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Old School Sanitation & Hygiene

Updated: Aug 8, 2022

Nowadays, cleaning products take up an entire aisle in the grocery store. But before many of these supplies existed, our grandparents and great-grandparents came up with their own cleaning solutions. The tricks they discovered are gentler and cheaper than modern commercial cleaning products, not to mention more conveniently located—since they call for items that are probably already in your house. So, don’t let the innovations of previous generations go to waste! Over the past century our cleaning strategies have become more modern and increasingly more sterile. This means we have adopted the idea that in order for our homes to be clean, they must be void of all microbes. Not only is this idea false, it’s also very harmful to our home environment, the external environment, and our health. In the past decade, we’re learning that the health of our overall microbiome is an important piece to our personal and environmental health. A microbiome refers to all the microbial life that we live with every day. In order for a microbiome to be healthy, there has to be a diverse and abundant microbial life. In other words, we don’t want to harm all the bacteria and other microbes that we live with. The biggest reason why microbes die out is due to our cleaning practices. Let’s explore this in more depth so that we can learn how to foster our microbiome better.

In the hospitality Industry cleaning supplies account for an astonishing amount of money, both labour and material costs. This is inclusive of housekeeping, laundry, warewashing and maintanance and more. The reason for this is largely due to the cost of purchasing industrial strenth cleaners that are actually no better than old school methods. The only real difference is the astronomical costs of these industrial cleaners. So, lets look at some alternatives;

Baking soda

Baking soda is an excellent cleaner and deodorizer. It pairs well with vinegar to clean and remove clogs, and with natural soaps to soften water and boost foam cleaning power.


Borax can be found in the laundry aisle of most grocery and department stores. It makes a powerful disinfectant and softens water to increase soap suds. Borax is ideal for cleaning walls and wallpaper without the risk of damage. It also removes stuck-on dirt and grime from floors.


Cornstarch is an excellent alternative to clean and polish sliding windows, picture windows, bay and bow windows, fiberglass doors, and other glass surfaces. Use it to work tough dirt and stains from rugs and carpets.


Lemon contains some of the most powerful naturally occurring acids in food. Use it to cut grease and kill bacteria.

White vinegar

White vinegar or acetic acid cuts through grease and mildew, freshens, lifts certain stains, and clears wax buildups.

Rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol, kills nearly 100 percent of bacteria on surfaces. You can also use ethanol. Alcohol cleaning solutions can be found at your local pharmacy.

While the products listed above can work wonders on their own, you can mix them to create powerful cleaning solutions for virtually any application. For example, you can make an all-purpose cleaner by mixing a half gallon of water with a half cup of white vinegar and a quarter cup of baking soda. The solution effectively cleans sliding windows, bay and bow windows, garden windows, picture windows, mirrors, tile, etc. Natural citrus solvent also works well.

So those are my thoughts for today, I'm sure I will come back to this subject again to address other areas of concern. Until then folks, stay safe, keep your stick on the ice. Cheers, and have a happy Monday!

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