It’s A Dirty Job, but Somebody Has To Do It – Green Cleaning At Home

by Michal on November 17, 2009

cleaningGreen Cleaning promotes a healthy environment, safety, and social consciousness. It can help decrease air pollution, water pollution, ozone depletion, and global climate change. Using green products at home can reduce potential allergens and toxic cleaning products that have been linked to childhood wheezing. The American Lung Association reports that 6.5 million children in the U.S. are affected by asthma and can be triggered by things like tobacco smoke, animal dander, paint fumes, dust mites, molds, and pollens. Using green products at home can reduce many of these triggers in your home.

Green products eliminate the harsh chemicals that are found in non-green cleaning products like bleach, carpet cleaners, aerosols, or ammonia. These chemicals are known to affect bronchial passage ways in children, adults, and even pets. Levels of pollutants in indoor air can be from two to more than 100 times higher than outdoors, according to the U.S. EPA. That indoor pollution is due in large part to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that evaporate, or “offgas,” from home decorating and cleaning products.

  • Be careful with antibacterial cleaners
    The antibacterial and antimicrobial ‘cleaners’ that many people think are necessary, especially during cold season, don’t clean hands better than soap and water, and also add to the risk of breeding “super germs,” bacteria that survive the chemical onslaught and have resistant offspring. The FDA has found that antibacterial soaps and hand cleansers do not work better than regular soap and water, and should be avoided.
  • Use alternative products to clean with
    Baking soda not only removes those strange smells coming from your fridge, it’s also a great odor-eliminator for your carpet. Just sprinkle on a little baking soda to soak up some of those odors and then vacuum it up.
  • Clean your indoor air naturally
    Skip the store-bought air fresheners and instead try boiling cinnamon, cloves, or any other herbs you have a fondness for. Fresh chocolate chip cookies also have been known to create a friendly aroma. Also, plants may not make your house smell different but are good for filtering interior air–pretty much any broad green leaf plant will do. Peace Lilies are a favorite choice.
  • Get rid of toxic cleaners carefully
    When replacing your cleaning products, don’t just throw the old ones in the trash. If they’re too toxic for your home, they won’t be good for the drain or the landfill either. Many communities hold toxics & electronics recycling days and will take all of these off your hands. Throwing chemicals in the trash or down the drain means they might end up back in your water supply and come back to haunt you (see How to Go Green: Water for more).
  • Employ a green house cleaning service
    For people don’t have the time to clean their own homes, fortunately there are an increasing number of green cleaning services out there to help get things spic and span. If you can’t find one in your area (or their rates are outlandish), call around until you find a service willing to use the products and methods you specify.
  • Leave the toxins at the door
    Imagine what’s on your shoes at the end of the day. Bringing that oil, antifreeze, animal waste, particulate pollution, pollen, and who knows what else into the house is not good news, especially for kids and other critters that spend time on floor level. Keep the sidewalk out of your home with a good doormat or a shoeless house policy. Many green buildings now include entryway track-off systems as a means of maintaining a healthy interior environment. Less dirt also means less sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming, which means less work, water, energy, and fewer chemicals.
  • Design with clean in mind
    Designing houses and other building with cleanability in mind can create spaces that are cleaner, healthier, and require fewer substances to maintain. In larger buildings, good cleanability can also be a big money-saver as cleaning costs can often add up to as much as half of a building’s total energy costs.

  • Source: Planet Green

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