eco oven cleaner

A while ago my brother in law and his partner moved house and I offered to go and help clean the kitchen the day before they moved in. Having rarely… embarrassingly enough – never – cleaned the oven in my house, I couldn’t remember exactly what was involved. I was handed the oven cleaner and told to read the instructions carefully. I couldn’t believe what I read – wear gloves, protect arms, eyes and face, if you accidentally come into contact with the product wash immediately to avoid burns, don’t leave the stuff in the oven past 30 minutes, don’t allow it to come in contact with any nearby surfaces, ventilate the area well, etc, etc. This stuff was so toxic that it stung my eyes and throat in the small amount of time it took to spray it in there and close the door. It frightened me that allowing this type of product in our homes is now considered the norm.

So when I finally decided this week – months later… don’t hate me! – that it is probably a good time to clean my own oven, I knew I had to find an alternate solution. We now use homemade cleaning products for almost every area of our house – bathroom, windows, kitchen, and a few weeks ago I made our first batch of laundry powder. I can now add oven cleaner to the list. I used this recipe from This Whole Family.

I was sceptical of how well it would work, because despite the horridness of the commercial oven cleaner, it did a bloody good job of getting every skerrick of muck out of that oven. I’m pleased to say however that the eco version also worked wonders! Yes, it did take a bit of extra elbow grease, but what nesting pregnant lady doesn’t love a bit of that action? It satisfied my cleaning urge as well as resulting in a lovely fresh oven – sans chemicals.

When I pulled this out of the oven tonight, knowing that it wasn’t caked in chemicals, I was one happy mama.

Do any of you make your own eco cleaning products at home? Feel free to share links to your recipes! I’m on a green cleaning rampage.

can’t blog…

… CLEANING!

I believe during the last trimester of pregnancy this is more commonly known as nesting. However. I’m not in the last trimester. I am a few weeks into the SECOND and it seems this desire to clean and scrub and polish and tidy and neaten everything in sight has taken over me. The last few weeks has seen me develop a serious passion for serious grime. The grimier and sticker and older the dirt – the better. Don’t judge me for what I’m about to say. If you think you might, please stop reading now.

We have a really old stove hood (is that what they’re called?). Not sure how old, but it’s cream and mission brown and ugly and old. Until the other day, I didn’t know that if you pulled at the front of it, it comes out. And you can clean it. I was just wanting to change the globe. The globe blew about 3 years ago. We moved here about 3 and a half years ago. I’ve been cooking with no light for THREE YEARS. And not bothering to do anything about it. So, on a light bulb changing mission (changed about 7 in one day, and that’s saying something for someone who is well known for labelling it ‘the husband’s job’) I discovered that this thing comes off the hood of my stove, and was absolutely plastered in grime a little dirty. I cleaned it.

I noticed that the curtains in the study were a bit dusty. I cleaned them. Same with the curtains hanging in the doorway to our lounge room. So I cleaned them too. The barbeque (husband job alert, husband job alert!!!)… there are no words to describe the barbeque. Needless to say, today I cleaned it. While up to my eyeballs in barbeque grime, I didn’t notice Baby dipping a cloth into the bucket of filth-filled-soapy-water I was using, and washing her legs, arms, face and clothes with it. So I cleaned her. Then I cleaned her clothes. Then I cleaned the bath that she had been in.

I swept the deck, I scrubbed the smutty edge around our sink. Today I have swept the kitchen floor… I think we’re up to four times now. I re-hung the curtains, I cleaned underneath the cot and change table. I changed the sheets, I mopped the bathroom. I have scrubbed and cleaned my stove so hard that now one of the gas jets isn’t working. I re-arranged all of the bookshelves. I soaked and cleaned Baby’s bath toys. I’ve done umpteen loads of washing, and followed through, ie. all clothes, towels and sheets have been appropriately laundered, dried, brought in, folded and PUT AWAY. This is not a common occurrence in our house.

Those who don’t know me personally, please note: this is highly, highly out of character for me. I like to be tidy and clean, but as a general rule I am not very good at it. I try. But in being-kind-to-self-type-language, there is room for improvement. Our house, in its ‘default state’ is not the type of house that likes being dropped in on by kindly friends and family. We are embarrassed often. Sigh.

