Ellen Sandbeck, an organic landscaper and worm farmer, raises consciousness while promoting simple, environmentally friendly and cheap solutions to every cleaning challenge in Organic Housekeeping: In Which the Nontoxic Avenger Shows You How to Improve Your Health and That of Your Family While You Save Time, Money and Perhaps Your Sanity, due out in May. Sandbeck, who lives with kids and pets yet never loses her dry sense of humor or passion for a healthfully clean house, has terrific ideas for housekeeping that minimizes the household's negative impact on the environment. She proves a spirited and encyclopedic guide to the natural and nontoxic home, covering every element of the paper-not-plastic lifestyle, including domestic odor control and indoor air quality, de-cluttering, making laundry less odious (try rain- or snow-washing), and general cleaning and disinfecting (with a terrific and inexpensive nontoxic sanitizer made of hydrogen peroxide and vinegar). Sandbeck even discusses fire safety and caring for cars, the garden and pets with health and the environment in mind.

Readers who equate natural with still slightly dirty should know that Sandbeck a former housecleaner is fond of using a toothbrush to get at gunky nooks and crannies, and has perfected a system of damp cloths (washable, bleachable, landfill-friendly old cotton T-shirts) on a rubber mop head to sop up muddy footprints before they dry. This crunchy granola Martha Stewart also covers common green topics such as organic food, recycling, reducing consumption, and reusing everything from foil to plastic containers and old clothes. Her sensible, safe and more effective methods for clean, healthy living help both ordinary families and the world.

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