Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fragrance and Cleaning

I love a clean home.  I enjoy walking in the door to a nice fresh smelling home and it recently got me to thinking about what we use in our homes.  It is very important because what we use to clean we are breathing in, walking on, sitting on, and wear!  I have recently discovered cleaning with peroxide.  I really like it and especially like that it is so much better to use in my home for places like the bathroom than commercial cleaners.  It is nice around the sink area in the kitchen, the refrigerator if you have any spills with meats, eggs, or just general cleaning in there.  I especially like how well it works in the bathroom and I don't feel overpowered by all the chemical additives in those bathroom cleaners for the shower and tub that are supposed to remove soap scum and the likes.  I simply spray on peroxide and use a soapy scrubber and the tub grout is freshened up from the peroxide, germs are gone and tub is clean and I don't feel like I have some respiratory infection pending and all the coughing.

In the laundry area I am trying to transitioning back to using vinegar instead of traditional fabric softener.  I really can not remember why I stopped using vinegar in our laundry other than the fact that my husband really dislikes the smell of vinegar and I believe at the time I was using a downy ball to distribute the vinegar in the wash and it would not release properly causing the laundry to be coated in almost fresh vinegar.  He was not happy about that!

When I went back to using fabric softener I do remember how soft the towels became again.  I have to admit I missed that the most.  I was thinking about this and wondered if laundry soap worked like window cleaner in this, when you switch from using commercial window cleaner to a vinegar water mix there is wax in the commercial cleaner and you must use soap and water on the window at first and get that wax film off or the windows will be streaky.  Is that the same with commercial laundry soap?  I was using commercial laundry soap and vinegar for my rinse and it wasn't working very well softening my clothes.  Now I am making my own laundry soap and I am wondering if it will work better.  Has anyone else had experience in this matter?  I would like to hear about your laundry observations please.  I am not happy about using store bought fabric softener because I do not want to consume more chemicals than are necessary and being reliant on yet another store bought product. I was delighted when the washer repair man suggested that I mix our softener half and half with water.  It would clog the little softener reservoir drain if I didn't.  That is when I decided to see just how far I could reduce the amount of softener needed in our laundry and make a bottle go further!  I started testing amounts and figured if I could use half and half, why not push it further.  I settled on about a one to three ratio.  The laundry is still soft and smells nice.  I have taken juice bottles and marked a softener fill line on them.  I pour softener to the line, then fill to the top with water and keep one by the washer and the others are stored away until use.  I have decided that I will use what I have remaining and then go back to the vinegar system.  My reservation in all of this is petty but it is Fragrance!  We have been conditioned with commercial cleaners our whole lives that things must smell "clean".  We associate fabric softener smell with clean clothes.  Air fresheners with clean bathrooms. Dish soap even has a smell though I don't think I have ever picked up a dish and smelt it to see if it smells clean.  Fragrance is all around us.  I am conditioned to like my laundry to smell clean or at least have a nice fragrance.  I actually do not care for laundry soap smells so I have been experimenting with adding sweet orange essential oil to my laundry soap that I make at home.  It is pleasant and I like it.  However currently I am still finishing using fabric softener so that smell is getting overpowered by some chemical version of a flower.  I am hoping when I switch to vinegar that the sweet orange smell will remain in the clothing enough to smell nice.

For about seven years now I have been using clove oil for general cleaning.  I use a steam cleaner for my floors, upholstery and in our vehicles.  When I fill the reservoir I use hot water and put several drops of clove oil in the water and small amount of dish soap.  The cloves smell wonderful in our home and leave a very nice fragrance that I now associate with clean.  The furniture smells good and our vehicles smell nice.  Clove oil is a staple oil on my cleaning shelf.  Happy Cleaning!


Donna said...

I use homemade laundry soap and Oxyclean in the wash(to prevent the whites going gray) and I use dryer sheets.Our clothes come out really soft! ( And the dryer sheets are compostable,which helps)I did notice though,that when I went to homemade detergent,the clothes were softer than with the commerical husband noticed it first!
Clove oil sounds great...I love the smell of clove and never thought of that.

prairieharmony said...

Donna, I never thought about the dryer sheets being compostable. The Oxyclean is a wonderful idea and I will have to try it in my next batch of laundry. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Can you put the dryer sheets in Your compost pile or is it just that the manufacturer says they compost? Most paper and plastic that they say is compostable does not do so unless it is in the sunlight If they are put in the dump or under dirt it gets buried and therefore does not decompose. A sad fact. I use vinegar in the rinse. I do not mind a bit of roughness in towels {we line dry} as when I go to use a towel I know it is just washed and never used or it would have softened! :) Also many people use something a bit rough to defoliate their skin and this does that too! :) Really though they feel pretty soft to me right off the clothes line. Sarah