Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Good, Green Clean

Back in April, on my other blog, I posted some tips for living a cleaner, more toxic-free life. (I also Saved The World...)

And while all of that is still relevant, I'm going to focus today and getting the best clean you can with as few toxins as possible. I said it before, and I'll say it again: you might not be drinking the Lysol, but you're cleaning with it and then your pets/babies walk over it and then lick their paws/put their hands/feet in the see where this is going. Best to avoid accidental ingestion of poison.

So, step the first: clear the clutter! Victorian houses might have been full of character, but they were also full of DUST. If you have collections, keep them centralized and in an easy-to-clean area. If you've got items that are just hanging on...well, determine what good they're doing you and if the answer is "none" then donate. Your trash is someone else's treasure. Why deny them?

And now that you've got a clutter-free environment, let's move on to the actual product usage.

A) I like Rags. Barmops. Old t-shirts when you need to be lint-free. re-usable, washable, and not very expensive. Target, IKEA, your husbands closet...all good sources for rags. Leave the paper towels for that which is truly gross: cat barf.

B) If it has chlorine, it will kill you. Ok, at worst it'll kill you. At best you'll have asthma-like symptoms. And you've got a fully-formed respiratory system. Birds, poor things, breathe everything twice. If you need bleach, pick a chlorine-free option. Seventh Generation has one.

i) while we're on the subject of respiratory inflammation: synthetic fragrances will do the same thing. Avoid those.

C) But what about bacteria? You ask. I'm glad you did.

White Vinegar. (photo courtesy of ivillage)

To quote a pro:

"Heinz company spokesperson Michael Mullen references numerous studies to show that a straight 5 percent solution of vinegar—thekind you can buy in the supermarket—kills 99 percent of bacteria, 82 percent of mold, and 80 percent of germs (viruses). He noted that Heinz can’t claim on their packaging that vinegar is a disinfectant since the company has not registered it as a pesticide with the Environmental Protection Agency. However, it seems to be common knowledge in the industry that vinegar is powerfully antibacterial. Even the CBS news show “48 Hours” had a special years ago with Heloise reporting on tests from The Good Housekeeping Institute that showed this. "

(for more on this see here)

D) Lemon Juice. Nature's whiter, brighter, smell-nicier alternative to B. Disposal smelling like things are decomposing? Grind half a lemon in it. Towels smelling musty even after a decent washing? Next time, add 1/2 cup to your laundry and smell the freshness (line-drying in the sun will also help.) It goes on and on.

But what if you're not up to mixing your own cleaner? What if you need a few more tips?

E) My Three Favorite lines:

Available most easily, they designed their products with the full product-life in mind. Non-toxic, recyclable, fragrance-free.

I use their eco-scrub the most. It works wonders on the tub and I don't worry about my cats drinking the potential residue in the bath water. Which they do.

Most of my home-cleansers come from these guys. Their carpet cleaner is such a miracle worker that I have been known to give away bottles to people just so they, too, can know the awesomeness. Cat barf, doggy accidents, and latex paint (still wet): all disappear As I'm Squirting. The consistent ingredient is hydrogen peroxide, which is a disinfectant...and if you can pour it on cuts, you can pour it on carpet. Trust.

And for those of you who need to have the good-ol' Antibacterial Stamp...let me direct you to a slew of hits when the phrase "too much antibacterial" is googled.

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