Spring cleaning season has arrived! Whether you’re cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, furniture, windows, or even clothing, it’s easy to be green when tackling your seasonal chores.
Standard Cleaning Products May Be Harmful to Your Health
Even the most innocuous household cleaning products likely contain chemicals that may be carcinogenic, toxic, or irritating to the skin and other organs. Non-green cleaning products have been linked to asthma, ADHD, autism, birth defects, immune system disorders, and even cancers. In fact, using them may actually be increasing indoor pollution. Products with potential carcinogens, toxins, corrosive ingredients, or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) should not have a place in a green home.
Healthy Alternatives are Available and Affordable
The household vacuum may be a source of indoor pollution. Many models spew dust and particulate matter such as pollen, pet dander, and mold spores back into the air. The Carpet and Rug Institute, a nonprofit trade group (carpet-rug.org), places its seal of approval on vacuums that meet its high standards for removing and retaining small particles.
Microfiber cloths and mops are reusable alternatives to paper towels and traditional cloths. Microfiber is comprised of a scientifically-developed weave that attracts and retains dirt and dust without a lot of chemicals. Water may be all that’s necessary for chores such as light dusting. The cloths are machine washable and highly durable.
If you’re curious about what’s in your products visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Household Products Database at householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov for health and safety information.
Choose products based on what they do not have: chlorine bleach, synthetic dyes, fluorocarbons, propellants, and ingredients that are harmful to the body. Don’t rely on ill-defined terms like “biodegradable” or “natural,” because their use is not well regulated.
Choose green products that are sold at health food and natural stores, through the internet, and in mail-order catalogues. Popular green brands include Seventh Generation and Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day. If you use a cleaning service, be sure it uses safer products and certified green equipment like vacuums.
Tough Jobs Go Green
Even the toughest jobs can be done green. The first step is to stock up on a few inexpensive, easy-to-find ingredients: baking soda, borax (check the laundry section of your local market), coarse salt, white vinegar, lemons or lemon juice, and microfiber cloths. Then follow the tips below for a sparkling, green home.
In the kitchen
In the bathroom
For the windows