Spring Cleaning Part 2

April 16, 2013 at 11:14 am Leave a comment

It’s finally starting to look and feel like spring.  Hopefully the trees can start budding in the next couple of days/weeks.  To go with the theme of spring cleaning that we started with the last post, in this week’s blog, we’re going to focus on green cleaning supplies.  You have to be able to do more than just remove junk from your house, and green cleaning suppies can clean your house while maintaining an air of sustainability.

Some people will say, “What’s wrong with the conventional cleaning supplies that I’m already using?”  These days, the stores have aisles full of cleaning supplies and many of them are full of things that no one would want in their home.  We listed some examples of the toxins that are regularly found in conventional supermarket cleaners.

  • Chlorinated phenols found in toilet bowl cleaners, are toxic to respiratory and circulatory systems.
  • Diethylene glycol found in window cleaners, depresses the nervous system.
  • Phenols found in disinfectants, are toxic to respiratory and circulatory systems.
  • Nonylphenol ethoxylate, a common surfactant (detergent) found in laundry detergents and all-purpose cleaners, is banned in Europe; it has been shown to biodegrade slowly into even more toxic compounds.
  • Petroleum solvents in floor cleaners, damage mucous membranes.
  • Perchloroethylene, a spot remover, causes liver and kidney damage.
  • Butyl cellosolve, common in all-purpose, window and other types of cleaners, damages bone marrow, the nervous system, kidneys and the liver.

The list could fill a book. And it’s a book that would include thousands of other chemicals — some so dangerous that they’re found on lists of chemicals associated with Superfund toxic waste sites and in the toxins section of the U.S. Clean Air and Water Acts.

Reducing the amount of non-natural cleaner used in your home will reduce the amount of potentially hazardous chemicals while at the same time improving your local environment by preventing contamination to the outdoors.

So now you’re wondering, “well if I can’t use those cleaners, what do I use?”  There are still natural products on the market that you can buy in stores.  Consumers must be wary though because not everything marked with words like “natural” or “green” actually follows their namesake.  To help buyers out, websites like GoodGuide.com were started.

The goal of Good Guide is to help consumers find safe, healthy, green, and ethical products based on scientific ratings; to get these ratings, the website uses chemists, toxicologists, nutritionists, sociologists, and lifecycle analysis experts.  Each of these groups rate products and companies on the different aspects listed above

Likewise, there is also the Green Seal Label that people can look for while at the store.  Green Seal creates sustainability standards for products and offers certification for companies or products that meet the standards.  You can trust that products marked with the Green Seal label are helping to create a greener marketplace.

There will be some of you who want to take another step toward ‘green’ cleaning and try to make your own cleaning supplies.  This is a fantastic idea because not only are these products simple to make, but they are also very effective and safe.  If you think about it, they also cut down on the purchase miles by starting their shelf life in your home as opposed to in a factory.  We listed 3 easy cleaners below, if you search online, you can find a ton more:

All-Purpose Spray Cleaner:  Combine ½ teaspoon washing soda, a dab of liquid soap and 2 cups hot tap water in a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved. Apply and wipe off with a sponge or rag.

Tea Tree Mold Killer: Nothing works for mold and mildew as well as this spray. Tea tree oil is expensive, but a little goes a very long way. Note the smell of tea tree oil is strong, but it will dissipate in a few days. Combine 2 teaspoons tea tree oil and 2 cups water in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and spray on problem areas. Do not rinse.

Window Cleaner:  Put ¼ – ½ teaspoon liquid detergent, 3 tablespoons vinegar, and 2 cups water. Shake it up and use as you would a commercial brand. The soap in this recipe cuts the wax residue that many commercial brands leave behind.

If you’re having difficulty finding recipdes for cleaning supplies, try looking on Care2.com in the “Healthy Living” section.


I hope your Spring Cleaning goes phenomenal and your house feels a little fresher when it’s less cluttered and all scrubbed down


EnAct Intern Adam


image credits: www.projectkopeg.com


Entry filed under: conservation, other, saving money, sustainability, Toxins. Tags: , , , , .

Some Help with Spring Cleaning Attack of the Invasive Species

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