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Organic Housekeeping: In Which the Non-Toxic Avenger Shows You How to Improve Your Health and That of Your Family, While You Save Time, Money, and, Perhaps, Your Sanity
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Organic Housekeeping: In Which the Non-Toxic Avenger Shows You How to Improve Your Health and That of Your Family, While You Save Time, Money, and, Perhaps, Your Sanity

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  665 Ratings  ·  117 Reviews
Longing for a kinder, gentler world? As the old saying goes, everything begins at home, and odds are, if you live in the all-American household, the air inside is more toxic than the air outside, even if you live in the most polluted of cities. You regularly handle the filthiest object in your home -- the kitchen sponge -- and put the same chemicals on your face that are u ...more
ebook, 448 pages
Published November 1st 2007 by Scribner (first published 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Mary M
Nov 03, 2009 Mary M rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's not literature, but I'm very excited and I've got to tell people! The grime-cutting power of hot, plain white vinegar is unequalled by anything on the commercial market. Who knew??!!
My shower stalls and floors, both hardwood and linoleum, have never gleamed as they do now. My mother-in-law's antique walnut table was beginning to resemble a Grauman's Chinese Theater for felines, with the prints of little cat feet seemingly cemented into 12 years' worth of commercial furniture polish build up
May 12, 2010 Inder rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

3/18/11 Okay, this is a little creepy, but I totally just reread this, cover to cover! I love that she is a dog person. I love the down to earth cleaning advice. Since reading it the first time, I've started drying my clothes on the line and using baking soda and vinegar for most cleaning, and I'm just as sketched out as ever about all of the chemicals we use everyday.

This book is surprisingly comprehensive - a great reference.


From 6/4/10: I didn't expect to find much of interest here, sin
Nov 08, 2008 Jessie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Shelves: should-own-it
I got this book at the library hoping for some homemade recipes in order to cut down on chemicals I use and also money spent buying the chemicals.
What I found was so much more!

Very helpful tips about organizing your entire house, decluttering, how to clean faster , simpler, and more efficient. Plus, the entire book is written upbeat and is actually entertaining!

