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Cleaning products are everywhere in our homes and offices: on plates, counters, furniture, clothing, floors, windows, and floating in the air. In our war against dirt and germs we can often make things worse.
Most of the conventional cleaning products we grew up with are petroleum-based and have dubious implications for health and the environment. Instead of opting for cleaning products that wipe out everything in their path, there are many natural products and methods that keep your home clean and smelling fresh without the toxic side effects.
Top Green Cleaning Tips
Use green cleaning products.
As the health and environmental impacts of conventional cleaning products are better understood, more and more brands of healthy, environmentally friendly and effective cleaning products are beginning to hit the market and vying for the coveted place of honor under their name. sink. Many of these products are non-toxic, biodegradable, and made from renewable resources (not petroleum). But if brand labels aren't for you, home cleaners can do the same job and a bit more. Vinegar and baking soda can be used to clean just about anything. Mix some warm water with any of these and you have an all-purpose cleaner.
Avoid poor indoor air quality
It is not uncommon for the air inside a home or office to be more toxic than the air outside. This is due to the presence of toxic substances and materials and the fact that houses and buildings are better insulated than ever (which is good from an energy point of view). Keeping windows open as often as possible allows fresh air in and toxins out. This is especially important when cleaning your home.
Be careful with antibacterial cleaners
The antibacterial and antimicrobial 'cleaners' that many people believe are necessary, especially during the cold season, do not clean hands better than soap and water, and they increase the risk of raising 'super germs', bacteria that survive chemical attack . The FDA has found that antibacterial soaps and hand cleaners do not work better than regular soap and water and should be avoided.
Help your house smell the baking soda
Baking soda not only removes weird smells emanating from the fridge, it also removes odors from the carpet. Just sprinkle on some baking soda to absorb some of those odors and then vacuum them up.
Clean your indoor air naturally
Skip the store bought air fresheners and instead try boiling cinnamon, cloves, or whatever other herb you like. Chocolate chip cookies have also been known to create a pleasant aroma. Also, plants may not make your home smell differently, but they are good at filtering indoor air - almost any broad leafy plant will. Peace lilies are a favorite option.
Dispose of toxic cleaners with care
When replacing your cleaning supplies, don't just throw your old ones in the trash. If they are too toxic for your home, they won't be good for the drain or landfill either. Many communities have electronic and toxic recycling days and will take all of this out of your hands. Throwing chemicals in the trash or down the drain means they can end up in the water supply and come back to haunt you.
Avoid conventional dry cleaners.
Conventional dyers are the largest users of an industrial solvent called perchlorethylene, which is toxic to humans and also creates smog. The two most common dry cleaning methods are carbon dioxide cleaning and Green Earth. Look for cleaners that use green methods. If you take clothes to conventional cleaners, be sure to air them outside before using or putting them in the closet.
Employing a green house cleaning service
For people who don't have the time to clean their own houses, there are fortunately a growing number of green cleaning services to help make things look better. If you can't find one in your area (or their rates are outrageous), call until you find a service willing to use the products and methods you specify.
Leave toxins at the door.
Imagine what you wear in your shoes at the end of the day. Bringing that oil, antifreeze, animal waste, particulate pollution, pollen, and who knows what else inside the house is not a good idea, especially for children and other critters that hang out on the floor. Keep the sidewalk out of your house with a good doormat or shoeless home policy. Many green buildings now include entry access systems as a means of maintaining a healthy indoor environment. Less dirt also means less sweeping, mopping and vacuuming, which means less work, water, energy and fewer chemicals.
Design with cleanliness in mind
Designing homes and other buildings with cleanability in mind can create spaces that are cleaner, healthier, and require fewer substances to maintain. In larger buildings, good cleaning can also save a lot of money, as cleaning costs can often account for up to half of a building's total energy costs.
Green cleaning: by the numbers
17,000 - The amount of petrochemicals available for home use, of which only 30 percent have been tested for exposure to human health and the environment.
63 - The amount of synthetic chemicals found in the average home, which translates to approximately 10 gallons of harmful chemicals.
100 - The number of times that indoor air pollution levels can be higher than outdoor air pollution levels, as estimated by the US EPA.
275 - The amount of active ingredients in antimicrobials that the EPA classifies as pesticides because they are designed to kill microbes.
5 Billion - The number of pounds of chemicals that the institutional cleaning industry uses each year.
23 - The average gallons of chemicals (87 liters) a janitor uses each year, 25 percent of which are hazardous.
Original article (in English)