Sunday, May 27, 2007

Soap and Water - an Eco-Warrior's Tools?

As I find things to put in May December Home, I can't help wondering if most of these items don't end up in thrift stores and auctions because people don't know how or can't be bothered to clean them!

I'll bring a carload of things home, spend a couple hours scrubbing and buffing and the stuff goes from tired and sad to ready to take on a new life.

I mean, I'm glad to find these treasures - it gives me a chance to make a living doing something I really enjoy.

But how much is going to the landfill instead? How much energy and resources are being wasted for want of a bit of time and elbow grease? And how much of this tired, but not irreparably so, stuff is being discarded only to be replaced by the new and temporarily shiny, at cost of further inputs of energy and other resources?

I'll get off my soapbox now, and tell you a few tricks I've learned to get stuff clean and fresh. You don't need harsh chemicals or endless hours of toil. Plain dishsoap and, for the really stubborn bits, a "magic" cleaning sponge (Mr. Clean markets it as "Magic Eraser". Generic equivalents are available and work as well.) are all you need. A bit of time and effort and most grime will lift right off.

Stains in fabric will come out if you pour a bit of lemon juice on the stain, sprinkle it with salt and leave it out in the sunshine. Wash the piece afterwards, and you're done. My husband and I owned a Bed and Breakfast for eight years. This trick worked every time.

Musty smells in blankets or quilts that have spent too long in the attic will usually come out if you add a cup or so of vinegar to the wash water.

Beyond that, learn to love rust and a bit of flaking paint and you may never have to buy brand new again!


margaret atkinson said...
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margaret atkinson said...

oh, man, the magic eraser is my new best friend.
so many amazing ideas, Barb, and all in your lovely peaceful, relaxed style. When i look at your work, there is no need for a bossy machine-tooled message- the message is there: let's relax, and enjoy life, and make our work something we love.

May 31, 2007 1:44 PM