I've already renewed it twice because I keep using it as a reference as well. I'm going to have to buy a copy to keep, it's a very well
Jun 05, 2008 Katy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone!
I went ahead and bought this book because it is awesome. I tried just making note cards but i had gobs of notes. Everyone must read this book!
I am going to read it again now that I am going to move into a different home with different land..
Mar 01, 2010 jess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
This book is actually far more awesome than I anticipated. As a person who has been dabbling in Organic Housekeeping for years, when I dabble in housekeeping at all, I thought this was going to be mind-numbingly basic "vinegar" and "baking soda" kind of book. It's actually a lot more, and even goes to the root of many of our household problems. Cleaning would be easier and require less chemicals if we had less clutter to attract mess, if we took off our shoes at the door like the europeans do, i ...more
Apr 14, 2008 jennifer marked it as half-read  ·  review of another edition
okay, i love this because it is precisely keyed to my new (mostly uninformed) paranoia about plastics and chemicals. and the book is pretty great. but there are small suggestions that maybe the author is mentally ill. exhibit A: she has a rolodex that shows where every item in her house can be found, down to the numbered marked drawer. hmm.
Jul 13, 2010 Jenn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenn by: Tanya Anderson
Shelves: reference
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 20, 2010 Ruth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: simple-living
I learned a lot from this book. The author goes into great detail on how to clean and maintain a home without using harsh chemicals. There is also a lot of safety information included: avoiding and dealing with fires, how to remove toxins and dangerous bacteria from your home, avoiding dangerous plastics, etc. The author explains how you can disinfect and clean most of your home using simple things like vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and natural, plant-based dish soap. She also gives tips on how to ...more
Marilyn K
Dec 21, 2016 Marilyn K rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a more comprehensive book than I have read on the subject. There are many, many tips that are very helpful.
Håvard Bjørnelv
En morsom og romantisk historie med form som en moderne brevroman, en e-postroman. Ved en skrivefeil kommer hovedpersonene i kontakt med hverandre da kvinnen i fortellingen forsøker å si opp et tidsskriftsabonnement via e-post. Mannen som mottar e-posten tenker ikke videre over det med det samme, men etter å ha fått et par meldinger til, leverer han et syrlig svar for å oppklare misforståelsen. Dette utvikler seg til en fast korrespondanse med humor og nerve. Spørsmålet er om det er lurt å møtes ...more
Pretty okay book with a few neat cleaning tips and tricks (mostly just using combinations of vinegar, borax and Murphy's oil soap) so nothing really outstanding or original. A little disappointed with the lack of recipes and not always vegan friendly ideas. The author is fond of wool, leather, feather/down filled pillows etc. Also when it came to the section for ridding the home of pests (mice/rats) the author recommended using snap traps because they're the most "humane" option. Actually advise ...more
Aug 02, 2007 Cheri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone trying to minimize their impact on the earth
Shelves: home, socialissues
I've read several books on greening one's home and this has been the most comprehensive and practical. There are specific cleaning solutions for household tasks as well as adjusting one's cleaning attitudes. I just bought a 100% wool blanket from the Goodwill Outlet (yes, the rejects from the Goodwill Store $1.50/lb.) and can't wait to use her rain washing suggestion. The author also includes recipes for making your own dishwasher detergent and how to clean fruits, vegetables and meat using vine ...more
Aug 21, 2007 Ashleigh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everybody
Shelves: favorites, health
Organic Housekeeping is a smart, healthy, guide-to-living manual. By no means have I read every page in the book, but it is indexed in such a way that if I have a question about something specific (such as what types of laundry detergent to use), I can find the answer. The writing is clear and often witty, and Sandbeck has a refreshing approach to cleaning and organizing (get organized so that "cleaning" is hardly ever necessary). Some chapters offer fairly scary wake up calls as they spell out ...more
May 06, 2010 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. Fantastic practical solutions and the approach that supreme tidiness does not equal supreme happiness for most of us. The author describes easy and quick things you can do to keep your home tidy and reasonably clean with the little bits here and there approach. Things like washing out the sink with the washcloths after finishing the dishes, drying the shower walls with a towel after drying off to keep out the mold ... all things that take about a minute when done regularly and ...more
Jul 22, 2010 Christina rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011-christina
I found this to be a great reference guide to all sorts of household cleaning routines and special problems. Although vinegar, other natural ingredients and their uses are explained in great detail, I was a little disappointed not to find any straightforward cleaning solution "recipes". Maybe this is because they are plentiful on the internet.

While I did find some new ideas to try, it would be impossible to accomplish or switch to an organic method for everything listed in this book. Hence, thi
Andrea Jardon
Jan 21, 2012 Andrea Jardon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! I definitely recommend this book to EVERYONE! I cannot believe how smart this lady is about EVERYTHING! She talks about organizing, cleaning, laundry, gardening, lawn care, stain removal, kitchen safety, carpet/wall choices, etc., etc. And being "organic" she talks about caring for all these things in a natural (and usually cheaper) way... as she says no one ever got sick from mud caked clothes but plenty of people are getting sick from chemicals in laundry detergents that are supposed to m ...more
Yuki kojima
Jul 07, 2010 Yuki kojima rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health
I want to follow her advice and use diluted white vinegar for all surface cleaning.

That's pretty much all I got out of the book because I thought this book was about organizing and cleaning. But the book goes into how to select appliances, floorboards, paint, sinks etc. which I didn't care for and also labeling things and such which I had no interest in doing.

I had hoped she would talk more about reducing the amount of stuff you had, but she doesn't get into that at all, in fact, she recommends
Umm Layth
Jan 28, 2008 Umm Layth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In her book she doesn't recommend raw milk. I know there are those who disagree on raw milk but from what I've read there is nothing better than raw milk. Today's raw milk is also easy to store without cross contamination.

