By Seyward Rebhal, Networx
Do-it-yourself cleaning and cosmetics have kind of become my hobby. I think about how I used to slap down my cold hard cash for all those creepy chemicals, those toxins just sitting under my sink, with their smells that seemed to permeate my every pore. I remember the artificial aqua, the glowing neon green, such unnaturally bright colors. And I’ll never forget that cloying, eye-watering suffocation that came from cleaning a too-tiny bathroom with too many kinds of soaps and powders and pastes and bleaches. Oof.
I think back to those days and I can’t help but smile. Because now, I’m spending mere pennies and my cleansers and cosmetics are good enough to eat -- literally! And my house is just as clean as ever and my body is just as beautiful, and gosh, but everything is so much more pleasant.
So it’s kind of become a game for me, to find and test new ways of turning healthy wholesome food-based items into awesome and powerful multipurpose players in my cleaning and grooming adventures. Vinegar is an old favorite, an actor in everything from my countertop cleanser to my laundry detergent to my hair conditioner. And baking soda is invaluable. It makes appearances in my deodorant, my toothpaste, and it’s all I use these days for shampoo.
What about . . . tea? Super cheap and slightly acidic, tannin-rich tea just might be the next big untapped oil well in the game of cleaning my Portland home. It’s all natural. It’s available everywhere. And best of all, it’s effective!
Black tea is awesome in about a million and one ways, not the least of which is that it tastes great and keeps me going strong, but it also boasts an impressive list of DIY prowess. For this particular project, I’ve put it to the test as a glass and mirror cleaner.
I steeped an extra-strong glass of simple black tea (I used earl grey, my favorite) -- 3 bags in an 8-oz glass. I let it steep and cool for an hour to really draw out all those tannins. Then I transferred the brew to a spray bottle (ex-chemical cleaner bottles, well washed of course, work well for this), and put it to work on the dirtiest window in my house.
Dog noses and kiddie fingers have pressed at this window for months. Perhaps that says something about my cleaning skills, but let’s just say it was for science. On the right hand pane I used plain water and scrubbed with newspaper (newspaper leaves less streaking than rags, and can still be recycled when you’re through). On the left I used tea. The tea cleaned away all of the smears and smudges.