Wednesday, March 10, 2010

So you wanna clean?

There is leftover chicken vegetable soup sitting in my frig. I found it yesterday when I engaged in a refrigerator-organizing spree (a must for the well-ordered mind ;). After spending hours in the cold, the soup had congealed into a thick gelatin dotted by veggies: carrots, onions, and cauliflower. I think my brain must resemble the soup some days. With so many new ideas (or veggies) flying my way, my brain (the chicken stock) doesn't know which way to turn and what ideas to embrace.

As I've mentioned, I have been all about the food lately. But this past weekend I dumped more veggies into my soup, so to speak. My mom and I went to the Organic Growers School spring conference last Saturday. From the plethora of workshops/classes offered, we chose "Green Cleaning Solutions," "Seasonal Cooking & Living," "Designing a Productive Edible Landscape," and "Native Grasses & Wildflowers to Landscape." Whew. Let me tell you, I walked off the UNC Asheville campus thinking about lavendar cleaners, blueberry bushes, and raw pumpkin seeds (did you know these can be green? It was news to me).

My favorite class was the Green Cleaning Solutions. I've already been waging an internal battle against processed foods, so I figured why not add popular cleaners such as Windex and Pinesol to the mix? To be honest, I've never given herbs their due. They belonged in a garden, sometimes on my omelet, and that was about it. While the pungent, outdoorsy aroma never smelled bad, when it came time to decide between that and a fruity, sensual scent (think shampoo or a bar of soap), I'd always go with the latter.

Did you know...
-Lavendar helps relax tense muscles, is good for colds, and minimizes scarring?
-Rosemary relieves migraines, enhances memory, and acts as a sterilizer?

Nope, me either.

I learned that over eighteen billion dollars has been spent on the cleaning industry. We Americans are obsessed with cleanliness. I know that I am. And that's not always a good thing...

I learned that chlorox was created during WWII for warfare. After the war was over, the surplus chlorox was marketed to housewives. "Make your home shine! White = clean!"

I learned that fabric softener contains formaldehyde, while one of Windex's ingredients turns out to be a corosive. Nice, huh? Why would we want to clean our spaces with this stuff? Check out www.lesstoxicguide.ca for more info on what goes into cleaning products.

On the other hand, I also learned that both lavendar and rosemary can be used to make great natural cleaners. I happen to love the soothing aroma of lavendar, so this is great news for me. Do I mind my floors and countertop smelling like lavendar? No siree!

I left the class with recipes for a lavendar cleaning spray and an herbal disinfectant spray and a desire to overhaul my cleaning process and products. After doing a quick inventory, I realized I have about seven or eight different cleaners for my apartment. That shocked me - my apartment isn't big. I don't have The Answer yet (will I ever?!)...this is just another small step in my 2010 resolution to ask questions.

PS If you were wondering about my soup...the stuff glopped into the pot - no splashing there - but before I gross you out entirely, it did heat up quite nicely and was delicious. ;)

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