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Keelah - smart, chemical-free cleaning in Manly PDF Print E-mail

Kelaah LamKeelah Lam has cut her costs as well as her use of cleaning products.

When it comes to household cleaning, what I do is to use as little of any cleaning product as possible.

To wash the dishes I get a piece of old paper and use that to clean them before I put them in the wash. This avoids flushing all that oil down the drain and makes the dishes easier to wash. And the used paper? I put that into the compost. That way, I turn waste into plant fertiliser.

I buy 'safe' washing-up liquid, one without phosphorus and other chemical nasties. I take my own container down to the Manly Food Co-op and fill it from a bulk container of washing-up liquid so I don't create waste in the form of empty containers. I notice at the co-op that buyers ask for safe, non-toxic cleaning products, so there's evidently a lot of interest in safer and healthier household cleaning out there. 

For scouring really dirty pots and pans - those with burned-on food - I use bicarbonate of soda. It's an effective cleaner and scourer and using it avoids products with all those unknowns in them. I picked up my care with cleaning from my mother, who was very nature-aware. What also influenced me was living in Malaysia where I saw how consumerism brought change in a way that alarmed me. Then, in Sydney, I did an EarthWorks course and that helped me articulate my concerns so that I could finally take action and do something about it. EarthWorks was life-changing for me [ed: EarthWorks is a waste-minimisation course for householders - enquire at your council].

As well as bicarb I use vinegar for general cleaning in the kitchen and bathroom. It's useful for cleaning the stove and kitchen surfaces and the like. There's also a cirtus... an orange-based cleaner... that the co-op sells.

I like to combine safer cleaning with reducing and, preferably, eliminating waste. I've made the effort to make my house as free from synthetic chemicals and other unsafe products as possible. When we paint, for instance, we use the natural, non-irritant paints that you can buy.

It's easy as well as responsible to make the decision to keep your household safe for the people who live in it and safe for the environment in which you live.

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