Hands reach across a table for vinegar, borax and lemon essential oil in a Bay Area backyard. Parmesan-like flakes of soap are grated into a measuring cup, and baking soda bubbles over in vinegar. Mason jars are given name tag labels: Hello! My Name Is All-Purpose Cleaner
“What’s the olive oil for?” “That’s for the furniture polish,” replies the host of this unconventional cooking party.
Everything on the table cost a total of about $100, and it’s enough for 10 people to each make a batch of laundry detergent, creamy soft scrub, furniture polish, all-purpose cleaner and drain opener. Partygoers throw in $5 or $10 for supplies.
The host discovered the Green Cleaning Party kit online and decided to hold a party in her home. The kit, offered through Women’s Voices for the Earth, comes with a video, recipes, labels and an informational booklet about throwing your own party. The simplicity of homemade cleaners and reduced chemicals appealed to the host and her friends because, “A lot of these things are things our grandmothers used."
According to the Green Cleaning Party booklet, conventional laundry detergent costs about 48 cents per load, whereas the homemade version is 13 cents per load. The homemade creamy soft scrub, which is used like Comet cleaner, costs 78 cents compared to $3.69 for the same amount of the conventional stuff.
The 5-10 minute video explains how popular, store-bought cleaners have been linked to asthma in cleaning employees and lower sperm counts, reduced fertility and lower birth weight in mice.
“It’s kind of telling that all of the cleaning products are considered hazardous waste,” Ingredients are not listed on conventional store-bought products. The only way to know what’s really in your cleaner is to make it yourself.
Many of the guests had been buying ready-made, all-natural cleaning products but were discouraged by their prices, which were higher than conventional products. Some had recipes for natural cleaners for years but never got around to making them until this party.
“Often, when you want to do something environmental, it costs more. Here you can do the right thing, and it costs less.”
For information on hosting your own Green Cleaning party, visit: http://www.womenandenvironment.org