Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The great debate between mild vs safe

Mild vs Safe, on the surface, these sound like the same thing. In my opinion, they are worlds apart. In cleaning, I believe, safe means it is not dangerous or detrimental to people, pets and the environment.

To me safe means, if my dog Sally accidentally gets the cleaner spilled on her, drinks it or licks it off the window it will have no detrimental effect to her. It is safe. She is just as healthy after the incident as she was before. There will be no long term or short term ill effects.

Mild sounds safe but there is a difference. To me, mild means it will not damage the surface you are cleaning. There are many products that say they are safe. Safe for you. Vinegar is usually considered a very safe product. Although, spill it on an open wound and you might disagree- it burns, right? It is a food, you can eat it and it is fairly safe if we eat it. But is it mild??? This is the question of the day. Is safe and mild the same thing. I say no!

To me, safe won't damage you, mild won't damage your surfaces. Going back to vinegar. Most consider it a safe product and therefore it must be mild. I beg to differ. I get about a call a week from this "safe" product causing damage to your surfaces. Vinegar is a food, but it is also an acid. An acid with a pH of around 3. If you have an acid sensitive surface such as marble, travertine, or grout this product will etch and cause damage. Not so safe for your surfaces!

This little equation goes both ways. I was searching for a mild product when I found a great example. I neutral disinfectant that was "mild" on natural stone. This meant it would not damage the stone. I looked up its Material Safety Data Sheet. This little mild product that would not damage your stone but was definitely not so safe for you. It has a toxicity level or rating of 3! The scale on an MSDS sheet is between 0-4. 0 being non toxic and 4 being poison, 3 is considered very dangerous.

As you clean and care for your home, I always recommend you start with the most mild and safe means possible . You can always work up from here but this is the best place to start and stay as long as you can. Make sure your cleaners and proceedures are mild for your surfaces and safe for you and your family.

You are always welcome to call on us to help you .

Wishing you a healthy and happy home,

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Learning to pause

Cleaning isn't just getting the dirt off the floors, it also has the potential to become a life enhancing practice. Cleaning is the prefect time to practice.

For me, the two hardest parts of this practice is remembering to practice in the first place and then trying to staying focused on my practice for an extended period of time.

My solution: learning to pause. To take a moment to stop, breath, smile and relax. To notice where I am, what I'm doing and how I feel. It's like a super-mini vacation in your day. With the pause I can then intentionally decide on my next practice and how long it will be.

This morning I discovered this quote out of one of my books,

"In the middle of my morning's work I break for blessings: a deep breath, a glance out the window, a graceful stretch, a remembrance of God, a brief reflection of the nobility of work, an encouraging word, a grateful thought, a smile, a short prayer, a remembrance of who I am, a sip of freshly brewed coffee. I honor the wisdom of pausing. The day, still bright with potential, when I have the wisdom to step away from work momentarily, I am able to see it as a gift for the entire world."

Macrina Wiederkehr
The Seven Sacred Pauses
Page 71

Isn't this quote as delicious as a cup of hot chocolate?

Wishing you a day filled with pauses,

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Practicing is more fun than work.

Cleaning is a practice or maybe I should say, cleaning can be a practice. Practicing sounds better than house work. When I practice, I'm really experimenting with observation combined with activity. When I do house work I am merely completing a to do list quickly and because I feel I have to.

In highschool and college I ran track and cross-country. I did a lot of practicing, there was little work involved. Somedays we had meets, but that was just a test to see how well our practice was coming along. Some of my practices were painful and not very effective but it was just practice. Practice makes sense. To practice you are trying to improve. House work alone is just a never ending battle.

When cleaning your home, cooking dinner or going shopping think of it not as part of your to do list or house work but as a way to practice. What you practice is up to you.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Natural is not always neutral!!!!

You will have the floor for 2 hours!! This is what Lori said yesterday, when we were talking about the upcoming class I'm teaching at Marlene's Market. I don't know what I was thinking but I figured I would have around 30 minutes to talk. 1-2 hours holy cow! Of course, I did what I normally do when given a challenge of this magnitude-I panicked-a little.

Just a little, because within a few minutes I had a call. An anxious and frustrated homeowner called because she had used a natural and safe cleaning product on her marble floors. I knew what she was going to say before she even finished her sentence. "there is cleaner and damage on the floor that won't come up" I could hear the stress in her voice. She was afraid she had ruined her beautiful marble floors. I felt compassion for her. She was trying to be safe for her family and damaged her surfaces in the process. Unfortunately, this happens all the time.

She hadn't ruined the floors but I'm sure she probably etched the marble, which will need to be polished. Her safe and natural cleaner was most likely also an acid. A little known fact with cleaners is: Natural and neutral do not mean the same thing. You can have a cleaner that is natural such as vinegar or citris but that does not make it safe on acid sensitive surfaces- such as marble, travertine, limestone, onyx and grout.

Thankfully, her floor can be repaired. But sometimes the damage is done to our health in the cleaning process. This may be a little harder to repair. Once I got over myself and the panic of talking for 1-2 hours I realized this class is sooooo needed. I helped our caller but she helped me more. She gave me back my confidence. What I know is highly beneficial to share. Do I know everything- heavens no! But what I do know is great and can be life changing-seriously!

On January 21st, I will be teaching a class at Marlene's Market. You are invited to come. And don't worry 1-2 hours will not be boring but fun and inspirational. I will not only be teaching on how to not damage your surfaces but how to clean to for health. There will be a bonus on how to turn your daily chores into a creative practice. And I might even tell a story about a chicken. For more information call us at 253-946-2056 or visit Marlene's Market's web site:

Wishing you a happy and healthy home- hope to see you on the 21st at 7:00pm in Federal Way.