I use all nontoxic cleaning products for my normal routines. But sometimes there are just hard problems that only a more commercial grade cleaner can get. Bartender's Friend, a cleanser sold in many supermarkets and hardware stores, is not a green product (though it's lower in toxicity than many others) but is unrivaled in getting out rust and black marks from bathroom fixtures and kitchen counters. It's a very good resource of last resort for some of those hard-to-get issues.
if you are an aficionado of cleaning this will be a treat. Otherwise, probably not. In my many years of cleaning the best general bathroom cleaner I've found is one made by Ecover. It's made with nontoxic ingredients and is extremely effective, even on really tough soap scum. They use to sell it in all the co-ops. I used to pick it up frequently, as part of my regular cleaning toolkit. But they stopped selling it about ten years ago.
I looked and looked for an equivalent but wasn't able to find a nontoxic cleaner that really took on the heavy jobs in the same way. But... I discovered that they do sell it in England, where it is made. I do order from there and continue to use it, quite happily. So if you are a cleaning aficianado, you can go to
to order it for yourself!
Here's another idea from a great website for innovative cleaning ideas: Apartment Therapy. To clean a sink disposal the main thing involves putting ice cubes in it, running hot water, and turning on the disposal, letting the blades crunch up the ice. You can add your choice of natural cleaning agent to aide the scouring power of the ice. Cutting up a few lemons is my preference. This is a good spring cleaning task. Give it a whirl!
Cloth, canvas, and plastic grocery bags are a great improvement over paper bags in terms of cutting down on our use of natural resources. But they do get grimy and crumb-filled after awhile. Take a moment to clean them up. Some you can just throw in the washing machine--though best to put them in a mesh bag so the handles don't get caught in the machine. Otherwise, for canvas and cloth bags, wash with a little laundry soap in the sink. Plastic bags, use a cloth or sponge in soapy water to wipe down, then rinse.
This great idea comes from https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning/g3345/spring-cleaning-tips/?slide=5, which is filled with other good cleaning tips.
The most concerning association with mouse droppings is hantavirus, which certain species of mice carry and can be a deadly disease. Fortunately, hantavirus is virtually nonexistent in Minnesota so it is not a practical worry here. There has been only one case of it reported in the 34 years between 1983 and 2017. By way of contrast, Montana with 1/6th the population of Minnesota had 43 cases in that period and even that comes out to only a little more than one case a year for over a million people.
If you have any mouse droppings in your house the first need is to get rid of any infestation. You may need the help of a professional exterminator. But cleaning up the droppings itself takes a little know-how. These droppings have a lot of germs and should be handled carefully.
Wearing rubber gloves, pick up the droppings with a paper towel and dispose of them. Then spray the surface where the droppings were with disinfectant or a bleach solution (10% bleach in water is recommended). Alcohol also works--a 70% strength is recommended. Then wash the surface.
Hears a cheer for a readily available cleaning product that works great and is easy to use: Method's Bathroom Cleaner. This is a good cleaner for bathrooms that gets up soap scum but can be used for greasy counters in the kitchen as well. It is also environmentally friendly and not toxic.
Here is another installment in my occasional series on efficiency in cleaning. These principles are also applicable to other activities. Today's topic is working with your body. Often efficiency is thought about strictly in terms of the task at hand--conceptually breaking down its parts to consider the labor-saving possibilities in each. This is of course very helpful but one also wants to consider the way one's own body works when thinking things through.
A simple example is the order in which you clean a house. I enjoy cleaning but I do find that I get tired over the course of cleaning a home. So I set about a cleaning job by starting with those tasks that benefit from having high energy, which I have at the beginning. Most often, and especially in larger homes, this involves dusting and then vacuuming the entire home first off. This allows me to work faster and to get less tired over the course of the cleaning.
Whatever the activity, a little attention to how your body works can save time and energy and make the task more comfortable.
In natural health circles there's a lot of skepticism about vaccines and particularly the COVID vaccine since it's a brand new technology and was moved quickly through development. I share some of this skepticism but decide to get a vaccine nonetheless. My thinking was simple: COVID is a serious risk, too great to ignore and greater than the risks of a new technology, and there is no other way to contain the virus at this point and prevent needless thousands more deaths. Everyone must decide for themselves, but I hope most people come to the same conclusion.
Today I completed my COVID vaccination regimen with the Pfizer vaccine. Being 65 I was on the first call list and was contacted a few weeks ago by a clinic to make an appointment. Though I have a 95% chance now of not having the virus, I will continue to wear a high-quality mask (and gloves and boot covers) when I clean to be safe and because it's recommended.