Sometimes, one of the hardest parts of switching to using natural cleaning methods for your house is to persuade the other members of your household that this is the right idea. If you don’t, you are left with the options of (a) cleaning the house yourself, (b) putting up with their chemical gunk on the bits that they clean or (c) hiring a professional cleaner to come in and clean your house.
The only problem with options (b) and (c) is that you still have to put up with the fumes and toxins from their cleaners. Option (c) is also expensive, unless you have a massive house, in which case it can be worth getting it professionally cleaned.
So how to convince your nearest and dearest that things that don’t have “Super Fabulous Carpet Cleaning Goo” or “Sparkling Windows” or “Kills 99% of Germs” or “Gardenia and Lotus Blossom Scent” printed in large sans-serif fonts on the front actually do the job? Some people – every house has them – have been quite successfully brainwashed by advertisers that only commercial stuff will do the job. How do you convince them otherwise?
* Leave a book or magazine article outlining some of the horrible side effects of commercial cleaning products lying around in some handy place where they’ll find it. With some people, they have to read about a fact, written by someone with an alphabet soup of letters after their name, in order to believe it. This way, the reader may think that switching to natural cleaners is their idea.
* The price test: Many natural cleaners are a lot cheaper than commercial ones. What’s more, they tend to last longer and be more versatile – just think of all the things you can do with vinegar.
* The demonstration: Often, showing the reluctant party just how good natural cleaners are at, say, cleaning windows will convince them. Once you’ve demonstrated that vinegar can get the windows shining without any streaks AND without giving you a hideous headache if you breathe it in, half your job is done. Enjo cloths are particularly good at this – use the grease-absorbing cloths on a filthy barbecue for best results.
* The non-toxic test. Eat or drink some of the natural cleaner you are about to use (best kept for vinegar and baking soda that doesn’t have essential oils added). Then challenge them to do the same with the cleaners they are about to use. No contest!
* The smell test. This is where essential oil of lavender comes in handy, as most people like it. Add bits of this to the baking soda, vinegar or vodka you’re using (or the soap gel, or the water) and wait for that person to say “Mmm – what is that? It smells lovely?” And then you tell them. Real plant essences smell so much nicer than the fake scents.
* The versatility test. One bottle of dilute vinegar with a dash of essential oil can be used for cleaning glass, cleaning benchtops, disinfecting the toilet seat and as an air freshener. Then watch the convincee stagger around with a barrage of bottles and potions, one for each job. Smile smugly when they drop something and you don’t.
* The skin test: Show your skin – free from cracking, flaking and itches – after using the natural cleaning products without rubber gloves. Then have a look at their hands. Oh, they’re wearing rubber gloves, are they? Doesn’t that tell you something?