What kid can turn a failed attempt to avoid cleaning duty into an aced science project?
In our house, Marc was known for his uncanny ability to avoid chores.
If a toilet needed plunging or a lawn mowing, his mission was to go missing. Or at least sweet talk his way out of the task.
One time Mom cornered him in the bathroom with a mop and cleaning products. While desperately thinking how to get out of cleaning the toilet, Marc noticed scary labels on the cleaning products: ï¬‚ammable, corrosive and poisonous.
They looked unsafe for anyone to handle, let alone a kid. Marc pointed this out to Mom. Although she ï¬�gured it was just an excuse to escape, how could she argue with his alarm?
Although Marc was first motivated by a healthy aversion to cleaning duty, his cause for concern was real. A typical cleaning product can release around 40 contaminants into the air, many linked to cancer, asthma and a host of other health problems.
Green products fare only slightly better, letting off a quarter of the contaminants that conventional products do. And the damage doesn't stop there. Think of the Great Lakes or Athabasca River choked with drain cleaner or toilet bowl washer.
But what was the solution?
It wasn't until Marc got a peek inside our grandmother's gleaming cupboards in her home in Windsor that he discovered that tried-and-true, non-toxic ingredients -- and a little bit of elbow grease -- worked just as well.
Our Mimi relied on everyday items, such as vinegar, borax, baking soda, salt and hydrogen peroxide. Armed with research and recipes, Marc set up a booth at a science fair to promote alternative home cleaners over store-bought stuff. It was a hit.
Page 1 of 2 -- Find recipes for homemade green cleaners on page 2
By using these one-step recipes, you're not only avoiding the harsh chemicals, you're saving serious cash too: some $200 to $300 a year! As for Marc and cleaning duty, he was eventually forced to scrub that toilet, albeit with Mimi's cleaning concoctions instead.
The gentler way
• Using softer home-made cleaners means your kids can easily lend a hand.
• Combine castile soap with a few drops of your favourite essential oils for an easy washing-up ï¬‚uid for dishes. Note: this doesn't work in a washing machine, only for hand-washing.
• Mix together one cup of water with 1/8 cup of liquid castile soap, a 1/2 tsp of baking soda and one tablespoon of vinegar for a fabric cleaner.
• Reuse old spray bottles and containers to make your own products.
• Rip up old T-shirts or towels instead of using wasteful disposable wipes, mops and dusters.
• An all-purpose mix of half vinegar and half water works well on most surfaces.
• Not ready to throw out all your old products? Dilute with water to ease the harshness and extend their life cycles.
|Excerpted from the book Living Me to We: The Guide for Socially Conscious Canadians © 2012 by Craig Kielburger and Marc Kielburger, published by Me to We. Reprinted with permission from the publisher. Illustration by TurnStyle Imaging. |
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