I was saying to my aunty the other day, that if there was one word that could describe being pregnant for the second time around it would be MORE. Feeling More pregnant, More symptoms, More early (‘scuse the English). Can’t imagine what it’s like for the third, fourth… fifth time (anyone game?)…

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Added note: I forgot to mention my recent discovery of those amazing white magic marker stick things. You get them a bit wet and then wipe things with them. And Everything. Comes. Off. Including crayon and pencil on white walls that has been there for… a long time. I’m into natural cleaning and don’t have a chemical in sight in my kitty – but have [purposely] refrained from looking to see what the hell is in them!!!  

and out from hibernation emerges…

… a bright-Spring-coloured, chitter-chattery, do-things, cook-and-clean, tidy-your-hair, act-now type lady – ME!

For the last 6-8 weeks I have been running on autopilot without even realising it. I was staying up really late, eating all the wrong foods, not feeling motivated at all, letting the washing pile up (and up and up). I wasn’t interested in cooking (odd for me) and instead of having my neat menu plan and shopping list I was waiting until 5pm each day to run around flipping this way and that thinking what-the-hell-am-I-going-to-make-for-dinner, inevitably ending in a rather large puddle of ‘something’ which no one particularly wanted to eat, least of all me. I was spending way too much time on the internet, knowing I should be doing other things.

I love Winter, but in retrospect I can see now that I was ready for it to end.

Something about the Spring air has rumbled in the deep and I have spent the last couple of weeks trying to get back in control.

I’ve spent my time…

:: Borrowing a ridiculous number of books from the library in my new bout of enthusiasm… The Healthy Skin DietBreath,Handmade HomeBeyond the Rainbow BridgeCalm and Compassionate Children… to name but a few.

:: Making the beginnings of a little mooshy belly bunny for Baby.

:: Going to bed early, and I mean EARLY — eg. I am in bed… right now… typing this… at 8.30pm.

:: Paying the bills – ON TIME!

:: Celebrating family birthdays.

:: Spending our first night away from Baby for our wedding anniversary… more on that next time.

:: Taking Baby to a local good old fashioned pub to see her first ever band, Rudely Interrupted. I thought it would be too noisy, but she loved it!

:: Getting outside for fresh air and opening up all the doors and windows.

:: Turning off the computer!

What has the Spring sunshine brought into your home? Or perhaps Autumn is inviting you slow down after a long Summer?

chemical free zone

Hooray!

I have rid my house of cleaning chemicals!

It’s taken me so long to get my act together but I have finally finished my natural cleaning kit and have just given my kitchen its first 100% chemical free bath. I’ve been using bi-carb and vinegar for ages now but I was still using a spray for the bench and product for mopping the floors. Granted I always use earth brand anyway but from now on there will be no need!

Now when I imagine spraying chemicals in my house it just makes me feel icky.

You can find examples of great natural cleaning kits here and here.

Tales of a Toilet

Dear Toilet,

As you know, Mother’s Group is at our house tomorrow. The timer has finished, the clock has stopped. If it doesn’t go well, there’s nothing we can do about it now.

We spent a lot of time together today, you and me. Who knew how dirty you could get down there? I scrubbed and I polished and I sprayed fancy sprays. I mopped and I vacuumed and I wiped. It was all going so well, I was almost even enjoying getting to know you better. But alas, the fun had to come to an end. And come to an end it did. I was on my hands and knees, Cinderella style thank you, toilet brush in hand – you saw me. We were getting on so well, you and I, singing away, sparrows and big eyed baby deer, etc. But then you had to go and do what you did. You just had to ruin it. When I saw your water splashing up, up, up, out of your bowl and into the air I knew, I just knew what was going to happen next but I didn’t have time to close my mouth. And it’s safe to say your water isn’t exactly the Evian of toilet waters.

Although we’re no longer on talking terms, I just wanted to wish you well for tomorrow. If these mamas are the non-weeing type, god help us. I’ll be topping up tea and offerring water and doing anything I can to ensure those ladies take a trip in to see you, looking your finest. I’m sure they won’t disappoint us.

Good luck and, I’ll see you soon x