Color Me Green – greener ways to clean

Greener Ways to Clean

Good Enough for Mom—and for the Planet, Too

“Feel like company this morning? I made pumpkin bread,” my neighbor teases.

I must confess, I’m easily bribed and one of those “pumpkin phanatics.” I love pumpkin during all seasons.

“I’ll make a pot of coffee. See you in an hour. First, I must give this place a lick and a promise,” I tell her as I end the phone call, realizing that I sound more and more like my mom every day. And I vowed that’d never happen to me.

However, I’m grateful some of Mom’s creativity and cleverness has rubbed off on me. Her words of wisdom still ring in my ears:I can get more cleaning done in 20 minutes after someone calls and says they’re coming over than I can in a week.”

Indeed. Mom’s lick-and-a-promise cleaning method worked: Clean it fast, with the promise to go back and do a thorough job later. Her lick-and-promise feats were managed by no

moving of furniture or anything at all, with no one the wiser. All accomplished by swift swipes

of a cloth or feather duster, quickly mopped up spills, and wide swaths to the floors with a dust mop or manual carpet sweeper. Yes, among the robot and super tornado-style power vacuums, they still make manual carpet sweepers.

Mom abhorred dirty windows and mirrors and her “miracle cleaner” of vinegar and water made cleaning them an easy chore. Always handy was a spray bottle of her solution: 4 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar and 4 cups of water. I marvel at my streak-free mirrors and windows after I spray a few squirts of this mixture and dry the glass with sheets of crumpled newspaper.

Before my neighbor and I sit down to chat, drink coffee, and munch on warm pumpkin bread, I can’t resist showing off my gleaming streak-free entryway mirror. “Mom believed the secret ingredient was in the newsprint,” I tell my friend.

“Well, I’ll never have gleaming windows or mirrors at my house,” my neighbor chuckles. “I read the news on the Internet.”

My neighbor is pleased when I tell her to help herself to the old newspapers in my recycling bin.

As I grow older, I’m beginning to realize my mom was intuitive and ahead of her time. Her use for vinegar and water in today’s society is considered the “green” thing to do.

Even though I’m thriving and surviving in this high-tech, high-speed electronic age, I can’t give up the tradition of having the newspaper delivered to my doorstep. I’ll continue to follow in Mom’s footsteps.

For my mom, the trailblazer, color me green.


Georgia Hubley’s writing credits include the new Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop humor anthology Laugh Out Loud: 40 Women Humorists Celebrate Then and Now…Before We Forget, Woman’s World, the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series, and many others.

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