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the green man

I live in a dark house with a green man.

By this I mean it's not about turning off lights at our place when you leave a room, you gotta present a good reason to turn them on. 

Like I said, dark house, green man.

We have a water timer in the shower (a four-minute free timer from the Queensland state government. The kids love it.)

We're pretty typical really: we avoid plastic bags and we compost and recycle. We've got energy efficient light globes (not that they're ever bloody on anyway) and we avoid cleaning chemicals. (Avoided most ardently by me. Cleaning?)

It's a cliche but true: there's a natural cleaning solution for every chemical we've created. 

My favourite: the food-safe "spray and wipe". 

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Dissolve a tablespoon of bicarb soda in hot water and add a cup of vinegar. Top up with cold water and there you have it. Fresh smelling cleaning spray. And if the kids put their vegemite toast on the table just after you've wiped it you don't need to worry about them ingesting a bunch of evil stuff. 

I've said it before, I am eternally grateful to my mother in law Jen for making Adam a cleaning dude. Long before Shannon Lush, this fella was mopping floors with hot water and eucalyptus oil. Marvellous man. 

One more chemical-free idea: make your own washing powder. Sound insane?

It's so damn quick and easy. And it works really well

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I use Amanda's recipe:

2 cups finely grated soap

1 cup borax

1 cup washing soda (I use Lectric soda)

1 cup bicarb soda

I use about a third of a cup per wash (using a front loader).

I found Dr Bronner's here in Australia but it's a bit expensive to be grating up. I've used good old Lux flakes which worked well, and am currently grating up some Sunlight soap. 

Jen did about a hundred loads of washing for me when she was here for a week recently. She loved the homemade powder so I made up another batch to send back to Armidale. 

It doesn't really properly say thank you for my green man, but it's something.

xxx

22 Comments on “the green man

International Woman of Mystery
September 16, 2010 at 5:29 am

What on earth is borax? Sounds lethal, or else a tasty sauce to put on steak.

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Angie
September 16, 2010 at 9:53 am

Thanks for this recipe, I’d like to give it a go soon. Just wondering how you would manage nasty mold in the bathroom without chemicals?

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nest
September 16, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Grate? Like with a cheese grater?

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Leonie
September 16, 2010 at 6:04 pm

we started using homemade washing powder about a month ago – LOVE IT! I love the smell (no chemical residue) and it is SOOO cheap! A batch has lasted us almost a month for 5 people’s washing. I grated the soap for the first one (using sunlight, plus one of sard) and this time I just chopped them roughly and threw them in the food processor! Going to try the natural spray and wipe next.

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Leonie
September 16, 2010 at 6:06 pm

oh yeah, I live in a dark house with a green man too lol!

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Renee
September 16, 2010 at 9:34 pm

I read this when Amanda soule posted it and thought I should have a go- but now you have convinced me.

Where do I get washing soda?? And do you have an estimate of $/kg??

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innerpickle
September 16, 2010 at 10:19 pm

haha. It’s a mineral salt, I think. I get it at Woolies.

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innerpickle
September 16, 2010 at 10:22 pm

Answer from Adam: make a paste with bicarb soda and some hot water and “paint” the area with it. Leave for a bit. Then add some vinegar to the remaining paste and scrub, using steel wool (or something coarse that won’t take your paint or grout off.) He said chemicals mean we use less elbow grease. Bicarb and vinegar clean just about everything but it takes more work.

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innerpickle
September 16, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Yep. On the fine setting. We’re looking for powder, not cheddar. xxx

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innerpickle
September 16, 2010 at 10:23 pm

hey good idea with the food processor!

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K
September 16, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Borax is the mystery ingredient: along with bicarb, vinegar, lemon juice. You can do a whole house with that stuff. Why is that? (Vinegar + lemon juice worked for us on minimal mould, but not the virulent inner west variety.)

I do feel particularly virtuous when grating Sunlight soap. I just have to learn not to lick fingers for a while afterwards…

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innerpickle
September 16, 2010 at 10:24 pm

I buy lectric soda (washing soda) from woolworths, or Franklins. Pretty sure it’s in the cleaning aisle of most supermarkets. Haven’t done the $/kg calculation. Will do that and report back.

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Renee
September 16, 2010 at 11:09 pm

http://cityhippyfarmgirl.wordpress.com/2010/09/06/10-tips-for-eucalyptus-oil-use/

Along the same lines… This post was very interesting

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MM
September 17, 2010 at 1:35 am

I am sitting here in a city that uses WATER to clean the streets feeling very guilty. Project for the weekend, work out how to say Borax in French and make the powder.

We have to add a special anti-calcium product to our washing machine here. Anyone know what an alternative to Calgon might be? I hate that I wash mi clothes in it, and I’m certain my skin does too…

As always, love reading…
MM

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renee
September 17, 2010 at 4:40 pm

one more thought… well question – what do you wash your woolens in?

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Heather Ross
September 17, 2010 at 6:10 pm

Wow I love this. I use non toxic as much as possible but it can be so damn expensive. I am going to give both a go. Thanks so much for sharing! hx

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Cassandra
September 18, 2010 at 3:45 pm

oooh I just stumbled across your wonderful blog from a Loobylu comment about Lloyd Khan. I am enjoying reading a backlog of your posts. Yippeee, glad to meet you! And thanks for sharing all this goodness.
x.C

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Amanda Geluk
September 22, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Can you use this in a front loader? Or is it too sudsy. I have just bought a lovely but exxie machine and don’t want to stuff it up…..

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innerpickle
September 22, 2010 at 11:13 pm

I have a front loader and it works very well! Actually not very sudsy at all – never had a problem with it.

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innerpickle
September 23, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Renee, I was driving along today and I thought: someone asked me about woolens and I don’t think I answered! Sorry!! I wash my woolen in Softly – although I’ve run out at the moment. In fact, to be honest, it’s what I washed all of Ivy’s clothes in for the first month. For me it takes a while to trust something new – even a natural homemade product! I do have some recipes for home made wool wash. Time to get them out I think, rather than buy another bottle of Softly!

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Jane Elise
June 30, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Is Borax green? I’d heard it was quite toxic but have never used it myself.

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Grout Cleaners
April 27, 2013 at 1:09 pm

I love this. Yeah… borax is kinda strange word to me… It sounds like poison or deadly to me.. “smile”.

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