A few months ago my buddy Kari and her family gave me a book by Jessica Alba for my birthday called The Honest Life. Many of you may know I’m a terrible reader, so I knew nothing about Jessica Alba (apart from Sin City – good – and Spy Kids 4 – not so good). Nothing about her book. Nothing about her company. Nothing. I figured I had been given a book about health and beauty (yes, I want to look like her). Little did I know that a few weeks later Jessica Alba would make me clean the house.

The Honest Life - clean the house

This is extremely embarrassing but I may as well own it. I hope to be a good mum and wife who is organised, decluttered, and who will regularly clean the house. I hope to be that person but I’m just not. I’m not organised enough. I have a list longer than my brain can cope with of things that need to be done but there’s always something else to do, something else to be rushing off for (leaving a trail of devastation in our wake as we rush out the house)… so I very rarely clean the house.

Our cleaner quit just before Christmas (which was probably a good thing as she had a bad back and would use any excuse to not hoover!) and I can count on one hand (and not use all the fingers) the amount of times I’ve had the hoover and mop out since then. I derive little pleasure from cleaning. I like having a clean, tidy house but the feeling of satisfaction that some people get after they clean doesn’t happen for me, I’d rather be doing something else. In squalor!

Until now, that is. Jessica Alba has explained it for dummies and now I finally get it – Eureka! - Dust and mould is bad. A happy coincidence just as Reuben started to crawl.

You’re probably thinking, what on earth is this book about? Well, in a nut shell it’s a step-by-step guide to being Jessica Alba. What you didn’t know (or I didn’t at any rate) is that she is a clean freak. And, by clean I mean in the traditional sense, clean the house, but also in the non-toxic, minimal chemicals sense. Her main concern is that there are 100s of chemicals in mainstream use that have never been tested and/or approved as safe for human use, and lots of the ones that have been are potential or known carcinogens! Which is where her company comes in. The Honest Company sells Natural and Eco-friendly products and they appear to sell almost everything! {They don’t ship to the UK yet but I recon when they do, I’ll be getting a few things (eco-friendly skull and crossbones print nappies anyone?!)}

clean the house - "clean" Honest nappies

Skull Diapers – Thanks to Honest for letting me use the image!

Anyway, so I’m now a clean the house kind of girl. What was once daunting is now manageable and, dare I say it, enjoyable.

  1. Clean doesn’t mean crap loads of bleach – You don’t need to be able to eat off the floors and in fact kids should be raised with ‘a dose of dirt’, with access to healthy bacteria, as this in fact helps to prevent allergies and lurgies
  2. But I do need to get rid of the dust – dust can contain toxic chemicals and other things that aren’t great to breath in. Mike has had to start taking antihistamines year round and I have a horrible feeling it’s because of the dust in our house…

Clean the House! Here are 8 ways to have a healthier, cleaner house:

  1. Open windows – this can massively improve the house air quality. I’m now opening Reuben’s bedroom window every morning when I get him up and now it’s warmer the back door is staying open much more too.
  2. Remove your shoes – at least for upstairs but preferably downstairs too (more difficult with pets so you need to clean more frequently downstairs, especially with crawlers around (babies not insects!)).
  3. Dust – regularly wipe down surfaces and hard wood floors with a damp cloth (water is fine) to get rid of dust, and hoover with a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner (we still need one if you’re listening Mr Dyson! I fancy one of these cylinder type vacuums) to stop dust being thrown back into the room.
  4. Sweep the kitchen floor once a day - and mop with water at least once a week.
  5. Get rid of mould - mould is bad too. When it’s breathed in it can cause everything from allergies to asthma to flu-like symptoms (in more concentrated cases). For smaller infestations (e.g. in the bathroom, fridge, etc) it can be scrubbed off. For anything bigger then 10 square feet, this needs to be dealt with professionally! I did not know that.
  6. Ditch the chemical laden cleaning products - they are full of nasty things that kill everything, including the good things, and lots of them contain chemicals that are linked to cancer. However, I’m now on the hunt for natural and biodegradable cleaning products that are available in the UK – let me know if you know of any!
  7. You can do a lot with just white vinegar, bicarbinate of soda and essential oils – everything from cleaning toilets to work surfaces to carpet stains! For example, to clean windows use a ratio of 1:2 of white vinegar with water (add a couple of drops of your favourite essential oil so your house doesn’t smell like a packet of crisps) and to unblock a drain pour a mix of equal parts bicard, vinegar and boiling water down the plughole (and again add some essential oil at the end if you like).  For more ideas, here’s a Green, Non-toxic cleaning kit (i.e. a list of DIY cleaning recipes).
  8. Air fresheners are made with vodka! - so instead of drinking it with diet coke, spray it into a room that needs odours absorbed. It leaves no scent when it dries so add some essential oil for a safe and lovely smell.

How good is all that?!

I have to admit I only had to do this all myself for a couple of weeks and then Mike got us a new cleaner. I shall choose to assume it was to help me out rather than because I was doing such a shitty job… but still, I am now finding that there is a lot to do to keep on top of dust even with a cleaner. We’ve also got my parents’ dog staying (while their house is being fixed after it was flooded), which is a total game changer – the kitchen and basically anywhere the dog goes gets instantly hairy/muddy/wet! And, Reuben is always 1 step behind the dog, on all fours, licking the floor. What’s a mum to do?!

How do you keep organised and on top of the household chores? Please do leave a comment below with what you do, any websites you’ve found useful, etc.  I want to get organised! Please help!!