Happy Spring! Whether it feels like spring or not, there is a psychological lift to just spotting a crocus or two and knowing that winter is officially over. It may be too early to start gardening, but it’s not too early to start a thorough spring cleaning!
If you don’t already use non-toxic cleaners, now is the time to switch! Indoor air pollution, partially caused by the use of chemical based cleaners, is a much more serious problem than people realize and one of the reasons for increased cases of asthma and allergies among other diseases. Fortunately you can find several brands of non-toxic cleaning supplies at your local grocery store and many of the conventional brands are now making a less toxic product. Be sure to read the ingredients though; some products claim to be “natural” when they really aren’t. Visit Environmental Working Group’s Cleaners database “Hall of Shame” for the worst offenders in cleaning products.
Seventh Generation, Mrs. Myers, Shaklee’s full line of biodegradable concentrated cleaning products, and The Optimist Company, a local Cape Cod company whose owner makes pure cleaning and laundry products in her own kitchen with cool biodegradable packaging, are all effective “clean” (toxin-free) products. Start with an all-purpose cleaner, an abrasive scrubber, and a toilet cleaner. You really don’t need a different product for each surface in your home.
Making your own cleaning supplies using baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice is a fun and easy option too! Baking soda cleans nearly everything from stained kitchen sinks to mildewed showers to tea stained coffee mugs to flatware to fruit or even teeth, and it’s cheap! White vinegar works great on hardwood floors. Easy, long-lasting microfiber cloths lift off dirt, dust and grime with no need for additional products. Don’t be fooled into thinking that if there is no “clean” smell, then it’s not effective – fragrances are part of the chemical danger. (There are some organic cleaners containing safe, essential oils as a fragrance.)
Happy spring cleaning!
Recipe for All-Purpose Cleaner
All-Purpose Cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons borax) into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water. Store and keep. Use for removal of water deposit stains on shower stall panels, bathroom chrome fixtures, windows, bathroom mirrors, countertops etc. Keep out of reach of children.
Check out the short video on green cleaning your kitchen.
Some information compiled from http://eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_solutions.htm#substitutions and http://www.greencleaningcoach.com/
For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.