Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Clean Green

Did you know that most of the time when you clean a surface with a traditional store bought cleaning solution, you might be removing bacteria and germs from the newly-cleaned area, but that you are replacing those germs with harsh chemicals and dangerous fumes? Yep, kinda scary. Ammonia, ether, bleach, and chlorine are a few common ingredients in solutions we use in our home on a daily basis.

Think about all of the surfaces we clean daily...counter tops, floors, sinks, stoves, the list goes on and on. Most of these areas are used in food preparation. You wouldn't pour bleach, ammonia, or ether on your food would you? Then why do we put it on the surfaces where we prepare our food, without giving it a second thought? Well my friends, it's time to give our actions that second thought. Inhaling, ingesting, or touching these chemicals can cause loss of brain cells, headaches, dizziness, eye and ear irritation, an increase in mucous production, skin rashes, blood disorders, kidney disease, cancer, lung damage, and in some cases cancer.

It's time to clean green! There are so many ways to do this, I love it. We can start simply by switching out our harsh store bought chemicals with new green ones. A few brands I love are Method, Meyers, and Seventh Generation. If you prefer, you can even make your own. The following list are things commonly found around the house. They all work wonders in keeping your home safe and clean.

  • Baking Soda - cleans, deodorizes, softens water, scours.
  • Soap - unscented soap in liquid form, flakes, powders or bars is biodegradable and will clean just about anything. Avoid using soaps which contain petroleum distillates.
  • Lemon - one of the strongest food-acids, effective against most household bacteria.
  • Borax - (sodium borate) cleans, deodorizes, disinfects, softens water, cleans wallpaper, painted walls and floors.
  • White Vinegar - cuts grease, removes mildew, odors, some stains and wax build-up.
  • Washing Soda - or SAL Soda is sodium carbonate decahydrate, a mineral. Washing soda cuts grease, removes stains, softens water, cleans wall, tiles, sinks and tubs. Use care, as washing soda can irritate mucous membranes. Do not use on aluminum.
  • Isopropyl Alcohol - is an excellent disinfectant. (It has been suggested to replace this with ethanol or 100 proof alcohol in solution with water. There is some indication that isopropyl alcohol buildup contributes to illness in the body. See http://drclark.ch/g)
  • Cornstarch - can be used to clean windows, polish furniture, shampoo carpets and rugs.
It's amazing what you can do with vinegar, lemon, and water. Give it a try.
Also, try using cloth towels or squeegees in place of paper towels. Use one cup for drinking per day. Just rinse it out to save water and dishwasher space. Recycle what you can and only throw away what is can not be reused or recycled. Try using an allergen/chemical free candle or air freshener. Natural oils are my personal favorite for this.

Remember to think of your family, yourself, and planet Earth when choosing what you will bring into your home.

Happy Cleaning,