I can’t tell you how many times I have read this statement, about “How to Clean Windows with Vinegar”: “If cleaning with vinegar left streaks on your windows, it wasn’t the fault of the vinegar, it was a residue left from commercial products.” I may even have made this statement in one of my own books. It’s nonsense, I’m sorry to say, one of those blithe green clean facts written by people who are simply repeating a convenient untruth – one that might be true sometimes, but certainly doesn’t explain the fact that vinegar has its limitations! Since the biggest green cleaning expert I know of told me once that she never ever cleaned her house herself (she had a cleaning person now and then, I think, but there wasn’t much evidence of anyone doing any cleaning), I count this kind of thing with tips like those in a UK book of some years back called 1001 Ways to Save the Planet, which Penguin should be embarrassed to have published. Here’s my favorite: “Write small so you use less paper.” I quickly became a skeptic about the idea that vinegar and baking soda could do anything and everything (though in fact they are terrific for some purposes), and even more of a skeptic about the people turning out green copy. Maybe that’s why I don’t write much about cleaning: I can’t say that it occupies a lot of my time at the moment!
Green cleaning fudged again
About the Author: Karen Christensen
Karen Christensen is an entrepreneur, environmentalist, and scholar who writes about the many ways women have gained and wielded power. She is the owner and CEO of Berkshire Publishing Group, a former trustee of the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Press, a member of the National Committee on US-China Relations, and the founder of the Train Campaign. Subscribe to Karen’s Letter @Substack https://karenchristensen.substack.com or try her Home Ecology newsletter. She can also be found on Twitter @karenchristenze.
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