I'm the one in our family that insists upon recycling, cringes at using aerosol
sprays and checks laundry detergent labels for phosphates
. About a year ago, I insisted upon using store-bought "green" cleaning products, but it fell by the wayside as the price of these products exceeded our budget. Most of the brands I found at stores averaged about a dollar more than the non-green products. Two things happened recently that pushed us over the edge to use natural household products.
One morning, early in May, I found myself standing in a pool of water while taking a shower. I stepped out of the shower to find sewage had also backed up in the bathtub. There was roadwork underway in the area, so we wondered if it had triggered the backup. We called the water company and they agreed to come out to check our main line. They flushed the line but the problem in our bathtub and shower did not go away. My husband was told that we'd have to call a plumber.
Against spending the average plumber fee of $100, he decided to fix the problem himself. After some research online, he poured vinegar and baking soda into the shower drain, and followed with a pail of extremely hot water. A miniature volcano ensued, pushing soap scum and hair debris into the shower. But then it began to drain. We haven't had a problem since.
The second thing that happened was an onslaught of gnats. Last week, while emptying the trash cans around the house, I discovered a banana peel in the bottom of one receptacle. Within the hour, we were all flapping our hands around our heads to shoo the gnats away. I counted at least 20. It was like something out of the Old Testament. Trying to hit gnats with a fly swatter is useless because the little buggers move extremely fast. Using any type of bug spray was out of the question since we have small children around — besides, we don't own any bug spray.
By day two of our plague, I found a solution
online: apple cider vinegar and baking soda in a jar. I placed plastic wrap on top, secured it with a rubber band and poked a few holes in the top with a fork. The gnats were gradually drawn to the jar but couldn’t find the way back out. Within a couple of days we were gnat free ... without using any potentially harmful chemicals.
After these incidents (more notably the last one), I've renewed my determination to find and use more natural remedies to keep our home clean. With the help of some green-minded websites — including this one
— I should easily be able to put at least two natural (or at least more eco-friendly) cleaning products into use. I'll keep you posted.