There were also a few other details in the book that I believe she goes to extremes with, but overall I really enjoyed this book. I've taken lots of notes, and after reading it I have started to use a lot more vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, and basic cleani
Want to know how to clean your house without chemicals and keep it clean without learning the hard way from goof balls trying stuff out and pinning it to Pinterest? READ THIS BOOK, do what it says. It will save you a bunch of time and money. I was very happy with Green Housekeeping - even though I have been practicing it for several years now I learned plenty of new techniques and organizational skills. Much of it I already knew, and much of it was common sense but there were enough jewels of ne ...more
Jul 18, 2009 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For starters, I'm hoping to get inspired to try cleaning agents which are not bad for me & my family, and that get the job done. I unwillingly gravitate towards the really toxic stuff which does the job fast. Used everywhere in this book is white vinegar - like for cleaning bathtubs & toilets. Other products the author recommends for various purposes are things like hydrogen peroxide, Borax, and baking soda. There's a plethora of information about "green" cleaning online, however I imagi ...more
This had a lot of good information in it but was really repetitive. Had it been more simply organized, it would make a great handy reference. The author does include resources and websites for some of the products and tools that she recommends, which I appreciated. Probably one of the best (new) tips I picked up from this book was that there are places, such as Mail Boxes Etc, that accept packing peanuts and reuse them. I don't know why I never thought to ask! I have bags of that stuff in my gar ...more
Mar 14, 2011 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first thing I did after reading this book was chuck my plastic cutting board and buy a jug of distilled white vinegar. This book is more than just a list of recipes, it is a manifesto for green living. It includes quite a bit of research about chemicals and their effect on the environment, and why it is advisable to go for the natural alternatives. And it is very thorough. Ellen Sandbeck covers everything from everyday cleaning in the home, to indoor air quality, to fire safety. It would be ...more
Nov 03, 2009 Lindsay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2009
Did you know that a spray of vinegar followed by a spray hydrogen peroxide disinfects as well as bleach? Very cool. Wooden cutting boards are back, rather than plastic, and vinegar, vinegar, vinegar is the solution --for everything! My husband would say I didn't need to hear that. Why are all the non-fiction books I read lately laced with a political agenda? No mind, I still really liked this book!
I'm just adding this to "read"--not that I'll ever read it cover to cover. But like a good cookbook, it's a great go-to reference book to have around. I've already completely given up fabric softeners and now only use straight vinegar for rinse water--and pretty much use vinegar and baking soda to clean everything else. PS this book now has a new title and cover called Green Housekeeping--same book, just revamped cover and title.
Sep 14, 2010 Polly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
I've been trying to adopt more green approaches to cleaning, and I really appreciated this bottom-up look at our houses. Everything from how to clean what we've got or how to think about cleaning (including decluttering) to what to buy when what we've got wears out. I only buy books if I've borrowed them from the library at least twice and want to read them again; I'm considering buying this one.
Sep 21, 2007 Carrie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: green cleaners, homeowners
Shelves: health
What an amazing resource for any homeowner to have. I received this as a wedding shower gift and I really only started investigating it a few months ago. The laid-out steps of the process of cleaning may seem tedious, but it helped remind me that it doesn't have to take forever and I can be efficient. I also liked that every cleaning agent she recommends is a common pantry item. Plus the gentle reminder about the effect of these chemicals we are putting in our body is good.
Jan 12, 2011 Camille rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a common sense guide on keeping your home clean without nasty chemicals. Gives the whys and hows for easy, cheap and time-saving housecleaning. I've replaces my sponges with dishcloths, all my plastic utensils and cutting boards with wood, and my plastic tupperware with glass. I clean most everything with vinegar and feel that it's actually clean instead instead of smelling clean and leaving residue. Overall, it's very informative and I still use it as a reference.
Aug 02, 2010 Deborah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I finally realized I was not going to really read this book (as in cover to cover). It's very interesting and informative, but it is still a manual on housework. So instead I bought it, to have as reference. (Well I actually bought "Green Housekeeping" a newer version by the same author. I do recommend it to others. It's not just about being green, some very practical tips to make cleaning easier and more productive.
Reading this as an on-going project to be a little more eco-conscious and to live a purer lifestyle. The book offers some practical advice and good perspective on how to maintain a healthy, clean home. Seems like I will save some time and money in the process, Bonus! I am impressed that the information in this book also reaches past the bounds of "Housekeeping" and provides seemingly sound advice about a variety of subjects such as recycling and gardening.
I checked this book out of the library to see if it was worth buying and it definitely is. It is a fantastic guide to cleaning the house, and outfitting it as well. This is a book one would want to own, since there is too much good info here to remember from reading it once.
And, added bonus, it's not psuedo-spiritual hippy nonsense. Sandbeck has a no-nonsense approach to keeping a clean house with a small carbon footprint.
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