Home cooked cleaning

When you make something that smells good, you don’t mind cleaning.

Photo By KATHY CLEVELAND The DIY cleaning products workshops at the Hollis Social Library attracted about a dozen people, including Sugitha Srinivasan and Celeste Philbrick Barr, with their backs to the camera. Library aide Chelsea Cudney and Rachel Scott are standing.

HOLLIS – For our great-grandmothers, the first warm breezes and robin song signaled it was time to polish furniture, beat the carpets, and drag feather beds outside to soak in the rain and dry in the sun.

And they used heavy-duty cleaning products we would never use today. Victorian-era hints for housewives recommended spirits of turpentine or benzine to scrub floors and kerosene and carbolic acid to get rid of bugs.

A lot has changed, and the dozen or so women gathered in a meeting room of the Hollis Social Library last week were interested in making cleaning products that don’t harm the environment or pose health risks to their families.

Tanya Griffith, the library’s adult services director, gave two sessions of “DIY Home Cleaning Products” programs on March 8-9.

There were three tables in the room, each devoted to a separate cleaning product, with recipes and ingredients for a hand sanitizer, dishwasher tabs and thyme counter cleaner, along with mixing and storing containers and stirring sticks. Each product took only minutes to compose and was ready to use, except for the dishwasher cubes, which needed to sit in their ice trays overnight to harden.

Photo By KATHY CLEVELAND Librarian Tanya Griffith, standing at the head of the table, helps participants at the Hollis Social Library’s cleaning products workshop to create dishwasher tabs using all natural ingredients.

Griffith had downloaded the recipes from the internet. She said all of the inexpensive ingredients and implements came from Market Basket, The Dollar Store and Target.

One of the participants was Celeste Philbrick Barr, education director at the Beaver Brook Association, who noted that unlike store-bought dishwasher cubes, homemade ones don’t contain phosphate, which damages the water supply.

And, “When you make something that smells good, you don’t mind cleaning,” she said.

The workshops followed one on making homemade beauty products and another on making terrariums for succulents.

There are two sessions for each of the library’s DIY programs. The next one is on making newspaper seedling pots and plant tags at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, and 11:30 a.m. Thursday, April 13. On May 3-4, there will be workshops on how to make a garden chime.

Photo By KATHY CLEVELAND Here are the ingredients and recipe for a natural, custom-scented hand sanitzer.

Most of the library’s DIY programs are for ages 16 and older, and all require registration. For more information, visit www.hollislibrary.org.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.

Photo By KATHY CLEVELAND At this table, completed cleaning products – hand sanitizer, counter cleaner and dishwasher tabs – wait for their owners to take them home. The cleaning products workshops at the Hollis Social Library is one of several do-it-yourself programs the library offers.

Photo By KATHY CLEVELAND Three tables were set up at the Hollis Social Library for an all-natural cleaning products workshop, and at this one, the participants made dishwasher tabs.