A Brief History of Disinfectant Cloths in Our Household: The Early Years
(Gosh, that title just has timeless classic written all over it, doesn’t it?)
When I was a newlywed (long before I started my natural living journey), I refused to buy Clorox disinfectant wipes. How very trendy and non-mainstream of her, you might be thinking. Saving the earth since 2003. Go team! Actually, the plain old unromantic truth is that I was just too cheap to pay that much money for something you use once and throw out, especially when it’s something that I could so easily make myself!
If I’m going to splurge on something it will probably involve fancy fair-trade coffee or organic, grass-fed steak. You know – the important things in life. A throw-away paper cloth to wipe the yuck of life is just not high on my wish list.
It wasn’t until a few years later that I also became passionate about treating the earth with kindness and becoming mindful and conscious of the types of products I consume and support with my buying habits.
My mom always stored a bag of rags in the bathroom cupboards and used them for cleaning. They were literal rags – cloths and dishcloths that had gotten too worn and holey to be in regular use, and thus cut up for dirty cleaning jobs. (She was doing the eco-friendly and reusable thing long before it was hip and trendy.)
At first I just used them with some water or cleaner for random cleaning jobs, but now I use them for pretty well anything (Although I fully admit to using toilet paper for cleaning up cat barf. Ewww.)
In the past when I’ve needed to disinfect something I’ve reached for my big honkin’ jug of vinegar that lives under the sink. White vinegar is amazing and I use it all the time to wipe down countertops after handling stuff like raw meat. That was a bit of a clunky system, and most of the time way more than enough would pour out which gave me a frugal-heart-attack.
Then I moved on to some vinegar and H20 in a spray bottle. That works nicely, and is pretty simple to spray and wipe with a clean cloth. But what about when you want just a little extra oomph in your cloth – some cleaning power in addition to the disinfecting properties? The vinegar disinfects, but it’s not the best at removing grime on the bathroom sink, right?
I was still committed to never buying Clorox wipes for a variety of reasons (Mainly: wasteful one-use products full of toxic chemicals that harm me and the earth. Compelling, right?)
Enter: DIY disinfectant cloth wipes (angelic chorus). All of the convenience of the disposable store-bought chemical-laden version, only without the price tag, the negative environmental impact, and the nasty toxic chemicals to wipe all around your home. Hello common sense, nice to see you again! Iloveyoupleasedon’teverleaveme.
DIY Disinfectant Cloth Wipes
Emily says: “The vinegar and lemon have disinfecting properties and the lemon also gives it a pleasant scent. The dish soap is for extra cleaning power. The combined scent of the dish soap and lemon essential oil smells really fresh and clean, and covers up any smell of the vinegar in this recipe.”
You can use any sort of washable cloth or rag for this job. I like true rags – clothes that were demoted due to holes and stains and such. Using old clothes as rags makes me feel all Ma Ingalls and stuff (only with hot showers and a heated home and also: chocolate, because: duh), which is always fun. Any sort of bar mop towels or cheap washcloths would work. Even old receiving blankets cut up would be great. Be sure to choose an absorbent material, like cotton or microfiber.
Once you have small squares (or squarish shapes) of cloth, decide how neat and tidy you want your system. You have two options: lay them out carefully with slightly overlapping corners on an angle so that when rolled up you can grab a corner from the inner one and pull it out continuously, like with the store-bought version… or (my personal fave) stuff ‘em all into your container willy-nilly. Then douse ‘em with the vinegar solution you’ve mixed up, and use as needed! Any sealed container would work, even a mason jar, which would be very hipster-trendy of you, of course.
Revel in the magic – cleaning is crazy fun again!*
(You can see more instructions and details over at Em’s blog, Live Renewed, along with an alternate recipe in case you don’t have the ingredients for this one.)
*This has not been verified by any sane person ever. Be highly suspicious of false advertising claims. Ie. this one. Cleaning is not fun. Tolerable, yes. Rewarding, maybe. But fun? You need to get out more, my darling.
If you think these wipes sound awesome, you would be correct. They are brilliant. You can’t beat the convenience, the price tag, and the safe and natural aspect.
Now, I mentioned that this was Emily’s recipe. She graciously gave permission for me to publish it here for you lovely peeps so that I could show you just a teeny taste of how totally-freaking-awesome her new ebook is: Green Your Life: A Guide to Natural, Eco-Friendly Living.
I happen to have edited this book for Emily, which means that I have read every single word from start to finish, and I can confidently say that it is an absolutely stellar resource.
It is 268 pages packed full of information – there are a ton of DIY recipes just like the wipes recipe I posted here, tips for green living (I bet you’ll find several you’ve never heard of even if you’re a more seasoned eco-friendly enthusiast).
I want to emphasize just how packed with helpful information is in this book… and how finding all of that information would take forever on your own. The internet is an amazing thing but it is vast and never-ending. You could spend literally weeks culling information from various websites to find this stuff, but even then it would not be shared from the expert perspective of someone who has been there, done that.
Emily has gleaned the best information and compiled it together into one jam-packed resource that you can trust without reservation.
This book is pretty well the best go-to guide for green and natural living that I could possibly recommend. It also struck me how accessibly the information is presented for newbies, but how more experienced folks in this lifestyle, like me, also can find it super useful.
You can get your digital copy here, along with more details on exactly what it contains. Right now the book is just $8.99 and includes a FREE bonus membership to the upcoming Green Your Life Challenge in February 2014!
Head over to download your copy today – you won’t regret it!
“Treat the Earth well. It was not given to you by your parents. It was loaned to you by your children.” – Kenyan Proverb
Top image photo has been modified from a flickr cc image from this lovely photographer.
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