Friday, February 19, 2010

Some useful advice to counterbalance all of my whining

Since I mentioned having taught a class on green cleaning in that entry about having lost my cement Buddha attachment, it's probably a good time to show one of the best cleaning tips I came up with in all of the time that I spent researching the subject. Oven cleaning - the recipe is at the end of the post.

I offered the class along with three other herbally inspired classes through our local community education program and got very little response. Although maybe in the time that's passed since then, people have become more receptive to the idea of cleaning with nature, instead of killing nature in order to meet a Madison Avenue generated perception of cleanliness. And I also presented the class to the GCHS Spring Herb Symposium a couple of years ago as well, as well as a shortened version presented as an herb study to the GCHS during the following year where it was well received.

But it wasn't just something I did as an challenge for my volunteer commitment to educating the my small circle of the world about practical living with the useful plants known as herbs. I first got into green cleaning when I cleaned house for a friend who was an Executive's wife while she went out and got a real job. Her standards were like something you'd see in Architecture Digest... her favorite magazine, and since her kids were the light of her life, she wanted to go as natural as possible.

We used to walk together in the mornings, and discuss the way the world was being poisoned... NO, let me write that in the active voice... we used to discuss the way we are involuntarily being sold into poisoning our world. And so when the job presented itself, for a year I cleaned a beautiful house with completely green cleansers. And did she buy anything particularly expensive and rare to use as cleaning agents? No. I used white vinegar, Bon Ami, soap, baking soda, borax, and Barkeeper's Friend.

Anyway, background done, let me tell you about cleaning your oven. About 10 or so years ago I bought one of those so called self cleaning ovens, but the first time I used it, I had to leave the house. There is something in that coating, combined with the high temperature, that just affected me horribly.

The next time a pan of lasagna boiled over I tried the green method, and it worked like a charm. Here it is:
Green Oven Cleaning
1. Try to catch the spill as soon after it happens as possible. Scoop it up with a spatula.
2. While the oven is still hot, sprinkle the mess with a good amount of baking soda, or a mixture of equal parts baking soda and borax.
3. In a spray bottle, combine water and a small amount of liquid soap (maybe 1/4 cup soap per 2 or three cups of water)- I recommend using Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap. Use this spray to spray the baking soda.

4. Allow it to work overnight. The next morning you can just about wipe the burned, oily, or sticky mess away with a dish rag. No harsh chemicals like the aerosol foamy stuff we used to gag on in the old days. No invisible gaseous vapor to wonder about breathing. you can use this method in the winter when the windows need to stay closed. And if you use peppermint soap, it even smells nice when you're done.

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