Thursday, July 11, 2013
I Run Out of Gumption
Fear not, fair readers, we are not sinking into a state of moral turpitude here at Chez Blueday, we have merely run out of our favourite bathroom cleaner.
Back when Posy was a newborn, and I was attempting to homeschool the three older children, I had a lovely, lovely cleaner who came once a week for two years. It was blissful. Adele was a kind, wise granny who gave really good advice, and taught me how to clean house properly. She also told great stories about her childhood. Her dad worked on the hydro-electric scheme in the Tasmanian Highlands. Adele walked to school in the snow, and looked after her brother while her Mum did everything Ma did in Little House on the Prairie. They lived out of the vegie garden, and on what her Dad shot - rabbits, wallaby, feral deer. She got married at sixteen, raised her kids on the smell of an oily rag, and supported her sick husband for the last dozen years of his life.
If anyone was ever an advertisement for gumption, it would be Adele, and the first week she came, she instructed me to go out and buy a tub, because it was cheap, worked well, and didn't have nasty ingredients. I don't know about the ingredients, because they're not listed, but I have used it ever since, because who could go back to using anything else after having cleaned with Gumption?
Until this week, when I ran out, and decided it would be a propitious moment to experiment with homemade cleaners. I had borrowed a book from the library which featured this bathroom cleaning paste, and I had all the ingredients on hand, which is the usual criteria for me to try a new recipe. I used eucalyptus oil instead of peppermint, and added more water. I used 60mls, which makes me think that the listed 5ml might be a typo.
Here is the finished product. It is not as 'pasty' as Gumption, and tends to drop onto the floor a bit, as bicarb mixtures do, but that's OK, because Adele taught me to always wash the walls before the floors. It cleans the grout as well as Gumption did, that is, it is not a miracle cleaner, but it does the job. It needs to be rinsed well because it is a bit gritty, but rinsing is something I am all about anyway. I used it all over the bathroom, and hardly needed my expensive bottle of eco-bathroom-spray.
It rubbed the rust ring off the kitchen bench that had been left by Rosy's can of hairspray, and it WAS magic on the taps. They have never been so shiny. And the bathroom smelled so clean. And although Gumption is cheap, this is much cheaper. So I think we have a zero waste replacement for Gumption. It just needs a brilliant name...
Update: I have now been using this for a year, and it really is fantastic, even though it still doesn't have a brilliant name. I have fiddled the recipe a bit, so here is the slightly updated version:
Bathroom Cleaning Paste
1 cup bicarb soda or baking soda
1Tbsp cream of tartar
10 mls (2 tsp) liquid castile soap
40-50 mls water
10 drops clove oil.
In a bowl, mix the baking soda with the cream of tartar. In a jug mix the soap and water. Pour the liquid into the powders. Mix with a fork and add clove oil.
I find this amount fits perfectly into a salsa dip jar. Leave the lid off for a few hours because this mixture reacts and bubbles up like a sinister chemistry experiment. It will settle down within a day and become merely a boring but effective cleaning agent. The clove oil keeps mould away, as some of my commenters noted. It's true, it really does! I still have old mould stains in my grout, but I have had no new mould at all since I started using this paste, except those couple of times where I didn't clean the shower for three weeks at a time (sssh! Don't tell...)