A list of Monastery , Temple , Gurdwara , office , restaurant , school and house hold cleaners that are kinder to our earth.
Health and Safety Approved Cleaning with just water:
For Schools , offices and restaurants who need to pass rigorous health and safety inspections but who don't want to use harmful chemicals there is now acid / alkaline water for cleaning hygienically that is health and safety approved.
Basic Cleaning Kit
Natural Soap - such as Soap nuts (Rita ) to wash your cotton cleaning cloths with and use as a cleaning solution. ( UK and USA Equivalent is soapwort which can grow in most gardens see online for details)
Add these natural soap plants to water and stir around for super cleaning bubbles.
Earth or Sand for dish washing. ( Wood Fire Ash is also helpful and very hygienic as it is sterile ) sand is easily collected from river edges and beaches. (Some people do buy it form building merchants.) Any soil serves the purpose - simply pick out any stones. Earth or sand is used to clean all kitchen pots and pans.
Step 1 : rinse plate / vessel
Step 2 : scrub gently with ash or soil or sand to remove all dirt.
Step 3 : rise again.
Step 4 : dry carefully.
Natural cleaning utensils such a organic handwoven cotton cloths and some hand made natural brooms or brushes made from materials such as wood, cactus fibre, grasses and twigs make all the difference in fighting our eco-crimes and mistakes.( choose completely bio-digradable materials over plastic mops or brooms)
Helpful additions to a ethical cleaning Kit
Natural Cleaning Herbs , Plants and flowers
Some anti-bacterial and Anti-septic plants and herbs such as neem , rosemary , Lemon Juice , garlic , onions.
Some antiseptic plants that smell good such as lavender , lemon , pine ,thyme .
General : oregano , sage
Grow what grows in your area or buy dried herbs online.
Add these to your basic soap cleaning solution for hand washing dishes , mopping and wiping everything clean. ( note that there are recipes for natural dish water mixtures online )
I know a Nihang who has a Sabloh bucket ! ( very natural and Eco- friendly )
In the olden days wooden buckets were used. It is still possible to find a good handmade wooden bucket.
Some recipes and tips that People recommend :
Treat light stains on a bath or sink by rubbing them with a cut lemon dipped in salt.
Ideally by hand with soap plants.
However many people put Soapnuts and soapwort in their washing machines.
Cow dung is a great disinfectant. In India and England people still wash rooms with cow dung to disinfect rooms and yards.
How it is done : A handful or two of cow manure diluted in a bucket of water is used to wash the floor, and can also be used to plaster walls. It contains antibiotics and is a powerful disinfectant. People would come to eat at my friends House, and once they had finished, the floor space where their plate and glass had been standing would be wetted and scrubbed by hand to reactivate the medical qualities of the cow dung, or would have a fresh application of water and manure applied. The floors throughout the ashram would be washed with the solution everyday, and if there was a shortage of cow dung then the Kitchen and the Chula, (the structure of bricks plastered with cow dung, on which we cooked), had first priority.
Corn flour ;
To remove grease from wallpaper - apply a paste of corn flour and water. When it is dry brush it off. .
Treat a fresh oil or grease stain on unholstery by sprinkling corn flour on it . Rub it gently and leave it untill the stain is absorbed. Brush it off and wipe it clean with a damp cloth.
To clean an oil painting, cut a large onion in two and clean gently. When the onion becomes dirty cut a slice and continue cleaning with a fresh side.
Clean varnished wallpaper by wiping over the surface with a cloth wrung out in cold tea.
Tea for Cleaning Woodwork it also and enhances the wood colour ! Good for removing fingermarks.
As a dye restore cream coloured fabric to a natural colour by soaking it in strong hot tea. Add a pinch of salt to keep the colour fast.
Pumice or Sand :
Clean cork (bathroom floors, yoga mats, pin boards , place mats etc) by wetting the surface and rubbing with pumice stone or simply with sand in a circular motioon with your hand.
To prevent Mildew from forming on shower curtains soak them in salt water before hanging.
Use Soap nuts or Soap wort flowers instead of chemical detergents (The clean very well and smell lovely ) (Easy to buy online)
A rind of a lemon in the wash water helps retain colour and acts as a natural softener.
Add some herbs into the wash for a lovely smell.
It is more eco friendly to use a washing line - on cold days if it looks like the clothes might freeze rinse them in salt water to prevent that.
Living in an easy to clean House :
Natural flooring such as stone, marble or wood is easy to sweep and mop naturally.
This means you won't need a Hoover or electrical appliances.
In winter time cotton woven carpets than can be hand washed or easily beaten to free dust can be put down to look fabulous on the floor.
Eco- friendly composting loos are very popular these days as they reduce cleaning and plumbing dramatically. See online for various designs and ideas.
Are glass windows necessary ? Could shutters do the job ?
Many of the windows in The Golden Temple in India do not have glass windows. When it rains they simply shut the shutters. In cases of light rain the roof is so cleverly designed that the shutters can remain open.
I have a friend who runs his successful business from an iPad which he charges from a solar charger. Having less electrical appliances makes a home easier to clean and better karma. Some city temples are completely lit with solar power, oil lamps and fires in fireplaces.
Heating and Air-conditioning
Researching Eco-friendly solutions can be very helpful.
Many wood burning stoves have the possibility to heat entire houses and be connected to radiators.
In the olden days there was no air-conditioning, people lived in well designed houses such as adobe houses that remain cool in sweltering desert hearts and retain warmth from a wood fire in snowy temperatures. The air flow of traditional architecture is worth researching if you build a house with eco-karma remembered in your heart.