the au naturel route, get some Bon Ami.
The Final Word: I know this is just scratching the surface of cheap at-home cleaning, but it's a start! Feel free to share your favorite DIY solutions, as well as any other products you've discovered and love. I could use the advice, and make a promise right now: This time next year, I won't be in the same, slobby situation.