Sunday, BJEN sponsored a 'green cleaning for your home' gathering with Loren Lavoy, owner of Green Clean (www.greencleanusa.org) to learn about safe ways to clean one's home.
Many to most home cleaning products contain dangerous chemicals that leave a residue of toxins in the home, on surfaces and in the air even long after their smell dissipates. Not good for adults and certainly not good for kids and pets.
What was even more surprising, although pleasantly so, was that products exist that can get our homes clean without making us sick.
First of all, remember that plain soap and water clean the best. No need, and no benefit, of antibacterial soaps most of the time. Indeed, we are all better off leaving antibacterial additives to hospitals and the truly vulnerable so we do not dilute the medicine's effectiveness and do not deprive our immune systems from ramping up to full speed.
Second of all, grandma knew best. Take all the products you have for cleaning the kitchen, floors, sinks, bathtubs, toilets, etc., use them up and then buy the following:
Borax, Bonami, a good scrubbing sponge, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and vinegar.
All of these can be found in your local grocery store. No need to shop at a specialty outlet.
With these bio-friendly, inexpensive, and safe products, you can clean just about everything in your homes, as good as and often better than the fancy, expensive and unhealthy products. And they take up a lot less space in your closet.
Check out, for example, www.grist.org and its review of green cleansers. A truthful and helpful real life sampling of possible products and their effectiveness.
Two helpful hints when you go green:
1) These cleaners take a little longer to work. The hint from Loren: apply them to one surface, then the next, then the next, and so on. THEN go back with your mildly wet, gentle scrubber and rub, and then take your clean rag and wipe things off. You will get a clean and shiny surface you can be proud of.
2) They don't smell, and some people feel if it doesn't smell clean it can't be clean. Solution: buy essential oils and place the wicking sticks in them to slowly release great scents into your room. And if you vacuum with a bag, instead of a bagless, cleaner, place a drop or two of lavender on the bag before you vacuum. It will leave a gentle fragrance everywhere you clean.