Posted by: A Part of the Solution | March 1, 2010

Green and Clean

I don’t love cleaning. It’s one of those entropy tasks that has to be done again and again and again. No matter how well it was done the last time. No matter what cleaning agents were applied. No matter anything.

There’s always more dust. There’s always more scurf. There’s always more dirt and little crusted bits of something. There’s always more grease. There’s always another stain somewhere else on the same article cleaned last time.

But clean is a necessity and not a luxury in the hospitality industry. For me, it’s largely the trick of getting into the daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal , di-annual, annual habits and cycles of the process and going for it. I can cope with that. I like patterns.

I’m a little sad to be losing bleach, ammonia-based window cleaners, all-purpose clean-anythings in streamlined spray bottles, phosphates &tc. Because that stuff, toxic though it is, it gets stuff clean. Really, really clean. Like call the surgeon ’cause we’re performing open heart on my kitchen floor clean.

One of the reasons I converted my entire life to an eco-friendly, low carbon-footprint–no more murky areas where I could say ‘whatever’, and do what I felt like, do what was easy, do what was a shortest-distance-between-two-points solution–was the cat. I’ve gone to some trouble with that animal. I still do. Every bite of food he’s eaten since we saved his diseased, malnourished, vermin-ridden carcass has been hand-crafted by me. In return, Our Buckle’s fur is silky; his reflexes are lightening fast, and he’s smarter than the average cat too.

But he has a weakened immune system from having been so afflicted when he was little that we put him on antibiotics at barely three months of age. He gets the sniffles for weeks on end, about one fresh round per season. Rhinovirus is harder on cats than people. Cats don’t have a means of processing vitamin C. The zinc helps some. Chicken broth helps some ( I boost it with mushrooms). But he’s like one of those champion football players with a congenital heart defect. Or Hamlet with a tragic flaw.

And I don’t want to challenge Our Buckle’s immune system more than I have to. He walks on most of the surfaces of the house. He loves to play in the shower stalls–wet or dry. And then he cleans himself all over with his little pink tongue.

I don’t want him ingesting Ajax®, Windex®, 409®, Bounce®, or any of their legion cohorts. I don’t want him breathing off-gassing from stain resisting carpet sprays, paint or ‘air fresheners’. I’m not sure he could handle it.

So Hi-ho! Hi-ho! It’s off to work I go with white vinegar, Borax, washing soda, salt, cornstarch, lemon juice, castile soap, enzymes and a host of food-grade oils. And lots and lots of elbow grease and hot water to move the story along.


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