Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Go Green in 2008 ~ Microcleaning

You are correct to assume with all the cleaning the purportedly going on over here, there could also be a substantial number of paper towels used. Sixteen, to be exact. That is how many paper towels it took the "old" me to do a whole house cleaning. My inspiration to try micro-cleaning cloths instead of paper towels came from my fairy godmother maids who super-cleaned my bathroom. You will recall me mentioning that they did not come armed with an arsenal of chemicals, but rather a bag of rags and a bucket of elbow grease.

I will still use paper towels on problem areas like the cat box, the trash can, and the toilet until their use is forbidden by law. However, other areas are probably even more effectively cleaned using these cloths versus paper towels, and a little of that good ol' elbow grease. The different types do make a difference. The dusting cloth (green) is rough and attracts lots of dust to it. The cloth for glass and mirrors (yellow) is baby fine, and thus far streak-free. I also designate a prep towel to use during meal preparation to dry my hands, and then wipe everything down. That towel then goes straight into the wash.

So, how many paper towels does it take me now to clean the house? Six. Getting better!

Note: A word of caution. If you use sponges for cleaning, make sure to have different sponges for different tasks. A roommate I lived with for one summer used the dishwashing sponge to clean the bathrooms without our knowledge. I cannot tell you all the funky ailments our group experienced that summer, had how much sense everything made once we realized who the culprit was. I believe her excuse at the time was that she was saving paper towels. There is a right way and a wrong way to be conservative. Designating sponges or the micro cloths for different functions helps cut down on spreading ick throughout your whole house. If you do go from bad (kitchen) to worse (bathroom) with the same sponge or cloth, make sure to disinfect after you are finished cleaning that day using the dishwasher/washing machine, the microwave, super duper hot water, or cleaning solutions, if you are so inclined.


Junie Moon said...

I don't use sponges at all because the pores harbor hidden little bits of evil bacteria no matter what you do to try to sterilize them (and the microwave trick doesn't fix it either). Instead I knitted simple cotton cloths and sewed flannel pieces to use as cleaning cloths.

I'm truly enjoying your posts about healthier cleaning in 2008.

Carrie said...

I have that same set of cleaning cloths! Although they're so staticky they kind of drive me nuts.

I'm trying to cut out paper towels too.. although I still use them for things like the cat. Yuck. I really need to get on the ball with getting more kitchen towels and other rags. I've even thought about dyeing different cloths different colors for what parts of the house they're for.. floors, kitchen, bathroom, etc. Although they all get washed together so as long as I throw them in the wash when I'm done I'm not sure it's worth the effort?

Nice story about the sponge though.. I stopped using sponges when I couldn't find any that weren't antibacterial!

The Shopping Sherpa said...

I have white sponges for the dishes and wiping down kitchen countertops, stove and table.

I have blue sponges which are for the "unclean" jobs (floor, rubbish bin, toilets etc)

Still haven't tried microfibre cloths, might give them a go this year (although I have a huge stack of white sponges to get through first)

While we're on the subject of cleaning, if you use those large rectangular scotch pads for scrubbing your dishes, try cutting them in quarters before you use them. I've been doing this for years - each packet lasts 4 times as long and it's easy to use the smaller sized pad to get into tricky areas...

jek-a-go-go said...

I'm loving your tips! We are slowly switching from paper towels to cloth. when we rotate our kitchen sponges, the one that was the counter top sponge (it gets bleached weekly) becomes the bathroom sponge for the big bathroom clean up then we throw it away. Otherwise I use an old T-shirt to do weekly wipe downs of the sink, top of the toilet, etc that gets hung on the line to dry then tossed in the wash.